Tag Archives: synagogue

“Two, For The Price Of One!” – Mark 5:21-43†


      

 

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Quote of the Day
  • ·        Today’s Gospel Reading
  • ·        Gospel Reflection
  • ·        Reflection Prayer
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on part of  the OFS Rule

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

My oldest Son, Dan III, is leaving for Naval Basic Training today.  Please keep him and all Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guard personnel in your prayers each and every day.  They are fighting for OUR freedoms granted to us by God and Country.  BTW, this is a great introduction to my next comment about the “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign presently going on:

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Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions For July:

 General Intention:

For “Work Security”: That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions.

Missionary Intention:

 For “Christian Volunteers”:  That all volunteers in mission territories may witness effectively to the love of Christ.

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Today in Catholic History:

†   649 – Pope Martinus I elected to succeed Theodore I
†   1381 – Birth of Laurentius Justitianus, [Lorenzo Giustiniani], saint
†   1517 – Inquisitor Adrian Boeyens (pope Adrianus VI) becomes cardinal
†   1681 – Death of Oliver Plunkett, Irish saint (b. 1629)
†   1690 – Army of England’s Protestant King William III defeats Roman Catholic King James II in Battle of Boyne in Ireland
†   1995 – Death of Ronald Farrow, radio producer/priest, dies at 49

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

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Quote of the Day:

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master; Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher; Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer; Had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world; He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him; He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today!!

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Today’s reflection: Jesus heals a woman afflicted with a hemorrhage and raises Jairus’s daughter from death.

 

(NAB Mark 5:21-43) 21 When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.  22 One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death.  Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”  24 He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. 

25 There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.  26 She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had.  Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.  27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.  28 She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”  29 Immediately her flow of blood dried up.  She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.  30 Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”  31 But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”  32 And he looked around to see who had done it.  33 The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling.  She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.  34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

35 While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”  36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”  37 He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.  38 When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.  39 So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead but asleep.”  40 And they ridiculed him.  Then he put them all out.  He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.  41 He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”  42 The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.  [At that] they were utterly astounded.  43 He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Gospel Reflection:

 

Today’s Gospel relates two stories of healing by Jesus Christ Himself.  One story tells us about a desperate woman who risks much as she seeks healing from Jesus.  The other tells us about a father’s great love for his dying daughter.  In each story, their request for healing is itself a courageous act of trust and faith.  However, very different circumstances are represented by the lives of each suffering person, both in desperate need of divine intervention. 

Jairus, a synagogue official, and a man of considerable standing in the Jewish community, is distraught over his daughter’s poor health.  He approaches Jesus and asks Him to heal her.  Although Mark doesn’t provide many details, we can imagine that his daughter has been ill for some time and that her condition is deteriorating.

The story of the raising to life of Jairus’s daughter is divided into two parts: Mark 5:21–24; 5:35–43.  Placed between these two parts of Jairus’ story, Mark inserts an account of the cure of the woman with a hemorrhage affliction (Mark 5:25–34).  Mark uses this technique of introducing or sandwiching one story within another at least 10 specific times: cf., Mark 3:19b–21; 3:22–30; 3:31–35; 6:6b–13; 6:14–29; 6:30; 11:12–14; 11:15–19; 11:20–25; 14:53; 14:54; 14:55–65; and 14:66–73.  Per the Lectionary for Mass, the story of the woman can be omitted when reading the Gospel at Mass; however, I hope it isn’t; this story has a teaching value and needs to be heard. 

In this “sandwiched’ story, Mark describes a person who also seeks healing from Jesus, an unnamed woman with a hemorrhage for twelve years (I bet she was anemic!).  This woman secretly touches Jesus’ “cloak” from behind and is immediately cured.  In response, Jesus turns and asks who touched Him.  Jesus’ disciples – – always a little clueless in Mark’s Gospel – – help us to visualize the scene and reactions of the people.  The crowds are infringing on – – literally pushing into and crowding – – Jesus’ “personal space”; and yet He, knowing the “power has gone out of Him” (Mark 5:30), asks who touched Him.  The woman could have remained anonymous, but she steps forward and acknowledges what she had done.  Jesus responds to her by acknowledging her as a model of a true faith and sends her away in peace.

Mark had reasons to parallel the two stories: both involve touch, trust, faith, and daughters (and an important status within Jewish society).  In both accounts, Jesus is concerned and compassionate to these women on the lowliest and bleakest margins of society – – a ritually “unclean” woman and a girl on the verge of adulthood within the Jewish religion and culture; both on the lowest rung of society’s social ladder.

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Today’s story opens with Jesus just recently crossing across the Sea of Galilee by boat, and being met by a large crowd:

“When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowdgathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.” (Mark 5:21)

Jesus frequently used a boat, crossing the Galilean Sea many times during His ministry.  There is a parallel verse about His crossing the Sea in Mark’s Gospel as well:

 “Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to Him and He taught them” (Mark 2:13).

Not only did Jesus teach to them, He was called to heal as well.

Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” (Mark 5:23)

The “Lay[ing] your hands on her” is a purposeful and active “sacramental” outward action for an inward grace from God Himself.  This particular “action” was (and still is) for the purpose of healing – – through the Holy Spirit – – and is reported frequently in Mark’ Gospel:

So He was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them” (Mark 6:5); ***

“And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.  He took him off by himself away from the crowd.  He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then He looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is, ‘Be opened!’) And [immediately] the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:32–35);

“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.  Putting spittle on his eyes He laid his hands on him and asked, ‘Do you see anything?’  Looking up he replied, ‘I see people looking like trees and walking.’  Then He laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly” (Mark 8:23–25);

And finally,

“They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.  They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”(Mark 16:18).

Further accounts of sacramental “Laying of handsis also found in the other Gospels and New Testament books as well:

While He was saying these things to them, an official came forward, knelt down before Him, and said, ‘My daughter has just died.  But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.’” (Matthew 9:18);

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.” (Luke 4:40);

He laid His hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” (Luke 13:13);

“So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, ‘Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.’” (Acts 9:17);

And,

“It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery.  Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him.” (Acts 28:8).

*** Did you notice in the above Mark 6:5 verse, “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there”?  According to Mark, Jesus’ power could not take effect because of a person’s lack of faith.  What does that mean for us today?  We need to have trust and faith in Jesus in order to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us personally, intimately, and uniquely.

Also, notice that in both Acts’ accounts mentioned above, Jesus had graced this gift of healing to His disciples.  With faith as small as a mustard seed, one can actually move a mountain (cf., Matthew 17:20).

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Now, in verse 27-28 of today’s reading, a “woman afflicted with Hemorrhages for twelve years”

Heard about Jesus and came up behind Him [Jesus] in the crowd and touched His cloak.  She said, ‘If I but touch His clothes, I shall be cured.’” (Mark 5:27-28).

This woman, suffering from hemorrhages, believes that Jesus can cure her; and in desperation, she dares to touch – – but only His “cloak” – – aware of the taboo against being touched by an “unclean” person.  “Daughter“, says Jesus (meaning a daughter of Jerusalem, of God), “your faith has saved you” (Mark 5:34).  Jesus not only cures her affliction but gives her back her child-bearing ability; thus restoring her dignity personally and within the Jewish community.

For most people, touching one’s clothes to effect a “cure” seems to be idolatrous.  For a Jew of this time (and in the present day as well), the “cloak” was NOT a simple garment of fashion.  This “cloak” was probably Jesus “Prayer Robe” – – a tallit with Tzitzit attached at the four corners – – worn only by men at Jesus’ time.  For the pious Jewish person, the Tallit with attached Tzitzit (the four knotted strings, one at each corner), was (and still is today) considered as sacred and uniquely special to them as the Holy Eucharist is for us Catholic faithful.  To the dutiful Jewish person, this garment, not only represents the “true” physical presence of God’s divinity, the prayer robe effects the personal promises, presence, and power of God Himself.

So, in touching the tzitzit of Jesus’ Prayer robe, she was – – spiritually AND physically – – directly and trustingly touching and calling upon God Himself to help her in her time of need.  (Now that is awesomely cool indeed!!)

In both situations: Jairus and his daughter (Mark 5:23), and unnamed hemorrhage victim, their personal inner conviction of a physical contact (Mark 5:30) with the fully divine, and yet fully human, Jesus, accompanied by a proper and total faith and trust in His saving power, could both affect, and effect, a rewarded cure:

She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’” (Mark 5:28);

 He took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise!’” (Mark 5:41).

Now, do you know we can also touch Jesus, and be touched by Him in a uniquely intimate and personal relationship with Him through prayer.  What a rewarding effect for both us and Him!!

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What fascinates me about today’s Gospel reading is the way words jump off the page while reflecting and meditating on them.  Verse 33b and 34 both remind me of another experience of Jesus’ personal presence in the Sacraments of Healing, and Reconciliation:

“She fell down before Jesus and told Him the whole truth.  He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.’” (Mark 33b-34).

In the Catholic Church today, there are multiple Sacraments of Healing available to the faithful.  The first to be received is Baptism, the effective removing of original (and any temporal [worldly]) sins and their negative effects.  Reconciliation is another great and wonderfully beautiful Sacrament, sadly not often used by most Catholics today (Sorry to say).  Confirmation stirs up the Holy Spirit within the individual, and is effected by the Bishop “laying his hands” on the person’s head.  Finally, the Anointing of the Sick, (AKA) “Extreme Unction” (last rights), is the Sacraments of healing for both the soul and body.  All of these “Sacraments” are outward signs of an inward working of grace from God Himself through the actions of the Holy Spirit working within both the people and priest.  Remember:

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

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Let’s get back to the original story (the bottom slice of the “bread” of the “sandwich”) of today’s reading (Mark 5:35- 43) about the synagogue’s official, “Jairus”, and his daughter “who died”.  Here, Jesus performs another miracle, a true “arising from the dead”.  Jairus, too, believes that Jesus can cure his daughter by “laying hands on her”.  When news comes that Jairus’ daughter has died, Jesus encourages him to “just have faith” (Mark 5:36).  Jesus clears out the house of the unfaithful, bringing in the faith-full, and then takes the child by the hand and tells her to “arise”.  Think about this: the young woman is twelve years old and just entering her child-bearing years.  She, through the actions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, rises to life AND to the capacity to bring new life into the world. (And what better grace is there than the grace of bringing a new life into the world!!)

It took considerable courage and risk for Jairus – – a synagogue official – – to openly go to Jesus, inviting the scorn and ridicule of his neighbors and kin.  Even his family and the hired mourners laughed at him in today’s reading.  Their grief was devoid of any true concern or hope for their child (or for themselves).

Jesus knew Jairus’ daughter was dying; yet, He did not immediately help him.  As if to build a sense of urgency and immediate need, Mark has messengers arrive and confirm Jairus’s (and any parent’s) worst fear – – his daughter had died.  Jesus ignores their message and reassures Jairus.  When they arrive at Jairus’s home, they find family and friends mourning the girl’s death.  Jesus told the mourners that the girl is only “asleep”; then enters the room of the dead girl, takes her by the hand, and instructs her to “arise”, AND she did just that!!

So, we need to realize that the trust and faith of Jairus was put to a twofold test:

(1) His daughter might be cured, and

Now that she had died,

(2) She might be restored to life

Jairus’s faith and trust in Jesus has not been in vain; his daughter is restored to life through Jesus’ intercession and the action of the Holy Spirit.

Interestingly, Jairus’ faith contrasts with the lack of faith of the crowd:

“When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, He [Jesus] caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.  So He went in and said to them, ‘Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead but asleep.’  And they ridiculed Him” (Mark 5:38-40).

Jesus said, “The child is not dead but asleep” (Mark 5:39).  Throughout the New Testament, various books of Holy Scripture often refer to death as “sleep”:

“Tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” (Matthew 27:52);

“He said this, and then told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.’” (John 11:11);

“After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6);

 “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15);

And, in today’s reading parallel verse from Matthew, Jesus says the girl is sleeping:

“He [Jesus] said, ‘Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.’  And they ridiculed Him” (Matthew 9:24).

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In Matthew 5:41, Jesus orders the girl to “Arise”.  The Greek verb “egeirein”, translated “to arise”, is the verb used to express resurrection from death IN ALL THREE Synoptic Gospels:

“The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” (Matthew 11:5);

“King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, ‘John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.’  But when Herod learned of it, he said, ‘It is John whom I beheaded.  He has been raised up.’” (Mark 6:14, 16);

And,

“He [Jesus] stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and He said, ‘Young man, I tell you, arise!’” (Luke 7:14).

This word, “egeirein”, is also used to convey Jesus’ own resurrection later in the three Synoptic Gospels as well:

“He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said.  Come and see the place where He lay.” (Matthew 28:6);

“He said to them, ‘Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.  He has been raised; He is not here.  Behold the place where they laid Him.” (Mark 16:6);

And,

He is not here, but He has been raised.  Remember what He said to you while He was still in Galilee” (Luke 24:6).

“Sleep”, you probably realized by now, is a biblical “metaphor” for death.  Jesus’ statement is not a denial of the child’s real death, but an assurance that she will be roused from her sleep of death.  All of us will arise from our “sleep” at the Parousia event.  For some, there was no need to wait:

 “Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.  Then he turned to her body and said, ‘Tabitha, rise up.’  She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.” (Acts 9:40).

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After these two miracles of healing, Jesus orders all to NOT speak of them.  The last verse of today’s reading is very explicit:

He gave strict orders that no one should know” (Mark 5:43).

Why?  Why would Jesus NOT want others to know of His divine nature?  Well, I presume the reason is that it was too early in His ministry for “the word to get out”.  Remember, He was being watched by both the Sanhedrin and the Roman officials (the proverbial rock and hard place).  If Jesus would have become too popular too fast, He would NOT have been able to complete His mission – – God the Father’s will and plan.  As He told His mother, Mary, at the Cana Wedding Feast:

My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).

Well, His “hour” is here NOW, and is here for ME and YOU – – NOW!!!

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In Summary, in both stories today, we see Jesus’ personal and real concern for the needs of others AND His readiness to heal and restore life.  In, with, and through Jesus, we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual.  Jesus gives freely, wholly, and fully of Himself to each person He meets.  Do you approach our Lord Jesus Christ with a confident expectation that He will hear your request and act on it?  (He will!!)

The contrasts between Jairus and the woman with the hemorrhage are stark and revealing.  One is a man; the other is a woman.  One is a public official, an important person in the community; the other is a poor woman who has lost everything to find a cure to a condition that separated her from the community (“Unclean” woman are barred from the synagogue and Jewish society.).  One approaches Jesus publicly; the other approaches Jesus secretly.  However, in each case, trust and faith leads them to seek out Jesus in their time of need.

The Gospel reading today concludes with Jesus’ instructions to remain silent about this miracle.  This is typical of Mark’s Gospel and is sometimes referred to as the “Messianic Secret”.  Repeatedly, those who witness Jesus’ power and authority are instructed to not speak of what they have witnessed.  These instructions appear impossible to obey, and it is difficult to understand the purpose of these instructions.  But in each case, they seem to emphasize the fact that each individual, including the reader of Mark’s Gospel, must, in the end, make his or her own judgment about Jesus’ identity.  Each individual must make his or her own act of faith in affirming Jesus as God’s Son, as the expected Messiah for ALL Israel, and as OUR PERSONNAL SAVIOR!!

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To conclude, there are many ways in which we can compare the request for healing made by Jairus and the request of the woman with the hemorrhage of twelve years.  One comparison helps us think about prayer.  Jairus asked Jesus for healing on his daughter’s behalf; the woman with the hemorrhage on the other hand, had no one to speak for her.  She bravely, but secretly, approached Jesus on her own initiative. 

In our prayers, we do both.  We intercede for others’ needs, and we also express our own needs of intercession, to God.  We find a trust, hope, and faith in Jesus’ response to both of these people in today’s Gospel reading.  They both sought Him out in their hour of need, and were rewarded with His healing grace. 

Think about some of the things you have prayed for recently.  Notice that some of your prayers may have been for other people, and some may have been for your own needs.  In today’s Gospel we find encouragement for both kinds of prayer.  What are the unique similarities and differences between the two people who presented their needs to Jesus – – personally and intimately – – in today’s Gospel?  Did you notice that both individuals received the “healing” they sought from Jesus through the direct actions of the Holy Spirit?  We should pray for the needs of others, and for our own personal needs, with as much trust, faith, and hope as did Jairus and the woman with the hemorrhage.   Please say a prayer RIGHT NOW for thanks and praise to God, who hears our needs and answers them. 

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Reflection Prayer:

 

“Christ, Savior of all life,
you come to us always.
Welcoming you,
in the peace of our nights,
in the silence of our days,
in the beauty of creation,
in the hours of great combat within,
welcoming you is knowing
that you will be with us
in every situation, always. Amen.”

(Roger of Taize)

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 Catholic Apologetics:

 

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

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination.  

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.

The Trinity

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …’” (Genesis 1:26) RSV.

“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” (Genesis 1:26) KJV.

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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19) RSV.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19) KJV.

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-1784)

In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California.  That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows.  San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard.

Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper.  Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor.  He also became famous for his preaching.  Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America.  Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World.

Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City.  On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life.  For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula.  He became president of the missions there.

Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory.  So the last two conquistadors—one military, one spiritual—began their quest.  José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California.  The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769).  That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition.  Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure.  On that day, the relief ship arrived.

Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death.

Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander.  He arrived at the point of death.  The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions.  It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans.

Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians.  The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns.

Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples.  Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn.  He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000.  His travels would have circled the globe.  He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living.  He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death.  He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.

Comment: The word that best describes Junipero is zeal.  It was a spirit that came from his deep prayer and dauntless will.  “Always forward, never back” was his motto.  His work bore fruit for 50 years after his death as the rest of the missions were founded in a kind of Christian communal living by the Indians.  When both Mexican and American greed caused the secularization of the missions, the Chumash people went back to what they had been—God again writing straight with crooked lines.

Quote: During his homily at Serra’s beatification, Pope John Paul II said: “Relying on the divine power of the message he proclaimed, Father Serra led the native peoples to Christ.  He was well aware of their heroic virtues—as exemplified in the life of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha [July 14]—and he sought to further their authentic human development on the basis of their new-found faith as persons created and redeemed by God.  He also had to admonish the powerful, in the spirit of our second reading from James, not to abuse and exploit the poor and the weak.”

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)

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Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 1 & 2 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 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.

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The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle.  It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful.  In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state.  By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.

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“First Century Headline: ‘Jesus Goes Into the Exorcize Business – AND Cleans Up!’” – Mark 1:21-28†


Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Joke of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Gospel Reflection
  • Reflection Prayer
  • Catholic Apologetics
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

Last week was the annual “March for Life” in Washington D.C.  The purpose was to mark the 39th anniversary of the ominous ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe vs. Wade.  This ruling legalized the murder of 54 million babies in these few years.  This number equates to 17 percent of America’s current 312 million-plus population – – “17 PERCENT”!!!  Only the “Black Plague” has cost more lives … Not even ALL our countries WARs “combined” can claim this sad distinction!   Let us all pray for those lost lives, for those about to have abortions, and especially for the overturning of this barbaric violation of Natural – and GOD’s – Laws.  Here is a prayer I say daily:

Prayer to St. Gerard

(Patron Saint for Mothers)

“St. Gerard, you worshiped Jesus as the Lord of Life.  I ask you today to pray for my special intentions: For all those about to have abortions, all pregnant women, their husbands, all new parents, & especially _________.  Lift up to Jesus all those who seek to conceive a child, all those having difficult pregnancies, all who have suffered the loss of a child, and all who lovingly lift up their children to God.

Pray that all of us, by caring for mothers, fathers, and children born and unborn may build a Culture of Life, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

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Today in Catholic History:

 

†   904 – Sergius III comes out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.
†   1119 – Death of Pope Gelasius II
†   1732 – Paris churchyard Saint-Medard closed after Jansenistic ritual
†   1860 – American College established in Rome by Pope Pius IX
†   Feast/Memorials: Valerius of Trèves; Saint Juniper

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

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Joke of the Day:

 

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Today’s reflection is about Jesus healing a man with an unclean spirit.  Jesus’ fame spreads throughout Galilee.

 

(NAB Mark 1:21-28) 21 Then they came to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.  22The people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.  23 In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24 he cried out, “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!”  25 Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”  26 The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.  27 All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this?  A new teaching with authority.  He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him.”  28 His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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Gospel Reflection:

Do you believe that God’s “Word” has power to set you free and to transform your life permanently?  Today’s Gospel describes what was likely to have been a typical day in Jesus’ earthly public ministry.  Jesus, and the disciples who chose to follow him in last week’s Gospel, arrive at Capernaum, a small village on the Sea of Galilee.  There, Jesus teaches in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  The people responded to Jesus’ teaching with “astonishment”, noting Jesus’ “authority”, contrasting His message and teachings with the “Scribes’”.  We are only in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel and we already are finding evidence of tension which will manifest itself fully in Jerusalem on a future Passover Sabbath.

Today’s reading happens, as I said, during a Sabbath, and both inside and outside the synagogue of Capernaum.  His ministry on this day combined teachings and the “miracles” of exorcism and healing.  There is no mention made of Jesus’ words of the teaching in the synagogue in Mark’s Gospel; however, today’s reading DOES cover the “effect” of their astonishment and His authority on the people hearing His “Word” and seeing His actions.  

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The witnesses declare that Jesus “teaches with authority” to ALL the people – – in AND out – – of the synagogue; and witnesses are still declaring His “authority” now, today, as it was then!  Jesus’ authoritive “teaching” provides evidence and witness as to His definite claim over those hearing and believing His “Words”, and over the “unseen spirits” influencing individual listeners.  His “Word” was offered to those present listening to Him in the best tradition of the Old Testament prophets.  His method of teaching was different; not like the “Scribes” who taught and spoke the “Word” (as they believed it to be), yet did not LIVE the “Word” in their daily actions and lives.  

When Jesus taught, He always spoke with “authority”.  He spoke the “Word” of God the Father as NO ONE had spoken before!!  When the Rabbis taught, they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities or from their personal interpretations of the Mosaic Law.  The prophets spoke with God-given, delegated, “authority”, i.e., “Thus says the Lord.”  When Jesus spoke, He needed no authorities, no Temple leaders, or no Rabbis needed to back His “Word” or statements.  He WAS and IS THE “authority” personified (incarnated); Jesus Christ WAS and IS THE “Word” of God the Father made flesh.  When He spoke, God the Father spoke.  Jesus Himself declared:

I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (John 12:49-50)

Even the demons and “unclean spirits” obeyed when He commanded.  After Jesus’ preaching, an even more astonishing thing happened; a man with an “unclean spirit” approached Jesus and calls out to Him while in the synagogue.  Demons know Jesus.  Demons are not afraid to enter His holy temple.  They have a personal, yet unfriendly, relationship with Him.  So, when someone asks you, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus, do you know Him?”, just remember, so does Satan and all the other fallen angels, and the “unclean spirits”!!

What IS an “unclean spirit”?  Well, it is a spirit who is resistant to, and continues to resist vehemently, the holiness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  This “unclean spirit” is fearful of the Holy Trinitarian Godhead because he (or they) know and fear the absolute power of Jesus Christ to destroy their influence on the people who also attempt to resist the holiness of the Trinitarian God:

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to Him all who were ill or possessed by demons. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and He drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew Him.” (Mark 1:32, 34);

Whenever unclean spirits saw Him they would fall down before Him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God.’” (Mark3:11).

Plus, they, every “unclean spirit”, know Jesus’ divine power is granted to others doing His will:  

They [the Apostles’] drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” (Mark 6:13).

As we see in this example (and throughout Mark’s Gospel), the various spirits and demons know Jesus for who He truly is, and are fearful of Him and the overwhelming power He possesses over them.  In fact, they understand Jesus’ identity better than His disciples at this time.  Jesus orders the “unclean spirit” to be quiet, and then drives the “unclean spirit” out of the possessed man.  Jesus’ ability to heal those possessed by demons is a true indication of His physical and divine power over ALL evil, and over ALL reality.

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In reality, and in the less scientific era of Jesus’ time, all illnesses were understood to be manifestations of evil and sinfulness on the person’s part.  Thank the Lord (literally) that our modern understanding of illness is very different and more beneficial for a “sick” individual.  Possession by “unclean spirits” may have been a way to describe what we call mental illness in today’s world.  It may also have even been a way of describing certain kinds of physical conditions easily correctable today.  

There is evidence that there were many kinds of exorcists and healers in first-century Palestine.  Jesus appears to be similar to these healers; but He heals with a unique authority and connects His healing activities with the “Word” of His preaching and teaching.  However, we are missing the point that Mark is making in this Gospel if we try to explain away the healing work and power of Jesus Christ as simply an act that can be “accomplished” today scientifically.  

This man processed with an “unclean spirit” calls Jesus “the Holy One of God”.  This was not a confession as such, but an attempt by the “demon” to hopelessly defend himself against Jesus’ power over him.  The demon is trying to counter Jesus’ “authority” by declaring that he knows Jesus to be the “Holy One of God”.  By using “Holy One of God” (Jesus Christ), the demon thought and tried to establish control over Jesus, and to impress the congregation.  How wrong and misguided could this “unclean spirit” be in this belief!!  Jesus silenced the bellowing words of the “unclean spirit”, driving him out of the afflicted man, by His authoritive “Word”.  By doing so, the congregation was definitely “stunned” and “impressed”.

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It is clear that the crowds see in Jesus’ deliverance of the possessed man a “declaration”, a “revelation”, and a “affirmation” of His divine “authority” over every authority, those who resist God’s “Word”, those who comply with God’s “Word”, and those who do not know God’s “Word”.  Jesus’ power to deliver and heal gives clear credibility, authority, and support to His teachings as coming from God – – (unlike the Scribes).  Because of the kind of authority with which He healed, Jesus’ fame spread throughout all of Galilee like a divine wildfire illuminating the world. 

So awesomely compelling were Jesus’ “Words” and actions that the news about Him and His abilities could not be contained any more than the sun can be contained with the emerging dawn.  Thus, His reputation spread quickly throughout all of Galilee, and spread throughout Israel, even to the High Priests in the very center of Jerusalem.  Today, some two thousand years later, the “good news” of and about Jesus Christ is STILL continuing to spread.  This “illuminating fire” has not been quenched; rather, it is instead growing brighter throughout ALL nations of the world.  We are called to participate – – to be active, not passive – – in sharing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ with others in our personal and public words, and in our personal and public deeds, even here and now.  We must have, and deepen our faith in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, – – and His “Word”.  A true and fully complete “faith, love, and hope” in Him is the key to knowing Him better, loving Him more deeply, and seeing Him more fully.

Remember, faith is powerful; but without love it profits nothing:

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.  So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1, 13). 

Scripture continues to tell us that true faith works through love:

For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6).

As faith thrives, so flourishes hope:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13). 

Our faith is made perfect in love because love orients us to both the supreme good who is God the Father Himself, as well as the good of our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God:

“Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. … God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27). 

Notice: “Hope” anchors our faith in the promises of God the Father and cleanses our desires for the things which will last for ALL eternity.  This is why the “Word” of Jesus Christ has power to set us free from all that would keep us bound in sin, deception, and despair.  

Finally, faith is both a free gift of God the Father AND the free submission of OUR individual wills to the whole truth which God reveals to us personally, uniquely, and intimately.  To live, grow, and persevere in the perpetual and complete faith of God the Father, we must nourish and support our faith with His “Word”.  Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds so that we may grow in His “truth” and in our knowledge of His great love for each of us, as I just wrote: personally, uniquely, and intimately.  Thank you Jesus Christ for revealing the power of Your “Word”.

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How does today’s reflection affect you personally, uniquely, and intimately?  Try to name some awesome and amazing things, events, and/or people in your lives which or who bring you closer to the “Holy One of God” now revealed by His “Word”, to be the “Most Holy Trinity”.  

In today’s Gospel, the people who “heard” Jesus were “astonished” and “amazed” in their personal experience with Jesus.  What did these people, who saw and heard Jesus, find so “amazing”?  Per the Gospel reading, the people heard and saw the “power” and “authority” of God actively at work in their personal and public lives, in and through Jesus Christ Himself!!  

We should see the same “power” and “authority” of Jesus at work in OUR personal and public lives.  Can you name any modern examples of people in whom you have seen the “power” and “authority” of God at work?  It could be a priest, a friend, or even a “marginalized” individual.  PLEASE pray that we ALL will experience an awe-inspiring wonder at the work of God in our lives and in OUR world today – – MANY, MANY times.

If we approach God the Father – – and His “Word” – – humbly, with an eagerness to do everything He desires, we are in a much better position to continue seeing God’s presence in our daily lives.  We will be able to learn what the Trinitarian God wants to teach us, personally, uniquely, and intimately, through His personal, unique, and intimate “Word”.  Are you eager to be taught by Jesus Christ as the people “hearing” Him in today’s reading?  Are you willing to mold and model YOUR life according to His “Word”?  We already know the end of the book; so, let’s be on the “winning” side.  AMEN!!

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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:

 

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

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Lying on of hands or healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination.  

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.

 

Christ’s Divinity, Part 2:

 

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’ (John 8:58). RSV

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58). KJV

*

I and the Father are one (John 10:30). RSV

I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30). KJV

*

For in Him [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9). RSV

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9). KJV

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Blessed Roger of Todi

 

Blessed Roger of Todi

Blessed Roger (b. 1216) died at Todi in the Italian province of Umbria, Italy, died on January 5, 1237; cultus (adoration of) approved by Pope Benedict XIV.

Blessed Roger was one of the early Franciscans who was admitted to the Order by the founder himself.  Because of his earnest efforts at perfection, the Seraphic Founder greatly esteemed him, and often chose him as his companion when he set out to preach or to direct souls.  St. Francis appointed him spiritual director of the convent of Poor Clares at Rieti.

Pope Gregory IX, who knew him personally, and who had called him a saint even during his lifetime, at once sanctioned the celebration of his feast at Todi.  Pope Benedict XIV extended his veneration to the entire Franciscan Order.

(Based on info from http://www.franciscan-sfo.org &
http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com websites)

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Franciscan Formation Reflection:

Prayer” – – “Question”

(Answers next week)

How does prayer capture the “double miracle” occurring at each and every Mass?

How does imaging St. Francis’ appeal to each “Person of the Holy Trinity”, AND, the “whole” communion of Saints, in giving blessings to his friars affect you personally, and as a Franciscan?

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Prologue to the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule:

Exhortation of Saint Francis
to the Brothers & Sisters in Penance

In the name of the Lord!

Chapter 1

Concerning Those Who Do Penance

All who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind, with all their strength (cf. Mk 12:30), and love their neighbors as themselves (cf. Mt 22:39) and hate their bodies with their vices and sins, and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and produce worthy fruits of penance.

Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them, because “the spirit of the Lord will rest upon them” (cf. Is 11:2) and he will make “his home and dwelling among them” (cf Jn 14:23), and they are the sons of the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:45), whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mt 12:50).

We are spouses, when by the Holy Spirit the faithful soul is united with our Lord Jesus Christ; we are brothers to him when we fulfill “the will of the Father who is in heaven” (Mt 12:50).

We are mothers, when we carry him in our heart and body (cf. 1 Cor 6:20) through divine love and a pure and sincere conscience; we give birth to him through a holy life which must give life to others by example (cf. Mt 5:16).

Oh, how glorious it is to have a great and holy Father in heaven! Oh, how glorious it is to have such a beautiful and admirable Spouse, the Holy Paraclete.

Oh, how glorious it is to have such a Brother and such a Son, loved, beloved, humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:15) and prayed to the Father saying:

“Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24).

 

“Where Is the ‘LOVE’ In All the Trickery? The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath!” – Mark 3:1-6†


 

Many Christian churches have designated January 18th – 23rd of every year as a “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity”.   How can pray for a deeper unity among believers?  What unites us is much greater than what separates us!  Let us anticipate the day when we all will be completely and truly united in and with Jesus Christ, our common “Lord and Savior”!! 

The theme for prayer this year is from Acts (2:42):

“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

“Teaching of the Apostles” can be achieved by learning what our church’s teach.  When was the last time you actually read, even a portion, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church?  Do you own, or heard of such a book?  It is, in essence, our faith’s “book of rules and practices”.

“Communal life” can be gained by seeking opportunities to support one another in Jesus Christ.  All we need is “LOVE.”  (Hint: this is covered in today’s reflection)

“Breaking of the bread and prayers” is possible through working together for a common cause.  How do you support the poor and maligned?  Do you work to protect the unborn is some way?  Praying with other Christians (both Catholic, and of other faiths) is a powerful way to break new ground, and possibly even change the way we view each other’s faith and traditions.

 

 

 

 

This January 22nd is the 38th Anniversary (1973) of the controversial, immoral, and death sentencing decision from the US Supreme Court legalizing abortion in the case titled “Roe vs. Wade”.

Norma McCorvey, the real name of the person called Jane Roe in the infamous lawsuit, has since converted to Christianity (in 1995).  She has dedicated her life to stopping Abortion.  An active “Pro-lifer” now, she has a ministry called “Roe No More.” (http://www.roenomore.org/)

In describing how McCorvey views the “Pro-abortion” (Pro-Murder) community, she says, “Plain and simple, I was used. I was a nobody to them.  They only needed a pregnant woman to use for their case, and that is it.  They cared, not about me, but only about legalizing abortion.  Even after the case, I was never respected — probably because I was not an ivy-league educated, liberal feminist like they were.”

The prayer today (at the end of my reflection) is a “Novena Prayer of Reparation”.  Please pray this prayer frequently for the end of the horrendous assault against creation, nature, and God!

 

Today in Catholic History:
 

†   973 – Pope Benedictus VI elected
†  1607 – San Agustin Church in Manila is officially completed; it is currently the oldest church in the Philippines
†  Feast/Memorials: St. Mark of Ephesus
†  Eastern and Oriental Catholic Orthodoxy — Julian Calendar Theophany (Epiphany).
 

(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:

 

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”  – John Bunyan

 

 

Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

This is a thirteen (13) part reflection on a letter from the SFO International Council website.  It is titled “An exhortation of the Church to the Secular Franciscan Order” by Benedetto Lino, OFS.  It can be read in full at http://www.ciofs.org/Y2009/a9ENrodelet.html

 

(Continuation from Previous blog)

Part 06 of 13 Parts

 

The key points are the following:

  •  AWARENESS OF BEING PRESENT ALL OVER THE WORLD, EVEN WHERE THE CHURCH IS PRESECUTED

Perhaps you will not be asked to shed your blood in martyrdom, but you are indeed asked to give consistent, strong witness in the fulfillment of the promises made at Baptism and Confirmation and renewed and confirmed at your Profession in the Franciscan Secular Order. (John Paul II)

  • INVOLVEMENT WITH AND SUPPORT OF FRANCISCAN YOUTH

The letter, then, contains a strong, earnest exhortation to be an effective “sign of contradiction” in the world, with frankness and courage, and never to be content to go on guiltily accepting the evil of this world and the plight of the poor and excluded.

 (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 OFSSFO International Council Website
http://www.ciofs.org/Y2009/a9ENrodelet.html

 

 

  

  

Today’s reflection is about Jesus curing a man with a “withered” hand.

 

1 Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand.  2 They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him.  3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.”  4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”  But they remained silent.  5 Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out and his hand was restored.  6 The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.  (NAB Mark 3:1-6)

 

This is only the start of the third (3rd) chapter of Mark’s Gospel, and the Temple, religious, a government officials are already are upset and outright hostile toward Jesus.  Is He really a threat?  Well, you decide.  It seems the crowds love Him, and want to hear Him wherever He goes.  Not only does He obviously speak well, He speaks with an “authority” that others cannot match.  Jesus speaks the truth and is not afraid to debate His “elders” in the synagogues or Temple.  In today’s reading, He actually refers to these “pious” men as having a “hardness of heart!”  Their closed-mindedness actually angers Jesus!  And finally, Jesus talks and teaches about something “new” coming — the Kingdom of God!!

In today’s reading, Jesus is depicted in yet another controversy and disagreement with his rivals and opponents over the question of His performing work on the Sabbath, thus violating the Mosaic Law in regard to the Sabbath-day observance.  His rivals and opponents (mostly the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes) were already cold, distant, and unkind toward Him because they believed Jesus was a persistent violator of the Sabbath regulations.  These people held a very strict belief of the Sabbath observance, based on “God’s resting” on the seventh day:

Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.  So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.”  (Genesis 2:2-3)  

Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”  (Exodus 20:8)

In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  (Exodus 20:11)

“Take care to keep holy the Sabbath day as the LORD, your God, commanded you.”  (Deut. 5:12)

 

The Scribes, Pharisees, and Herodians wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath observance so that they could (and most certainly would) publicly accuse Him of breaking “God’s divine law!” 

Sadly, these “leaders” (May I say, “Fools”?) put their own thoughts, actions, and needs as a much higher priority than the wishes of God.  Where was the LOVE?  They were wrapped up in their own stringent interpretations and micro-managing “by the book and to hell with anything else” type of legalistic worship, simply because they forgot, did not understand, or did not care to see the true and loving purpose of God in theirs, and others lives.  Though these men “of prayer” were sincere in their devotion and worship, their role became ones of guardian and interpreter of the Law, instead of ones for “love” of God’s law.  Instead of using common sense, they attached themselves to the interpretation of God’s word.  This position led them to an unsound attitude.

Jesus also loved the “Law”!  He lived to uphold the Law and the word of God in its true way and meaning: with love as the key element, and not the “rules”.  But,  He also wasn’t keen on rules that put unnecessary burdens on people, or misrepresented the intent of God’s word.    In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus shows them (and others present at this time) their falsehoods by pointing to God’s true intention for the Sabbath: “to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it“.  In asking His question, Jesus foreshadowed His own rising up on that Sunday morning we now call “Easter”, – – a resurrection that He shares with us all.

Jesus’ question to His opponents places the matter at hand in a broader theological context that seemed to be well outside the reasoning and questions of the Pharisees and Scribes.  As the Second Person of the “Trinitarian Godhead”, Jesus has the same authority as God, His (and ours) heavenly Father.  In the question that Jesus articulates to these men in the synagogue, He declared that the Mosaic Law does not supersede His divine authority: power over life, death, and judgment.

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.  Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.  Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.  For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself.”  (John 5:21, 24-26)

“Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son.  And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man.”  (John 5:22, 27)

Jesus’ answer to their question seemed to truly “stir the pot”; and was blunt, apparent, and obvious in showing His power and divinity (I just love this guy – and God!)!  He healed the man “with the withered handin the sight of all (especially those opposed to His mission), and reduced His opponents to silence.

In the clashes Jesus had with the Herodians, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Temple Scribes during His three years of earthly ministry and teaching, He seemed to always overcome His opponents with simple and honest responses and parables to their questions; and always seemed to “reduce” them to silence. 

And when Jesus saw that (He) answered with understanding, He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”  (Mark 12:34)

 

Well, so what happens?  These Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and even some other Jews in Galilee, did not like being put “in their place” by this “commoner.”  They thought of Jesus as a rogue organizer and zealot that had to be taken care of in the most severe of ways: with His life.  These so-called “religious” people were scared of losing control, and also of Jesus’ message and teachings to others in their synagogues and Temple.

“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.’  For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.” (John 5:17-18)

Mark reports the plan and actions of the Pharisees and Herodians to “put Jesus to death” after they witnessed His display of divine power.  Jesus’ words and actions were perceived as arrogance toward the synagogue and Temple leaders by His rivals and opponents.  Mark used this “perception” and “plan” as a pattern for later conflicts, disagreements, and debates throughout his Gospel.

“Then he taught them saying, ‘Is it not written: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?  But you have made it a den of thieves.’  The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.”  (Mark 11:17-18)

They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to him to ensnare him in his speech.  They came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.  You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?  Should we pay or should we not pay?’  Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, ‘Why are you testing me?  Bring me a denarius to look at.’  They brought one to him and he said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’  They replied to him, ‘Caesar’s.’  So Jesus said to them, ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’ They were utterly amazed at him.”  (Mark 12:13-17)

 

Herodians” were tireless supporters of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch (ruler) of Galilee and Perea.  The Temple leaders needed their help to take action against Jesus, especially actions ending with His death.  (Were they the “biblical” mafia of the time?)  Along with the Temple leaders, the Herodians exhibited a serious and extreme focus on fulfilling an immoral mission: the impending passion and death of Jesus Christ. 

Their immorally based mission was, at the same time, a necessary and important component in God’s salvation plan.  Hmm, makes you think; doesn’t it?  There are always two sides to a coin!  If you see the bad in life, flip the situation over and look for the good.

 

How do you handle adversity in your life?  Do you “trust” God totally and completely?  Or, do you panic, fret, and become fearful?  You need to remember that fear is a natural reaction, and even has a medical term associated with the nervous system response to impending danger or harsh conditions.  It is called, “sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ reaction”.  However, also remember Jesus wants much more from His followers than just this normal, self-preservation, bodily reaction.  Jesus wants “perfect love!”

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.   We love because he first loved us.”  (1 John 4:18-19)

 

 

Catholics (and I am sure other Christians) celebrate Sunday as “the Lord’s Day” in some way.  Sadly though, it usually does not include remembering, observing, and/or honoring God – – and His bringing about redemption in and through Jesus Christ.  For most Catholics (my perception anyway), Sundays do not include the “new creation” God brought about through Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.  How SAD!!

As disciples, followers of Jesus Christ, our “Sabbath” should express a true and total honor to God for all that he has done for us.  Unnecessary work and activities should be curtailed.  We should spend time with our family and friends in a special way, thus honoring God’s creation.  The Third Commandment says, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day”:

“Take care to keep holy the Sabbath day as the LORD, your God, commanded you.  Six days you may labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD, your God.  No work may be done then, whether by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or ass or any of your beasts, or the alien who lives with you.  Your male and female slave should rest as you do.  For remember that you too were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, brought you from there with his strong hand and outstretched arm.  That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”  (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)

And from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“God’s action is the model for human action. If God ‘rested and was refreshed’ on the seventh day, man too ought to “rest” and should let others, especially the poor, ‘be refreshed.’  The Sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite.  It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.”  (CCC p.2172)

“The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the Sabbath law.  But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.  He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’  With compassion, Christ declares the Sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.  The Sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.  ‘The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.’”  (CCC p.2173)

“The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship ‘as a sign of his universal beneficence to all.’  Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.”  (CCC p.2176)

“’Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy’ (Deut 5:12).  ‘The seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest; holy to the Lord’ (Ex 31:15).  The Sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.” (CCC p.2189-2190)

However, such “rest“, as prescribed in Holy Scripture, the Catholic Faith and its teachings, or even by “tradition”, does not excuse or release us from loving others.  It can take a little extra effort to observe a day of “rest”.  In fact, wouldn’t the Sabbath be the best days for helping someone enter into “rest” with the Lord, Jesus Christ?  In truly loving the Lord, – – above all, – – then the love of, and for, God must, and will, naturally and automatically pour out as a love for others as well.  Helping others is a beautiful and spiritual way of honoring our God, and keeping the Sabbath “holy”!

Here is some food for thought: Picture Jesus standing before you and inviting you to come up to be with Him, like that man in today’s reading.  Well, each one of us IS that man in the synagogue.  Each one of us is personally and individually invited to “to come up” and to enter into Jesus Christ.  Will you accept His invitation immediately, or do you want to “wait and see” what is best and/or more lucrative for you?  Do you honor the Lord in the way you spend your Sunday with family, friends, and neighbors?  The “Lord’s Day” is called such for a real and true reason. 

As we “Keep CHRIST in Christmas”, we must also “Keep Son (of God) in SUNday!”  RUN TO JESUS TODAY AND EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE!!

 

Novena Prayer of Reparation

 

God and Father of Life,
You have created every human person,
And have opened the way for each to have eternal life.

We live in the shadow of death.
Tens of millions of your children have been killed
because of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Father, have mercy on us.
Heal our land
And accept our offering of prayer and penance.

In your love for us,
Turn back the scourge of abortion.
May each of us exult in hearts full of hope
And hands full of mercy
And work together to build a culture of life.
We pray through Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Fabian (c. 250)

 

Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope.  Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian.  This sign united the votes of clergy and laity and he was chosen unanimously.

He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius in A.D. 250.  St. Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an “incomparable” man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.

In the catacombs of St. Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian’s grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, “Fabian, bishop, martyr.”

Comment:

We can go confidently into the future and accept the change that growth demands only if we have firm roots in the past, in a living tradition.  A few pieces of stone in Rome are a reminder to us that we are bearers of more than 20 centuries of a living tradition of faith and courage in living the life of Christ and showing it to the world.  We have brothers and sisters who have “gone before us marked with the sign of faith,” as the First Eucharistic Prayer puts it, to light the way for us.

Quote:

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Tertullian).

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 19 & 20 of 26: 

19.  Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others. Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.

 

 

20.  The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.

 



“Capernaum – If You Can Make it Big There, You Can Make It Big Any Where! – – OR – – Jesus Loved To ‘Stir the Pot!’” – Mark 1: 29-39†


 

It is exactly one year ago today that Haiti experienced the “Great Earthquake”.  The challenges are still ever present throughout this poor and devastated country.  Please remember them in your prayers.  They are still hurting in all but faith!

            

Today in Catholic History:


    
†  689 – Death of Benedict Biscop, English saint
†  1167 – Death of Aelred of Hexham/Rievaulx, English abbot/saint, at age of about 56
†  1390 – Death of Peter van Herenthals, Dutch theologist/church historian, at age 67
†  1598 – Pope Clement VIII seizes duchy of Ferrara on death of Alfonso
†  1700 – Death of Marguerite Bourgeoys, saint (b. 1620)
†  1777 – Mission Santa Clara de Asís is founded in what is now Santa Clara, California.
†  1817 – Death of Juan Andres, Spanish Jesuit (b. 1740)
†  1781 – Death of Richard Challoner, English Catholic prelate (b. 1691)
†  1915 – Birth of Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, Catholic archbishop of Ottawa
†  1995 – Pope John Paul II begins visit to SE Asia
†  2006 – Turkey releases Mehmet Ali Ağca from jail after he served 25 years for shooting Pope John Paul II.

(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:

 

The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

 

Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

 

This is a thirteen (13) part reflection on a letter from the SFO International Council website.  It is titled “An exhortation of the Church to the Secular Franciscan Order” by Benedetto Lino, OFS.  It can be read in full at http://www.ciofs.org/Y2009/a9ENrodelet.html

 

(Continuation from Previous blog)

Part 04 of 13 Parts

 

The Cardinal’s letter underlines some key points and expresses a strong exhortation, centered on the evangelical word parrhesia in combination with the missionary mandate, to all Secular Franciscans, singularly and collectively as an Order in all its forms: local, regional, national and worldwide.

The key points are the following:

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF A TRULY FRATERNAL LIFE
  • THE REDISCOVERY  AND CONSOLIDATION OF ONE’S OWN IDENTITY AND MISSION  IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD
  •  AWARENESS OF BEING PRESENT ALL OVER THE WORLD, EVEN WHERE THE CHURCH IS PRESECUTED
  • INVOLVEMENT WITH AND SUPPORT OF FRANCISCAN YOUTH

 

(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 healing Peter’s Mother-In-Law, His curing of many others, and expansion of His mission on earth.

 

29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.  30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.  They immediately told him about her.  31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.  Then the fever left her and she waited on them.  32 When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.  33 The whole town was gathered at the door.  34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.  35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37 and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”  38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”  39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.  (NAB Mark 1: 29-39)

 

Each of the Gospel writers tells Jesus’ life, mission, and love for us in just a little different way or focus.  In today’s Gospel story, Mark shows Jesus as being close and easily approachable to us.  Jesus is found to be deeply and truly concerned for the well-being of others.  Mark present’s the kingdom of God as a sudden, surprising, and somewhat unsettling happening.  Finally, with Mark, Jesus is not the humble, gentle teacher of serene peace we often picture in our minds.  Rather, Jesus is pictured as an unstoppable “disturber” of the status quo; Jesus “stirred the proverbial pot” in Mark’s viewpoint!

In Contrast, Matthew highlights the fulfillment of Hebrew prophesies in relation to the coming Messiah.  And Luke focuses on the value of community and fellowship, with Jesus as the head and focus of the community.

Today’s reading is told as an “eyewitness account”, or “third person” type of story.  Jesus was still in Capernaum where He had been teaching.  He performed an exorcism in the synagogue that could not be kept quiet from the general population.  Jesus was apparently teaching and/or praying, when He was interrupted and received word of Simon [Peter] having a very sick Mother-In-Law in his home.  (Was it a penance or plenary indulgence for Simon Peter to have his In-Laws living with him?)

Jesus leaves the synagogue with James and John (the brothers’ fishermen) and “entered the house of Simon and Andrew”.  An EWTN special recently showed that the synagogue was literally only a few yards from Simon Peter’s house.  Thus, people that were listening to Jesus teaching at the time of His interruption could easily follow Him to the house.  Others leaving the synagogue a little later would see the group of men looking in the door and windows of Simon’s house and then possibly also gathered around, just to see what was happening and what all the commotion was about.

Per today’s reading, Simon was obviously married.  Just as in my marriage, I bet he “wore the pants” in his home.  And just as in my marriage, his wife told him which ones to put on!  Do you wonder if his wife traveled with her husband, Simon Peter, on his journey with Jesus?  I believe so, as evidenced is in what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians:

Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Cor 9:5)

“Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.”  We do not know the cause of the fever, but fever in adults is usually due to an infection of some type.  Remember, there were no modern-day antibiotics in Jesus’ time, so an infection of such nature as to cause one to be bed-ridden routinely ended with the death of the person.  Jesus, – – the human flesh and bones “Christ” – – destroyed the power of sin and death then, now, and forever and ever.  Amen!

Jesus “approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.  Then the fever left her and she waited on them.”  Simon’s and Andrew’s “Momma” was suddenly, completely, and miraculously cured through the actions and laying of hands of Jesus Christ.  Jesus fulfilled prophesy from Isaiah, in part, in performing this action:

“Our infirmities He bore, our sufferings He endured.”  (Isaiah 53:4)

The “laying of hands” is an important and special sacramental within the Catholic Church.  The Priest and Bishop (in Persona Christi) lays his hands on the head of the sick in a “Healing” service, and the Sacrament of the Sick; and the Holy Spirit, through the Bishop, bestows a special mark on the soul of the newly ordained priest with the laying on of his hands.

Can you even imagine Jesus standing next to your bed?  I don’t believe anyone would just lie there if they saw “God” standing before them – – with a smile on His face!  I think anyone would immediately spring out of bed (if at all possible) in His presence.  I can picture my reaction to this possible event vividly.  I would jump out of bed, give Him a big hug, and then fall to my knees to kiss His feet.  I so love the Lord, and cannot wait to see Him (but I’m not rushing things either)!

 

 

Jesus had already healed a man in the synagogue, and now He heals Simon’s mother-in-law.  That “evening” He continues to heal large numbers of sick and possessed people from the town of Capernaum and surrounding areas.  To see Jesus and what He was doing “the whole town gathered at the door” of Simon and Andrew.  There was no keeping Jesus’ ministry and power quiet to the masses, and word spread like “fire”.  (Could this be the Holy Spirit working already?  I believe so.)  

Simon’s and Andrew’s home became the “headquarters” for Jesus’ public ministry.  Can you picture Jesus having a small office in a back room of the Simon Peters house, a calendar on the wall, a desk with an in/out basket set on top of it, and memo pad at hand?  I so love picturing what it was truly like being with Jesus in His HUMAN and divine natures.  I bet He had one helluva sense of humor!! (Excuse the sort-of-pun.)

The first (1st) to know of Jesus’ divinity and power were not these pious people of a small fishing village in Galilee called Capernaum.  In actuality, it was Satan and the evil spirits processing the inhabitants in the area.  These “spirits” and supernatural immoral beings know fully and truly who Jesus is, even before His actions in this small fishing town.  The followers and disciples of Jesus have yet to get a fuller and more complete picture of Jesus.  Then they will “know” Him as the dying and rising “Messiah”.  I believe this is why Mark wrote:

“He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and He drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew Him.” 

 

 

After all of this excitement, teaching, and healing Jesus felt it necessary to withdraw temporarily.  He needed some quiet time, and some “one-on-one” time with His heavenly Father.  “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”  

One of my favorite things to do when possible (and always on vacation or retreat) is to wake early, sit outside, and pray my morning office and rosary while observing nature around me.  All my senses become alive, and I feel so much closer to God in these special times.

 

 

Jesus was on “God time” and knew of the plan of salvation that He had embarked on.  On the other hand, His disciples really had no clue of their futures.  (I wonder if they would have stayed with Him if they knew of their future fate?!)  They thought Jesus could “make it big” in Capernaum, and were concerned with His leaving.  So, “Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’”  Simon and others wanted Jesus to do more in Capernaum.

Jesus wanted to broaden His Mission of preaching and teaching to the whole of Galilee.  In saying, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also”, Jesus was not throwing His mission to Capernaum in the trashcan, or even saying that His mission in Capernaum was complete.  Rather, Jesus wanted to spread His mission of proclaiming the salvation and kingdom of God to as many as He could possibly do in His human form.  Jesus was planting as many mustard seeds of faith as He could!  “So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.”  

 

 

Today, there are three versions – – three Gospels – – for this one story.  Each one is a little different and unique: a different focus or viewpoint about Jesus’ life and His love for us in regard to the inhabitants of Capernaum.  God gave us the 73 books of the Bible – – His living Word – – our Holy Scripture.  With, in, and through it, we can grow closer to Jesus and grow to love Him even more!  We can get an even richer and fuller understanding of Jesus through the “eyes” of four “inspired” writers of the Gospels.  So, don’t just read one Gospel for the day; find the same story in each Gospel, and read them together to get a more complete picture.

Yesterday’s Gospel reading, along with todays, totals 24 hours in Jesus’ life.  When you read a Gospel like this one, or the similar one’s in the other three Gospels, you see how Jesus spent His time.  You see how humble, generous, and loving He was.  Do you wish to walk in Jesus’ path and be like Him?  Well, you cannot walk in His path for He was perfect and divine, and WE ARE NOT.  But, Jesus most certainly can walk with you in your own path to salvation, if you allow Him!  What better of a travel companion can any have!!!

Do you ask Jesus to heal you; to heal your family, friends and others; to heal your community, your country, and your world? God’s power to heal restores us to health physically, mentally, and spiritually.  His power to heal also draws us to serve and care others in need (which is everyone).  There is nothing that God cannot handle or do! He can do anything, including the impossible!!  So take you’re your problems, take your concerns, take your infirmities to Jesus, through prayer, faith, and trust – – and He will help you!!  Caution: It may not be the help you expected, but it will be the help you need!

 

 

Prayer in Time of Trial

 

“St. Maximilian [Kolbe], we thank God for the good example of your life.

You teach us to love and thus overcome our hatred of those who harm us.  You teach us to hope and thus conquer the depression and despair that so often overwhelm us.  You teach us courage by your daring enterprises for God and sacrifice of self as the Immaculata’s instrument.

Pray for us now that Mary, our Mother; and Jesus, her Son will bring to our troubled spirit peace, calm, and joy.  Amen.”

(Spend two minutes thinking of the good things that God has done for you during your lifetime.)

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700)

 

“God closes a door and then opens a window,” people sometimes say when dealing with their own disappointment or someone else’s. That was certainly true in Marguerite’s case. Children from European as well as Native American backgrounds in seventeenth-century Canada benefited from her great zeal and unshakable trust in God’s providence.

Born the sixth of 12 children in Troyes, France, Marguerite at the age of 20 believed that she was called to religious life. Her applications to the Carmelites and Poor Clares were unsuccessful. A priest friend suggested that perhaps God had other plans for her.

In 1654, the governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, an Augustinian canoness in Troyes. Marguerite belonged to a sodality connected to that convent. The governor invited her to come to Canada and start a school in Ville-Marie (eventually the city of Montreal). When she arrived, the colony numbered 200 people with a hospital and a Jesuit mission chapel.

Soon after starting a school, she realized her need for coworkers. Returning to Troyes, she recruited a friend, Catherine Crolo, and two other young women. In 1667 they added classes at their school for Indian children. A second trip to France three years later resulted in six more young women and a letter from King Louis XIV, authorizing the school. The Congregation of Notre Dame was established in 1676 but its members did not make formal religious profession until 1698 when their Rule and constitutions were approved.

Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal. At the age of 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec in response to the bishop’s request to establish a community of her sisters in that city. By the time she died, she was referred to as the “Mother of the Colony.” Marguerite was canonized in 1982.

Comment:

It’s easy to become discouraged when plans that we think that God must endorse are frustrated. Marguerite was called not to be a cloistered nun but to be a foundress and an educator. God had not ignored her after all.

Quote:

In his homily at her canonization, Pope John Paul II said, “…in particular, she [Marguerite] contributed to building up that new country [Canada], realizing the determining role of women, and she diligently strove toward their formation in a deeply Christian spirit.” He noted that she watched over her students with affection and confidence “in order to prepare them to become wives and worthy mothers, Christians, cultured, hardworking, radiant mothers.”

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 12 & 13 of 26: 

12.  Witnessing to the good yet to come and obligated to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters.

 

 

 

13.  As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.

A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ.

 

 

 

“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.

“EAT ME, and Drink me too!” – John 6:52-59†


Another beautiful day, though I am SO Sore today!  exercized yesterday at the YMCA for the first time two years.  But it’s a “good pain” I am told.  It’s a pain in the A$$ (literally) to me.

My wife and I are having dinner with the formation director and priest from my Franciscan Fraternity tonight.  I think my wife is a little apprehensive:  she has never met them.  She will figure out fast that these two great people are “down to earth” individual that don’t bite (usually).
 

It was a busy day in history:
† 73 A.D. – Masada, a Jewish fortress, falls to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.
† 1879 – Bernadette Soubirous, French shepherd girl (b. 1844)  read more below in my “Franciscan Saint of the Day” section.
† 1919 – Mohandas Gandhi organizes a day of “prayer and fasting” in response to the British slaughter of Indian protestors in the Amritsar Massacre.
† 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.
       

Today’s reflection is about further discourse of the bread of life and Jesus’ teachings.

Quote or Joke of the Day:
    

Those of us who refuse to risk and grow get swallowed up by life. — Patty Hansen
   

Today’s Meditation:
    

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.  (NAB John 6:52-59)
    

Why, after witnessing the life and miracles of Jesus Christ did the Jews quarrel among themselves?  Some were asking, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”  Many left in disappointed, and returned to their old lives, instead of consuming the body of Christ.  The reason: they took the words on a literal level!  They believed they had to actually eat the skin of Jesus: cannibalism.

This literal concept is revolting, even to me.  But yet, we are eating the actual body and blood of the divine Christ at every Mass in the Catholic Church.  This is not hypocritical in any way.  To non-Catholics, it is hard to understand.  The host and wine does not change physically, or even molecularly; yet both have changed “substantially” into the body and blood of our savior.  Many non-believers, and even Protestants, don’t understand, nor believe in this concept of “transubstantiation.”  How wrong they are, as I will hope to prove here.    

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  Another “YO, LISTEN” moment for the people He is conversing with.   He goes on and says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”  Notice that He did not say “eat a representation or simulation of my body.”  He also did not say “reminder of my body…,” and so.  Jesus said, “… eats my flesh and drinks my blood …!”

Jesus is further declaring that only through Him, can one obtain salvation.  Only through the Jesus can we obtain the grace to overcome our sins, and the grace of eternal life in paradise with the Holy Family.

The verb used in these verses was not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: to “munch” and “gnaw.”  This may be part of John’s emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus; but this same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning “eat.”  I believe John’s reference is to the “Bread” of the Eucharistic celebration.  Further proof is in the next verse; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”  The words eats is a plural.  One may eat the “flesh” of Jesus multiple times.  I love that as a Catholic, I can do as Jesus wanted: to come to Him daily, and bring Him in me and me in Him, daily.  I can renew my love for Him, and dedicate myself to Him anew each day.  The Franciscans call this daily conversion.

Saying “the living Father” refers to the living bread of the Eucharist.  This little pad of dead flour becomes, through the graces of the Holy Spirit, the living body of Christ sent to give life to all who believe in and consumes it.  It is the bread that came down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ, and unlike our ancestors who ate the bread of life, “manna,” in the desert, and still died; whoever eats His “bread” at Mass will live forever. 

The synagogue in Capernaum is mentioned for the simple fact that Jesus taught there during His active ministry.  He taught there in His mortal life, and continues to teach in this place in His divine “post-resurrection” life.  AND, he continues to teach in our Church’s and lives even today, and into the future!

“Jesus, I believe in the true body and blood of our Eucharist.  You gave up your life for us, and continue to give us life through the Eucharist.  I love you.  Amen.”
      

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

*****

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  April 16 – Marie Bernarde Soubirous 1844-1879
   

Born at Lourdes, France, on January 7, the oldest child of miller Francis Soubirous and his wife, Louise, she was called Bernadette as a child, lived in abject poverty with her parents, was uneducated, and suffered from asthma. On February 11, 1858, while collecting firewood on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in a cave above the riverbank. Her report provoked skepticism, but her daily visions of the Lady drew great crowds of people. Despite great hostility on the part of the civil authorities, she persisted in her claims, and on February 25 caused a spring to flow where none had been before. On March 25, the vision told her it was the Immaculate Conception and directed her to build a chapel on the site. In 1866, she became a Sister of Notre Dame at Nevers, and she remained there until her death on April 16. She was a member of the Confraternity of the Cord of St. Francis. She was received into this pious society after she had become a religious sister. Lourdes soon became one of the great pilgrimage centers of modern Christianity, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring, and after painstaking investigation the apparitions were ecclesiastically approved. Bernadette was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

From Dictionary of Saints by John Delaney
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
   

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #16:
   

Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and service of the human community.

“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.