Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, February 18, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220
Reading I
Dt 30:15-20
Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
 If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Responsorial Psalm
1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R.    (40:5a)  Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
    the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
    and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
    planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
    and whose leaves never fade.
    Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
    they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
    but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Verse before the Gospel
Mt 4:17
Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Lk 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,
 “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”
 People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint February 18 : St. Fra Angelico the "Angelic Friar" a Dominican and Patron of Artists with Prayer

Feast Day: February 18 Beatified: October 3, 1982
Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as having "a rare and perfect talent". He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One); the common English name Fra Angelico means the "Angelic friar".  He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—
Growing up in a small town in Italy, Guido di Pietro was interested in two things. He wanted to follow Christ’s example in all things and he wanted to develop his talent for painting. God showed him how these two things were his vocation. Our vocation is God’s call to share in Jesus’ life and work. Guido was born in 1387, and when he was 18, he joined the Dominican order as a religious brother. Brothers are not priests. Religious brothers serve their community through prayer and work. It Italy, religious brothers are called “Fra.” Religious brothers are often given a new name. Guido’s religious name was “Fra Giovanni” or Brother John. His work in his community was painting beautiful religious art, initially for manuscripts, which at the time were each copied by hand. The moment the members of his religious community saw his beautiful paintings, they said that he “painted like an angel.” That is how he became known as “Fra Angelico.” Every day before he began to paint, Fra Angelico prayed that God would guide his hand and help him to create a painting that would inspire people to grow closer to God. Fra Angelico became very famous. He painted holy figures and angels and was even called to Rome to paint portraits of the saints on the walls of the chapel of Pope Eugenius IV and then Pope Nicholas V. His work can be found in museums and churches and holy buildings throughout the world. He died in Rome in 1455 and was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. The pope declared him the patron saint of Catholic artists in 1984. We call Fra Angelico “Blessed.” His life helps us to understand that we are called to use the gifts we have been given to serve others and to give glory and praise to God.
Prayer to Blessed Fra AngelicoBlessed Fra Angelico,
you created works of beauty
which have inspired countless souls
into a closer union with God.
By your intercession, may God
raise up artists and craftsmen
to beautify His holy dwellings
and all churches to elevate
human hearts and minds to a
more profound relationship
with the Almighty. Amen.
Fra Angelico (Italian, ca. 1390/95-1455)

Pope Francis' Ash Wednesday Homily "It is the Father's forgiveness that always puts us back on our feet: God's forgiveness, Confession, is the first step..." FULL TEXT + Video



St. Peter's Basilica
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 We begin the journey of Lent. It opens with the words of the prophet Joel, which indicate the direction to follow. There is an invitation that comes from the heart of God, who with open arms and eyes full of nostalgia begs us: "Return to me with all your heart" ( Jn 2:12).     

Come back to me . Lent is a journey back to God. How many times, busy or indifferent, have we told him: "Lord, I will come to You later, wait ... Today I can't, but tomorrow I will begin to pray and do something for others". And so day after day. Now God appeals to our heart. In life we ​​will always have things to do and we will have excuses to present, but, brothers and sisters, today is the time to return to God.

Come back to me, he says, with all your heartLent is a journey that involves our whole life, all of ourselves. It is the time to check the roads we are taking, to find the way back home, to rediscover the fundamental bond with God, on which everything depends. Lent is not a collection of little flowers, it is discerning where the heart is oriented. This is the center of Lent: where is my heart oriented? Let's try to ask ourselves: where does the navigator of my life take me, to God or to my self? Do I live to please the Lord, or to be noticed, praised, preferred, first and so on? Do I have a “dancing” heart, which takes one step forward and one backward, loves the Lord a little and the world a little, or a heart steadfast in God? Am I okay with my hypocrisies, or do I struggle to free my heart from the duplicity and falsehoods that bind it?

The journey of Lent is an exodus, it is an exodus from slavery to freedomIt is forty days that mark the forty years in which God's people traveled in the desert to return to their homeland. But how difficult it was to leave Egypt! It was more difficult to leave the Egypt of the hearts of God's people, that Egypt that they always carried inside, than to leave the land of Egypt… It is very difficult to leave Egypt. Always, along the way, there was the temptation to regret the onions, to go back, to bind to the memories of the past, to some idol. It is like this for us too: the journey back to God is hindered by our unhealthy attachments, it is held back by the seductive snares of vices, by the false security of money and appearances, by the victim's lament that paralyzes. In order to walk one must unmask these illusions.

But we ask ourselves: how then to proceed on the path to God? The return journeys that the Word of God tells us help us.

We look to the prodigal son and understand that it is also time for us to return to the Father . Like that son, we too have forgotten the scent of home, we have squandered precious goods for little things and we are left with empty hands and a discontented heart. We have fallen: we are children who continually fall, we are like little children who try to walk but go to the ground, and they need to be lifted up every time by their father. It is the Father's forgiveness that always puts us back on our feet: God's forgiveness, Confession, is the first step on our return journey. I said to Confession, I recommend the confessors: be like the father, not with the whip, with the embrace.

Then we need to return to Jesus , to do like that healed leper who returned to thank him. Ten of them had been healed, but he alone was also saved , because he had returned to Jesus (cf. Lk 17 : 12-19). We all, we all have spiritual diseases, we cannot heal them alone; we all have deep-seated vices, alone we cannot eradicate them; we all have fears that paralyze us, we cannot defeat them alone. We need to imitate that leper, who returned to Jesus and threw himself at his feet. We need the healing of Jesus , we need to put our wounds in front of him and tell him: “Jesus, I am here before You, with my sin, with my miseries. You are the doctor, You can set me free. Heal my heart ”.

Again: the Word of God asks us to return to the Father, asks us to return to Jesus, and we are called to return to the Holy Spirit . The ash on the head reminds us that we are dust and to dust we will return. But on this dust of ours God has blown his Spirit of life. Then we cannot live chasing the dust, chasing things that exist today and vanish tomorrow. Let us return to the Spirit, Giver of life, let us return to the Fire that makes our ashes rise again, to that Fire that teaches us to love. We will always be dust but, as a liturgical hymn says, dust in love. Let us return to praying to the Holy Spirit, let us rediscover the fire of praise , which burns the ashes of lamentation and resignation.

Brothers and sisters, this journey of ours back to God is only possible because there has been his outward journey towards us . Otherwise it would not have been possible. Before we went to him, he came down to us. He preceded us, he came to meet us. For us it went lower than we could imagine: it became sin, it became death. This is what St. Paul reminded us: "He who knew no sin, God made him sin in our favor" ( 2 Cor5.21). In order not to leave us alone and accompany us on the journey, he descended into our sin and our death, he touched sin, he touched our death. Our journey, then, is to let ourselves be taken by the hand. The Father who calls us to return is the One who leaves the house to come looking for us; the Lord who heals us is the One who let himself be wounded on the cross; the Spirit who makes us change our lives is the One who blows with strength and sweetness on our dust.

Here then is the Apostle's plea: "Be reconciled to God" (v. 20). Let yourself be reconciled: the journey is not based on our strength; no one can be reconciled with God with his own strength, he cannot. The conversion of the heart, with the gestures and practices that express it, is possible only if it starts from the primacy of God's action. It is not our skills and merits to show off, but his grace to welcome that makes us return to him. . Grace saves us, salvation is pure grace, pure gratuitousness. Jesus told us clearly in the Gospel: what makes us righteous is not the justice we practice before men, but the sincere relationship with the Father. The beginning of the return to God is to recognize ourselves in need of him, in need of mercy, in need of his grace. This is the right way, the way of humility. Do I feel needy or do I feel self-sufficient?

Today we lower our heads to receive the ashes. After Lent we will lower ourselves even more to wash the feet of the brothers. Lent is a humble descent within us and towards others. It is to understand that salvation is not a climb to glory, but a lowering of love. It is making us small. On this journey, so as not to lose our way, let us place ourselves in front of the cross of Jesus: it is the silent chair of God. Let us look at his wounds every day, the wounds he brought to Heaven and shows the Father, every day, in the his intercessory prayer. We look at his wounds every day. In those holes we recognize our emptiness, our shortcomings, the wounds of sin, the blows that have hurt us. Yet right there we see that God does not point the finger at us, but opens his hands to us.1 Pt 2.25; Is 53.5). Let's kiss them and we will understand that right there, in the most painful holes of life, God awaits us with his infinite mercy. Because there, where we are most vulnerable, where we are most ashamed, He came to meet us. And now that he has come to meet us, he invites us to return to him, to rediscover the joy of being loved.

FULL TEXT Source: - Official Translation - Image Screenshot