Tag Archives: proclaim

♫”Oh, Johnny Boy, the Holy Spirit Is Calling You!”♫ – Mark 1:1-8†


    

 

Second Week of Advent

 

 Today’s Content: 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Gospel Reflection
  • Reflection Prayer
  • New Translation of the Mass
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule 

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 Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations: 

Do not forget that “St. Nick’s day” is this week (Tuesday, December 6th).  In many places of the world, it is St. Nicholas (and not Santa) who is the main gift giver.  Put out your children’s shoes and they find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. Remember though, St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

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My wife’s surgery (foot surgery) went well, and she is cooperating.  Hopefully, she will be back at work within a few weeks.  Thank you for all the prayers.

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 Today in Catholic History:

†   1075 – Death of Archbishop Anno II of Cologne
†   1110 – First Crusade: The Crusaders conquer Sidon.
†   1259 – Kings Louis IX of France (A Third Order Fransican and Patron Saint of the SFO Order) and Henry III of England agree to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounces his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
†   1334 – Death of Pope John XXII (b. 1249)
†   1443 – Birth of Pope Julius II, (1503-13), patron of Michelangelo, Bramante, and Raphael
†   1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent is held (it opened on December 13, 1545).
†   1674 – Father Jacques Marquette founds a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek (the mission would later grow into the city of Chicago, Illinois).
†   1786 – Birth of John LA Luyten, Catholic Member of Dutch 2nd parliament [or 12/14]
†   1963 – Pope Paul VI closes 2nd session of 2nd Vatican Council †   1997 – Death of David Abell Wood, priest, at age 72 Memorials Feasts: Saint John of Damascus; the Great Martyr Saint Barbara, St. Ada (feast day)

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

“’Baptism in the Holy Spirit’ is an action of the risen Savior.  The Holy Spirit reveals to the spirit of the believer the true reality, majesty and saving power of the Son of God.  We are enabled to surrender our lives in a deeper way to God’s saving work.  We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to die to sin and live to God.” ~ Fr. Francis Martin, “The Life Changer”, St. Bede’s Publications

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Today’s reflection is about John the Baptist preaching repentance and baptizing people, in preparation for the “One” who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

 

(NAB Mark 1:1-8) 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God].  2a As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.  3 A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”  4 John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  5 People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.  6 John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey.  7 And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me.  I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.  8 I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

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Gospel Reflection:

 

Last Sunday’s Gospel was taken from the end of Mark.  Today’s Gospel is taken from the beginning of Mark.  Unlike Luke and Matthew, Mark does not include any details of Jesus’ birth.  Instead, he begins with Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry, and with the appearance of John the Baptist in the desert wilderness.  We are invited today to reflect upon the role of this last great prophet, John the Baptist, who ‘prepared the way’ for Jesus and for the Salvation that Jesus Christ would bring to us then, now, and in the future.

Many scholars believe that the Gospels reflect the personal and group tensions that likely existed between the followers of John the Baptist and the disciples of Jesus Christ.  Each of the four Evangelists report on John’s preaching and baptizing, and each also emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ baptism by John.  The four Gospels go on explain that John the Baptist was sent to preach in preparation for another.  

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Holy Scripture tells us that John (the Baptist) was filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb:

He [John the Baptist] will be great in the sight of [the] Lord.  He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.  He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.”  (Luke 1:15).

When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the son in her womb, John, leapt in her womb as they were both “filled” with the Holy Spirit:

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41).

The passion and fervor of the Holy Spirit dwelt in John, and made him the forerunner of the coming Messiah and Savior.  John was divinely led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness – – prior to his “prophetic” ministry, – – where he himself was tested and grew in the “Word” of God.  

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Although Mark attributes Jesus’ prophecy to Isaiah, the text is a combination of several passages from several books of Holy Scripture:

See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20);

 “A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD!  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3);

 “Now I am sending my messengerhe will prepare the way before me; and the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire — see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1);

“This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’” (Matthew 11:10);

And,

“This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’” (Luke 7:27).  

John the Baptist’s ministry is seen, and presented in this reading as God’s prelude to the saving mission of God the Fathers “Son”.  John the Baptist’s life was fueled by one burning passion — to point others to Jesus Christ and to the coming of His kingdom.

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John broke the prophetic silence of several centuries when he began to speak the “Word” of God to the people of Israel.  His message was similar to the message of the Old Testament prophets who also reproached the “chosen people” of God for their unfaithfulness and who also tried to awaken true repentance in them.  

Among the Jewish people – – who became unconcerned with the things of God, – – it was John’s work and mission to awaken their interest, to unsettle them from their complacency, and to arouse in them enough “good will” to recognize and receive Christ when He came.  

Why did Jesus say John the Baptist was more than a prophet as reported in Luke’s Gospel:

Then what did you go out to see?  A prophet?  Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.” (Luke 7:26)?

He was more than a prophet; he was the “voice” making straight the “way of the Lord”.  John the Baptist became “the voice” who is coming:

 “He [John the Baptist] said: ‘I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:23).

 And what exactly did the prophet Isaiah say about this “voice” of the “one crying out in the desert”:

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.  Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service has ended, that her guilt is expiated, that she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.  A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Isaiah 40:1-3).

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Can you picture a man “clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist” (verse 6).  Was he thought of as a “wild” man, with “crazy” ideas, OR, was he looked at as the prophesized “prophet”?  Remember, he did have a large following, and was watched, with “some concern”, from religious and political figures of the area.  They all knew the Old Testament prophesies of Isaiah.  John the Baptist’s clothes and dietary habits recalled that of the prophet “Elijah” from the Old Testament:

They replied, ‘He wore a hairy garment with a leather belt around his waist.’  ‘It is Elijah the Tishbite!’ he exclaimed.” (2 Kings 1:8).

Jesus Christ Himself even speaks of John the Baptist as the “Elijah” who has already come:

 “Then the disciples asked him, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’  He said in reply, ‘Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.  So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.’” (Matthew 17:1012);

Then they [Peter, James, and John] asked him, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’  He told them, ‘Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?  But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.’” (Mark 9:1113);

And,

He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17).

 

John the Baptist truly completed the cycle of great prophets begun by Elijah:

“All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.  And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come.” (Matt. 11:13-14).

John’s baptismal ministry was for repentance, for turning away from sin, and for taking on a “new way” of life according to God’s “Word”.  Our baptism in, with, and through Jesus Christ – – by flowing water and the Holy Spirit – – results in a “new birth” and a glorious entry into God’s kingdom, as His beloved children:

 “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (John 3:5).

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Jesus will create a “new” people of God through the life-giving baptism with the Holy Spirit:

I [John the Baptist] have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1-8).

However, first Jesus will identify Himself with the “chosen people of Israel” in submitting to John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance:

John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4),

AND, in bearing on their (and our) behalf the burden of God the Father’s decisive judgment, was baptized for the “chosen people of Israel”:

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.” (Mark 1:9).

As in the desert of Sinai at the Exodus, so here, in the wilderness of Judea (at the Jordan River also associated with Elijah and Elisha), Israel’s Son-ship with God the Father is to be “renewed” through the living waters AND Holy Spirit of Jesus’ baptism.

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In conclusion, Mark’s description of John the Baptist’s appearance highlights John’s connection and permanence with Jewish prophetic tradition.  Mark, in today’s reading, combines quotations from the Old Testament books of Exodus, Isaiah, and Malachi.  Mark’s description of John the Baptist as an “ascetic”, living in the desert and “clothed in camel hair”, eating “locusts and wild honey”, is reminiscent of the description of the prophet “Elijah” found in the book, “Second Kings”.  The people of Judea and Jerusalem flocked to John the Baptist, longing for and listening to his message of repentance and forgiveness.  Many came to John to be baptized in the Jordan.  Mark’s Gospel is direct and clear; John the Baptist’s role is onlyto prepare the way” for another to come, “one who is greater” than John the Baptist.

In today’s Gospel we hear John the Baptist contrast his baptism of repentance with the baptism that Jesus will inaugurate.  John says that he has baptized with water, but that the “one who is to come will baptize with the Holy Spirit” as well.  John the Baptist’s baptism was not yet a Catholic Christian baptism.  It was a “preparation” for the Sacrament of Baptism through which sins are forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit is received.

John the Baptist is presented to us as a model for preparation during Advent.  We, too, in this day and time – – some two millennia later, – – are still called upon to “prepare a way for the Lord”.  Like John the Baptist, we ARE messengers in service to the “One” who is greater than any on earth.  Our Baptism commissions us to call others to life as disciples of Jesus.

Think about ways in which the example of others around you have “called” you to be a follower of Jesus Christ; who have been examples to you of Christian discipleship.  What are the characteristics they posses that you have tried to (or can) emulate?

Jesus is ready to give us the “fire” of His Holy Spirit so that we may “glow with” the light, joy, and truth of His Gospel to a materialistic and secular world, so desperately in need of God’s light, joy, and truth.  Jesus Christ’s “Word” has power to change and transform our lives so that we may be lights pointing others to Him.  Like John the Baptist, we too are called to give testimony to the light, the truth, and the way of Jesus Christ.  The question is: “Are you eager to hear God’s word and to be changed by it through the power of the Holy Spirit”?  Do you point others to Christ in the way you live, work, and communicate? 

As John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ, the Sacrament of Baptism “commissions” us to also prepare the way of the Lord.  The grace of the Holy Spirit leads us to continually renew our lives so that we might lead others to Jesus.  Can you identify at least one action that you will take this week to try to be a more faithful follower, a more faithful disciple, of Jesus?  Pray that God will receive this action you have just identified, and use it to lead others to his Son.

The season of Advent invites us to renew our lives in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.  Some of the first-century people who heard the message of John the Baptist repented for their sins and were then baptized.  In the Sacrament of Baptism, our sins are truly forgiven, and we also receive the grace (the gift) of the Holy Spirit who helps us in our life of discipleship.  Led by the Holy Spirit, we should use this Advent season time to renew our lives in “preparing the way” for Jesus.

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Reflection Prayer:

 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.

Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.” 

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 Catholic Apologetics:

 

The Roman Catholic Church bases her teaching upon one source: The “WORD” of God.  This revelation is communicated to us in two divine ways: Holy Scripture and apostolic “Tradition”.  Many people (including most Protestants) believe in only the writings found in the bible are the word of God.  However, Oral transmission of the faith is also the word of God as Peter reported:

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (cf., 1 Thessalonians. 2:13) RSV

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (cf., 1 Thessalonians. 2:13) KJV

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Instead, it is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through the “Tradition”, the “Word” is truly inspired from the Holy Spirit.

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible, and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

 

Tradition Found in Holy Scripture, Part 1

 

“I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you (1 Corinthians. 11:2).  RSV

“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians. 11:2).  KJV

 

“Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us(2 Timothy. 1:13-14).  RSV

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (2 Timothy. 1:13-14).  KJV

 

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians. 2:15)  RSV

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians. 2:15)  KJV

Information from
“Catholic Answers” Website
www.catholic.com

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 Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

Virtues and Vices

Where can you find the virtues in the SFO Rule?

How would you paraphrase what Saint Francis thought about each of the virtues? (Hint: All the Cardinal and Theological virtues can be found in the Catechism, paragraphs 1804-1829)

How have you been living the virtues?

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Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule
Article #’s 4 & 5 of 26:

04.  The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.

Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.

Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.

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05.  Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of St. Francis, who often said, “I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except His most holy body and blood,” should be the inspiration and pattern of their Eucharistic life.

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“Yo; Drop That Stuff and Come With Me! We Have Places To Get To, People To Save, and Lots of Bread To Break!” – Matthew 4:12-23†


            

Today in Catholic History:
    


†   909 – John of Rila (aka Saint Ivan) was the first Bulgarian hermit, known for the “fable of two pies”.
†   1350 – Birth of Vincent Ferrer, Spanish missionary and saint (d. 1419)
†   1492 – The “Pentateuch” (Jewish holy book) is first printed.
†   1789 – Georgetown College becomes the first Roman Catholic college in the United States in the city of Washington, D.C.
†   1929 – Birth of Patriarch Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko) of Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate
†   1936 – The Catholic People’s Party (KVP) of Curacao (a Caribbean Island) is formed
†   1998 – Pope John Paul II condemns the US embargo against Cuba
†   Memorials/Feasts: St. Raymond of Peñafort, confessor, d. 1275; St. Emerentiana, virgin and martyr, d. 305; Blessed Marianne of Molokai

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com) &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

 

  

Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

(Continuation from Previous blog)

Part 07 of 13 Parts

The Church expects us, urges the Cardinal, to have an attitude and conduct of authentic evangelical parrhesia  spent in the city of man. In the city of concrete human relations, of ‘humanity in situ’, not in a virtual, purely academic city, one of theoretical situations and obliging conformity towards the powers that be – out of fear or, worse still, for one’s own personal advantage.

What is parrhesia  ?

It is speaking clearly, without fear and hesitation, giving uncompromising witness to the Truth of the Gospel, explaining the hope that lives in us, sowing with humble courage the seed of the Word.

Today, more than ever, we should ask the Lord for the grace of parrhesia, for each one of us, for the whole SFO and for our churches.

In order to rediscover our prophetic mission and not be silent about violence perpetrated on the poor.

In order to intervene with courage every time human rights are violated.

In order not to be afraid of threats and to speak with honesty, without betraying the Word of God and making compromises, when the rights of God are made subordinate to the interests of men and of the idols which would claim His place.

 

(Continued on next published blog)

From “An exhortation of the Church
to the Secular Franciscan Order”
A commentary on Cardinal Franc Rodé’s letter
By:
Benedetto Lino OFS
SFO International Council Website
http://www.ciofs.org/Y2009/a9ENrodelet.html
 

 

 

  

 

Today’s reflection is about Jesus beginning to preach in Galilee.  He also and calls His first disciples.

 

12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.  13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”  17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.  21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.  23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.   (NAB Matthew 4:12-23)

 

Today’s Gospel records the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus’ ministry begins after His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and after his forty-day retreat to the desert where He was tempted by Satan.  When Jesus returns from His sojourn in the desert, he learns that John the Baptist had been arrested and was imprisoned.

 

Isaiah’s prophecy of the light rising upon Zebulun and Naphtali and Jesus’ residence at Capernaum is realized and fulfilled in the opening verses of today’s reading:

“They look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness. But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish.  In the former time he brought them into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.”  (Isaiah 8:22-9:1)  

Galilee was at the crossroads of the “world” and much traffic passed through this little region.  This territory was devastated politically and religiously around the mid-700’s B.C., with the Assyrian invasion.  At this time a segment of the Jewish population was exiled to other regions, and a substantial number of “foreigners” were moved into the territory, forcibly taking possession of the land from the Jewish people, and then inhabiting in it.  For this reason, the area is referred to in Holy Scripture hereafter as the “Galilee of the Gentiles”.  This same land that was devastated and abused in Isaiah’s time will also be the first to receive the light, mission, and salvation of Jesus Christ’s life and preaching.

In order to fit Jesus’ move to Capernaum into Isaiah’s prophecy, Matthew speaks of Capernaum as being “in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali“, though it was actually “only” in the territory of Naphtali.  Matthew also somewhat “tweaked” his understanding of the “sea” in the messianic prophecy as the Sea of Galilee instead of the original Mediterranean Sea, as in Isaiah.

 

 

At the beginning of His teaching and preaching ministry, Jesus takes up the words of John the Baptist:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  (Matthew 3:2)

Jesus made two rather simple and direct demands: repent and believe!  The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sins for what they are – – denial, refusal, and a rejection of the love of God.  God wants to change our ways of thinking and transform our lives by the power of His ever-living word, and through the actions of the Holy Spirit.

However, Jesus Christ takes up John’s words of repentance and penance with a different meaning than John’s.  In Jesus’ ministry on earth, the kingdom of heaven had already begun to be present (and still is present today and forever).

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”  (Matthew 12:28)

Jesus’ enduring, permanent, and redeeming efforts usher in a “new” age and covenant in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus Christ brought such an enhancement and improvement through His salvation, that what is now required from us to be part of His kingdom, is a true and radical daily change in our behavior towards God and others.  God, in and through Jesus Christ, intervened in a special way to save all mankind.  We must now be open to God’s grace, and reform our ways in this same special way – – DAILY! 

We are obligated to make a stand – – either for God, or against Him!  (There are NO grey areas here!)  We must purposefully stop our moving (or slipping) away from God, and instead purposefully and lovingly move closer to Him.  With the coming of Jesus Christ, penance and a turning toward God on a daily (maybe even hourly) basis are absolutely essential!

Repentance is of such exceptional importance for Jesus that He preaches on this issue as the very first subject in His public ministry.  His words not only echo John the Baptist’s proclamation, it is the same – – word-for-word – – with John’s (as found in Matthew 3:2).  Both John and Jesus demanded repentance and penance as a precondition and qualification for receiving the Kingdom of God, which Jesus Christ has brought in and established in its fullness in, with, and through Him.  Jesus will present, illustrate, and reveal the Kingdom of God to be a Kingdom of love and holiness.

“We must submit our sins to the Church with a contrite heart in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that we may be daily more and more converted to the Lord, remembering His word: ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand’”. (Vatican II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 5)

Mankind fell into darkness with Adam and Eve’s sin.  Yet, God never abandoned His “chosen” people.  When His Son, Jesus Christ, was scourged and crucified, God raised Him up!  And this is our personal story, our future, as well.  We are sinners who are saved through the light of Jesus Christ.  We die in, and with, Christ – – and we rise with Him!  We go from the darkness of sin, to the light of His salvation.

 

 

These four men chosen by Jesus to be His first disciples, (and even His first Apostles), had already met the Lord, Jesus Christ, prior to His choosing them:

“The next day John [the Baptist] was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’  The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’  They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’  He said to them, ’Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day.  It was about four in the afternoon.  Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.  He first found his own brother Simon and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed).  Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter)”.  (Jn 1:35-42)

Their brief meeting with Jesus must have had an extremely powerful effect in their hearts and minds, as well as on their souls.  The effect Jesus had on these four fishermen moved them to immediately leave everything behind so as to follow Him, and to be His first disciples – – traveling with Him unfailing for three years and over many, many miles of ministry.  Can you envision the powerful presence that Jesus had on the people He met in order to elicit such an immediate and complete response as that of these first disciples?  Rising above their own personal and spiritual human faults and shortcomings (which the Gospel does so well at never hiding), we can see the great and wonderful promptness and generosity of these men (and hopefully ours) in answering God’s call.

“God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance, our groping through history, and, no matter what our occupation in the world, He calls us in a loud voice, as He once called Peter and Andrew”. (St. Josemaria Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 45)

The promptness, enthusiasm, and eagerness with which these disciples (and future Apostles) follow Jesus were remarkable.  They immediately leave their nets and past lives, and follow Him.  God comes into all of our lives just as He did with these four fishermen; coming to us individually, He personally calls us to do His work in our lives and witness.  If we do not answer Him “immediately”, He may “continue” on His way, and we could easily turn our back on Him, and lose sight of Him. 

He chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.  When the Lord calls us to be his disciple and benefactor of His grace, we should not think that we don’t have anything to offer Him in exchange.  The Lord takes the little we can offer and uses it for a sign and greatness of, for, and in, His kingdom in heaven and on earth.

Were these men more special than any of us?  HECK NO!  These were men had little education, and laboring as fishermen, when called by Jesus Christ.  More so than not, Jesus Christ seems to call ordinary men to perform extraordinary feats, while in the midst of their ordinary labors, actions, and lives.  The Wise Men were “called” in their ordinary glimmering occupations of studying and dreaming in the flickering stars; Moses was shepherding his flock when told to start a travel export company of sorts; Elisha was plowing his land when summoned to help another prophet, and to take care of a “jezebel”; and Amos was looking after his herd of sheep, his grove of fig trees, and counting his money when was given his mission.

Jesus’ calling of the first disciples gave to each of them a part in His work and mission.  Their “calling” entailed an abandonment of family, friends, and their former ways of life.  (Note: later bible verses suggest that the first disciples’ separation from their families may not have been as complete as the verses in today’s Gospel might lead us to believe.)  Is it surprising that three of the four chosen today (Simon, James, and John) are prominent among Jesus’ disciples (and Apostles) as having a closer and more personal relationship with Him than any others following Him?  They had the privilege of witnessing events in Jesus’ life and ministry which the other disciples did not see and experience.

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.” (Matthew 17:1; 26:37) 

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’  He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress.”  (Matthew 26:36-37).

 

 

The reading today ends Jesus’ first ministry actions as reported in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 3 and 4).  His ministry activities of teaching, proclaiming the good news of God (the Gospel), and healing will continue for the next three years on earth, and still continues today through the actions of the Holy Spirit working in and through each of us in a personal way.

 

Today’s Gospel reading ends with a description of Jesus’ ministry – – as it is beginning – – in that small fishing village of Galilee.  

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.”  (Matthew 9:35)

Jesus inaugurates the Kingdom of God with his life and work.  He teaches in the synagogue and preaches of the “kingdom”.  Jesus’ ability to cure people’s diseases and illness is a “sign” of God’s kingdom.  In Jesus’ ministry, we can already begin to see the Kingdom of God among us.

 

Could it be that the message for us today is to balance the fundamental “call” to be a follower, a disciple, of Jesus Christ with the challenge to be “fishers of men”, even within our own little circle of families and friends?  Initiating, and maintaining this balance will probably necessitate that we – – change some of our “priorities” – – in respect to our own families, friends, AND GOD!

Itemize and list the duties and activities of your typical day.  What are your “priorities” in your daily details and schedule?  How do you respond and react when your daily plans are interrupted or must be changed?  With your daily life in mind, reflect on the faith, trust, and example of the first disciples who “immediately” dropped everything they had and knew to follow Jesus.  Does your “priorities” and schedule give witness and evidence of placing God first in your life?  What might you do in order to better reveal and expose that God is your priority?

Do you show others around you the joy of the Gospel – – God’s “LIVING” Word?  Do you pray for your friends and family, co-workers, and the marginalized to come to know Jesus Christ?  Do you pray for them to grow in the beauty and acknowledgement of His eternal and unending love?  Please pray that you will always give witness, confirmation, and external signs that God comes first in your life.

“Only when a person is struck and opened up by Christ can true community grow.”  (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI] “The Theological Locus of Ecclesial Movements”)

 

 

Psalm 27

 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom do I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom am I afraid? 

One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the LORD’S house
all the days of my life,
that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord
and contemplate his temple. 

I believe that I shall the bounty of the Lord
in the land of the living. 
Wait for the Lord with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord. 
Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Blessed Mother Marianne Cope (1838-1918)

 

Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai.  Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).

Mother Marianne’s generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome.  She was a woman who spoke “the language of truth and love” to the world, said Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, called her life “a wonderful work of divine grace.”  Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, “She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus.  Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother.”

On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany.  The girl was named after her mother.  Two years later the Cope family immigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York.  Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York.  After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.

Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation.  A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.

Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881.  Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy.  More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked.  When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there.  The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne!  On Molokai she took charge of the home that Blessed Damien DeVeuster (d. 1889) had established for men and boys.  Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony.  Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.

Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully.  Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918.

Comment:

The government authorities were reluctant to allow Mother Marianne to be a mother on Molokai.  Thirty years of dedication proved their fears unfounded.  God grants gifts regardless of human short-sightedness and allows those gifts to flower for the sake of the kingdom.

Quote:

Soon after Mother Marianne died, Mrs. John F. Bowler wrote in the Honolulu Advertiser, “Seldom has the opportunity come to a woman to devote every hour of 30 years to the mothering of people isolated by law from the rest of the world.  She risked her own life in all that time, faced everything with unflinching courage and smiled sweetly through it all.”

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

 
    

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #’s 23 & 24 of 26:

 

23.  Requests for admission to the Secular Franciscan Order must be presented to the local fraternity, whose council decides upon the acceptance of new brothers and sisters.

Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period of formation of at least one year, and profession of the rule. The entire community is engaged in the process of growth by its own manner of living. The age for profession and the distinctive Franciscan sign are regulated by the statutes.

Profession by its nature is a permanent commitment.

Members who find themselves in particular difficulties should discuss their problems with the council in fraternal dialogue. Withdrawal or permanent dismissal from the Order, if necessary, is an act of the fraternity council according to the norm of the constitutions.

  

24.  To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity. The communion continues with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.

“I Didn’t Get Any Travel Checks; This Trip Is Going To Be the Trip Of a Lifetime (+ More)!” – Luke 9:1-6†


 

I am leaving tomorrow for Chicago to attend a “Franciscan Action Network” (FAN) “Ours to DO” workshop.  This workshop is on “care for creation;” something very close to St. Francis and St. Clare’s heart and soul.  As I travel, please keep me in your prayers as I keep all of you, AND God, in mine.

What a “God-wink!”  I am preparing to journey in order to do God’s work on the same day the Gospel talks about the Twelve Apostles preparing to journey to continue Jesus’ work.

 

 

“94 Days till CHRISTmas!!”

            

Today in Catholic History:

    
†   530 – Boniface II begins his reign as Catholic Pope
†   530 – St Felix IV ends his reign as Catholic Pope
†   530 – [Discorus] begins his reign as Catholic Pope
†   1774 – Pope Clement XIV (b. 1705) 1775 – Matthew Wright, executed for killing Pope Clement XIV
†   1915 – Xavier University, 1st Black Catholic College in US, opens in New Orleans, Louisiana

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com) &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

When God ordains, He sustains.

 

 

Courtesy of “the Brick testament”

 

Today’s reflection is about Jesus sending the Twelve Apostles on their missions.

 

1 He [Jesus] summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal (the sick).  3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.  4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.  5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”  6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.  (Luke 9:1-6)     

 

Being told “not” to take ANYTHING on a journey wrought with trials and tribulations; not to bother about the very things needed to make the journey possible – What was Jesus thinking?  After all, Jesus was not naive to the needs and wants of traveling.  He walked hundreds of miles proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom and knew what was needed for long journeys. 

The Twelve Apostles probably looked at each other in amazement; this made no sense to them.  But they also knew though that it is the trust in God that can make this, and anything else possible.  As Jesus promised in John 14:12: “… whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these ….”  

Jesus sends the Twelve out to continue the work that He Himself had been performing throughout his Galilean ministry.  They were fortified and properly prepared with the power and authority from the Holy Spirit for their continuation of Jesus’ work.  These men were to proclaim the kingdom as Jesus did, and as related in such Gospels verses as Luke 4:43 and Luke 8:1: “But he [Jesus] said to them [the Apostles], ‘To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.’” and “Afterward he [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve.” 

The Apostles were now commissioned to exorcise (to purge) demons as Jesus did in such Gospel verses as in Luke’s 4:33-37, 41 and Luke 8:26-39: 33 In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, 34 ‘Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!’  35 Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet!  Come out of him!’  Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.  36 They were all amazed and said to one another, ‘What is there about his word?  For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’  37 And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.’” and “41 Demons also came out from many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.”  

Jesus carried out many exorcisms during his earthly ministry.  He is now extending His ability, His grace, to the Twelve Apostles.  He gave them the exclusive authority to wrestle humanity from the evil spirits dwelling among us, and ravenously hungry for our souls.  This authority has been passed on, without any break, to the Catholic priests and bishops via an irreversible and permanent “mark” on their souls when anointed with the Holy Spirit during their profession and ordination.

Luke 8:26-39 tells of a man possessed by demons.  He was naked and lived among the tombs.  Jesus ordered the unclean spirits to come out him.  When Jesus asked, “What is your name?” the man replied, “Legion.”  (A Roman legion during this period consisted of 5,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers; hence the name implies a very large number of demons.)  Wow – how many demons can a man hold?  From a medical viewpoint, would this be called “polydemonena?”  (I don’t think Medicare would cover this.)

A herd of many swine was feeding nearby.  With Jesus’ demand, the demons left the possessed man and entered these swine, and then the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.  Surprisingly, the entire population of this “Gentile” region (because of the presence of pigs – unclean animals for Jews) asked Jesus to leave because they were overwhelmed with a great fear of Him.  So, Jesus got into a boat and left the area.

Finally, Jesus gave the Twelve Apostles the authority to heal the sick as He did many, many times. In Luke’s Gospels alone, chapters 4 – 8 have large sections devoted solely to the healing ministry of Jesus.  Jesus was the first “paramedic:” going to the people to help them in times of distress.

Luke 4:38-40 is about healing Simon’s (Peter) mother; Luke 5:12-16 is about curing the leper; Luke 5:17-26 the paralyzed man; Luke 6:6-10 talks about Jesus fixing a man whose right hand was withered; Luke 7:1-10 is about curing the Centurions slave – an act we remember at every mass just before receiving communion, when we proclaim, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.”  Finally, also in Luke 4:40, Jesus again heals a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, AND a synagogue officials daughter that died; Jesus directed the 12-year-old daughter to rise – and she did!  I did not even include the “famous” “Lazarus resurrection” story.

Jesus ordered the twelve chosen Apostles of Jesus Christ to take nothing for the journey.  This affirms the absolute detachment from materialism that is required of any disciple – any follower of Jesus Christ – treading their personal paths to redemption and salvation.  In Luke 14:33 it is written, “In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”   Leaving the temporal aspects of our lives behind, in due course, leads one to a complete reliance on God.

Jesus, in Luke 12:22-31, relates God’s belief towards temporal and spiritual needs.  With God, living is more than the acts of finding food and clothing for the body.  God knows that all the people of the world seek material and physically life sustaining things.  God the Father truly knows that we need these things in order to live.  BUT, we MUST seek His kingdom first, and then the materialistic things we need will be given to us besides.

God wants us to be His instrument: for Him to work through, in, and with us.  His power is manifested to the world through our actions.  We only need to respond with a faith that allows Him to do this work through us.  It is not really “us” doing the work at all, just as it wasn’t the Twelve Apostles dependence on the food, money, housing, and so on that sustained them in their ministry and mission.

Towards the end of His instructions to the chosen Twelve, Jesus tells these brave and hope-filled men to “shake the dust from their feet” if not welcomed in a town.  Shaking the dust from one’s feet is a gesture of that time period to indicate a complete disassociation from unbelievers – a total “diss” as my children would say.  A disassociation is literally a termination of any association with that town and/or people: a denial of any connection or involvement with anyone or anything from that town.

How often have we shaken the dirt of Jesus’ path from our feet, as we left His lead, to blaze our own (and usually easier) trail away from God?  How often has Jesus stopped in His tracks, and waited patiently for us to return to Him and our journey to paradise that He leads us too?  Jesus can never leave us – only we can leave Him!!

We need to learn how to depend on His power and grace more than we depend on our worldly skills and possessions!  God wants His wonders, and His miracles, to be a regular part of our life.  Our path, our journey, can be extremely hard at times.  Jesus wants us to know that He is with us, helping us up when we fall, and carrying us when needed, as we walk this path with Him.

 

“Prayer for Travelers”

 

“O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, command them to be our assiduous companions from our setting out until our return; to clothe us with their invisible protection; to keep from us all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved us from all evil, and especially from sin, to guide us to our heavenly home.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions (1600?-1637)

 

Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that “he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him.”

At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, “I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there.” In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo’s moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, “I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life.” The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded.

Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.

 

Comment:

We ordinary Christians of today—how would we stand up in the circumstances these martyrs faced? We sympathize with the two who temporarily denied the faith. We understand Lorenzo’s terrible moment of temptation. But we see also the courage—unexplainable in human terms—which surged from their store of faith. Martyrdom, like ordinary life, is a miracle of grace.

Quote:

When government officials asked, “If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?,” Lorenzo responded: “That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please.”

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

    

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #’s 22 & 23 of 26:

 

22.     The local fraternity is to be established canonically. It becomes the basic unit of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love. This should be the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for enlivening the apostolic life of its members.

 

23.     Requests for admission to the Secular Franciscan Order must be presented to the local fraternity, whose council decides upon the acceptance of new brothers and sisters.
Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period of formation of at least one year, and profession of the rule. The entire community is engaged in the process of growth by its own manner of living. The age for profession and the distinctive Franciscan sign are regulated by the statutes.
Profession by its nature is a permanent commitment.
Members who find themselves in particular difficulties should discuss their problems with the council in fraternal dialogue. Withdrawal or permanent dismissal from the Order, if necessary, is an act of the fraternity council according to the norm of the constitutions.

“Jesus Cures a Mother-in-Law – OH MY; NOoooo!” – Luke 4: 38-44†


 

Pope Benedict XVI Prayer Intentions for the September:

  

The Word of God as Sign of Social Development:

General:  That in less developed parts of the world the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people’s hearts, encouraging them to work actively toward authentic social progress.

The End of War:

Missionary: That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world.

 

Today in Catholic History:
    

†   1159 – Death of Pope Adrian IV (b. 1100)
†   1948 – Birth of Józef Zycinski, Polish archbishop and philosopher

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com)

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

Behind every successful man is a proud wife, and a surprised mother-in-law. — Hubert H. Humphrey (He tweaked a Voltaire quote)

 

 

 

Today’s reflection is about Jesus curing Simon’s Mother-in-law.

 

38 After he [Jesus] left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.  Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.  39 He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.  40 At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.  41 And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.  42  At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them.  43 But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.”  44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.  (NAB Luke 4: 38-44)

 

As the father of four rambunctious boys, I know well the woes of sick children.  Kids bring home weird diseases from school and play time.  We have had our bouts of colds, flu, earaches, measles, and even lice and intestinal worms (and those were fun!)!!  Thankfully, we have excellent physicians, and have been able to deal with most health issues immediately.

Today’s Gospel reading is about Jesus curing Simon’s mother-in-law.  People sick in that time were in for some major trouble with even the slightest ailment.  People actually died of toothaches in Jesus’ time.  Jesus was a healer as well as a teacher: a true man of all seasons and talents (with the Holy Spirit).  Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there was a close relationship between His “teaching” and “healing” offices.  When caring for the soul, a spiritual “warfare” sometimes rears its ugly head.

The way Luke arraigned his Gospel, we have yet to be introduced to Simon as a follower of Jesus.  Simon’s call doesn’t happen until the next chapter of the Holy Bible.  In Mark 29:31, we see Jesus leaving the synagogue and entering the house of Simon and Andrew.  And, in Mark’s Gospel, this curing of the mother-in-law is after calling Simon and his brother Andrew to leave their nets and to follow Him.  Jesus, also in Mark, enters Simon’s home with James and John. 

Simon’s mother-in-law lays sick with a fever. He approached Simon’s Mother-in-Law, grasped her hand, and healed her, and helped her to her feet. The fever immediately leaves her, and the proof of her cure is that she immediately waits on them.

Now, picture this scenario from the mother-in-laws perspective.  A strange man walks into her home, approaches her and grabs her hands.  What was the mother-in-law feeling, sensing, and experiencing?  Was it fear, confusion, ease, or comfort?  What did she think when Jesus told her to rise, and the fever immediately left her?  Finally, was she concerned that there may not be any good food in the house, or how she was dressed on Jesus’ entrance?

So why the difference in the two Gospels: Simon’s call after curing the mother-in-law in Luke’s Gospel, and before in Mark’s Gospel?  Luke probably situated the call of Simon later in his Gospel (his GospelhhLuke 5:11), to counter an earlier rejection of Jesus by His hometown folks of Nazareth. 

Prior to this, Luke had already written of several incidents dealing with Jesus’ power and authority; and in this case, Luke creates a reasonable situation for the acceptance of Jesus by Simon and his “business” partners.  In Luke’s Gospel, Simon, Andrew, James, and John leave everything behind and follow Jesus.  This is a furthering indication of Luke’s theme: complete detachment from material possessions.

The other reason for Luke placing Simon’s call after visiting Simon’s mother-in-law is that it helps the reader to understand Simon’s eagerness to carry out what Jesus says later in Luke 5:4-5: — “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  Simon’s responds, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets,” — as well as the command to follow him as was written in Luke 5: 11.

The demons in this Gospel reading knew that Jesus is the “Messiah.”  They knew He is “Christ!”  The demons knew that Jesus is fulfilling the “old” prophesies of a savior born in the city of David who is Messiah and Lord, and that Jesus is that individual that was fully human and fully God.  Though Jesus is a man of humility and caring for all creation, His love for mankind literally commanded (I almost said ‘scared’) “the hell” out of the people of Capernaum.

The people of Capernaum tried to prevent Jesus from leaving.  The reaction of these “strangers” in Capernaum strongly contrasts, as I said earlier in this reflection, to the violent and hostile reactions of Jesus’ supposed friends familiar to Him in His hometown of Nazareth; the people that rejected and tried to kill Him as is depicted earlier in this Gospel chapter (Luke 4: 28-30).

The people of Capernaum were filled with admiration, wonder, and awe for Jesus’ authority over good and evil; and for the redeeming effects of His presence, both physically and spiritually.  These residents of Capernaum were well on their way to recognizing Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah: the Son of God!

Luke, at the end of today’s Gospel reading, places Jesus preaching in the synagogues of “Judea.”  Matthew 4:23 and Mark 1:39 both place Jesus in “Galilee.” Up to this point Luke had spoken only of Jesus’ “ministry” in Galilee.  He may be using the word “Judea” now to refer to the entire land of Israel, the entire territory of the Jews, and not to a specific portion of geography.  Jesus’ leaving Capernaum was necessary for His mission and ministry to be fulfilled.  It was not only His own choice to leave Capernaum, but it was part of God’s divine plan; the same divine plan that will also be fulfilled later, in Jesus’ Passion and Ascension.

Every time we experience God’s love in our hearts, it is meant to teach us.  Paul preached about going from “head knowledge” to “heart knowledge” throughout his letters.  We need to learn to open our hearts to God’s love!  Opening our heart begins the process of opening our eyes, to see with the love and truth that Jesus Christ saw!  We all can use modern medicine from time to time, but we also all need Jesus Christ.  He meets are very needs on a daily basis!!

 

“Prayer for the Sick”

 

“Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant, (___name___), for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with his bodily health restored, he may give thanks to Thee in Thy church.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Blessed Beatrice da Silva 1425-1490

 

Beatrice was born of Portuguese parents at Ceuta on Moroccan soil, and manifested a special attachment to our Immaculate Mother very early in life. At the court of the king of Castile she was presented and cast into prison by a jealous queen, but by the visible intervention of the Immaculate Queen of heaven, she was released and justified with great honor. Then she left the court and went to Toledo. On the journey thither St. Francis and St. Anthony appeared to her and announced that she would be the founder of a new order.

At Toledo she repaired to a convent of Cistercian nuns and remained there for almost 40 years. She did not don the religious garb; nevertheless she was a model of religious perfection. Gradually the resolution took shape to establish a new order that would honor the Immaculate Mother of God. With 12 companions who entertained sentiments similar to hers, she withdrew to a separate house. Beatrice wrote the rule and asked Pope Innocent VIII to approve it. This occurred in the year 1489.

A few years earlier the Blessed Virgin has showed her in a vision that she should wear a habit consisting of a white tunic and scapular with a light blue mantle. This was the origin of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Conceptionist Poor Clares.

The whole life of the foundress was conformed to her religious rule. The rule itself can be summed up briefly in three short mottos: to be silent and submissive in all things that happen to us by God’s ordinance or are required of us by holy obedience; to become small in the eyes of God, of the world, and of ourself, and to prefer a life of obscurity; to love everyone with a holy love, and become all to all by prayer, sacrifice, and labor.

At the age of 65, Mother Beatrice departed from this life in 1490, a year after the founding of her order. Pope Pius XI enrolled her among the beatified. The Conceptionists were incorporated into the Franciscan Order and soon spread through Europe and America. Thanks to the efforts of the Franciscan bishop, Amandus Bahlmann of Santarem, a branch of this order, under the name of Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception, is doing remarkable work especially in the missions of Brazil. Their motherhouse is at Patterson, New Jersey.

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints,
ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,
© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From
http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #1 of 26:

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 priestswho 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.

“The Not So Dirty Dozen; At Least To Start With!” – Mt 10:1-7†


Today in Catholic History:

 

† 1304 – Death of Pope Benedict XI (b. 1240)
† 1456 – A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.
† 1946 – Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini becomes the first American to be canonized.
† 2007 – Pope Benedict XVI issues the “Summorum Pontificum,” removing restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass.

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:
  

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, an even greater miracle happened.  Twelve relatively uneducated guys (and many, many other followers) changed the world, and were martyred to protect a lie.
  

Today’s reflection is about the sending out of the twelve Apostles!

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.  These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (NRSV Mt 10:1-7)

 

This Gospel reading is a cousin to last Sundays, when the seventy-two disciples were dispatched to witness to the world the “Kingdom of God.”  It deals with a broadening of the Kingdom from its core group and geographical area, and starts the missionary activities of the Catholic Church just prior to, and includes the time of the Jesus’ resurrection, and the “parousia” (the second coming of Christ).

Matthew, unlike Mark and Luke, has no story of Jesus’ choosing the Twelve in his gospel.  Being closely aligned with first-century Judaism (he was the Jewish tax-collector), maybe he just assumed that the group of Apostles would be already known to the readers of his gospel.  The number of Apostles chosen by Jesus, “twelve,” probably was meant to recall and represent the twelve tribes of Israel clearly described in the Old Testament.  By doing so, Jesus is implying an authority to call all Israel into His Kingdom with His coming “new” covenant.

“Authority over … every sickness.”  What a significant sentence!  Jesus is giving the Apostles the gift, the grace, to witness and participate in the same activities as He.  In doing so, the Twelve Apostles also share in Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom.  But although Jesus teaches, the Apostles do not go out to teach at this point in time.  Their commission to teach comes only after Jesus’ resurrection, and after they have been fully instructed by him.

The word “Apostle” translates to “one who is sent.”  It will, with the first Easter, come to mean primarily one who had seen the Risen Lord and had been commissioned to proclaim the resurrection: our first “Bishops.”  This is a great explanation for why Paul is sometimes called as the 13th Apostle.  He did see the Risen Lord (on the road to Damascus), and been to told to tell the world.  With some very slight variations in Luke’ Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, the names are the same in the four lists of Apostles given in the New Testament.  

Now I want to write about the “black sheep” in the group: Judas Iscariot.  In reading the Bible, I noticed that Judas always ends the list; and always with a mention of his betrayal of Jesus.  He went and performed miracles at Jesus’ command.  Judas witnessed nothing different from any other Apostles.  As the “holder of the purse,” he had a special role, a quasi-board member role, in the group of followers of Jesus.  AND, he was NOT the only one to turn away from Jesus.  Remember, all the Apostles fled from Jesus at His capture in the garden, persecution by the Sanhedrin, and trial before Pilate.  Peter (the Rock) even explicitly denied his relationship with Jesus THREE separate times!  The “Rock” succumbed to betrayal and fear before the crow of the “Cock!”

So what made Judas different than the rest?  I believe it was the way he handled his betrayal; his sin.  All the Apostles returned to Jesus, except him.  We know for a fact that at least Peter wept and begged for forgiveness.  All (except Judas) gathered together and felt the mercy of God, while Judas just hung around for awhile. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  My-bad!) 

Judas, could not get past himself.  His “self”-ishness would not allow him to get past his own guilt for his actions.  In his eyes, no one could forgive him for what he had done.  Satan had won with this one Apostle!  Judas never realized the magnificence and boundless love and mercy Jesus has for everyone.

We are all sinners.  We all betray the Lord many times throughout our lives. Luckily, we know that we can be forgiven.  There is noting that can keep God from showing us His mercy and unlimited love, except ourselves.  God doesn’t turn His back on us EVER!  Even the most horrendous, dangerous, and mean person on this earth still has God with him at his darkest times. 

So why can’t we see God when we sin?  We turn our backs to Him.  We refuse to see the brightness in the darkness of our lives.  Take off the shades, open your eyes, and walk to the warm light of forgiveness and love.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a miraculous grace given to us, by Jesus, so that we can ask for forgiveness directly and physically to Him.  Please use this grace often.

Like Jesus, the Twelve Apostles were initially sent only to areas of Israel.  This may be because early Jewish Christians refused extending the mission to the Gentiles.  Interestingly, Jesus Himself even observed this limitation during His earthly ministry.  It took a scholarly, cultured, devout, and militant Jewish leader, of Jewish and Roman heritage, to help the Twelve Apostles (Judas was replaced with Mathias) extend the Kingdom of God to other parts of the known world: Saul, later to be known as Paul (my favorite “apostle.”).
  

Franciscan Morning Prayer
  

 

“Jesus Lord, I offer you this new day because I believe in You, love You, hope all things in You, and thank You for your blessings.

I am sorry for having offended You, and forgive everyone who has offended me.

Lord, look on me and leave in me peace, and courage, and Your humble wisdom, that I may serve others with joy, and be pleasing to You all day.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

*****

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions
(1804-1860)

Not much is known of the early life of Emmanuel Ruiz, but details of his heroic death in defense of the faith have come down to us.

Born of humble parents in Santander, Spain, he became a Franciscan priest and served as a missionary in Damascus. This was at a time when anti-Christian riots shook Syria and thousands lost their lives in just a short time.

Among these were Emmanuel, superior of the Franciscan convent, seven other friars and three laymen. When a menacing crowd came looking for the men, they refused to renounce their faith and become Muslims. The men were subjected to horrible tortures before their martyrdom.

Emmanuel, his brother Franciscans and the three Maronite laymen were beatified in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
 (From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

    

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #7:

 

United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance” and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel calls “conversion.” Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily.  On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace.

 

 

 

“Get Out There, and Get to Work Before I Kick Your Butts!” – Mk 16:9-15†


Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country’s highest military and civilian leaders died when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia on Saturday.  96 people died.  Let’s keep them in our prayers.    
 

Today’s reflection is about Jesus’ third apparition.

Quote or Joke of the Day:
  

One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. ~ Jack Penn
  

Today’s Meditation:
   

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.  She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.  When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.  After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country.  They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.  (But) later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.  He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  (NAB Mk 16:9-15)
      

Mary Magdalene witnessed the risen Lord and reported the incident to the Apostles.  Then, two travelers on the road to Emmaus who also saw and talked to Jesus, in His glorified state, reported to the Apostles.  Regardless, the eleven apostles could not comprehend Jesus returning from a horrendous death.  They had lost their belief!  Their faith failed them; and now these eleven men were afraid of a similar fate being in store for them.

These eleven men were huddled together, hiding in a familiar place of comfort.  With the doors locked, they had barricaded themselves into a room, without access or escape.  These men, who usually had strength of body and conviction, were mourning and weeping over their futures, along with the death of Jesus.

All of a sudden Jesus appears and yells at them in a relatively harsh way.  He tells them they lost their faith and heart, and that He was not happy.  Jesus reminded them of their role in the new covenant: the new Church.  Jesus ordered them to get their butts in gear, and to get out in public and evangelize about what was needed to gain entry into heaven.  The Apostles needed a big-time “come to Jesus” talk in order to get them to leave and proclaim the “good news” (gospel) to all creation (the world).

Several thoughts came to me while reading this particular gospel reading.  First, the apostles were in fear of their lives, yet eventually all of them freely allowed the grace of their deaths to be as horrible as Jesus’ crucifixion.  Matter of fact, several apostles was crucified on the cross in a very similar way, while others died in other horrible ways.  John (the one whom He loved) apparently was the only apostle to survive into old age, and the one responsible for Mary after Jesus’ death.

Secondly, as a parent of four boys, I can relate to Jesus “losing his cool” and chastising His “children” for not doing what they had been told to do.  I comically pictured Jesus putting the lot of them in the corner for a brief “time-out.”  I hope this is not sacrilege to have this thought and express it, but the way I look at it, Jesus has a definite sense of humor, and the [hands caught in the cookie jar] looks on their faces had to be hysterical for Jesus to see. 

Lastly, my thought in reference to the last sentence, and especially the last word, brings me back to my Franciscan roots.  St. Francis definitely had a special relationship with animals and flowers.  There are many stories about St. Francis dealings with animals such as birds, a wolf, and many other critters of the forest.  I also remember stories about rose bushes blooming during a mid-winter snow storm, in the presence of St. Francis and St. Clare; and St. Francis throwing himself into a thorn bush, naked, to rid himself of impure thoughts.

“Jesus, please kick me in the butt when I need it, as a reminder of my role in our Church.  I only want to do as you wish.  Please allow me to work through you.  Amen.”
    

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

*****

Catholic Saint of the Day:  St. Michael de Sanctis
   

Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591.  At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained.  After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant.  However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert’s monastery in Saragosa in 1607.  Shortly thereafter, Michael expressed a desire to join the reformed group of Trinitarians and was given permission to do so.  He went to the Novitiate at Madrid and, after studies at Seville and Salamanca, he was ordained a priest and twice served as Superior of the house in Valladolid.  His confreres considered him to be a saint, especially because of his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and his ecstacies during Mass.  After his death at the age of thirty-five on April 10, 1625 many miracles were attributed to him.  He was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.  St. Michael de Sanctis is noted in the Roman Martyrology as being “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God.”  He seemed from his earliest years to have been selected for a life of great holiness, and he never wavered in his great love of God or his vocation.  As our young people look for direction in a world that seems not to care, St. Michael stands out as worthy of imitation as well as of the prayers of both young and old alike.  His feast day is April 10.

 (From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
  

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #10:
   

United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed His will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.

“What Did He Say During the Homily? I Was Sleeping.” – Lk 4:16-21†


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)
   

Today’s Meditation:
  

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.