Today is “Holy Thursday.” Priests renew their vows at the Chrism Mass. St. Vianney said, ” A good priest is the greatest treasure the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the precious gifts of divine mercy.” Though there is a focus on the VERY FEW priests who create scandal, the sacrifices they make out of love for the Lord and us are heroic. We need to pray for them, and keep them in reverence and total respect. They are Personna Christi during liturgical matters.
In the Catholic Church, today is the “Chrism” Mass. The Bishop concelebrates with all priests from different parts of the diocese, and the oils used in liturgical services are blessed. The priests are encouraged to participate in communion with the Bishop, under both species, as a sign of priestly communion.
Today’s reflection is about Jesus prophesying in the synagogue.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ. (NAB 1 Cor 4:10)
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (NAB Lk 4:16-21)
Jesus is home, and should be at ease with family and friends. Alas, this is the town He had to escape from out of fear of life earlier. His fellow Nazorean’s know Him, and his origins, as “that boy down the road.” They saw Him playing in the road, probably muddy, dirty, and maybe even a little wild at times. He certainly could not be a “Messiah:” a king bringing salvation to the entire Jewish race.
The initial admiration from the Jews of Jerusalem, followed by a subsequent rejection of Jesus, is a foreshadowing of the future few days of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Moreover, the rejection of Jesus in his own hometown hints at the greater rejection of Him by Israel.
“According to His custom,” Jesus’ practice is that of regular attendance at the synagogue. He regularly taught there, and worshipped there. His first action in the Bible after the infant narratives, places Jesus in the Temple listening and conversing with the Temple Elders. Jesus found comfort in the presence of His Father in Heaven. He, I believe, urged all to participate regularly in religious services and practices.
Jesus’ dedication to religious practice is carried on by the early Christians’, by meeting in the temple (see Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:12). It is such a shame that people today are so ambivalent to religion today. Mass is a life altering experience if one would allow the Holy Spirit to enter into your life. Reliving (it is not a remembering of past events) the last meal with Christ is an awesome experience to behold. Taking Jesus in actual body and blood is not a gross event, but an event of allowing Jesus to enter into us in a physical, as well as a spiritual way.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me” shows Jesus as a prophet whose ministry is compared to that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Jesus, in making this statement, proves Himself the continuity between the old covenant, and the new covenant, through Him. Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing,” inaugurates the time of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. His ministry fulfilled the Old Testament hopes and expectations; even that of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises for the hungry, sick and imprisoned. “To bring glad tidings to the poor” demonstrates His attitude toward the economically and socially poor of the world, and its extreme importance. The poor here are associated with the downtrodden, the oppressed and afflicted, the forgotten and the neglected; and it is they who accept Jesus’ message of salvation. I wonder if the poor today not only includes them, but also those that have forgotten His message of hope, through Jesus. It seems, more and more that religion, especially Catholicism, is attacked by politician’s, the news media, and even from within the Church. Prayer is needed more now, that I can think of, than ever before in the past.
“Lord, help us save this world of contempt, violence, and carelessness. Show us the way to salvation again. We need you so much. Please help! Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Hugh of Grenoble
Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He was born in the Dauphine region and became a canon of the cathedral in Valence. In 1080, while attending a synod in Avignon, Hugh was named bishop of Grenoble. He attempted a massive reform of the diocese, but, discouraged, retired to Chaise Dieu Abbey, and became a Benedictine. Pope St. Gregoiy VII ordered him back to Grenoble. Hugh gave St. Bruno the land on which the Grande Chartreuse was founded, thus starting the Carthusians. Hugh died on April 1 and was canonized by Pope Innocent II. April 1 is his feast day.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #1:
The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God — laity, religious, and priests – who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church.