Friday, January 10, 2020

Pope Francis explains “If one says, 'I love God' but hates his brother, he is a liar.” in Homily

Pope at Mass: ‘he who says he loves God but does not love his brother is a liar'
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Casa Santa Marta and reflects on how love is expressed through concrete actions.
By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis reflected on the liturgical reading of the day, taken from the First Letter of St. John the Apostle, which focusses on the topic of love.

The apostle, the Pope said, understood what love is, experienced it, and as he entered into the heart of Jesus, he understood how it manifested itself. In his Letter, he continued, he tells us how we love and how we have been loved.

God loved us first
First of all, the Pope explained, is the fact that “We love God because He loved us first.”

Love, he continued, stems from Him: “I begin to love, or I can begin to love because I know that He loved me first". And, he added, “If He had not loved us we certainly could not love.”

“If a newborn child could speak, he would certainly express the fact that he feels loved by his parents.  Parents love their child just as God loves us…He loved us first. And this gives birth to and increases our capacity to love,” he said.

About loving and lying
The second thing the apostle says, the Pope continued, is that “If one says, 'I love God' but hates his brother, he is a liar.” John, he pointed out, does not describe such a person as ‘rude’ or someone ‘who is wrong’, he calls him a ‘liar’.

And  he went on to analyse the word ‘liar’ which, he said, is clearly defined in the Bible as “the devil’s way of being, ‘the Great Liar’, as the New Testament tells us, ‘the father of lies’.

So, the Pope said, “if you say you love God but hate your brother, you are on the other side: you are a liar. There are no concessions to this.”

Many, Pope Francis continued, find justifications for not loving: “Some say ‘I don't hate, Father, but there are many people who hurt me, or people I can't accept because they are rude or crude.”

He underscored the concrete nature of love indicated by John when he writes “whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

“If you are not capable of loving people, from the closest to the furthest away, you cannot tell us that you love God: you are a liar,” he said.

Getting involved
Pope Francis then reflected on another aspect that can stop people from loving: their wish not “to meddle” in the lives of others. This too, he said is not good, because love “expresses itself by doing good.”

True love, he explained, is expressed in everyday life, with its problems, its feelings of affection and dislike.

Remember, the Pope said quoting from Saint Albert Hurtado, ‘It is good not to do evil, but it is bad not to do good’, true love, he said “must lead you to do good (...), to dirty your hands in works of love.”

Through faith we can conquer the world
It is not easy, Pope Francis admitted concluding his homily, but through faith there is the possibility of prevailing over a mentality “that prevents us from loving”.

The path of faith he said is a path that is not undertaken by those who are indifferent, who wash their hands of problems, who do not want to meddle in order to help, who say they love God but do not love their neighbor.

“May the Lord teach us these truths: the knowledge of having been loved first and the courage to love our brothers.”

Full Text source:

Saint January 11 : St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch an Abbot and Founder who lived in a Cave to Fast and Pray

423 at Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey)
529 at Cathismus

St Theodosius was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham's example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behaviour in each. Having satisfied his  devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the directions of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighbouring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?" Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, "I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number it happened that at the great feast at Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust in God and he would provide; which was soon remarkably verified by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception, therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries: one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighbourhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before-mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided were the Greeks, which was by far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel in their own church, but after the gospel all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek, and communicated all together.
The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour, not incompatible with recollection that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, Bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.
The Emperor Anastasius patronised the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II, Patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commending the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius, now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him a heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and, returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety, and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over  all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: "If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema." So bold an action in a man of his years inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but, dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his catholic successor, Justin, who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.
Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility that, seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner's soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of a heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortations to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death; this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honoured by miracles. He was buried in his first cell called the Cave of the Magi, because the wise men who came to adore Christ soon after his birth were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged  the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them to the saint's protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Romans and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.
It is the opinion of St. Gregory the Great that the world is to some persons so full of ambushes and snares, or dangerous occasions of sin, that they cannot be saved but by choosing a safe retreat. Yet there are some who find the greatest dangers in solitude itself; so that it is necessary for every one to sound his own heart, take a survey of his own forces and abilities, and consult God, that he may best be able to learn the designs of his providence with regard to his soul; in doing which, a great purity of intention is the first requisite. Ease and enjoyment must not be the end of Christian retirement, but penance, labour, and assiduous contemplation; without great fervour and constancy in which, close solitude is the road to perdition. If greater safety, or an unfitness for a public station, or a life of much business (in which several are only public nuisances), may be just motives to some for embracing a life of retirement, the means of more easily attaining to perfect virtue may be such to many. Nor do true contemplatives bury their talents, or cease either to be members of the republic of mankind, or to throw in their mite towards its welfare.
From the prayers and thanksgivings which they daily offer to God for the peace of the world, the preservation of the church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of all men, doubtless more valuable benefits often accrue to mankind than from the alms of the rich or the labours of the learned. Nor is it to be imagined how far and how powerfully their spirit, and the example of their innocence and perfect virtue, often spread their influence; and how serviceable persons who lead a holy and sequestered life may be to the good of the world; nor how great glory redounds to God by the perfect purity of heart and charity to which many souls are thus raised.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

Wow the 1st Catholic Chapel built inside a Mall celebrates 60th Anniversary and has Daily Mass, Adoration and Confession

The Boston Pilot reports that Cardinal Se├ín O'Malley led the celebration of a Mass at the St. Therese Carmelite Chapel on Jan. 3, 2020 to honor the 60th anniversary of the chapel's dedication. The chapel and its adjoining gift shop are almost hidden on the lower level of the Northshore Mall.  Dedicated by Cardinal Richard Cushing in 1960, the St. Therese Carmelite Chapel was the first chapel built in a mall in the United States. It was one of several "workers' chapels" that Cardinal Cushing established to make the sacraments available where many people work and travel. The chapel was run by the Order of Carmelites until 2016, when it was transferred to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. "The Chapel-in-the-Mall offers daily communicants what might not be available at their home parishes," Father Jilson George, CMI, told The Pilot Jan. 6. Father George has been the director of the chapel for the past three years.
 Each day, the chapel holds Eucharistic Adoration for three hours, and about 30 to 40 people come to receive the Sacrament of Confession. Mass is offered twice a day during the week, three times on Saturdays, and as many as six times on holy days of obligation. 
 Kimberly Murphy, who frequently attends Mass there, called the chapel "a hidden treasure." "I often think of how very happy St. Therese of Lisieux must be about her beautiful little Chapel in the Mall, and how much she must cherish her beloved Carmelite priests, who are carrying on her vocation," Murphy said. Over 250 people attended the chapel's anniversary Mass on Jan. 3, including Peabody's former mayor Michael J. Bonfanti and retired Chief of Police Robert St. Pierre.
 Carmelite nuns provided musical accompaniment for the anniversary Mass. The celebration took place on the feast day of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church calendar. In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley remarked on the history of the Catholic Church in India, pointing out that the Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest Eastern Rite in the Catholic Church. Cardinal O'Malley congratulated and thanked the Carmelite friars present, saying they "remind us of the catholicity of the Church, that we're not just Latin Rite Catholics but there are Catholics from many different rites of the Church and all of us together form a wonderful mosaic that is the Catholic Church."
Cardinal O'Malley spoke about the hunger for God that John's disciples must have felt as they followed him into the desert.
"I suppose, for many people, a mall is like a temple of consumerism. It might be a spiritual desert. But we have an oasis in this desert, where people can come to be renewed and refreshed spiritually," 
the cardinal said.
Edited from the Boston Pilot

Latin American Bishops' 2020 Message for Peace "We join together in prayer with the Pope, we reject all forms of violence...and we ask the great nations of the world, in particular their rulers, for mutual respect..."

AMERICA - Message from CELAM: "Let us walk and pray together for peace in the world"
Friday, 10 January 2020

Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - "We join together in prayer with the Pope, we reject all forms of violence and social division, and we ask the great nations of the world, in particular their rulers, for mutual respect, harmony and good understanding, and not to spare every effort to avoid a scenario of greater tension". With these words, the Presidency of CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, addresses the people of God and the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a message entitled "Let us walk together for peace in the world".
The message invites us to pray for peace in the world, so that the conflicts that make families and entire populations suffer end, and "in particular, for the serious tension that is being experienced between various countries: war brings only death and destruction". Joining the Pope's appeal, the Presidency of CELAM invites all parties involved to "give priority to the path of dialogue, the peaceful resolution of disputes and the unconditional respect for international law".
"Let us walk and pray together - they urge – so that in our history we never have to be ashamed of the way in which one human being has eliminated the other because they were not able to dialogue and find the way to walk together". Finally, the Presidency of CELAM invites the Bishops' Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean and the entire world to promote days of prayer for peace, invoking "Most Holy Mary, Queen of Peace" to "grant us this gift". (SL)
(Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 10/1/2020) - Image Source: Google Images - LaCroix Int.

At Mass, Pope Francis says “If we remain in the Lord our heart will be at peace" in Homily

Vatican Report:
Pope at Mass: many fires of war today - true peace is sown in the heart
Celebrating Mass on Thursday, Pope Francis points the way to peace saying, one must “remain in the Lord” by loving in “little things”. Peace in the world, he says, begins with peace in the heart.
Vatican News

According to Pope Francis, we cannot “be Christians” if we are “sowers of war” in our family, in the neighbourhood and the workplace. “May the Lord give us the Holy Spirit to remain in Him and teach us to love, simply, without making war on others,” the Pope urged in his homily at Mass, Thursday morning, in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta.

He was reflecting on the Second Letter of St. John, who urges Christians on the path to peace by remaining in the Lord with the love that is seen in little things.

Speaking about peace, the Pope said that we immediately think of wars and that there be secure peace in the world, in another country or another situation. He noted that even today, with many fires of war lit, our minds immediately evoke peace, imploring it from the Lord for the world and for everyone.

Remain in the Lord
Pope Francis urged all to ask themselves about peace at home, whether our hearts are at peace or are anxious for war, to gain something more and make ourselves heard. According to him, the “peace of the people” or a country “is sown in the heart”. He reminded Christians that unless we have peace in our hearts, we cannot think of peace in the world. And the path to peace within, St. John points out in the day’s first reading, is to remain in the Lord.

Pope Francis pointed out that it is the Lord who makes peace by sending the Holy Spirit to create peace within us. “If we remain in the Lord our heart will be at peace;” and if we remain in the Lord when we slip on a sin or a defect, the Spirit will alert us about this error or this slip.

According to Pope Francis, the way to remain in the Lord, as St. John says, is by loving one another, This is the secret to peace.

War is devil’s temptation
True love, according to Pope Francis, is not that of soap operas and television shows but is something that urges us to speak “well” of others. If one cannot speak well of others, it is better to shut one’s mouth, because speaking ill of others and “skinning” them is war.

Love, the Pope emphasized, is revealed in “little things”. “If there is war in my heart”, he argues, “there will be war in my family, in my neighbourhood and my workplace”. Jealousy, envy, slander, lead us to war with one another. They “destroy”, they are like “filth”.

The Holy Father urged Christians to ask themselves the number of times they speak “with a spirit of peace” and how many times “with a spirit of war”.

Pope Francis noted that usually the way we act in the family, in the neighbourhood and the workplace is an attitude of war. It destroys and dirties the other, which, he said, is not the love and the secure peace we asked for. In this, there is no Holy Spirit. Whether a layperson, a priest, a religious, a bishop, a Pope or anyone, the Holy Father said, it happens to each one of us – our immediate reaction is to condemn the other person. “To make war,” he said, “is the temptation of the devil.”

Peace - a gift of the Holy Spirit
When the devil manages to make us go to war and light the fire of war, the Pope continued, he is happy he does not have to work anymore. “We are the ones who work to destroy each other”, “we are the ones who carry on the war, the destruction”, destroying “first” ourselves, “because we throw love out” and then the others. The Pope noted how much we are addicted to this habit of dirtying others. It is a seed that the devil sows inside us. In conclusion, the Pope prayed for a secure peace, which is “the gift of the Holy Spirit”, by trying to remain in the Lord.

Full Text Source: - Image Source: Google Images

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday January 10, 2020 - #Eucharist after Epiphany

Friday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 216 

Reading 11 JN 5:5-13
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a)  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
"Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
"I do will it.  Be made clean."
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
"Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.