Posted by: RAM | March 27, 2017

Tuesday (March 28): “Walk and sin no more”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 245

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9: The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
Gospel: John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.'”
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032817.cfm

Reflection:  Is there anything holding you back from the Lord’s healing power and transforming grace that can set you free to live in wholeness, joy, and peace with God? God put into the heart of the prophet Ezekiel a vision of the rivers of living water flowing from God’s heavenly throne to bring healing and restoration to his people. We begin to see the fulfillment of this restoration taking place when the Lord Jesus announces the coming of God’s kingdom and performs signs and miracles in demonstration of the power of that kingdom.

One of the key signs which John points out in his Gospel account takes place in Jerusalem when Jesus went up to the temple during one of the great Jewish feasts (John 5:1-9). As Jesus approached the temple area he stopped at the pool of Bethzatha which was close by. Many Jews brought their sick relatives and friends to this pool. John tells us that a “multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed” were laid there on the pavement surrounding the pool (John 5:3). This pool was likely one of the ritual baths used for purification for people before they went into the temple to offer prayers and sacrifice. On certain occasions, especially when the waters were stirred, the lame and others with diseases were dipped in the pool in the hope that they might be cured of their ailments.

Do you want the Lord Jesus to make you whole?
The lame man that Jesus stopped to speak with had been paralyzed for more than 38 years. He felt helpless because he had no friends to help him bathe in the purifying waters of the pool. Despite his many years of unanswered prayer, he still waited by the pool in the hope that help might come his way. Jesus offered this incurable man not only the prospect of help but total healing as well. Jesus first awakened faith in the paralyzed man when he put a probing question to him, “Do you really want to be healed?” This question awakened a new spark of faith in him. Jesus then ordered him to “get up and walk!” Now the lame man had to put his new found faith into action. He decided to take the Lord Jesus at his word and immediately stood up and began to walk freely.

The Holy Spirit purifies, heals, and transforms us in Christ’s image
The Lord Jesus approaches each one of us with the same probing question, “Do you really want to be healed – to be forgiven, set free from guilt and sin, from uncontrollable anger and other disordered passions, and from hurtful desires and addictions. The first essential step towards freedom and healing is the desire for change. If we are content to stay as we are, then no amount of coaxing will change us. The Lord will not refuse anyone who sincerely asks for his pardon, mercy, and healing.

“Lord Jesus, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed in your way of holiness. Let your Holy Spirit purify my heart and renew in me a fervent love and desire to do whatever is pleasing to you and to refuse whatever is contrary to your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar28.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Venturino of Bergamo (1304-1346)
Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, Italy, he joined the Dominicans in 1319 and soon distinguished himself as a brilliant preacher, attracting huge crowds throughout northern Italy. Pleased with his ability to reach large numbers of believers, he announced in 1335 his intention to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. When Pope Benedict XII (r. 1334-1342) learned of the pilgrimage, he feared Venturino might be planning to crown himself pope, and so forbade the friar to proceed. This decree was joined by one issued by the Dominicans themselves at the Chapter in London (1335). Ignorant of these bans, Venturino proceeded to Rome and then to Avignon where he was arrested and imprisoned until 1343. He is also known for helping to organize a crusade, at the behest of Pope Clement VI (r. 1342-1352), against the Turks who were then menacing Europe. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1944

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander
St. Alkeld
St. Castor & Dorotheus
St. Conon of Naso
St. Conon of Naso
St. Gundelindis
Bl. James Claxton
St. Priscus
St. Rogatus
St. Tutilo
St. Venturino of Bergamo

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
One Year Anniversary of Mother Angelica’s death
Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 244

First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12A and 13B:  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Gospel: John 4:43-54
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032717.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032717.cfm

Reflection:  Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith for healing, pardon, and transformation in Christ-like holiness? Isaiah prophesied that God would come not only to restore his people, he would also come to recreate new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17). Jesus’ miracles are signs that manifest the presence of God and the coming of his kingdom of power and glory. When a high ranking official, who was very likely from King Herod’s court, heard the reports of Jesus’ preaching and miracles, he decided to seek Jesus out for an extraordinary favor. If this story happened today the media headlines would probably say: “High ranking official leaves capital in search of miracle cure from a small town carpenter.”

Believe and take Jesus at his word 
It took raw courage for a high ranking court official to travel twenty miles in search of Jesus, the Galilean carpenter. He had to swallow his pride and put up with some ridicule from his cronies. And when he found the healer carpenter, Jesus seemed to put him off with the blunt statement that people would not believe unless they saw some kind of miracle or sign from heaven. Jesus likely said this to test the man to see if his faith was in earnest. If he turned away in irritation or with discouragement, he would prove to be insincere. Jesus, perceiving his faith, sent him home with the assurance that his prayer had been heard.

It was probably not easy for this man to return to his family with only an assuring word from Jesus that his son would be healed. Couldn’t Jesus have come to this man’s house and laid his hands on the dying child? However, without a moment’s hesitation the court official believed in Jesus and took him at his word. He began his journey back home with renewed faith and hope – ready to face whatever might await him – whether it be the anguish of his distraught family and or the scorn of unbelieving neighbors. Before he could even make it all the way back to his home town, news reached him that his son had recovered. What astonishment must have greeted his family and friends when they heard that his son was instantly restored to health at the very moment when Jesus had pronounced the words – your son will live!

The Lord Jesus brings healing and restoration to those who trust in him
Jesus’ miraculous healings show his generous kindness and extravagant love – a love that bends down in response to our misery and wretched condition. Is there any area in your life where you need healing, pardon, change, and restoration? If you seek the Lord with trust and expectant faith, he will not disappoint you. He will meet you more than half way and give you what you need. The Lord Jesus never refused anyone who put their trust in him. Surrender your doubts and fears, your pride and guilt at his feet, and trust in his saving word and healing love.

“Lord Jesus, your love never fails and your mercy is unceasing. Give me the courage to surrender my stubborn pride, fear and doubts to your surpassing love, wisdom and knowledge. Make be strong in faith, persevering in hope, and constant in love.”

http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar27.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Rupert (60-717)
Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A member of a noble Frankish family, he was appointed bishop of Worms, Germany, and then dedicated himself to spreading the faith among the Germans. With the patronage of Duke Thedo of Bavaria, he took over the deserted town of luvavum about 697, which was renamed Salzburg, Austria. Rupert founded a church, a monastery, and a school; brought in groups of missionaries; and established a nunnery at Nonnberg with his sister, Eerentrudis, serving as the first abbess. He died at Salzburg and is venerated as the first archbishop of this major diocese in the West. Rupert is revered as the Apostle of Bavaria and Austria. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4668 

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander
St. Amator
St. Augusta
St. John of Egypt
St. Matthew of Beauvais
St. Philetus
St. Rupert

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 31

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Psalms 23:1-6: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, ”
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews,
for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032617.cfm

Reflection:  Do you recognize the light of God’s truth and power in your life? God wants to remove every obstacle that might hinder us from recognizing the light of his truth and wisdom for our lives. Saul, the first king of Israel, failed to recognize God’s light and power to save him from his enemies. God replaced Saul with David, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons (1 Samuel 16). God saw something in David which Jesse and his other sons did not recognize – a man after God’s own heart who delighted in doing what was pleasing to the Lord (1 Samuel 13:14). David was a man of courage and vision who defeated his enemies and united his people. His strength and success came not from himself but from God who anointed him with the power and wisdom of his own Spirit.

What can keep us from the light of God’s truth, wisdom, and strength for our lives? Sin blinds us and causes us to stumble and fall – unable to rise on our own or to walk in the freedom of God’s love and truth. Sin clouds the mind in moral confusion, and it grows in darkness and resists the light of God’s truth. Only God’s light can uncover the darkness of sin and free us to walk in the path of holiness and peace with God.

The light of the world
When the disciples saw a man who had been blind from birth, they asked Jesus what kind of sin had caused this blindness. The Jews had understood that many infirmities were the result of human folly and sin. While sin can lead to physical, mental, and spiritual infirmities, not all sickness is the direct result of sin. Sickness can befall us for a variety of reasons. Jesus answered that God had allowed this infirmity for a greater purpose which God wanted to demonstrate as a sign of his presence and power. Jesus then made a claim which only God could rightfully make. Jesus stated unequivocally, I am the light of the world (John 9:5). In so many words Jesus was saying that he is the one true source of power and light which sustains life and overcomes the darkness of sin, confusion, and spiritual blindness. Jesus’ mighty works – his miraculous signs – confirmed the truth of his message and claim to divine authority and equality with his Father in heaven. One of his greatest signs was the healing of a man who had been blind from birth.

Healing of man born blind
When Jesus approached the blind man he first awakened hope in him – the hope which God offers those who seek his help. Jesus then did something quite remarkable for the blind man, both to identify with this man’s misery and to draw expectant faith in him as well. Jesus touched the man’s eyes with his own spittle mixed with dirt and bid him to wash in the Pool of Siloam which was close to the Temple. This pool of fresh flowing water was one of the landmarks of the city of Jerusalem. It’s source came from the Gihon spring located in the valley outside the walls of Jerusalem. This pool was likely used as a ceremonial bath of purification for people who were going up to the Temple to worship. On the yearly feast of Tabernacles, one of the priests brought a golden pitcher of water from this pool and poured it out over the altar in the temple while reciting from the verse, “You will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). What is the significance of the healing of the blind man at the Pool of Siloam? It is certainly more than just a miraculous event. It is a “sign” that points to the source of the miraculous life-giving water which Jesus offers through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38).  Do you want the Holy Spirit to pour out on you his renewing power of faith, vision, and healing love?

The Pharisees were upset with Jesus’ miracle on two counts. First, he healed the blind man on the Sabbath, which they considered a serious violation of the command to rest on the Sabbath. Second, how could a “sinner” and a “sabbath-breaker” do such a marvelous work of God! The man who claimed to have been healed by Jesus must not have really been blind to begin with! Contrary to this false charge, the fact of this man’s blindness was well known to many people, including the parents who testified under oath that he had indeed been blind since birth. The prejudice of the religious leaders made them blind to God’s intention for the Sabbath (to do good rather than evil) and to Jesus’ claim to be the One sent from the Father in heaven to bring freedom and light to his people. The Jewish leaders tried to intimidate both this cured man and his parents by threatening to exclude them from membership in the synagogue – the local congregation of the worshiping community of Jews. This man was shunned by the religious authorities because he believed that Jesus healed him and was the Messiah.

Freedom from spiritual blindness
John Chrysostom, commenting on this passage, remarked: “The Jews (the Pharisees) cast him out of the Temple; the Lord of the Temple found him.” If our witness of Jesus and his redeeming work in our lives causes friends or foes to reject us, it nonetheless draws us nearer to the Lord Jesus himself. Paul the Apostles warns us to avoid the darkness of sin that we might walk more clearly in the light of Christ (Ephesians 5:8-12). Do you allow any blind-spots to blur your vision of what God is offering you and asking of you?

The Lord Jesus is ever ready to heal us and to free us from the darkness of sin and deception. There is no sickness, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual that the Lord Jesus does not identify with. Isaiah prophesied that the “Suffering Servant” would be bruised for our iniquities and by his stripes we would be healed (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord offers us freedom from spiritual blindness due to sin and he restores us to wholeness of body, mind, soul, and heart. Augustine of Hippo, in his commentary on this Gospel passage, remarks: “If we reflect on the meaning of this miracle, we will see that the blind man is the human race …You already know, of course, who the “One Sent” is. Unless he had been sent, none of us would have been freed from sin.”

“Jesus, in your name the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead are raised to life. Come into our lives and heal the wounds of our broken hearts. Give us eyes of faith to see your glory and hearts of courage to bring you glory in all we say and do.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar26.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. Possessed of good looks and full of wit and merriment, she was a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do grazier and butcher (to whom she bore two children), and a few years later entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. Recourse was had to every means in an attempt to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door over laden with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes. The humanity and holiness of this servant of God can be readily glimpsed in her words to a friend when she learned of her condemnation: “The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise.” Her feast day is March 26th.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=515

More Saints of the Day:
St. Basil the Younger
St. Bathus and Companions
St. Braulio
St. Castulus
St. Eutychius of Alexandria
St. Garbhan
St. Govan
St. Ludger
Bl. Magdalena Caterina Morano
St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Mochelloc
St. Montanus & Maxima
St. Peter
St. Quadratus
St. Theodore
St. William of Norwich

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Lectionary: 545

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalms 40:7-11: Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032517.cfm

Reflection:  How does God reveal his favor to us? In the psalms we pray, “Lord, show me a sign of your favor” (Psalm 86:17). In the Old Testament God performed many signs and miracles to demonstrate his love and mercy for his people, such as their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red sea on dry land (Psalm 78:43-53). When Ahaz, king of Judah and heir to the throne of David (735 B.C.) was surrounded by forces that threatened to destroy him and his people, God offered him a sign to reassure him that God would not abandon the promise he made to David and his descendants. King Ahaz, however, had lost hope in God and refused to ask for a sign of favor. God, nonetheless, gave a sign to assure his people that he would indeed give them a Savior who would rule with peace and righteousness (Isaiah 7:11ff).

God’s unfolding plan of redemption
We see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah King. The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God (Luke 1:28). As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21). This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He will be “great” and “Son of the Most High” and “King” and his name shall be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31-32), which means “the Lord saves.” “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The angel repeats to Mary, the daughter of the house of David, the promise made to King David: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33).

How does Mary respond to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel? She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, “how shall this be, since I have no husband” is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust. Mary’s prompt response of “yes” to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers.

Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the “mother of God” because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb. When we pray the ancient creed (Nicene Creed) we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

Trust and yield to God’s grace
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God’s promises and do you yield to his grace?

“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified ‘yes’ to your will and plan for my life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar25.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Dismas
All that is known of Dismas is that he is the Good Thief crucified with Christ on Calvary. The other thief is known as Gestas. A completely unsubstantiated myth from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy that enjoyed great popularity in the West during the Middle Ages had two thieves who held up the Holy Family on the way to Egypt. Dismas bought off Gestas with forty drachmas to leave them unmolested, whereupon the Infant predicted that they would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem, and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. His feast day is March 25th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=114

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alfwold
St. Dismas
St. Dula
Bl. Emilian Kovch
St. Harold
St. Hermenland
St. Humbert of Morailles
Bl. James Bird
St. Kennocha
St. Lucy Filippini
St. Pelagius of Laodicea
St. Quirinus of Tegernsee
St. Robert of Bury

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 241

First Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Psalms 81:6-11, 14, 17: I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032417.cfm

Reflection:  What is the best and sure way to peace, happiness, and abundant life? The prophet Hosea addressed this question with his religious community – the people of Israel. Hosea’s people lived in a time of economic anxiety and fear among the nations. They were tempted to put their security in their own possessions and in their political alliances with other nations rather than in God. Hosea called his people to return to God to receive pardon, healing, and restoration. He reminded them that God would “heal their faithlessness and love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). God’s ways are right and his wisdom brings strength and blessing to those who obey him.

The grace and power of love and obedience
How does love and obedience to God’s law go together? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They made it a life-time practice to study the 613 precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They tested Jesus to see if he correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose.

What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will.

The love which conquers all
What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthen us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves (Galatians 5:13). Do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart? Paul the Apostle says: hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Do you know the love which conquers all?

“We love you, O our God; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that you keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son.” (Prayer of Anselm, 12th century) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar24.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Aldemar (d. 1080)
Abbot and miracle worker, called “the Wise.” Born in Capua, Italy, he became a monk in Monte Cassino and was called to the attention of a Princess Aloara of the region. When she built a new convent in Capua, Alder became the director of the religious in the established house. He performed many miracles in this capacity. Aldemar was reassigned by his abbot to Monte Cassino, a move that angered the princess. As a result, Aldemar went to Boiana, Italy, where a companion involved in the dispute tried to kill him. Aldemar fled into the region of Bocchignano, Abruzzi, where he founded several more religious houses. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1221

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aldemar
St. Caimin
St. Cairlon
St. Domangard
St. Epicharis
St. Hildelitba
St. Latinus
St. Macartan
St. Mark & Timothy
St. Pigmenius
St. Romulus and Secundus
St. Seleucus
St. Timolaus & Companions

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 240

First Reading: Jeremiah 7:23-28
Psalms 95:1-2, 6-9: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Gospel: Luke 11:14-23
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032317.cfm

Reflection:  What is the best protection which brings lasting security to our lives? Scripture tells us that true peace and security come to those who trust in God and obey his word. “Obey my voice and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23). The struggle between choosing to do good or evil, yielding to my will or God’s will, God’s way or my way, cannot be won by human strength or will-power alone. Our enemy, the devil, conspires with the “world” (whatever is opposed to God and his truth and righteousness) and our “flesh” (whatever inclines us to yield to hurtful desires and wrongdoing), to draw us away from the peace, joy, and security which God provides for those who put their trust in him.

Peter the Apostles tells us, Our adversary, the devil prowls the earth seeking the ruin of souls (1 Peter 5:8-9). The devil is opposed to God and he seeks to draw us away from God’s plan and will for our lives. God offers us grace (his merciful help and strength) and protection (from Satan’s lies and deception) if we are willing to obey his word and resist the devil’s lies and temptations. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:9-11). The Lord offers us the peace and security of his kingdom which lasts forever and which no other power can overcome.

God’s kingdom brings healing and freedom from the destructive forces of sin and Satan
Jesus’ numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the work of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition and battled with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry (Luke 4:1-13). He overcame the evil one through his obedience to the will of his Father. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus’ healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could he get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan’s power? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God.

Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcists among the Jews in Jesus’ time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminate their own kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemn themselves. In his second argument he asserts that no kingdom divided against itself can survive for long? We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own time to prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoples and their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished. How can a strong person be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesus asserted his power and authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God.

Jesus’ reference to the finger of God points back to Moses’ confrontation with Pharoah and his magicians who represented Satan and the kingdom of darkness (see Exodus 8:19). Jesus claims to be carrying on the tradition of Moses whose miracles freed the Israelites from bondage by the finger of God. God’s power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed and they give evidence that God’s kingdom has come.

Is Jesus the Master of your life?
Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are two kingdoms in opposition to one another – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God’s word, we open to door to the power of sin and Satan in our lives. If you want to live in freedom from sin and Satan, then your “house” – your life and possessions (all that you rely upon for livelihood, peace, and security) – must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Is the Lord Jesus the Master of your home, heart, mind, and will?

“O Lord, our God, grant us, we beseech you, patience in troubles, humility in comforts, constancy in temptations, and victory over all our spiritual foes. Grant us sorrow for our sins, thankfulness for your benefits, fear of your judgment, love of your mercies, and mindfulness of your presence; now and for ever.”  (Prayer by John Cosin) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar23.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo, Patron of Native rights; Latin American bishops; Peru (1538-1606)
Bishop and defender of the rights of the native Indians in Peru, Born in Mayorga, Spain, he studied law and became a lawyer and then professor at Salamanca, receiving appointment-despite being a layman-as chief judge of the court of Inquisition at Granada under King Philip II of Spain. The king subsequently appointed him in 1580 to the post of archbishop of Lima, Peru. After receiving ordination and then consecration, he arrived in Peru in 1581 and soon demonstrated a deep zeal to reform the archdiocese and a determination to do all in his power to aid the poor and defend the rights of the Indians who were then suffering severely under Spanish occupation. He founded schools, churches, hospitals, and the first seminary in the New World. To assist his pastoral work among the Indians, he also mastered several Indian dialects. He was canonized in 1726. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2357

More Saints of the Day:
St. Benedict of Campania
St. Domitius
St. Ethelwald
St. Felix
St. Fidelis
St. Joseph Oriol
St. Julian
St. Nicon
St. Rafqa
St. Theodulus
St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo
St. Victorian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 239

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalms 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20: Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032217.cfm

Reflection:  Do you view God’s law negatively or positively? Jesus’ attitude towards the law of God can be summed up in the great prayer of Psalm 119: “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” For the people of Israel the “law” could refer to the ten commandments or to the five Books of Moses, called the Pentateuch, which explain the commandments and ordinances of God for his people. The “law” also referred to the whole teaching or way of life which God gave to his people. The Jews in Jesus’ time also used it as a description of the oral or scribal law. Needless to say, the scribes added many more things to the law than God intended. That is why Jesus often condemned the scribal law. It placed burdens on people which God had not intended. Jesus, however, made it very clear that the essence of God’s law – his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled.

Jesus taught reverence for God’s law – reverence for God himself, for the Lord’s Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person’s good name, respect for oneself and for one’s neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master us. Reverence and respect for God’s commandments teach us the way of love – love of God and love of neighbor.

The transforming work of the Holy Spirit
What is impossible to men and women is possible to God and those who put their faith and trust in God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Lord transforms us and makes us like himself. We are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). God gives us the grace to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think as he thinks, and to act as he acts.

The Lord loves justice and goodness and he hates every form of wickedness and sin. He wants to set us free from our unruly desires and sinful habits, so that we can choose to live each day in the peace, joy, and righteousness of his Holy Spirit (Romans 14: 17). To renounce sin is to turn away from what is harmful and destructive for our minds and hearts, and our very lives. As his followers we must love and respect his commandments and hate every form of sin. Do you love and revere the commands of the Lord?

“Lord Jesus, grant this day, to direct and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, so that all our thoughts, words and deeds may be according to your Father’s law and thus may we be saved and protected through your mighty help.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar22.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Lea
A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its Superior. Since his correspondence was acquainted with the details of St. Lea’s life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died. “Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth. “So it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham’s bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb. “Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer.” Her feast day is March 22. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=856

More Saints of the Day:
St. Basil of Ancyra
St. Benvenutus Scotivoli
St. Callinica & Basilissa
St. Darerca of Ireland
St. Deogratius
St. Epaphroditus
St. Humilitas
St. Lea
St. Nicholas Owen
St. Octavian
St. Paul of Narbonne
St. Saturninus
St. Trien

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238

First Reading: Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalms 25:4-9: Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032117.cfm

Reflection:  Who doesn’t have debts they need to pay off! And who wouldn’t be grateful to have someone release them from their debts? But can we really expect mercy and pardon when we owe someone a great deal? When the people of Israel sinned and rebelled against God, God left them to their own devices until they repented and cried out to him for mercy. The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament recounts the story of Daniel and his three young friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. When the King of Babylon threw Daniel’s three friends into the fiery furnace, they cried out to God to have mercy not only on themselves, but to have mercy upon all his people. “Do not put us to shame, but deal with us in your forbearance and in your abundant mercy” (Daniel 3:19-43).

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God’s “mercies never come to an end – they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God gives grace to the humble and he shows mercy to those who turn to him for healing and pardon.

We owe God a debt we could never repay
God’s mercy towards each one of us shows us the way that God wants each one of us to be merciful towards one another. When Peter posed the question of forgiveness and showing mercy to one’s neighbor, he characteristically offered an answer he thought Jesus would be pleased with. Why not forgive your neighbor seven times! How unthinkable for Jesus to counter with the proposition that one must forgive seventy times that. Jesus made it clear that there is no reckonable limit to mercy and pardon. And he drove the lesson home with a parable about two very different kinds of debts. The first man owed an enormous sum of money – millions in our currency. In Jesus’ time this amount was greater than the total revenue of a province – more than it would cost to ransom a king! The man who was forgiven such an incredible debt could not, however bring himself to forgive his neighbor a very small debt which was about one- hundred-thousandth of his own debt. The contrast could not have been greater!

Jesus paid the price in full for our guilt and condemnation
Paul the Apostle tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). There is no way we could repay God the debt we owed him because of our sins and offenses. Only his mercy and pardon could free us from such a debt. There is no offense our neighbor can do to us that can compare with our debt to God! If God has forgiven each of us our own debt, which was very great, we, too must forgive others the debt they owe us.

Jesus ransomed us from slavery to sin and eternal death
Through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sins on the cross, we have been forgiven a debt beyond all reckoning. It cost God his very own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to ransom us with the price of his blood. Jesus paid the price for us and won for us pardon for our sins and freedom from slavery to our unruly desires and sinful habits. God in his mercy offers us the grace and help of his Holy Spirit so we can love as he loves, pardon as he pardons, and treat others with the same mercy and kindness which he has shown to us.

True peace with God
God has made his peace with us. Have you made your peace with God? If you believe and accept God’s love and and pardon for you, then you likewise must choose to be merciful towards those who are in debt to you. Are you ready to forgive and to make peace with your neighbor as God has made peace with you?

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury let me sow pardon. Where there is doubt let me sow faith. Where there is despair let me give hope. Where there is darkness let me give light. Where there is sadness let me give joy.” (Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar21.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Enda
Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained. He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed. With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=856

More Saints of the Day:
St. Arcangelo Tadini
St. Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello
St. Birillus
St. Enda
St. Lupicinus
Bl. Maria Candida of the Eucharist
St. Nicholas of Flue
St. Philemon and Domninus
St. Serapion the Scholastic

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 543

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16
Psalms 89:2-5, 27, 29: The son of David will live for ever.
Second Reading: Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22
Gospel: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032017.cfm

Reflection:  Are you prepared to obey the Lord in everything? Faith in God’s word and obedience to his commands go hand in hand. Joseph, like Mary, is a model of faith and justice. Matthew tells us that Joseph was a “just man”. John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), a gifted preacher and bishop of Constantinople, comments on the great virtue we see in Joseph which qualified him to be a worthy guardian and foster father for the child Jesus:

“The concept of ‘just’ here signifies the man who possesses all the virtues. By ‘justice’ one at times understands only one virtue in particular, as in the phrase: the one who is not avaricious (greedy) is just. But ‘justice’ also refers to virtue in general. And it is in this sense, above all, that scripture uses the word ‘justice’. For example, it refers to: a just man and true (cf. Job 1:1), or the two were just (cf. Luke 1:6). Joseph, then, being just, that is to say good and charitable…”

Joseph believed and obeyed God’s instruction
Joseph’s faith was put to the test when he discovered that his espoused wife Mary was pregnant. Joseph, being a just and God-fearing man, did not wish to embarrass, punish, or expose Mary to harm. To all outward appearances it looked as if she had broken their solemn pledge to be chaste and faithful to one another. Joseph, no doubt took this troubling matter to God in prayer. He was not hasty to judge or to react with hurt or anger.

God rewarded him not only with guidance and consolation, but with the divine assurance that he had indeed called Joseph to be the husband of Mary and to assume a mission that would require the utmost faith, confidence, and trust in Almighty God. Joseph believed in the divine message to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah, who is both the only begotten Son of God and son of Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Joseph is a man of faith and fatherly care
Joseph was a worthy successor to the great patriarchs of the old covenant – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joseph followed the call of God through the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the coming of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah who fulfilled all the promises made to Abraham and his offspring. God entrusted this silent, humble man with the unique privilege of raising, protecting, teaching, and training Jesus as a growing child. Joseph accepted his role of fatherly care with faith, trust, and obedience to the will of God. He is a model for all who are entrusted with the care, instruction, and protection of the young. Joseph is a faithful witness and servant of God’s unfolding plan of redemption.

The Lord guides and strengthens all who trust in him
Are you ready to put your trust in the Lord to give you his help and guidance in fulfilling your responsibilities? God gives strength and guidance to those who seek his help, especially when we face trials, doubts, fears, perplexing circumstances, and what seems like insurmountable problems and challenges in our personal lives. God our heavenly Father has not left us alone, but has given us his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be our savior, teacher, lord, and healer. Where do you need God’s help, strength, and guidance? Ask the Lord to increase your faith and trust in his promises and in his guiding hand in your life.

“Lord Jesus, you came to free us from the power of sin, fear, and death, and to heal and restore us to wholeness of life. May I always trust in your saving help, guidance, wisdom, and plan for my life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar20.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Bl. John of Parma
John Buralli, the seventh minister general of the Franciscans, was born at Parma in the year 1209, and he was already teaching logic there when at the age of twenty-five, he joined the Franciscans. He was sent to Paris to study and, after he had been ordained, to teach and preach in Bologna, Naples and Rome. He preached so well that crowds of people came to hear his sermons, even very important persons flocked to hear him.  In the year 1247, John was chosen Minister General of the Order of Franciscans. He had a very difficult task because the members of his community were not living up to their duties, due to the poor leadership of Brother Elias. Brother Salimbene, a fellow townsman who worked closely with John, kept an accurate record of Johns activities. From this record, we learn that John was strong and robust, so that he was always kind and pleasant no matter how tired he was. He was the first among the Ministers General to visit the whole Order, and he traveled always on foot. He was so humble that when he visited the different houses of the Order, he would often help the Brother wash vegetables in the kitchen. He loved silence so that he could think of God and he never spoke an idle word. When he began visiting the various houses of his Order, he went to England first. When King Henry III heard that John came to see him, the King went out to meet him and embraced the humble Friar. When John was in France, he was visited by St. Louis IX who, on the eve of his departure for the Crusades, came to ask John’s prayers and blessing on his journey. The next place John visited was Burgundy and Provence. At Arles, a friar from Parma, John of Ollis, came to ask a favor. He asked John if he and Brother Salimbene could be allowed to preach. John, however, did not want to make favorites of his Brothers. He said, “even if you were my blood brothers, I would not give you that permission without an examination.” John of Ollis then said, “Then if we must be examined, will you call on Brother Hugh to examine us?” Hugh, the former provincial was in the house, but since he was a friend of John of Ollis and Salimbene, he would not allow it. Instead, he called the lecturer and tutor of the house. Brother Salimbene passed the test, but John of Ollis was sent back to take more studies. Trouble broke out in Paris where John had sent St. Bonaventure who was one of the greatest scholars of the Friars Minor. Blessed John went to Paris and was so humble and persuasive that the University Doctor who had caused the trouble, could only reply, “Blessed are you, and blessed are your words”. Then John went back to his work at restoring discipline to his Order. Measures were taken to make sure the Friars obeyed the Rules of the Order. In spite of all his efforts, Blessed John was bitterly opposed. He became convinced that he was not capable of carrying out the reforms that he felt was necessary. So he resigned his office and nominated St. Bonaventure as his successor. John retired to the hermitage of Greccio, the place where St. Francis had prepared the first Christmas crib. He spent the last thirty years of his life there in retirement. He died on March 19, 1289 and many miracles were soon reported at his tomb. His feast day is March 20th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=487

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexandra and Companions
St. Anastasius XVI
St. Archippus
St. Benignus
St. Cuthbert
St. Herbert of Derwentwater
Bl. John of Parma
St. John, Sergius, & Companions
St. Josef Bilczewski
St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra
St. Martin of Braga
St. Nicetas
St. Paul and Companions
St. Photina
St. Tetricus
St. Urbitius
St. William of Penacorada
St. Wulfram of Sens

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Third Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 28

First Reading: Exodus 17:3-7
Psalms 95:1-2, 6-9: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
Gospel: John 4:5-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”Top of Form
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031917.cfm

Reflection:  Would you do a favor for someone who snubbed you or treated you like an enemy? Jesus did just that and more! He treated the Samaritans, the sworn enemies of the Jews, with great kindness and respect. The Samaritans who lived in middle region of Israel between Galilee and Judaea and the Jews who lived in the rest of the land of Israel had been divided for centuries. They had no dealings with one another, avoiding all social contact, even trade, and inter-marriage. If their paths crossed it would not be unusual for hostility to break out.

When Jesus decided to pass through Samaria he stopped at Jacob’s well because it was mid-day and he was both tired from the journey and thirsty. Jacob’s well was a good mile and a half from the nearest town, called Sychar. It wasn’t easy to draw water from this well since it was over a hundred feet deep. Jesus had neither rope nor bucket to fetch the water.

When a Samaritan woman showed up at the well, both were caught by surprise. Why would a Samaritan woman walk a mile and a half in the mid-day heat to fetch her water at a remote well rather than in her local town? She was an outcast and not welcomed among her own townspeople. Jesus then did something no respectable Jew would think of doing. He reached out to her, thus risking ritual impurity and scorn from his fellow Jews. He also did something no strict Rabbi would dare to do in public without loss to his reputation. He treated the woman like he would treat one of his friends – he greeted her and spoke at length with her. Jesus’ welcoming approach to her was scandalous to both Jews and Samaritans because this woman was an adulteress and public sinner as well. No decent Jew or Samaritan would even think of being seen with such a woman, let alone exchanging a word with her!

Jesus broke through the barriers of prejudice, hostility, and tradition to bring the good news of peace and reconciliation to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles alike. He demonstrated the universality of the gospel both in word and deed. No one is barred from the love of God and the good news of salvation. There is only one thing that can keep us from God and his redeeming love – our stubborn pride and wilful rebellion.

What is the point of Jesus’ exchange with the Samaritan woman about water? Water in the arid land was scarce. Jacob’s well was located in a strategic fork of the road between Samaria and Galilee. One can live without food for several days, but not without water. Water is a source of life and growth for all living things. When rain came to the desert, the water transformed the wasteland into a fertile field.

The kind of water which Jesus spoke about was living, running, fresh, pure water. Fresh water from a cool running stream was always preferred to the still water one might find in a pool or resevoir. When the Israelites complained about lack of water in the wilderness, God instructed Moses to strike the rock and a stream of fresh living water gushed out (Exodus17:6 ). Even though the Israelites did not trust God to care for them in the wilderness, God, nonetheless gave them abundant water and provision through the intercession of his servant Moses.

The image of “living water” is used throughout the scriptures as a symbol of God’s wisdom, a wisdom that imparts life and blessing to all who receive it. “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14).  “Living water” was also a symbol for the Jews of thirst of the soul for God. The water which Jesus spoke of symbolized the Holy Spirit and his work of recreating us in God’s image and sustaining in us the new life which comes from God. The life which the Holy Spirit produces in us makes us a “new creation” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Do you thirst for God and for the life of the Holy Spirit within you?

Hippolytus (170-236 AD), an early Christian writer and theologian who lived in Rome, explains the significance of the Holy Spirit’s work in us:

“This is the water of the Spirit: It refreshes paradise, enriches the earth, gives life to living things. It is the water of Christ’s baptism; it is our life. If you go with faith to this renewing fountain, you renounce Satan your enemy and confess Christ your God. You cease to be a slave and become an adopted son. You come forth radiant as the sun and brilliant with justice. You come forth a son of God and fellow-heir with Christ.” (From a sermon, On the Epiphany)

Basil the Great (330-379 AD), a great early Christian teacher and Greek bishop of Caesarea,  speaks in a similar manner:

“The Spirit restores paradise to us and the way to heaven and adoption as children of God; he instills confidence that we may call God truly Father and grants us the grace of Christ to be children of the light and to enjoy eternal glory. In a word, he bestows the fullness of blessings in this world and the next; for we may contemplate now in the mirror of faith the promised things we shall someday enjoy. If this is the foretaste, what must the reality be? If these are the first fruits, what must be the harvest?” (From the treatise, The Holy Spirit)

“Lord Jesus, my soul thirsts for you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may always find joy in your presence and take delight in doing your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar19.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, unborn children, fathers, workers, travelers, immigrants, and a happy death (d. 18))
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly to not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him, 20 “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).

When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God’s commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus’ birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Apocryphal Date for Joseph’s birth is 90 BC in Bethlehem and the Apocryphal Date of his death is July 20, AD 18 in Nazareth.

Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker. March 19 has been the most commonly celebrated feast day for Joseph, and it wasn’t until 1955 that Pope Pius XII established the Feast of “St. Joseph the Worker” to be celebrated on May 1. This is also May Day (International Workers’ Day) and believed to reflect Joseph’s status as the patron of workers.

Many places and churches all over the world are named after St. Joseph, including the Spanish form, San Jose, which is the most commonly named place in the world. Joseph is considered by many to also be the patron saint of the New World; of the countries China, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Peru, Vietnam; of the regions Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol, Sicily; and of several main cities and dioceses.

In art, Joseph is typically portrayed as an older man, with grey hair and a beard, often balding, sometimes appearing frail and a marginal figure next to Mary and Jesus, if not entirely in the background. Some statues of Joseph show his staff topped with flowers. St. Joseph is shown with the attributes of a carpenter’s square or tools, the infant Jesus, his lily blossomed staff, two turtle doves, or a spikenard.

There is much we still wish we could know about Joseph — exactly where and when he was born, how he spent his days, exactly when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18). http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adrian
St. Gemus
St. John the Syrian of Pinna
St. Joseph
St. Lactali
St. Landoald
St. Leontius
St. Pancharius
St. Quintius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Saturday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 235

First Reading: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalms 103:1-4, 9-12: The Lord is kind and merciful.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031817.cfm

Reflection:  How can you love someone who turns their back on you and still forgive them from the heart? The prophets remind us that God does not abandon us, even if we turn our backs on him (Micah 7:18). He calls us back to himself – over and over and over again. Jesus’ story of the father and his two sons (sometimes called the parable of the prodigal son) is the longest parable in the Gospels.

What is the main point or focus of the story? Is it the contrast between an obedient and a disobedient son or is it between the warm reception given to a spendthrift son by his father and the cold reception given by the eldest son? Jesus contrasts the father’s merciful love with the eldest son’s somewhat harsh reaction to his errant brother and to the lavish party his joyful father throws for his repentant son. While the errant son had wasted his father’s money, his father, nonetheless, maintained unbroken love for his son.

The son, while he was away, learned a lot about himself. And he realized that his father had given him love which he had not returned. He had yet to learn about the depth of his father’s love for him. His deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed on the husks of pigs and his reflection on all he had lost, led to his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father. While he hoped for reconciliation with his father, he could not have imagined a full restoration of relationship. The father did not need to speak words of forgiveness to his son; his actions spoke more loudly and clearly! The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet symbolize the new life – pure, worthy, and joyful – of anyone who returns to God.

The prodigal could not return to the garden of innocence, but he was welcomed and reinstated as a son. The errant son’s dramatic change from grief and guilt to forgiveness and restoration express in picture-language the resurrection from the dead, a rebirth to new life from spiritual death. The parable also contrasts mercy and its opposite – unforgiveness. The father who had been wronged, was forgiving. But the eldest son, who had not been wronged, was unforgiving. His unforgiveness turns into contempt and pride. And his resentment leads to his isolation and estrangement from the community of forgiven sinners.

In this parable Jesus gives a vivid picture of God and what God is like. God is truly kinder than us. He does not lose hope or give up when we stray. He rejoices in finding the lost and in welcoming them home. Do you know the joy of repentance and the restoration of relationship as a son or daughter of your heavenly Father?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as you are merciful.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar18.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)
“Make your fold with the sheep; flee from the wolves: depart not from the Church,” Cyril admonished catechumens surrounded by heresy. These were prophetic words for Cyril was to be hounded by enemies and heretics for most of his life, and although they could exile him from his diocese he never left his beloved Church.

Cyril’s life began a few years before Arianism (the heresy that Jesus was not divine or one in being with the Father) and he lived to see its suppression and condemnation at the end of his life. In between he was the victim of many of the power struggles that took place.

We know little about Cyril’s early life. Historians estimate he was born about 315 and that he was brought up in Jerusalem. He speaks about the appearance of the sites of the Nativity and Holy Sepulchre before they were “improved” by human hands as if he were a witness. All we know of his family were that his parents were probably Christians and he seemed to care for them a great deal. He exhorted catechumens to honor parents “for however much we may repay them, yet we can never be to them what they as parents have been to us.” We know he also had a sister and a nephew, Gelasius, who became a bishop and a saint.

He speaks as one who belonged to a group called the Solitaries. These were men who lived in their own houses in the cities but practiced a life of complete chastity, ascetism, and service.

After being ordained a deacon and then a priest, his bishop Saint Maximus respected him enough to put him in charge of the instruction of catechumens. We still have these catechetical lectures of Cyril’s that were written down by someone in the congregation. When speaking of so many mysteries, Cyril anticipated the question, “But some one will say, If the Divine substance is incomprehensible, why then do you discourse of these things? So then, because I cannot drink up all the river, am I not even to take in moderation what is expedient for me? Because with eyes so constituted as mine I cannot take in all the sun, am I not even to look upon it enough to satisfy my wants? Or again, because I have entered into a great garden, and cannot eat all the supply of fruits, would you have me go away altogether hungry?.. I am attempting now to glorify the Lord, but not to describe him, knowing nevertheless that I shall fall short of glorifying God worthily, yet deeming it a work of piety even to attempt it at all.”

When Maximus died, Cyril was consecrated as bishop of Jerusalem. Because he was supported by the Arian bishop of Caesarea, Acacius, the orthodox criticized the appointment and the Arians thought they had a friend. Both factions were wrong, but Cyril wound up in the middle.

When a famine hit Jerusalem, the poor turned to Cyril for help. Cyril, seeing the poor starving to death and having no money, sold some of the goods of the churches. This was something that other saints including Ambrose and Augustine had done and it probably saved many lives. There were rumors, however, that some of the vestments wound up as clothing for actors.

Actually, the initial cause of the falling out between Acacius and Cyril was territory not beliefs. As bishop of Caesarea, Acacia had authority over all the bishops of Palestine. Cyril argued that his authority did not include Jerusalem because Jerusalem was an “apostolic see” — one of the original sees set up by the apostles. When Cyril did not appear at councils that Acacius called, Acacius accused him of selling church goods to raise money and had him banished.

Cyril stayed in Tarsus while waiting for an appeal. Constantius called a council where the appeal was supposed to take place. The council consisted of orthodox, Arians, and semi-Arian bishops. When Acacius and his faction saw that Cyril and other exiled orthodox bishops were attending, they demanded that the persecuted bishops leave. Acacius walked out when the demand was not met. The other bishops prevailed on Cyril and the others to give in to this point because they didn’t want Acacius to have reason to deny the validity of the council. Acacius returned but left again for good when his creed was rejected — and refused to come back even to give testimony against his enemy Cyril. The result of the council was the Acacius and the other Arian bishops were condemned. There’s no final judgment on Cyril’s case but it was probably thrown out when Acacius refused to testify and Cyril returned to Jerusalem.

This was not the end of Cyril’s troubles because Acacius carried his story to the emperor — embellishing it with details that it was a gift of the emperor’s that was sold to a dancer who died wearing the robe. This brought about a new synod run by Acacius who now had him banished again on the basis of what some bishops of Tarsus had done while Cyril was there.

This exile lasted until Julian became emperor and recalled all exiled bishops, orthodox or Arian. Some said this was to exacerbate tension in the Church and increase his imperial power. So Cyril returned to Jerusalem. When Acacius died, each faction nominated their own replacement for Caesarea. Cyril appointed his nephew Gelasius — which may seem like nepotism, except that all orthodox sources spoke of Gelasius’ holiness. A year later both Cyril and Gelasius were driven out of Palestine again as the new emperor’s consul reversed Julian’s ruling.

Eleven years later, Cyril was allowed to go back to find a Jerusalem destroyed by heresy and strife. He was never able to put things completely right. He did attend the Council at Constantinople in 381 where the Nicene Creed and orthodoxy triumphed and Arianism was finally condemned. Cyril received justice at the same Council who cleared him of all previous rumors and commended him for fighting “a good fight in various places against the Arians.”

Cyril had eight years of peace in Jerusalem before he died in 386, at about seventy years old. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander of Jerusalem
St. Anselm of Lucca
St. Anselm of Lucca
Bl. Christian O’Conarchy
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Edward the Martyr
St. Frediano
St. Humphrey
St. Narcissus and Felix
St. Salvatore
St. Salvator of Horta
Sts. Trophimus & Eucarpius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Friday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 234

First Reading: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Psalms 105:16-21: Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet. Bottom of Form
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031717.cfm

Reflection:  Do you ever feel cut off or separated from God? Joseph was violently rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. His betrayal and suffering, however, resulted in redemption and reconciliation for his brothers. “Fear not, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:19-20). Joseph prefigures Jesus who was betrayed by one of his own disciples and put to death on the cross for our redemption. Jesus came to reconcile us with an all-just and all-merciful God. His parables point to the mission he came to accomplish – to bring us the kingdom of God.

Parable of the vineyard
What is the message of the parable of the vineyard? Jesus’ story about an absentee landlord and his not-so-good tenants would have made sense to his audience. The hills of Galilee were lined with numerous vineyards, and it was quite common for the owners to let out their estates to tenants. Many did it for the sole purpose of collecting rent.Why did Jesus’ story about wicked tenants cause offense to the scribes and Pharisees? It contained both a prophetic message and a warning. Isaiah had spoken of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:7). Jesus’ listeners would have likely understood this parable as referring to God’s dealing with a stubborn and rebellious people.

This parable speaks to us today as well. It richly conveys some important truths about God and the way he deals with his people. First, it tells us of God’s generosity and trust. The vineyard is well equipped with everything the tenants need. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. God, likewise trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose. This parable also tells us of God’s patience and justice. Not once, but many times he forgives the tenants their debts. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner’s patience, his judgment and justice prevail in the end.

Gift of the kingdom
Jesus foretold both his death on the cross and his ultimate triumph. He knew he would be rejected and be killed, but he also knew that would not be the end. After rejection would come glory – the glory of his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Lord blesses his people today with the gift of his kingdom. And he promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him (see John 15:1-11). He entrusts his gifts and grace to each of us and he gives us work to do in his vineyard – the body of Christ. He promises that our labor will not be in vain if we persevere with faith to the end (see 1 Corinthians 15:58). We can expect trials and even persecution. But in the end we will see triumph. Do you serve the Lord Jesus with joyful hope and confidence in his victory and gift of abundant life?

“Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us – for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, for your own sake.” (prayer of St. Richard of Chichester, 13th century) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar16.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Patrick (387-462)
St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.

A few years after returning home, Patrick saw a vision he described in his memoir:

“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'”

The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years, and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland.

Patrick arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. There are several legends about what happened next, with the most prominent claiming he met the chieftan of one of the druid tribes, who tried to kill him. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people -eventually thousands – and he began building churches across the country.

He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church. He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. His grave was marked in 1990 with a granite stone. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89

More Saints of the Day:
St. Ambrose of Alexandria
St. Gertrude of Nivelles
St. Jan Sarkander
St. Joseph of Arimathea
St. Patrick
St. Paul of Cyprus
Bl. Peter Lieou

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 233

First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031617.cfm

Reflection:  What sustains you when trials and affliction come your way? The prophet Jeremiah tells us that whoever relies on God will not be disappointed or be in want when everything around them dries up or disappears (Jeremiah 17:7-8). God will not only be their consolation, but their inexhaustible source of hope and joy as well.

Jesus’ parable about the afflictions of the poor man Lazarus brings home a similar point. In this story Jesus paints a dramatic scene of contrasts – riches and poverty, heaven and hell, compassion and indifference, inclusion and exclusion. We also see an abrupt and dramatic reversal of fortune. Lazarus was not only poor, but sick and unable to fend for himself.  He was “laid” at the gates of the rich man’s house. The dogs which licked his sores probably also stole the little bread he got for himself. Dogs in the ancient world symbolized contempt. Enduring the torment of these savage dogs only added to the poor man’s miseries and sufferings. The rich man treated the beggar with contempt and indifference, until he found his fortunes reversed at the end of his life! In God’s economy, those who hold on possessively to what they have, lose it all in the end, while those who share generously receive back many times more than they gave way.

The name Lazarus means God is my help. Despite a life of misfortune and suffering, Lazarus did not lose hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven. The rich man, however, could not see beyond his material wealth and possessions. He not only had every thing he needed, he selfishly spent all he had on himself. He was too absorbed in what he possessed to notice the needs of those around him. He lost sight of God and  the treasure of heaven because he was preoccupied with seeking happiness in material things. He served wealth rather than God. In the end the rich man became a beggar!

Do you know the joy and freedom of possessing God as your true and lasting treasure? Those who put their hope and security in heaven will not be disappointed (see Hebrews 6:19).

“Lord Jesus, you are my joy and my treasure. Make me rich in the things of heaven and give me a generous heart  that I may freely share with others the spiritual and material treasures you have given to me.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar16.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Abban (d. 620)
Abbot and Irish missionary. An Irish prince, Abban was the son of King Cormac of Leinster. He is listed as the nephew of St. Ibar. Abban founded many churches in the old district of Ui Cennselaigh, in modern County Wexford and Ferns. His main monastery is Magheranoidhe, in Adamstown, Ireland. This monastery’s fame is attributed in some records to another Abban, that of New Ross. Abban is also associated with Kill-Abban Abbey in Leinster, serving as abbot there until March 16, 620. He is revered in Adamstown, which was once called Abbanstown. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=516

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abban
St. Aninus
St. Dentlin
St. Eusebia
St. Finian Lobhar
St. Finian Munnu
St. Hilary
Bl. John Amias
Bl. John Cacciafronte
St. Julian of Antioch
St. Megingaud
St. Patrick of Malaga
Bl. Robert Dalby

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Wednesday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 232

First Reading: Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalms 31:5-6, 14-16: Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031517.cfm

Reflection:  Who or what takes first place in your life? You and what you want to do with your life or God and what he desires for you? When personal goals and ambitions are at odds with God’s will, whose will prevails? The prophet Jeremiah spoke a word that was at odds with what the people wanted. The word which Jeremiah spoke was not his personal opinion but the divinely inspired word which God commanded him to speak. Jeremiah met stiff opposition and even threats to his life for speaking God’s word. Jeremiah pleaded with God when others plotted to not only silence him but to destroy him as well. Jesus also met stiff opposition from those who opposed his authority to speak and act in God’s name. Jesus prophesied that he would be rejected by the religious authorities in Jerusalem and be condemned to death by crucifixion – the most painful and humiliating death the Romans had devised for enemies who opposed their authority.

Jesus called himself the “Son of Man” (Matthew 20:17) – a prophetic title for the Messiah which came from the Book of Daniel. Daniel was given a prophetic vision of a “Son of Man” who is given great authority and power to rule over the earth on behalf of God. But if Jesus is the Messiah and “Son of Man” prophesied by Daniel, why must he be rejected and killed? Did not God promise that his Anointed One would deliver his people from their oppression and establish a kingdom of peace and justice? The prophet Isaiah had foretold that it was God’s will that the “Suffering Servant” who is “God’s Chosen One” (Isaiah 42:1) must first make atonement for sins through his suffering and death (Isaiah 53:5-12) and then be raised to establish justice on the earth (Isaiah 42:4). Jesus paid the price for our redemption with his own blood. Jesus’ life did not end with death on the cross – he triumphed over the grave when he rose victorious on the third day. If we want to share in the Lord’s victory over sin and death then we will need to follow his way of the cross by renouncing my will for his will, and my way for his way of self-sacrificing love and holiness.

Seeking privilege and power
Right after Jesus had prophesied his impending death on the cross, the mother of James and John brought her sons before Jesus privately for a special request. She asked on their behalf for Jesus to grant them a special status among the disciples, namely to be placed in the highest position of privilege and power. Rulers placed their second-in-command at their right and left side. James and John were asking Jesus to place them above their fellow disciples.

Don’t we often do the same? We want to get ahead and get the best position where we can be served first. Jesus responds by telling James and John that they do not understand what they are really asking for. The only way one can advance in God’s kingdom is by submitting one’s whole life in faith and obedience to God. Jesus surrendered his will to the will of his Father – he willingly chose the Father’s path to glory – a path that would lead to suffering and death, redemption and new life.

When the other ten disciples heard what James and John had done, they were very resentful and angry. How unfair for James and John to seek first place for themselves. Jesus called the twelve together and showed them the true and rightful purpose for seeking power and position – to serve the good of others with love and righteousness. Authority without love, a love that is oriented towards the good of others, easily becomes self-serving and brutish.

Jesus does the unthinkable – he reverses the order and values of the world’s way of thinking. If you want to be great then become a servant for others. If you want to be first, then became a slave rather than a master. How shocking and contradictory these words must have rang in the disciples ears and in our own ears as well! Power and position are tools that can be used to serve and advance one’s own interests or to serve the interests of others. In the ancient world servants and slaves had no personal choice – they were compelled to serve the interests of their masters and do whatever they were commanded.

Freedom and servanthood
The model of servanthood which Jesus presents to his disciples is based on personal choice and freedom – the decision to put others first in my care and concern and the freedom to serve them with love and compassion rather than with fear or desire for reward. That is why the Apostle Paul summed up Jesus’ teaching on freedom and love with the exhortation, “For freedom Christ has set us free… only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [for indulging in sinful and selfish desires], but through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:1,13). Jesus, the Lord and Master, sets himself as the example. He told his disciples that he “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). True servanthood is neither demeaning nor oppressive because its motivating force is love rather than pride or fear.

The Lord Jesus summed up his mission by telling his disciples that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The shedding of his blood on the cross was the payment for our sins – a ransom that sets us free from slavery to wrong and hurtful desires and addictions. Jesus laid down his life for us. This death to self is the key that sets us free to offer our lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and love for the Lord and for the people he calls us to serve.

Can you drink my cup?
The Lord Jesus asks each of us the same question he asked of James and John,  “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink”? The cup he had in mind was a cup of sacrificial service and death to self – even death on a cross. What kind of cup might the Lord Jesus have in mind for each one of us who are his followers? For some disciples such a cup will entail physical suffering and the painful struggle of martyrdom – the readiness to die for one’s faith in Christ. But for many followers of Jesus Christ, it entails the long routine of the Christian life, with all its daily sacrifices, disappointments, set-backs, struggles, and temptations. A disciple must be ready to lay down his or her life in martyrdom for Christ and be ready to lay it down each and every day in the little and big sacrifices required as well.

An early church father summed up Jesus’ teaching with the expression “to serve is to reign with Christ”. We share in God’s reign by laying down our lives in humble service of one another as Jesus did for our sake. Are you ready to lay down your life and to serve others as Jesus did?

“Lord Jesus, make me a servant of love for your kingdom, that I may seek to serve rather than be served. Inflame my heart with your love that I may give generously and serve others joyfully for your sake.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar15.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Louise de Marillac (d.1660)
Louise de Marillac was born probably at Ferrieres-en-Brie near Meux, France, on August 12, 1591. She was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy. She desired to become a nun but on the advice of her confessor, she married Antony LeGras, an official in the Queen’s service, in 1613. After Antony’s death in 1625, she met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual adviser. She devoted the rest of her life to working with him. She helped direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected. In 1633 she set up a training center, of which she was Directress in her own home, for candidates seeking to help in her work. This was the beginning of the Sisters (or Daughters, as Vincent preferred) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though it was not formally approved until 1655). She took her vows in 1634 and attracted great numbers of candidates. She wrote a rule for the community, and in 1642, Vincent allowed four of the members to take vows. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Missions, with Louise as Superior. She traveled all over France establishing her Sisters in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions. By the time of her death in Paris on March 15, the Congregation had more than forty houses in France. Since then they have spread all over the world. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934, and was declared Patroness of Social Workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960. Her feast day is March 15th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=196

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aristobulus
Bl. Artemide Zatti
St. Clement Maria Hofbauer
St. Leocrita
St. Louise de Marillac
St. Mancius
St. Matrona
St. Menignus
St. Monaldus of Ancona
St. Nicander
St. Raymond of Fitero
Bl. William Hart

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 231

First Reading: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23: To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031417.cfm

Reflection:  Who doesn’t desire the praise and respect of others? We want others to see us at our best with all of our strengths and achievements – rather than at our worst with all of our faults and shortcomings. God sees us as we truly are – sinners and beggars always in need of his mercy, help, and guidance.

The prophet Isaiah warned both the rulers and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to humbly listen and submit to God’s teaching so they could learn to do good and to cease from evil (Isaiah 110,17). Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers and rulers of Israel, to teach and serve their people with humility and sincerity rather than with pride and self-promotion. They went to great lengths to draw attention to their religious status and practices. In a way they wanted to be good models of observant Jews. “See how well we observe all the ritual rules and regulations of our religion!” In their misguided zeal for religion they sought recognition and honor for themselves rather than for God. They made the practice of their faith a burden rather than a joy for the people they were supposed to serve.

True respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and to submit to his wisdom and guidance. We cannot be taught by God unless we first learn to listen to his word and then obey his instruction.

One Father and Teacher
Was Jesus against calling anyone a rabbi, the Jewish title for a teacher of God’s word (Matthew 23:7-8), or a father? The law of Moses in Scripture specifically instructed all fathers to be teachers and instructors for their children to help them understand and obey God’s instructions (Deuteronomy 6:7)? Why did Jesus rebuke the scribes and Pharisees, the religious authorities of the Jewish people, in the presence of his disciples? Jesus wanted to warn both his own disciples and the religious leaders about the temptation to seek honors and titles that draw attention to ourselves in place of God and his word. Pride tempts us to put ourselves first above others.

The Scriptures give ample warning about the danger of self-seeking pride: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:24).

Origen (185-254 AD), an early Christian teacher and bible scholar, reminds those who teach and lead to remember that they are first and foremost “disciples” and “servants” who sit at the feet of their Master and Teacher the Lord Jesus Christ:

“You have one teacher, and you are all brothers to each other…Whoever ministers with the divine word does not put himself forward to be called teacher, for he knows that when he performs well it is Christ who is within him. He should only call himself servant according to the command of Christ, saying, Whoever is greater among you, let him be the servant of all.”

True humility
Respect for God and for his ways inclines us to humility and to simplicity of heart – the willing readiness to seek the one true good who is God himself. What is the nature of true humility and why should we embrace it as essential for our lives? We can easily mistake humility as something demeaning or harmful to our sense of well-being and feeling good about ourselves. True humility is not feeling bad about yourself, or having a low opinion of yourself, or thinking of yourself as inferior to all others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, whereas a low self-opinion tends to focus our attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves honestly, with sober judgment, means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1-4).

A humble person makes a realistic assessment of oneself without illusion or pretense to be something one is not. A truly humble person regards oneself neither smaller nor larger than one truly is. True humility frees us to be ourselves as God regards us and to avoid falling into despair and pride. A humble person does not want to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others. Such a person is not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure. Do you know the joy of Christ-like humility and simplicity of heart?

Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly, the way God sees. Humility helps us to be teachable so we can acquire true knowledge, wisdom, and an honest view of reality. It directs our energy, zeal, and will to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others willingly and selflessly, for their own sake, rather than for our own. Paul the Apostle gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and… who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). Do you want to be a servant as Jesus loved and served others? The Lord Jesus gives us his heart – the heart of a servant who seeks the good of others and puts their interests first in his care and concern for them.

“Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of selfish pride and self-concern. Teach me to be humble as you are humble and to love others generously with selfless service and kindness.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar14.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Matilda, Patron of parents of large families (d. 968)
Matilda was the daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark. She was also known as Mechtildis and Maud. She was raised by her grandmother, the Abbess of Eufurt convent. Matilda married Henry the Fowler, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, in the year 909. He succeeded his father as Duke in the year 912 and in 919 succeeded King Conrad I to the German throne. She was noted for her piety and charitable works. She was widowed in the year 936, and supported her son Henry’s claim to his father’s throne. When her son Otto (the Great) was elected, she persuaded him to name Henry Duke of Bavaria after he had led an unsuccessful revolt. She was severely criticized by both Otto and Henry for what they considered her extravagant charities. She resigned her inheritance to her sons, and retired to her country home but was called to the court through the intercession of Otto’s wife, Edith. When Henry again revolted, Otto put down the insurrection in the year 941 with great cruelty. Matilda censored Henry when he began another revolt against Otto in the year 953 and for his ruthlessness in suppressing a revolt by his own subjects; at that time she prophesized his imminent death. When he did die in 955, she devoted herself to building three convents and a monastery, was left in charge of the kingdom when Otto went to Rome in 962 to be crowned Emperor (often regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire), and spent most of the declining years of her life at the convent at Nordhausen she had built. She died at the monastery at Quedlinburg on March 14 and was buried there with Henry. Her feast day is March 14th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=307

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Ambrose Fernandez
St. Boniface Curitan
St. Diaconus
Bl. Dominic Jorjes
St. Eutychius
Bl. Giacomo Cusmano
Martyrs of Valeria
St. Mathilda
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Monday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 230

First Reading: Daniel 9:4-10
Psalms 79:8-9, 11, 13: Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031317.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know and experience the mercy God has for you through the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you and for your sins upon the cross? The Lord Jesus took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross so that we could receive pardon rather than condemnation, freedom rather than slavery to sin, and healing for the wounds caused by sin, injustice, and evil.

God’s mercy knows no limits
God the Father never tires of showing his steadfast love and mercy to those who seek him. Scripture tells us that his mercies never cease. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (The Lamentations of Jeremiah 3:22-23). What can hold us back from receiving God’s mercy and pardon? Anger, resentment, an unwillingness to forgive or to ask for pardon can hold us back from the healing power and merciful love that has power to wash away guilt and condemnation, fear and anger, pride and resentment. The Lord Jesus offers us freedom to walk in his way of love and forgiveness, mercy and goodness.

Imitate God the Father’s mercy
We are called to be merciful towards one another just as our heavenly Father has been merciful towards each one of us. Do you quickly forgive those who wrong you or cause you grief or pain, or do you allow ill-will and resentment to grow in your heart? Do you pray for those who have lost sight of God’s mercy, pardon, truth, and justice?

In the Old Testament we see the example of Daniel, a man of great faith in God’s mercy and just ways, who prayed daily, not only for himself, but for his own people, and for his persecutors as well.  Daniel was ‘shamefaced’ before God because he recognized that his own people who had been called and chosen by God as the people of Israel, were now suffering in exile due to their sins and unfaithfulness to the covenant God had made with them (see Daniel 9:4-10). Daniel did not sit in judgment over the failings and sins of his own people, instead he pleaded with God for compassion, pardon, and restoration. Our shame will turn to joy and hope if we confess our sins and ask for God’s healing love and mercy..

Do not judge
Why does Jesus tell his followers to “not judge lest they be judged”? Jesus knew the human heart all too well. We judge too quickly or unfairly with mixed motives, impure hearts, and prejudiced minds. The heart must be cleansed first in order to discern right judgment with grace and mercy rather than with ill will and vengeance.

Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), a wise early Christian teacher and writer, comments on Jesus’ exhortation to not condemn:

Do not judge, that is, unjustly, so that you may not be judged, with regard to injustice. With the judgment that you judge shall you be judged. This is like the phrase “Forgive, and it will be forgiven you.” For once someone has judged in accordance with justice, he should forgive in accordance with grace, so that when he himself is judged in accordance with justice, he may be worthy of forgiveness through grace. Alternatively, it was on account of the judges, those who seek vengeance for themselves, that he said, “Do not condemn.” That is, do not seek vengeance for yourselves. Or, do not judge from appearances and opinion and then condemn, but admonish and advise. (COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON 6.18B.)

Grace and mercy
What makes true disciples of Jesus Christ different from those who do not know the Lord Jesus and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with forbearance, mercy, and loving-kindness. God shows his goodness to the unjust as well as to the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God always seeks what is best for each one of us and he teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and unkind towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return. Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil.

Overcome evil with mercy and goodness
How can we possibly love those who cause us grief, harm, or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who trust in his love and who seek his wisdom and help. The Lord is ready to work in and through us by his Holy Spirit, both to purify our minds and hearts and to help us do what is right, good, and loving in all circumstances. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5) God’s love conquers all, even our hurts, injuries, fears, and prejudices. Only the cross of Jesus Christ and his victory over sin can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment, and give us the courage to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Such love and grace has power to heal, restore, and transform us into the image of Christ. Do you know the power of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom, pardon, and joy. Transform my heart with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, or make me bitter towards anyone.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar13.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Bl. Agnello of Pisa
The founder of the English Franciscan province, Blessed Agnello, was admitted into the Order by St. Francis himself on the occasion of his sojourn in Pisa. He was sent to the Friary in Paris, of which he became the guardian, and in 1224, St. Francis appointed him to found an English province; at the time he was only a deacon. Eight others were selected to accompany him. True to the precepts of St. Francis, they had no money, and the monks of Fecamp paid their passage over to Dover. They made Canterbury their first stopping place, while Richard of Ingworth, Richard of Devon and two of the Italians went on to London to see where they could settle. It was the winter of 1224, and they must have suffered great discomfort, especially as their ordinary fare was bread and a little beer, which was so thick that it had to be diluted before they could swallow it. Nothing, however, dampened their spirits, and their simple piety, cheerfulness and enthusiasm soon won them many friends. They were able to produce a commendatory letter from Pope Honorius III, so that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Steven Langton, in announcing their arrival, said, “Some religious have come to me calling themselves penitents of the Order of Assisi, but I called them of the Order of the Apostles.” In the meantime, Richard of Ingworth and his party had been well received in London and hired a dwelling on Cornhill. They were now ready to push on to Oxford, and Agnello came from Canterbury to take charge of the London settlement. Everywhere the Friars were received with enthusiasm, and Matthew Paris himself attests that Blessed Agnello was on familiar terms with King Henry III. Agnello is thought to have died at the age of forty-one, only eleven years after he landed at Dover, but his reputation for sanctity and prudence stood high amongst his fellows. It is stated that his zeal for poverty was so great that “he would never permit any ground to be enlarged or any house to be built except as inevitable necessity required.” He was stern in resisting relaxations in the Rule, but his gentleness and tact led him to be chosen in 1233 to negotiate with the rebellious Earl Marshal. His health is said to have been undermined by his efforts in this cause and by a last painful journey to Italy. Opon his return he was seized with dysentery at Oxford and died there, after crying out for three days, “Come, Sweetest Jesus.” The cult of Blessed Agnello was confirmed in 1892; his feast is observed in the Archdiocese of Birmingham today and by the Friars Minor on the eleventh. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=480

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Agnello of Pisa
St. Agnellus of Pisa
St. Ansovinus
St. Euphrasia of Constantinople
St. Heldrad
St. Kevoca
St. Macedonius
St. Mochoemoc
St. Nicephorus
St. Ramirus and Companions
St. Roderic
St. Roderic and Salomon
St. Sabinus
St. Theusetas
St. Urpasian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 25

First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4
Psalms 33:4-5, 18-20, 22: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031217.cfm

Reflection:  Are you prepared to see the glory of the Lord and to share in his glory as well? God made a promise to Abraham that he would make him a channel of great blessing not only to his own family and future descendants but to all the families of the earth as well (Genesis 12:3)! The condition for the fulfillment of this promise was simple and straightforward – “Go from your family and country to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Abraham not only believed in God’s promise, he promptly obeyed and did as the Lord commanded him. God chose Abraham as his instrument of blessing – that through him and his descendants would come the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ who would reveal the glory and blessing of God’s kingdom and bring salvation for all who would call upon his name.

The Lord Jesus came to fulfill all that Moses and the prophets spoke
The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham and to his spiritual descendants. In all that Jesus did and said he sought to please his Father in heaven and to bring him glory. Like Abraham, he was ready to part with anything that might stand in the way of doing the will of God. He knew that the success of his mission would depend on his willingness to embrace his Father’s will no matter what it might cost him personally.

Jesus on three occasions told his disciples that he would undergo suffering and death on a cross to fulfill the mission the Father gave him. As the time draws near for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross, he takes three of his beloved disciples to the top of a high mountain. Just as Moses and Elijah were led to the mountain of God to discern their ultimate call and mission, so Jesus now appears with Moses and Elijah on the highest mountain overlooking the summit of the promised land. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light (Matthew 17:2).

Jesus reveals his glory to the apostles and to us
Why did Jesus appear in dazzling light with Moses and Elijah? The book of Exodus tells us that when Moses had met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (Exodus 34:29). Paul the Apostle wrote that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). After Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, had destroyed all the priests and idols of Baal in the land, he took refuge on the mountain of God at Sinai. There God showed Elijah his glory in great thunder, whirlwind, and fire, and then spoke with him in a still quiet voice. God questioned Elijah, “What are you doing here?” And then directed him to go and fulfill the mission given him by God. Jesus, likewise, appears in glory with Moses and Elijah, as if to confirm with them that he, too, is ready to fulfill the mission which the Father has sent him to accomplish.

Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he was faithful and willing to obey him in everything. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).

Christ’s way to glory
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father’s glory – follow me – obey my words. Take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessing of my Father’s kingdom – your name, too, will be written in heaven. Jesus fulfilled his mission on Calvary where he died for our sins so that Paradise and everlasting life would be restored to us. He embraced the cross to win a crown of glory – a crown that awaits each one of us, if we, too, will follow in his footsteps.

Origen (185-254 AD), a noted early church bible scholar and teacher, explains the significance of Jesus’ transfiguration for our own lives:

“Do you wish to see the transfiguration of Jesus? Behold with me the Jesus of the Gospels. Let him be simply apprehended. There he is beheld both “according to the flesh” and at the same time in his true divinity. He is beheld in the form of God according to our capacity for knowledge. This is how he was beheld by those who went up upon the lofty mountain to be apart with him. Meanwhile those who do not go up the mountain can still behold his works and hear his words, which are uplifting. It is before those who go up that Jesus is transfigured, and not to those below. When he is transfigured, his face shines as the sun, that he may be manifested to the children of light, who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. They are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the children of day. They walk honestly as in the day. Being manifested, he will shine to them not simply as the sun but as he is demonstrated to be, the sun of righteousness.” (Commentary on Matthew)

Luke’s Gospel tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the “unexamined life” can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.

We are partakers of his glory
Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Jesus Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?

“Lord Jesus, keep me always alert to you, to your word, your action, and your constant presence in my life. Let me see your glory.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar12.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Fina
St. Fina or Seraphina, Virgin A.D. 1253 The old town of San Geminiano in Tuscany treasures with special veneration the memory of Santa Fina, a young girl whose claim to be recognized as a saint lay in the perfect resignation with which she accepted bodily suffering. She was born of parents who had seen better days but had fallen into poverty. The child was pretty and attractive. Poor as she was she always kept half her food to give to those who were worse off than herself. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day, ;but spending much of the night in prayer. Her father seems to have died when she was still young and about the same time Fina was attacked by a sudden complication of diseases. Her head, hands, eyes, feet and internal organs were affected and paralysis supervened. She lost her good looks and became a miserable object. Desiring to be like our Lord on the cross, for six years she lay on a plank in one position, unable to turn or to move. Her mother had to leave her for hours while she went to work or beg, but Fina never complained. Although in terrible pain she always maintained serenity and with her eyes fixed upon the crucifix she kept on repeating,”It is not my wounds but thine, O Christ, that hurt me”. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=184

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alphege
St. Bernard of Carinola
St. Egdunus
St. Fina
Bl. Joseph Tshang-ta-Pong
Bl. Luigi Orine
St. Mamilian
St. Maximilian
St. Mura McFeredach
St. Paul Aurelian
St. Peter of Nicomedia
St. Peter the Deacon
St. Seraphina
St. Theophanes

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 229

First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031117.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know the love that conquers every fear, sin, and selfish desire? God renews his love for us each and every day. His love has the power to free us from every form of evil – selfishness, greed, anger, hatred, jealously and envy. In Jesus’ teaching on the law he does something quite remarkable and unheard of. He transforms the old law of justice and mercy with grace (favor) and loving-kindness.

Grace and loving-kindness
God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate or cause ill-will. Our love for others, including those who are ungrateful or selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return. Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil.

How can we possibly love as God loves and overcome evil with good? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. Do you know the power of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?

Perfect – made whole
Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Jesus’ command seems to parallel two passages from the Old Testament Scriptures. The first is where God instructed Abraham to “be perfect” or “blameless” before God (Genesis 17:1). The original meaning of “perfect” in Hebrew and the Aramaic dialect is “completeness” or “wholeness” – “not lacking in what is essential.”

The second passage that seems to parallel Jesus’ expression, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” is the command that God gave to Moses and the people of Israel to “be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44,45; 19:2). God made each of us in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). That is why he calls us to grow in maturity and wholeness so we can truly be like him – a people who love as he loves and who choose to do what is good and to reject what is evil and contrary to his will (Ephesians 4:13-16).

God knows our sinfulness and weaknesses better than we do – and he assures us of his love, mercy, and help. That is why he freely gives us his power, strength, and gifts so that we may not lack anything we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters (2 Peter 1:3). Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to purify and transform you in the image of the Father that you may walk in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar11.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Constantine
Constantine was king of Cornwall. Unreliable tradition has him married to the daughter of the king of Brittany who on her death ceded his throne to his son and became a monk at St. Mochuda monastery at Rahan, Ireland. He performed menial tasks at the monastery, then studied for the priesthood and was ordained. He went as a missionary to Scotland under St. Columba and then St. Kentigern, preached in Galloway, and became Abbot of a monastery at Govan. In old age, on his way to Kintyre, he was attacked by pirates who cut off his right arm, and he bled to death. He is regarded as Scotland’s first martyr. His feast day is March 11th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=612

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aengus
St. Amunia
St. Aurea
St. Benedict Crispus
St. Candidus
St. Constantine
St. Eulogius of Cordoba
St. Euthymius of Sardis
St. Firmian
St. Heraclius and Zosimus
St. Peter the Spaniard
St. Sophronius of Jerusalem
St. Teresa Margaret Redi
Sts. Trophimus & Thalus
St. Vigilius
St. Vindician

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Friday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 228

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalms 130:1-8: If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, 
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031017.cfm

Reflection:  Do you allow sin or anger to master your life? The first person to hate his brother was Cain. God warned Cain: ‘Why are you angry? ..Sin in couching at the door; it’s desire is for you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:6-7). Sin doesn’t just happen; it first grows as a seed in one’s heart. Unless it is mastered, by God’s grace, it grows like a weed and chokes the life out of us.

Do not allow the seed of anger and evil to grow in your heart
Jesus addressed the issue of keeping the commandments with his disciples. The scribes and Pharisees equated righteousness with satisfying the demands of the law. Jesus showed them how short they had come. Jesus points to the heart as the seat of desire, choice, and intention. Unless forbidden and evil desires are uprooted and cut-out, the heart will be poisoned and the body become a slave to sin and passion.

Jesus illustrates his point with the example of the commandment to not kill. Murder first starts in the heart as the seed of forbidden anger that grows within until it springs into words and actions against one’s brother or neighbor. This is a selfish anger that broods and is long-lived, that nurses a grudge and keeps wrath warm, and that refuses to die. Anger in the heart as well as anger in speech or action are equally forbidden. The Lord Jesus commands by grace – take away the anger in your heart and there will be no murder.

Only God’s purifying love and mercy can free us from bitterness and anger
What is the antidote for overcoming anger and rage? Mercy, forbearance, and kindness spring from a heart full of love and forgiveness. God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief or harm. In the cross of Jesus we see the supreme example of love and the power for overcoming evil. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge. Do you harbor any anger towards another person? And are you quick to be reconciled when a rupture has been caused in your relationships? Ask God to set you free and to fill your heart and mind with his love and truth.

Eusebius, a 3rd century church father, offered the following prayer as instruction for his fellow Christians:

“May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly. May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends. May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another. May I never fail a friend who is in danger. When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I respect myself. May I always keep tame that which rages within me. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.”

Do you seek to live peaceably and charitably with all?

“Lord Jesus, my heart is cold. Make it warm, compassionate, and forgiving towards all, even those who do me harm. May I only think and say what is pleasing to you and be of kind service to all I meet.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar10.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. John Ogilvie (1579-1615)
Born in 1579, John Ogilvie belonged to Scottish nobility. Raised a Calvinist, he was educated on the continent. Exposed to the religious controversies of his day and impressed with the faith of the martyrs, he decided to become a Catholic. In 1596, at age seventeen he was received into the Church at Louvain. Later John attended a variety of Catholic educational institutions, and eventually he sought admission into the Jesuits. He was ordained at Paris in 1610 and asked to be sent to Scotland, hoping some Catholic nobles there would aid him given his lineage. Finding none, he went to London, then back to Paris, and finally returned to Scotland. John’s work was quite successful in bring back many people to the Faith. Some time later he was betrayed by one posing as a Catholic. After his arrest he was tortured in prison in an effort to get him to reveal the names of other Catholics, but he refused. After three trials, John was convicted of high treason because he converted Protestants to the Catholic Faith as well as denied the king’s spiritual jurisdiction by upholding the Pope’s spiritual primacy and condemning the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. Sentenced to death, the courageous priest was hanged at Glasgow in 1615 at the age of thirty-six. His feast day is March 10. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=820

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anastasia Patricia
St. Anastasia the Patrician
St. Attalas
St. Codratus of Corinth
St. Droctoveus
St. Emilian
St. Himelin
St. Himelin
St. John Ogilvie
St. Kessag
St. Macarius of Jerusalem
St. Marcarius of Jerusalem
Martyrs of Armenia
St. Sedna
St. Simplicius
St. Victor

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 227

First Reading: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Psalms 138:1-3, 7-8: Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03917.cfm

Reflection:  Do you expect God to hear your prayers? Esther’s prayer on behalf of her people is a model for us (Esther 14). She prayed for help according to God’s promise to be faithful to his people. God wants us to remember his promises and to count on his help when we pray.

Your Father in heaven gives good things to those who ask with expectant faith
Jesus wanted to raise the expectations of his disciples when he taught them how to pray. Jesus’ parable of the father feeding his son illustrates the unthinkable! How could a loving father refuse to give his son what is good; or worse, to give him what is harmful? In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: How much more will the heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask!

Our heavenly Father graciously gives beyond our expectations. Jesus taught his disciples to pray with confidence because the heavenly Father in his goodness always answers prayers. That is why we can boldly pray: Give us this day our daily bread.

The power of prayer to those who believe
Those who know God and trust in God’s love, pray with great boldness. Listen to what John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), a gifted preacher and bishop of Constantinople, had to say about the power of prayer:

“Prayer is an all-efficient panoply [i.e. ‘a full suit of armor’ or ‘splendid array’], a treasure undiminished, a mine never exhausted, a sky unobstructed by clouds, a haven unruffled by storm. It is the root, the fountain, and the mother of a thousand blessings. It exceeds a monarch’s power… I speak not of the prayer which is cold and feeble and devoid of zeal. I speak of that which proceeds from a mind outstretched, the child of a contrite spirit, the offspring of a soul converted – this is the prayer which mounts to heaven… The power of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, bridled the rage of lions, silenced anarchy, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, enlarged the gates of heaven, relieved diseases, averted frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. In sum prayer has power to destroy whatever is at enmity with the good.”

Allow God’s love to purify your mind, heart, and speech
Prayer flows from the love of God; and the personal love we show to our neighbor is fueled by the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Jesus concludes his discourse on prayer with the reminder that we must treat our neighbor in the same way we wish to be treated by God. We must not just avoid doing harm to our neighbor, we must actively seek his or her welfare. In doing so, we fulfill the scriptural teaching from the “law and the prophets,” namely what God requires of us – loving God with all that we have and are and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to change our hearts and transform our lives in Jesus’ way of love and merciful kindness towards all. Do you thirst for holiness and for the fire of God’s purifying love?

“Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.”  (Prayer attributed to Clement XI of Rome, 1721) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar9.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Frances of Rome, (1384-1440)
Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her — she was going to be a nun.

And that’s where her will ran right up against her father’s. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind — but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father’s word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.

Frances probably felt that’s what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn’t listen to her, Frances wouldn’t listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, “Are you crying because you want to do God’s will or because you want God to do your will?”

She gave in to the marriage — reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match — except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.

Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.

Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.

At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family — they couldn’t see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus. St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?

It’s hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, “God’s will is mine.” The hardest words she could have said — but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.

St. Alexis replied, “Then you will live to glorify His Name.” Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this — he was even a little in awe of her because of what she’d been through.

But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances’ sister-in-law Vannozza –happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn’t Frances be more like Vannozza?

In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother’s family, she felt all alone. And that’s why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to the Lord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza’s natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.

They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits — and most importantly doing it gladly. But the two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.

But it wasn’t fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn’t work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances’ charity.

The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief — no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani’s needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law’s place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though — she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.

After two more children were born to her — a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes — a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.

Then just to make sure she wouldn’t have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but one cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.

Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.

Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.

Civil war came to Rome — this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo’s brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances’s son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.

When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.

As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier’s horse — but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God’s wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista’s little arms around her.

But the troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out of Rome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene — Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista’s life because soon a plague hit — a plague that took the lives of many including Frances’ nine-year-old son Evangelista.

At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up. She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.

One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). “You should understand by now,” the angel told her, “that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled.”

Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.

When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected to find someone to share in the management of the household. But Mabilia wanted none of it. She was as opposite of Frances and Frances had been of her mother-in- law. Mabilia wanted to party and ridiculed Frances in public for her shabby green dress, her habits, and her standards. One day in the middle of yelling at her, Mabilia suddenly turned pale and fainted, crying, “Oh my pride, my dreadful pride.” Frances nursed her back to health and healed their differences as well. A converted Mabilia did her best to imitate Frances after that.

With Lorenzo’s support and respect, Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God and serve the poor. Eventually they bought a house where the widowed members could live in community.

Frances nursed Lorenzo until he died. His last words to her were, “I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love.” After his death, Frances moved into the house with the other Oblates and was made superior. At 52 she had the life she dreamed of when she was eleven. She had been right in discerning her original vocation — she just had the timing wrong. God had had other plans for her in between.

Frances died four years later. Her last words were “The angel has finished his task — he beckons me to follow him.” http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=49

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anthony
St. Bosa of York
St. Catherine of Bologna
St. Frances of Rome
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. Pacian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 226

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03817.cfm

Reflection:  Do you pay careful attention to warning signs? Many fatalities could be avoided if people paid attention to such signs. When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus, he gave them a serious warning to avert spiritual disaster. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims.

God warns us for our good – do you listen?
When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of a merciful God for the people of Nineveh.

Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all – his resurrection on the third day.

Let God’s word of truth set you free from sin and ignorance
The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin and hurtful desires. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he pours his love into our hearts that we may understand his will for our lives and walk in his way of holiness. God searches our hearts, not to condemn us, but to show us where we need his saving grace and help. He calls us to seek him with true repentance, humility, and the honesty to see our sins for what they really are – a rejection of his love and will for our lives. God will transform us if we listen to his word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his wisdom and truth.

James says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of mind desire one thing alone – God’s pleasure. God wants us to delight in him and to know the freedom of his truth and love. Do you thirst for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)?

“Lord Jesus, change my heart and fill me with your wisdom that I may love your ways. Give me strength and courage to resist temptation and stubborn wilfulness that I may truly desire to do what is pleasing to you.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar8.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. John of God, Patron of Booksellers, printers, heart patients, hospitals, nurses, the sick, and firefighters (1495-1550)
From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship.

At eight years old, John heard a visiting priest speak of adventures that were waiting in the age of 1503 with new worlds being opened up. That very night he ran away from home to travel with the priest and never saw his parents again. They begged their way from village to village until John fell sick. The man who nursed him back to health, the manager of a large estate, adopted John. John worked as a shepherd in the mountains until he was 27. Feeling pressure to marry the manager’s daughter, whom he loved as a sister, John took off to join the Spanish army in the war against France. As a soldier, he was hardly a model of holiness, taking part in the gambling, drinking, and pillaging that his comrades enjoyed. One day, he was thrown from a stolen horse near French lines. Frightened that he would be captured or killed, he reviewed his life and vowed impulsively to make a change.

When he returned he kept his spur of the moment vow, made a confession, and immediately changed his life. His comrades didn’t mind so much that John was repenting but hated that he wanted them to give up their pleasures too. So they used his impulsive nature to trick him into leaving his post on the pretext of helping someone in need. He was rescued from hanging at the last minute and thrown out of the army after being beaten and stripped. He begged his way back to his foster-home where he worked as a shepherd until he heard of a new war with Moslems invading Europe. Off he went but after the war was over, he decided to try to find his real parents. To his grief he discovered both had died in his absence.

As a shepherd he had plenty of time to contemplate what God might want of his life. When he decided at 38 that he should go to Africa to ransom Christian captives, he quit immediately and set off for the port of Gibraltar. He was on the dock waiting for his ship when he saw a family obviously upset and grieving. When he discovered they were a noble family being exiled to Africa after political intrigues, he abandoned his original plan and volunteered to be their servant. The family fell sick when they reached their exile and John kept them alive not only by nursing them but by earning money to feed them. His job building fortifications was grueling, inhuman work and the workers were beaten and mistreated by people who called themselves Catholics. Seeing Christians act this way so disturbed John that it shook his faith. A priest advised him not to blame the Church for their actions and to leave for Spain at once. John did go back home — but only after he learned that his newly adopted family had received pardons.

In Spain he spent his days unloading ship cargoes and his nights visiting churches and reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. A vision at age 41 brought him to Granada where he sold books from a little shop. (For this reason he is patron saint of booksellers and printers.)

After hearing a sermon from the famous John of Avila on repentance, he was so overcome by the thought of his sins that the whole town thought the little bookseller had gone from simple eccentricity to madness. After the sermon John rushed back to his shop, tore up any secular books he had, gave away all his religious books and all his money. Clothes torn and weeping, he was the target of insults, jokes, and even stones and mud from the townspeople and their children.

Friends took the distraught John to the Royal Hospital where he was interned with the lunatics. John suffered the standard treatment of the time — being tied down and daily whipping. John of Avila came to visit him there and told him his penance had gone on long enough — forty days, the same amount as the Lord’s suffering the desert — and had John moved to a better part of the hospital.

John of God could never see suffering without trying to do something about it. And now that he was free to move, although still a patient, he immediately got up and began to help the other sick people around him. The hospital was glad to have his unpaid nursing help and were not happy to release him when one day he walked in to announce he was going to start his own hospital.

John may have been positive that God wanted him to start a hospital for the poor who got bad treatment, if any, from the other hospitals, but everyone else still thought of him as a madman. It didn’t help that he decided to try to finance his plan by selling wood in the square. At night he took what little money he earned and brought food and comfort to the poor living in abandoned buildings and under bridges. Thus his first hospital was the streets of Granada.

Within an hour after seeing a sign in a window saying “House to let for lodging of the poor” he had rented the house in order to move his nursing indoors. Of course he rented it without money for furnishings, medicine, or help. After he begged money for beds, he went out in the streets again and carried his ill patients back on the same shoulders that had carried stones, wood, and books. Once there he cleaned them, dressed their wounds, and mended their clothes at night while he prayed. He used his old experience as a peddler to beg alms, crying through the streets in his peddler’s voice, “Do good to yourselves! For the love of God, Brothers, do good!” Instead of selling goods, he took anything given — scraps of good, clothing, a coin here and there.

Throughout his life he was criticized by people who didn’t like the fact that his impulsive love embraced anyone in need without asking for credentials or character witnesses. When he was able to move his hospital to an old Carmelite monastery, he opened a homeless shelter in the monastery hall. Immediately critics tried to close him down saying he was pampering troublemakers. His answer to this criticism always was that he knew of only one bad character in the hospital and that was himself. His urge to act immediately when he saw need got him into trouble more than a few times. Once, when he encountered a group of starving people, he rushed into a house, stole a pot of food, and gave it to them. He was almost arrested for that charity! Another time, on finding a group of children in rags, he marched them into a clothing shop and bought them all new clothes. Since he had no money, he paid for it all on credit!

Yet his impulsive wish to help saved many people in one emergency. The alarm went out that the Royal Hospital was on fire. When he dropped everything to run there, he found that the crowd was just standing around watching the hospital — and its patients — go up in flames. He rushed into the blazing building and carried or led the patients out. When all the patients were rescued, he started throwing blankets, sheets, and mattresses out the windows — how well he knew from his own hard work how important these things were. At that point a cannon was brought to destroy the burning part of the building in order to save the rest. John stopped them, ran up the roof, and separated the burning portion with an axe. He succeeded but fell through the burning roof. All thought they had lost their hero until John of God appeared miraculously out of smoke. (For this reason, John of God is patron saint of firefighters.)

John was ill himself when he heard that a flood was bringing precious driftwood near the town. He jumped out of bed to gather the wood from the raging river. Then when one of his companions fell into the river, John without thought for his illness or safety jumped in after him. He failed to save the boy and caught pneumonia. He died on March 8, his fifty-fifth birthday, of the same impulsive love that had guided his whole life.

John of God is patron saint of booksellers, printers, heart patients, hospitals, nurses, the sick, and firefighters and is considered the founder of the Brothers Hospitallers. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=68

More Saints of the Day:
St. Arian and Companions
St. Beoadh
St. Beoadh
St. Duthac
St. John of God
St. Julian of Toledo
St. Jón Ögmundsson
St. Philemon
St. Philemon the actor
St. Pontius of Carthage
St. Quintilis
St. Rhian
St. Senan
St. Simon Berneux
St. Stephen of Obazine
St. Theophylact of Nicomedia
St. Veremundus
St. Vincent Kadlubek

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs (Memorial)
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 225

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalms 34:4-7, 16-19From all their distress God rescues the just.
Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Top of Form
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03717.cfm

Reflection:  Do you believe that God’s word has power to change and transform your life today? Isaiah says that God’s word is like the rain and melting snow which makes the barren ground spring to life and become abundantly fertile (Isaiah 55:10-11). God’s word has power to penetrate our dry barren hearts and make them springs of new life. If we let God’s word take root in our heart it will transform us into the likeness of God himself and empower us to walk in his way of love and holiness.

Let God’s word guide and shape the way you judge and act
God wants his word to guide and shape the way we think, act, and pray. Ambrose (339-397 AD), an early church father and bishop of Milan, wrote that the reason we should devote time for reading Scripture is to hear Christ speak to us. “Are you not occupied with Christ? Why do you not talk with him? By reading the Scriptures, we listen to Christ.”

We can approach God our Father with confidence
We can approach God confidently because he is waiting with arms wide open to receive his prodigal sons and daughters. That is why Jesus gave his disciples the perfect prayer that dares to call God, Our Father. This prayer teaches us how to ask God for the things we really need, the things that matter not only for the present but for eternity as well. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because the Lord Jesus has opened the way to heaven for us through his death and resurrection.

When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve. Instead, God responds with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. He is good and forgiving towards us, and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same. God has poured his love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). And that love is like a refining fire – it purifies and burns away all prejudice, hatred, resentment, vengeance, and bitterness until there is nothing  left but goodness and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief or harm.

The Lord’s Pray teaches us how to pray
Consider what John Cassian (360-435 AD), an early church father who lived for several years with the monks in Bethlehem and Egypt before founding a monastery in southern Gaul, wrote about the Lord’s Prayer and the necessity of forgiving one another from the heart:

“The mercy of God is beyond description. While he is offering us a model prayer he is teaching us a way of life whereby we can be pleasing in his sight. But that is not all. In this same prayer he gives us an easy method for attracting an indulgent and merciful judgment on our lives. He gives us the possibility of ourselves mitigating the sentence hanging over us and of compelling him to pardon us. What else could he do in the face of our generosity when we ask him to forgive us as we have forgiven our neighbor? If we are faithful in this prayer, each of us will ask forgiveness for our own failings after we have forgiven the sins of those who have sinned against us, not only those who have sinned against our Master. There is, in fact, in some of us a very bad habit. We treat our sins against God, however appalling, with gentle indulgence – but when by contrast it is a matter of sins against us ourselves, albeit very tiny ones, we exact reparation with ruthless severity. Anyone who has not forgiven from the bottom of the heart the brother or sister who has done him wrong will only obtain from this prayer his own condemnation, rather than any mercy.”

Do you treat others as you think they deserve to be treated, or do you treat them as the Lord has treated you – with mercy, steadfast love, and kindness?

“Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you. Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart and mind with your truth and  love that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you. Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar7.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, Patron saints of mothers, expectant mothers, ranchers and butchers (d. 230)
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity were Christian martyrs who lived during the early persecution of the Church in Africa by the Emperor Severus.

With details concerning the lives of many early martyrs unclear and often based on legend, we are fortunate to have the actual record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as “The Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions,” was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.

In the year 203, Vivia Perpetua, a well-educated noblewoman, made the decision to follow the path of her mother and become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during the persecutions ordered by the Emperor Severus. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well, meaning he would receive instruction from a Catechist in the Catholic Christian faith and be prepared for Baptism.

Her pagan father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. At 22-years-old, the well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live — including a baby son whom she was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was already a widow.

Perpetua’s answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, “See that pot lying there? Can you call it by any other name than what it is?”

Her father answered, “Of course not.” Perpetua responded, “Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am — a Christian.”

This answer upset her father and he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days — even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment.

Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens, including two slaves, Felicity and Revocatus, and Saturninus and Secundulus. Their instructor in the faith, Saturus, chose to share their punishment and was also imprisoned.

Perpetua was baptized before taken to prison. She was known for her gift of “the Lord’s speech” and receiving messages from God. She tells us that at the time of her baptism she was told to pray for nothing but endurance in the face of her trials.

The prison was so crowded with people that the heat was suffocating. There was no light anywhere and Perpetua “had never known such darkness.”

The soldiers who arrested and guarded them pushed and shoved them without any concern. Perpetua had no trouble admitting she was very afraid, but during all this horror, her most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.

The young slave, Felicity was even worse off, for Felicity suffered the stifling heat, overcrowding, and rough handling while being eight months pregnant.

Two deacons who ministered to the prisoners paid the guards to place the martyrs in a better part of the prison. There, her mother and brother were able to visit Perpetua and bring her baby to her.

When she received permission for her baby to stay with her she recalled, “my prison suddenly became a palace for me.” Once more her father came to her, begging her to give in, kissing her hands, and throwing himself at her feet. She told him, “We lie not in our own power but in the power of God.”

When she and the others were taken to be examined and sentenced, her father followed, pleading with her and the judge. The judge, out of pity, also tried to get Perpetua to change her mind, but when she stood fast, she was sentenced with the others to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena.

Perpetua recanted how her brother spoke to her, “Lady sister, you are now greatly honored, so greatly that you may well pray for a vision to show you whether suffering or release is in store for you.” Perpetua, who spoke to the Lord often, told her brother she would tell him what happened the next day.

While she prayed, Perpetua was shown a golden ladder of the highest length, reaching up to heaven. On the sides of the ladder were swords, lances, hooks and daggers so that if anyone did not climb looking up on Heaven, they would be severely injured. At the bottom of the ladder laid a large dragon to try to scare those journeying up away from Heaven.

Perpetua first saw Saturus go up. After he reached the top of the ladder he said, “Perpetua, I wait for you, but take care that the dragon does not bite you.” To which she replied, “In the name of Jesus Christ, he will not hurt me,” and the dragon put his down his head.

Perpetua traveled up the ladder and saw a beautiful vast garden with a tall man with white hair dressed like a shepherd and milking sheep. ‘Thou art well come, my child,” he said to Perpetua, giving her some of the curds from the milk. She ate and all those around her said, “Amen.”

Perpetua woke from her dream with a sweet taste still in her mouth. At once, she told her brother what happened and together, they understood they must suffer.

Meanwhile, Felicity was also in torment. It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn’t want to leave so “good a comrade” behind.

Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, “If you think you suffer now, how will stand it when you face the wild beasts?” Felicity answered them calmly, “Now I’m the one who is suffering, but in the arena, another will be in me suffering for me because I will be suffering for him.”

She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.

The officers of the prison began to recognize the power of the Christians and the strength and leadership of Perpetua. In some cases, this helped the Christians: the warden let them have visitors — and later became a believer. But in other cases, it caused superstitious terror, as when one officer refused to let them get cleaned up on the day they were going to die for fear they’d try some sort of spell.

Perpetua immediately spoke up, “We’re supposed to die in honor of Ceasar’s birthday. Wouldn’t it look better for you if we looked better?” The officer blushed with shame at her reproach and started to treat them better.

There was a feast the day before the games, so that the crowd could see the martyrs and make fun of them. But the martyrs turned this all around by laughing at the crowd for not being Christians and exhorting them to follow their example.

The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with “shining steps as the true wife of Christ, the darling of God.”

When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. “We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn’t lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn’t have to worship your gods.” She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes.

The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. The two were thrown out and attacked, but the crowd cried out they had had enough. The women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena to face the gladiators.

Perpetua called out to her brother and other Christians, “Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you.”

Perpetua and Felicity stood side by side and were killed by sword at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity are the patron saints of mothers, expectant mothers, ranchers and butchers. Their feast day is celebrated on March 7. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=48

More Saints of the Day:
St. Ardo
St. Deifer
St. Drausinus
St. Enodoch
St. Esterwine
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity
Bl. John Ireland
Bl. John Larke
St. Paul the Simple
St. Paul of Prusa
St. Paul the Simple

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Monday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 224

First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalms 19:8-10, 15: Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03617.cfm

Reflection:  Do you allow the love of God to rule in your heart? Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) said, “Essentially, there are two kinds of people, because there are two kinds of love. One is holy the other is selfish. One is subject to God; the other endeavors to equal Him.” Jesus came not only to fulfill the law (Leviticus 19), but to transform it through his unconditional love and mercy towards us. The Lord Jesus proved his love for us by offering up his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. His death brings freedom and life for us – freedom from fear, selfishness, and greed – and new abundant life in the Holy Spirit who fills our hearts with the love of God (Romans 5:5). Do you allow God’s love to purify your heart and transform your mind to think, act, and love others as Christ has taught through word and example?

The lesson of separating goats and sheep at the end of the day
Jesus’ description of the Son of Man, a Messianic title which points to the coming of God’s anointed Ruler and Judge over the earth (John 5:26-29, Daniel 7:13ff), and his parable about the separation of goats and sheep must have startled his audience. What does the separation of goats and sheep have to do with the Day of Judgement over the earth? In arid dry lands such as Palestine, goats and sheep often grazed together during the day because green pasture was sparse. At nightfall, when the shepherd brought the sheep and goats to their place of rest, he separated them into two groups. Goats by temperament are aggressive, domineering, restless, and territorial. They butt heads with their horns whenever they think someone is intruding on their space.

Goats came to symbolize evil and the expression “scape-goat” become a common expression for someone bearing blame or guilt for others. (See Leviticus 26:20-22 for a description of the ritual expulsion of a sin-bearing goat on the Day of Atonement.)  Jesus took our guilt and sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. He payed the price to set us free from sin and death. Our choice is to either follow and obey him as Lord and Savior or to be our own master and go our separate way. We cannot remain neutral or indifferent to the command of Christ. If we do not repent of our sins and obey the Gospel we cannot be disciples and inherit his kingdom. Separation is inevitable because one way leads to sin, rebellion, and death and the other way leads to faith, hope, and love that lasts forever.

Love of God frees us from inordinate love of self 
The parable of the goats and sheep has a similar endpoint with the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the poor man Lazarus who begged daily at the rich man’s doorstep (Luke 16:19-31). Although Lazarus lacked what he need, he nonetheless put his hope in God. The rich man was a lover of wealth rather than a lover of God and neighbor. When Lazarus died he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom to receive his reward in heaven. When the rich man died his fortunes were reversed and he was cast into the unquenchable fires of hell to receive his just desserts. The parable emphasizes the great chasm and wall of separation between the former rich man held now bound as a poor and miserable prisoner in hell and Lazarus clothed in royal garments feasting at God’s banquet table in heaven.

The day of God’s judgment will disclose which kind of love we chose in this present life – a holy unselfish love directed to God and to the welfare of our neighbor or a disordered selfish love that put self above God and everyone else.

When Martin of Tours (316-397 AD), a young Roman soldier who had been reluctant to embrace the Christian faith, met a poor beggar on the road who had no clothes to warm himself in the freezing cold, Martin took pity on him. He immediately got off his horse and cut his cloak in two and then gave half to the stranger. That night Martin dreamt he saw a vision of Jesus in heaven robed in a torn cloak just like the one he gave away that day to the beggar. One of the angels next to Jesus asked, “Master, why do you wear that battered cloak?” Jesus replied, “My servant Martin gave it to me.” Martin’s disciple and biographer Sulpicius Severus states that as a consequence of this vision “Martin flew to be baptized” to be united with Jesus and the members of his body – the body of Christ on earth and the communion of angels and saints in heaven.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) wrote, “Christ is at once above and below – above in Himself, below in his people. Fear Christ above, and recognize him below. Here he is poor, with and in the poor; there he is rich, with and in God. Have Christ above bestowing his bounty; recognize him here in his need” (excerpt from Sermon 123, 44).

On the day of judgment Jesus will ask “whom did you love”?
When the Lord Jesus comes again as Judge and Ruler over all, he will ask each one of us face to face – did you love me and my Father in heaven above all else and did you love your neighbor as yourself? Let us entrust our lives into the hands of the merciful Savior who gave his life for us. And let us ask him to make our faith and courage strong, our trust and hope secure, and our love and compassion overflowing with joy.

“Lord Jesus, be the Master and Ruler of my life. May your love rule in my heart that I may only think, act, and speak with charity and good will for all.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar6.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Colette (1380-1447)
Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby Abbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corby as a solitary. She soon became well known for her holiness and spiritual wisdom, but left her cell in 1406 in response to a dream directing her to reform the Poor Clares. She received the Poor Clares habit from Peter de Luna, whom the French recognized as Pope under the name of Benedict XIII, with orders to reform the Order and appointing her Superior of all convents she reformed. Despite great opposition, she persisted in her efforts. She founded seventeen convents with the reformed rule and reformed several older convents. She was reknowned for her sanctity, ecstacies, and visions of the Passion, and prophesied her own death in her convent at Ghent, Belgium. A branch of the Poor Clares is still known as the Collettines. She was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is March 6th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=268

More Saints of the Day:
St. Baldred
St. Balther
St. Basil
St. Bilfrid
St. Cadroe of Metz
St. Colette
St. Conon
St. Evagrius of Constantinople
St. Fridolin
St. Kyneburga, Kyneswide, & Tibba
St. Marcian of Tortona
St. Ollegarius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
First Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 22

First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalms 51:3-6, 12-13, 17: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God
.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone
.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03517.cfm

Reflection:  Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus and to go with him wherever he leads you? Jesus did not choose his own course or path in life, but followed the will of his Father in heaven. After Jesus’ was baptized by John the Baptist at the River Jordan, he was led by the Spirit of God to withdrew into the wilderness of Judea – a vast desert wilderness that was mostly uninhabitable and full of danger. Danger from scorching heat by day and extreme cold at night, danger from wild animals and scorpions, plus the deprivation of food and scarcity of water.

Preparing mind, heart, and will to serve God
Why did Jesus choose such a barren, lonely place for a sustained period of prayer and fasting? Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us in their Gospel accounts that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. Mark states it most emphatically: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12).

What compelled Jesus to seek solitude, away from his family and friends, for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his mission? Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice someone to do what is wrong or forbidden. The scriptural word used here also means test in the sense of proving and assessing someone to see if they are prepared and ready for the task at hand. We test flight pilots to see if they are fit to fly under all conditions, including times of adverse turbulence, storms, and poor visibility. In like manner God tests his people to see if they are ready to follow and serve him without reservation or compromise.

Keeping God’s word and holding to his promises
On a number of occasions God tested Abraham to prove his faith and to strengthen his hope in the promises that God made to him. Abraham obeyed willingly even when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son of promise. When the Israelites were sorely tested in Egypt for more than 400 years of hard labor and persecution, they did not forget God. They kept God’s word and remembered his promise to deliver them from oppression and bring them back into their promised homeland.

When God called Moses to free the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt, God led them into the wilderness to his holy mountain at Sinai. There Moses ascended the mountain and met with God face to face for 40 days in prayer and fasting (Exodus 24:18). The prophet Elijah was also led on a 40 day journey to the holy mountain at Sinai (also called Horeb) to seek the face of God. God sustained Elijah for his journey with supernatural bread from heaven (1 Kings 19:8).

Jesus’ forty days of testing and preparation
Jesus was no exception to this pattern of testing and preparation for the mission his Father gave him. He was led into the wilderness for 40 days without food and little shelter. He had nothing to sustain himself in this barren wilderness except what the Father would provide for him during his forty days of prayer and fasting. Jesus was left alone in this harsh and austere environment to wrestle with the temptation to seek an easy or comfortable course that would avoid pain and hardship,  humiliation and rejection, suffering and death on a cross.

Jesus’ testing in the wilderness was similar to the test which Adam and Eve underwent when God made them stewards of his creation and sharers in his glory and power. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise, he provided them with everything they needed to live and to fulfill the stewardship entrusted to them. In giving them the one command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, God tested their love and fidelity (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-6).

Why did they fail to obey this one command of God? They listened to the voice of a rebel angel, who disguised himself as a very subtle and clever figure of charm and persuasion.The Scriptures call this tempter by many names, the devil and Satan (Revelation 12:9), Beelzebub the prince of demons (Luke 11:15, Matthew 12:24), the evil one (Matthew 13:38) and the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan tempted Adam and Eve with pride and envy to claim equality with God. As a consequence of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Paradise and driven into the wilderness.

Jesus resisted the devil and obeyed the voice of his Father
Jesus now freely enters the wilderness in order to regain Paradise for the lost children of God. Jesus refuses food to show his dependence on the bread of heaven, the word of God, that would sustain him not only in his physical hunger, but in his hour of temptation as well. When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus replied with the words of Scripture, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (quote from Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).

Where did Jesus find the strength to survive the desert’s harsh conditions and the tempter’s seduction? He fed on God’s word and found strength in doing his Father’s will. Satan will surely tempt us and he will try his best to get us to choose our will over God’s will. If he can’t make us renounce our faith or sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us, little by little, away from what God wants for us.

Strength from God in resisting temptation
Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame sin not by his own human effort but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him. He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father. He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. Luke says that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). When tempted by the devil Jesus did not try to fight his adversary on his own human strength. He relied on the power which the Spirit gave him. Jesus came to overthrow the evil one who held us captive to sin and fear of death (Hebrews 2:14). His obedience to his Father’s will and his willingness to embrace the cross reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His victory over sin and death won for us not only pardon for our sins but adoption as sons and daughters of God.

How can we overcome sin and gain freedom over our unruly desires and the lies of Satan and the world? The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26) and to be our guide and consoler in temptation and testing (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Lord gives grace to the humble who acknowledge their dependence on him (James 4:6) and he helps us to stand against the lies and attacks of our enemy, Satan, who seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8-10; Ephesians 6:10-18). The Lord Jesus is ever ready to pour out his Spirit upon us that we may have the strength and courage we need to resist sin and to reject the lies and deceits of Satan. God wants us to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) with the power and strength which comes from the Holy Spirit. Do you rely on the Lord for your strength and help?

“Lord Jesus, your word is life and joy for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar5.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. John Joseph of the Cross (1654-1739)
St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspired knowledge of moral theology. With his superiors’ permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally, consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734. His feast day is March 5th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=191

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adrian
St. Caron
St. Carthach the Elder
St. Colman of Armagh
Bl. Dionysius Fugishima
St. Eusebius of Cremona
St. Gerasimus of the Jordan
St. John Joseph of the Cross
St. John-Joseph of the Cross
St. Kieran of Saigir
St. Oliva
St. Phocas of Antioch
St. Piran
St. Theophilus
St. Virgilius of Arles

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | March 3, 2017

Saturday (March 4): “Follow me.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 222

First Reading: Isaiah 58:9-14
Psalms 86:1-6: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03417.cfm

Reflection:  When your neighbor stumbles through sin or ignorance, do you point the finger to criticize or do you lend a helping hand to lift him or her up? The prophet Isaiah tells us that God repays each in kind. When we bless others, especially those who need spiritual as well as physical and material help, God in turn blesses us.

Who do you point the finger at?
When Jesus called a despised tax collector to be his disciple he surprised everyone including Levi (also known as Matthew). The religious leaders were especially upset with Jesus’ behavior towards public sinners like Levi. The Jewish  people were roughly divided into two groups: the orthodox Jews who rigidly kept the law and all its petty regulations, and the rest who didn’t keep all the minute regulations. The orthodox treated the latter like second class citizens. They scrupulously avoided their company, refused to do business with them, refused to give or receive anything from them, refused to intermarry, and avoided any form of friendship with them, including table fellowship. Jesus’ association with the latter, especially with tax collectors and public sinners, shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.

A true physician of body, mind, and soul
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to treat healthy people – instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life.

The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed the greatest care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Do you thank the Lord for the great mercy he has shown to you? And do you seek the good of all your neighbors and show them mercy and kindness?

Leave all and follow Christ
What does it mean to “leave all and follow the Lord”? Bede the Venerable (673-735 AD), an Anglo-Saxon monk who wrote numerous commentaries on the Scriptures, explains what it meant for Matthew and for us to “follow” as disciples of the Lord Jesus:

“By ‘follow’ he meant not so much the movement of feet as of the heart, the carrying out of a way of life. For one who says that he lives in Christ ought himself to walk just as he walked, not to aim at earthly things, not to pursue perishable gains, but to flee base praise, to embrace willingly the contempt of all that is worldly for the sake of heavenly glory, to do good to all, to inflict injuries upon no one in bitterness, to suffer patiently those injuries that come to oneself, to ask God’s forgiveness for those who oppress, never to seek one’s own glory but always God’s, and to uphold whatever helps one love heavenly things. This is what is meant by following Christ. In this way, disregarding earthly gains, Matthew attached himself to the band of followers of One who had no riches. For the Lord himself, who outwardly called Matthew by a word, inwardly bestowed upon him the gift of an invisible impulse so that he was able to follow.”

Are you ready to forsake all for the Lord Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.”  (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar4.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Casimir (1461-1484)
Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father’s authority and increase Poland’s power.

Casimir realized from an early age that his life belonged to someone else, but to a much higher King than his father. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty through his whole life.

Born the third of thirteen children in 1461, Casimir was committed to God from childhood. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey.

It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a pressure. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes.

Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm.

Though his father must have wondered about him, he must have seen and admired Casimir’s strength. He showed that he misunderstood this strength when he sent Casimir as head of an army to take over the throne of Hungary at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong but was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. He could not help but feel at every step that it was disobedient to his other Father. So when soldiers started deserting, he was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home. His feelings were confirmed when he discovered that Pope Sixtus IV had opposed the move.

His father, however, was furious at being deterred from his plans and banished Casimir to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir’s mind. Casimir’s commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile and he refused to cooperate with his father’s plans any more despite the pressure to give in. He even rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to form. He participated in his true King’s plans wholeheartedly by praying, studying, and helping the poor.

He died at the age of 23 in 1484 from lung disease. He was buried with his favorite song, a Latin hymn to Mary called “Omni die dic Mariae” which we know as “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary.” Because of his love for the song, it is known as the Hymn of St. Casimir though he didn’t write it.

Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=33

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adrian
St. Appian
St. Basil and Companions
St. Basinus
St. Casimir
St. Casimir of Poland
St. Felix of Rhuys
Bl. Humbert
St. Lucius I
St. Owen
St. Peter of Pappacarbone
St. Placide Viel

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | March 2, 2017

Friday (March 3): Fasting for the kingdom of God

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 221

First Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalms 51:3-6, 18-19: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03317.cfm

Reflection:  Are you hungry for God? Hungering for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand. When asked why he and his disciples did not fast Jesus used the vivid picture of a wedding celebration. In Jesus’ time the newly wed celebrated their honeymoon at home for a whole week with all the guests! This was a time of great feasting and celebrating. Jesus points to himself as the bridegroom and his disciples as the bridegroom’s friends. He alludes to the fact that God takes delight in his people as a groom delights in his bride (Isaiah 62:5).

Humble yourself before the Lord your God
To be in God’s presence is pure delight and happiness. But Jesus also reminds his followers that there is a time for fasting and for humbling oneself in preparation for the coming of God’s kingdom and for the return of the Messianic King. The Lord’s disciples must also bear the cross of affliction and purification. For the disciple there is both a time for rejoicing in the Lord’s presence and celebrating his goodness and a time for seeking the Lord with humility, fasting, and mourning for sin. If we hunger for the Lord, he will not disappoint us. His grace draws us to his throne of mercy and favor. Do you seek the Lord with confident trust and allow his Holy Spirit to transform your life with his power and grace?

Fast and hunger for more of God and his righteousness
What kind of fasting is pleasing to God? Fasting can be done for a variety of reasons – to gain freedom from some bad habit, addiction, or vice, to share in the suffering of those who go without, or to grow in our hunger for God and for the things of heaven. Basil the Great wrote: “Take heed that you do not make fasting to consists only in abstinence from meats. True fasting is to refrain from vice. Shred to pieces all your unjust contracts. Pardon your neighbors. Forgive them their trespasses.” Do you hunger to know God more, to grow in his holiness, and to live the abundant life of grace he offers you?

“Come Lord, work upon us, set us on fire and clasp us close, be fragrant to us, draw us to your loveliness, let us love, let us run to you.” (Prayer of St. Augustine) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar2.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Katharine Drexel, Patron of racial justice and philanthropists (1858-1955)
St. Katharine Drexel is the second American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. This amazing woman was an heiress to a large bequest who became a religious sister and a brilliant educator.

Katherine was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of a prominent and wealthy banker, Francis Anthony Drexel and his wife, Hannah Langstroth. He mother passed away just five weeks after Katharine was born. Her father remarried to Emma Bouvier in 1860 and together they had another daughter in 1863, Louisa Drexel.

The girls received a wonderful education from private tutors and traveled throughout the United States and Europe. The Drexels were financially and spiritually well endowed. They were devout in the practice of their faith, setting an excellent example of true Christian living for their three daughters. They not only prayed but practiced what the Church calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Katharine grew up seeing her father pray for 30 minutes each evening. And every week, her stepmother opened their doors to house and care for the poor. The couple distributed food, clothing and provided rent assistance to those in need. The Drexels would seek out and visit women who were too afraid or too proud to approach the home in order to care for their needs in Christian charity.

Though Katharine made her social debut in 1879, she never let her family’s money adversely affect the way she lived her life and faith. She was an example of a Christian with a proper understanding that the goods of this earth are given for the common good.

After watching her stepmother suffer with terminal cancer for three straight years, Katharine also learned that no amount of money could shelter them from pain or suffering. From this moment, Katharine’s life took a turn. She became imbued with a passionate love for God and neighbor, and she took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans.

In 1884, while her family was visiting the Western states, Katharine saw first-hand the troubling and poor situation of the Native Americans. She desperately wanted to help them.

Katharine spent much of her time with Father James O’ Connor, a Philadelphia priest. He provided her with wonderful spiritual direction.

When her father passed away a year later, he donated part of his $15.5 million estate to a few charities and then left the remainder to be equally split amongst his three daughters.

He set up his will in a way to protect his daughters from men who were only seeking their money. If his daughters should die, the money was then to go on to his would-be grandchildren. If there were no grandchildren, the Drexel estate would be distributed to several different religious orders and charities, including the Society of Jesus, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, a Lutheran hospital and the Christian Brothers.

As one of their first acts following their father’s death, Katharine and her sisters contributed money to assist the St. Francis Mission of South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation.

Katherine soon concluded that more was needed to help the Native Americans and the lacking ingredient was people.

In 1887, while touring Europe, the Drexel sisters were given a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. They were seeking missionaries to help with the Indian missions they were financing. The Pope looked to Katharine and suggested she, herself, become a missionary.

After speaking with Father O’ Connor, Katharine decided she would give herself and her inheritance to God through service to both Native Americans and African Americans. She wrote, “The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored.”

Katharine began her six-month postulancy at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pittsburgh in 1889.

On February 12, 1891, Katharine made her first vows as a religious and dedicated herself to working for the American Indians and African-Americans in the Western United States.

Taking the name Mother Katharine, she established a religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve.

From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and her fortune to this work. In 1894, Mother Katharine took part in opening the first mission boarding school called St. Catherine’s Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed – for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States.

In 1897, Katharine asked the friars of St. John the Baptist Province of the Order of Friars Minor to help staff a mission for the Navajos in Arizona and New Mexico, and she would help finance their work with the Pueblo Native Americans.

In 1910, Katharine also financed the printing of 500 copies of A Navaho-English Catechism of Christian Doctrine for the Use of Navaho Children.

In 1915, Katherine founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University in the United States for African-Americans.

By the time of her death, she had more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country and she established 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 different states.

Katharine suffered a heart attack at 77-years-old and was forced to retire. She spent the remainder of her life in quiet and intense prayer. She recorded her prates and aspirations in small notebooks.

Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955 at the age of 96. She is buried at her order’s motherhouse. Neither of Katharine’s sisters had any children, so after her death, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament lost the Drexel fortune that supported their ministries. However, the order continues to pursue Katharine’s mission with the African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states and in Haiti.

Katharine was remembered for her love of the Eucharist and a desire for unity of all peoples. She was courageous and took the initiative to address social inequality within minorities. She believed all should have access to a quality education and her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, helped many reach that goal.

St. Katharine was beatified on November 20, 1988 and canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Relics of St. Katharine can be found at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in the Day Chapel of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

Katharine is the patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=193

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anselm of Nonantola
St. Arthelais
St. Calupan
St. Camilla
St. Cele-Christ
St. Cleonicus
St. Cunegundes
St. Felix
St. Foila
St. Hemiterius and Cheledonius
St. Katharine Drexel
St. Lamalisse
St. Marinus & Asterius
St. Non
St. Sacer
St. Teresa Eustochio Verzeri
St. Titian of Brescia
St. Winwaloc

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03217.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know the healing, transforming power of the cross? When Jesus predicted his passion his disciples were dismayed. Rejection and crucifixion meant defeat and condemnation, not victory and freedom. How could Jesus’ self-denial, suffering and death lead to victory and life? Through his obedience to his Father’s will, Jesus reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His death on the cross won pardon for the guilty, freedom for the oppressed, healing for the afflicted, and new life for those condemned to death. His death makes possible our freedom to live as sons and daughters of God.

Surrender to God and he will fill you with his Spirit
There’s a certain paradox in God’s economy. We lose what we gain, and we gain what we lose. When we try run our life our own way, we end up losing it to futility. Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to God, he gives us new life in his Spirit and the pledge of eternal life. God wants us to be spiritually fit to serve him at all times. When the body is very weak or ill, we make every effort to nurse it back to health. How much more effort and attention should we give to the spiritual health of our hearts and minds!

The great exchange – my life for His victorious life
What will you give to God in exchange for freedom and eternal life? Are you ready to part with anything that might keep you from following him and his perfect plan for your life? Jesus poses these questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile in life. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. A true disciple is ready to give up all that he or she has in exchange for true happiness and life with God. The life which God offers is abundant, everlasting life. And the joy which God places in our hearts no sadness or loss can diminish.

The cross of Christ brings freedom and victory over sin
The cross of Jesus Christ leads to freedom and victory over sin and death. What is the cross which Christ commands me to take up each day as his disciple? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus’ sake.  What makes such sacrifice possible and “sweet” is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). We can never outmatch God. He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine. Are you ready to lose all for Christ in order to gain all with Christ?

“Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to go your way. I give you my eyes to see as you do. I give you my tongue to speak your words.  I give you my mind that you may think in me. I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me, your Father, and all mankind. I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who lives and works and prays in me.” (Prayer from The Grail) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar2.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Bl. Charles the Good (1083-1127)
In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed Charles the Good, was slain in St. Alban’s Church, Odence. Charles who was only a few years old was taken by his mother to the court of Robert, Count of Flanders, his maternal grandfather. When he grew up, he became a knight and accompanied Robert in a crusade to the Holy Land where he distinguished himself; on their return, Charles also fought against the English with his uncle. On Robert’s death, his son Baldwin succeeded him and designated Charles as the heir. At the same time, he arranged for Charles’ marriage to the daughter of the Count of Clermont. During Baldwin’s rule, Charles was closely associated with him, and the people came to have a high regard for his wise and beneficent ways as well as his personal holiness. At Baldwin’s death, in 1119, the people made his cousin their ruler.  Charles ruled his people with wisdom, diligence, and compassion; he made sure that times of truce were respected and fought against black marketeers who horded food and were waiting to sell it at astronomical prices to the people. This encouraged their undying wrath and one day in 1127 as Charles was praying in the Church of St. Donatian they set upon him and killed him.Blessed Charles the Good  feast day is March 2nd. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=483

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agnes of Bohemia
St. Angela of the Cross 
St. Chad of Mercia
Bl. Charles the Good
St. Cynibild
St. Fergna
St. Gilstlian
St. Jovinus & Basileus
Martyrs of Campania
St. Paul, Heraclius, and Companions
St. Willeic

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 219

First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Psalms 51:3-6, 12-14, 17: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03117.cfm

Reflection:  Are you hungry for God and do you thirst for his holiness? God wants to set our hearts ablaze with the fire of his Holy Spirit that we may share in his holiness and radiate the joy of the Gospel to those around us. St. Augustine of Hippo tells us that there are two kinds of people and two kinds of love: “One is holy, the other is selfish. One is subject to God; the other endeavors to equal Him.” We are what we love. God wants to free our hearts from all that would keep us captive to selfishness and sin. “Rend your hearts and not your garments” says the prophet Joel (Joel 2:12). The Holy Spirit is ever ready to transform our hearts and to lead us further in God’s way of truth and holiness.

Devoting our lives to God
Why did Jesus single out prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for his disciples? The Jews considered these three as the cardinal works of the religious life. These were seen as the key signs of a pious (godly) person, the three great pillars on which the good life was based. Jesus pointed to the heart of the matter. Why do you pray, fast, and give alms? To draw attention to yourself so that others may notice and think highly of you? Or to give glory to God? The Lord warns his disciples of self-seeking glory – the preoccupation with looking good and seeking praise from others. True piety is something more than feeling good or looking holy. True piety is loving devotion to God. It is an attitude of awe, reverence, worship and obedience. It is a gift and working of the Holy Spirit that enables us to devote our lives to God with a holy desire to please him in all things (Isaiah 11:1-2).

Fulness of life with God our Father
What is the sure reward which Jesus points out to his disciples? It is communion with God our Father. In him alone we find the fulness of life, happiness, and truth. May the prayer of Augustine of Hippo, recorded in his Confessions, be our prayer this Lent: When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrows or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete. The Lord wants to renew us each day and give us new hearts of love and compassion. Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Seek him expectantly in prayer, with fasting, and in generous giving to those in need.

In the wilderness of prayer and fasting with Jesus
The forty days of Lent is the annual retreat of the people of God in imitation of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Forty is a significant number in the Scriptures. Moses went to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promised land.  Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of God. We are called to journey with the Lord in a special season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and penitence (expressing true sorrow for sin and wrongdoing) as we prepare to celebrate the feast of Easter, the Christian Passover of Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan, and death.

Growing in lively faith, firm hope, and fervent charity
The Lord Jesus gives us spiritual food and supernatural strength (faith, hope, and love) to seek his face and to prepare ourselves for spiritual combat and testing. We, too, must follow in the way of the cross in order to share in the victory of Christ’s death and resurrection. As you begin this holy season of testing and preparation, ask the Lord Jesus for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit so that you may grow in faith, hope, and love and embrace his will more fully in our lives.

“Lord Jesus, give me a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, and a great love of you. Take from me all lukewarmness in the meditation of your word, and dullness in prayer. Give me fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, and fill me with compassion for others, especially those in need, that I may respond with generosity.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar1.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. David
According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus. Later, he was involved in missionary work and founded a number of monasteries. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer – only water – while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study. Around the year 550, David attended a synod at Brevi in Cardiganshire. His contributions at the synod are said to have been the major cause for his election as primate of the Cambrian Church. He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land. He also is said to have invoked a council that ended the last vestiges of Pelagianism. David died at his monastery in Menevia around the year 589, and his cult was approved in 1120 by Pope Callistus II. He is revered as the patron of Wales. Undoubtedly, St. David was endowed with substantial qualities of spiritual leadership. What is more, many monasteries flourished as a result of his leadership and good example. His staunch adherence to monastic piety bespeaks a fine example for modern Christians seeking order and form in their prayer life.His feast day is March 1. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=220

More Saints of the Day:
Adrianus
St. Albinus
St. David
St. Eudocia
St. Herculaflus
St. Hermes and Adrian
St. Leo Luke
St. Leo of Rouen
St. Lupercus
St. Monan
St. Rudesind
St. Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | February 26, 2017

Monday (February 27): “You shall not kill.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 347

First Reading: Sirach 17:20-24
Psalms 32:1-2, 5-7: Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 10:17-27
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother
.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022717.cfm

Reflection:  What gives hope and satisfaction to our desire for happiness and security? A young man who had the best the world could offer – wealth and security – came to Jesus because he lacked one thing. He wanted the kind of lasting peace and happiness which money could not buy him. The answer he got, however, was not what he was looking for. He protested that he kept all the commandments – but Jesus spoke to the trouble in his heart. One thing kept him from giving himself whole-heartedly to God. While he lacked nothing in material goods, he was nonetheless possessive of what he had. He placed his hope and security in what he possessed. So when Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, he became sad.

Misplaced hope and treasure
Why did he go away from Jesus with great sorrow and sadness rather than with joy? His treasure and his hope for happiness were misplaced. Jesus challenged the young man because his heart was possessive. He was afraid to give to others for fear that he would lose what he had gained. He sought happiness and security in what he possessed rather than in who he could love and serve and give himself in undivided devotion.

The greatest joy possible
Why does Jesus tell his disciples to “sell all” for the treasure of his kingdom? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can have. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not sorrowful, but the greatest joy. [See Jesus’ parable about the treasure hidden in a field in Matthew 13:44.] Selling all that we have could mean many different things – letting go of attachments, friendships, influences, jobs, entertainments, styles of life – really anything that might stand in the way of our loving God first and foremost in our lives and giving him the best we can with our time, resources, gifts, and service.

The priceless treasure of God’s kingdom
Those who are generous towards God and towards their neighbor find that they cannot outmatch God in his generosity towards us. God blesses us with the priceless treasures of his kingdom – freedom from fear and the griping power of sin, selfishness and pride which block his love and grace in our lives; freedom from loneliness, isolation and rejection which keep his children from living together in love, peace, and unity; and freedom from hopelessness, despair, and disillusionment which blind our vision of God’s power to heal every hurt, bind every wound, and remove every blemish which mar the image of God within us. God offers us treasure which money cannot buy. He alone can truly satisfy the deepest longing and desires of our heart. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from seeking true joy with Jesus?

Why does Jesus issue such a strong warning to the rich (as well as to the rest of us who desire to be rich)? Was he really against wealth? We know that Jesus was not opposed to wealth per se, nor was he opposed to the wealthy. He had many friends who were well-to-do, including some notorious tax collectors! One even became an apostle! Jesus’ warning reiterated the teaching of the Old Testament wisdom: Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is perverse in his ways (Proverbs 28:6; see also Psalm 37:16). Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist (Proverbs 23:4).

Where do we find true security?
Jesus seems to say that it is nearly impossible for the rich to live as citizens of God’s kingdom. The camel was regarded as the largest animal in Palestine. The “eye of the needle” could be interpreted quite literally or it could figuratively describe the narrow and low gate of the city walls which was used by travelers when the larger public gate was locked after dark. A normal sized man had to “lower” himself to enter that gate. A camel would literally have to knell and crawl through it.

Why is Jesus so cautious about wealth?  Wealth can make us falsely independent. The church at Laodicea was warned about their attitude towards wealth and a false sense of security: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (Revelation 3:17). Wealth can also lead us into hurtful desires and selfishness (see 1 Timothy 6:9-10). Look at the lesson Jesus gave about the rich man and his sons who refused to aid the poor man Lazarus (see Luke 16:19ff). They also neglected to serve God.

We loose what we keep – we gain what we give away
The Scriptures give us a paradox: we lose what we keep and we gain what we give away. Generosity will be amply repaid, both in this life and in eternity (Proverbs 3:9-10, Luke 6:38). Jesus offers us an incomparable treasure which no money can buy and no thief can steal. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. Material wealth will shackle us to this earth unless we guard our hearts and set our treasure on God and his everlasting kingdom. Where is your treasure?

“Lord Jesus, you have captured our hearts and opened to us the treasures of heaven. May you always be my treasure and delight and may nothing else keep me from giving you my all.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb27.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Leander of Seville (534-600)
St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast – February 27th) Leander was born at Cartagena, Spain, of Severianus and Theodora, illustrious for their virtue. St. Isidore and Fulgentius, both bishops were his brothers, and his sister, Florentina, is also numbered among the saints. He became a monk at Seville and then the bishop of the See. He was instrumental in converting the two sons Hermenegild and Reccared of the Arian Visigothic King Leovigild. This action earned him the kings’s wrath and exile to Constantinople, where he met and became close friends of the Papal Legate, the future Pope Gregory the Great. It was Leander who suggested that Gregory write the famous commentary on the Book of Job called the Moralia. Once back home, under King Reccared, St. Leander began his life work of propagating Christian orthodoxy against the Arians in Spain. The third local Council of Toledo (over which he presided in 589) decreed the consubstantiality of the three Persons of the Trinity and brought about moral reforms. Leander’s unerring wisdom and unflagging dedication let the Visigoths and the Suevi back to the true Faith and obtained the gratitude of Gregory the Great. The saintly bishop also composed an influential Rule for nuns and was the first to introduce the Nicene Creed at Mass. Worn out by his many activities in the cause of Christ, Leander died around 600 and was succeeded in the See of Seville by his brother Isidore. The Spanish Church honors Leander as the Doctor of the Faith. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=706

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anne Line 
St. Augustus Chapdelaine 
St. Baldomerus 
St. Bernard 
St. Honorina
St. John of Gorze 
St. Leander of Seville 
Bl. Maria Caridad Brader 
Bl. Mark Barkworth 
St. Thalelaeus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 82

First Reading: Isaiah 49:14-15
Psalms 62:2-3, 6-9Rest in God alone, my soul.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or  ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022617.cfm

Reflection:  What does the expression “serving two masters” and “being anxious” have in common? They both have the same root problem – being divided within oneself. The root word for “anxiety” literally means “being of two minds.” An anxious person is often “tossed to and fro” and paralyzed by fear, indecision, and insecurity. Fear of some bad outcome cripples those afflicted with anxiety. It’s also the case with someone who wants to live in two opposing kingdoms – God’s kingdom of light, truth, and goodness or Satan’s kingdom of darkness, sin, and deception – following God’s standards and way of happiness or following the world’s standards of success and happiness.

Who is the master of your life?
Who is the master in charge of your life? Our “master” is whatever governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of our heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money and possessions, the power of position and prestige, the glamor of wealth and fame, and the driving force of unruly passions, harmful desires, and addictive cravings. Ultimately the choice of who is our master boils down to two: God or “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth” or “possessions” or whatever tends to control our appetites and desires.

The antidote to fear, pride, and greed
There is one master alone who has the power to set us free from slavery to sin, fear, pride, and greed, and a host of other hurtful desires. That master is the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can save us from all that would keep us bound up in fear and anxiety. Jesus used an illustration from nature – the birds and the flowers – to show how God provides for his creatures in the natural order of his creation. God provides ample food, water, light, and heat to sustain all that lives and breathes. How much more can we, who are created in the very image and likeness of God, expect our heavenly Father and creator to sustain not only our physical bodies, but our mind, heart, and soul as well? God our Father is utterly reliable because it is his nature to love, heal, forgive, and make whole again.

Jesus – our daily bread
Jesus taught his disciples to pray with confidence to their heavenly Father: Give us this day our daily bread. What is bread, but the very staple of life and symbol of all that we need to live and grow. Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary. It robs us of faith and confidence in God’s help and it saps our energy for doing good. Jesus admonishes his followers to put away anxiety and preoccupation with material things and instead to seek first the things of God – his kingdom and righteousness. Anxiety robs the heart of trust in the mercy and goodness of God and in his loving care for us. God knows our needs even before we ask and he gives generously to those who trust in him. Who is your master – God or mammon?

“Lord Jesus, free me from needless worries and help me to put my trust in you. May my first and only concern be for your glory and your kingdom of peace and righteousness. Help me to live each day and moment with trust and gratitude for your providential care for me.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb26.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Isabel of France
Sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, she refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life of virginity consecrated to God. She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4053

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander
St. Alexander of Alexandria
St. Dionysius of Augsburg
St. Faustinian
St. Isabel of France
St. Papias
St. Porphyry of Gaza
St. Victor

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 346

First Reading: Sirach 17:1-15
Psalms 103:13-18The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Gospel: Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022517.cfm

Reflection:  Do you seek to help others draw near to the Lord Jesus? The parents who brought their children to Jesus wanted Jesus to lay his hands upon them. They knew of the healing power, both physical and spiritual, which came from Jesus’ touch. Jesus, in turn, rebuked his disciples for hindering the children from coming. No doubt the disciples wanted to shield Jesus from the nuisance of noisy children. But Jesus delighted in the children and demonstrated that God’s love has ample room for everyone.

Pray for the young to grow strong in faith
No one is unimportant to God. He comes to each person individually that he might touch them with his healing love and power. Do you show kindness, interest, and care for the youth you encounter in your neighborhood, home, and church? And do you pray for young people that they may come to know the love of Jesus Christ and grow in wisdom and maturity as his disciples?

Why does Jesus say that we must receive the kingdom of God like a child (Mark 10:15)? In the ancient world children were at the bottom of the social ladder. They had no rights or privileges of their own and they had no means or resources to care for themselves. They were totally dependent on their parents for everything they needed. Scripture teaches us that we are totally dependent on God as our eternal Father and Provider. We owe our very existence to him because he is the Creator, Author, and Sustainer of life. We could not find our way to God if he did not first seek us out and draw us to himself. That is why the Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to show us the way to the Father.

The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death, and to adopt us as children of God – his beloved sons and daughters. Jesus taught his disciples to not only honor and respect God as our eternal Father, but to trust in him with great confidence for everything we need – just as children naturally trust in their parents for all that they need. God gives generously to those who put their trust in him, who approach him with child-like simplicity and humility, and with expectant faith that he will treat them as a loving and merciful Father rather than a cold and stern judge or tyrant. Do you trust your heavenly Father to give you what you need to live as his son or daughter?

Do you seek to help others draw near to the Lord? 
Our great privilege and responsibility is to live as true and faithful sons and daughters of God and as loyal citizens and ambassadors of his heavenly kingdom. And our chief responsibility is to pass on the faith, wisdom, and gifts which we have received from God to our young people and to those who do not yet know God that they may find true joy and everlasting life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you ready and eager to pass on your faith and experience of God’s action in your life to others, especially to the young who need guidance, encouragement, and the godly example and witness of those who have discovered the true source of happiness in knowing, loving, and serving God?

“Lord Jesus, may we never hinder our youth from coming to you to receive your blessing, help, and abundant life. Make our youth strong in faith, hope, and love that they may find true joy and fulfillment in following you as their Lord and Savior. And as we grow with age, may we never lose that child-like simplicity and humility which draws us ever deeper into your loving presence.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb25.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Tarasius (730-806)
St. Tarasius was subject of the Byzantine Empire. He was raised to the highest honors in the Empire as Consul, and later became first secretary to the Emperor Constantine and his mother, Irene. When being elected Patriarch of Constantinople, he consented to accept the dignity offered to him only on condition that a General Council should be summoned to resolve the disputes concerning the veneration of sacred images, for Constantinople had been separated from the Holy See on account of the war between the Emperors. The Council was held in the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople in 786; it met again the following year at Nice and its decrees were approved by the Pope. The holy Patriarch incurred the enmity of the Emperor by his persistent refusal to sanction his divorce from his lawful wife. He witnessed the death of Constantine, which was occasioned by his own mother; he beheld the reign and the downfall of Irene and usurpation of Nicephorus. St. Tarasius’ whole life in the Episcopacy was one of penance and prayer, and of hard labor to reform his clergy and people. He occupied the See of Constantinople twenty-one years and two months. His charity toward the poor was one of the characteristic virtues of his life. He visited in person, all the houses and hospitals in Constantinople, so that no indigent person might be overlooked in the distribution of alms. This saintly Bishop was called to his eternal reward in the year 806. His feast day is February 25th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4053

More Saints of the Day:
St. Ananias II
St. Ananias III
St. Aventanus
St. Caesarius of Nazianzus
St. Callistus Caravario
Bl. Constantius
Bl. Didacus Carvalho
Bl. Domenico Lentini
Bl. Dominic Lentini
St. Donatus
St. Luigi Versiglia
Bl. Maria Adeodata Pisani
St. Nestor of Magydos
St. Tarasius
St. Victorinus
St. Walburga

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 345

First Reading: Sirach 6:5-17
Psalms 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34-35Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Gospel: Mark 10:1-12
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022417.cfm

Reflection:  What is God’s intention for our state in life, whether married or single? Jesus deals with the issue of divorce by taking his hearers back to the beginning of creation and to God’s plan for the human race. In Genesis 2:23-24 we see God’s intention and ideal that two people who marry should become so indissolubly one that they are one flesh. That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come.

We belong to God and not to ourselves
Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:11-12). Both marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God. Our lives are not our own – they belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19b,20; Romans 14:7-8).

The Lord Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit gives the grace and the power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life. His grace and power bring freedom, discipline, and strength to live a life of love, joy, and holiness. Do you seek the Lord and his grace (his strength and power) in your state of life?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life. Sanctify our lives – as married couples and as singles – that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you. Make us leaven in a society that disdains life-long marriage fidelity, chastity, and living single for the Lord”.   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb24.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. John Theristus (1049-1129)
Benedictine monk, called Theristus or “Harvester.” He was of Calabrian lineage, born in Sicily. His mother was a slave of the Saracens. John escaped at a young age and became a monk.

He was of Calabrian lineage, born in Sicily. John’s Calabrian mother had been captured by the Saracens and brought to Sicily. He contrived to escape to Calabria while still a child, and there he became a Greek monk.[2] He helped to miraculously harvest a large crop ahead of destructive weather, saving the locals from starvation, and gaining the title attributed to him.[3]There he remained until his death of natural causes, in 1129. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4053

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adela
St. Betto
St. John Theristus
St. Modestus
St. Montanus
St. Primitiva
St. Sergius
Bl. Tommaso Maria Fusco

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 344

First Reading: Sirach 5:1-8
Psalms 1:1-4, 6Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 9:41-50
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022317.cfm

Reflection:  Who in their right mind would want to lose their reward and then be deprived of joy in the end? We have been given the greatest of rewards – God himself who is perfect love and source of abundant life and unending happiness. Paul the Apostle tells us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). God’s love purifies our hearts and compels us to express kindness and charity towards our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God. We were created in love for love. The charity we show to our neighbors in their need expresses the gratitude we have for the abundant goodness and kindness of God towards us. Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not lose its reward. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is.

Gregory of Nyssa (330-395 AD), an early church father wrote:

“God never asks his servants to do what is impossible. The love and goodness of his Godhead is revealed as richly available. It is poured out like water upon all. God furnishes to each person according to his will the ability to do something good. None of those seeking to be saved will be lacking in this ability, given by the one who said: ‘whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward'” (ON THE CHRISTIAN MODE OF LIFE 8.1)

Do you allow the love of Christ to transform your heart that you may treat your neighbor with loving-kindness and mercy?

Avoiding evil and the near occasion of sin
Was Jesus’ exaggerating when he urged his followers to use drastic measures to avoid evil and its harmful consequences (Mark 9:42-47? Jesus set before his disciples the one supreme goal in life that is worth any sacrifice, and that goal is God himself and his will for our lives which leads to everlasting peace and happiness. Just as a doctor might remove a limb or some part of the body in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to sin and which leads to spiritual death. Jesus warns his disciples of the terrible responsibility that they must set no stumbling block  in the way of another, that is, not give offense or bad example that might lead another to sin. The Greek word for temptation (scandalon) is exactly the same as the English word scandal. The original meaning of scandal is a trap or a stumbling block which causes one to trip and fall. The Jews held that it was an unforgivable sin to teach another to sin. If we teach another to sin, he or she in turn may teach still another, until a train of sin is set in motion with no foreseeable end. The young in faith are especially vulnerable to the bad example of those who should be passing on the faith. Do you set a good example for others to follow, especially the young?

Salt and fire
What does Jesus mean when he says “have salt in yourselves” (Mark 9:50)? Salt served a very useful purpose in hot climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave food flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Salt was used as a symbol of fellowship and the sharing of a common meal with one’s friends. The near-Eastern expression to betray the salt meant to betray one’s Lord or Master or one’s friends. Leonardo da Vinci in his painting of the Last Supper depicts Judas in the act of tipping over the salt shaker, thus symbolically indentifying himself as the betrayer of his Master the Lord Jesus.

Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavor for food, so the disciple of Christ must be salt in the world of human society to purify, preserve, and  bring the flavor of God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, joy, and mercy. What did Jesus mean by the expression “salted with fire” and “salt losing its saltiness”? Salt in the ancient world was often put in ovens to intensify the heat. When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the foot path where it would easily get trodden upon (Matthew 5:13).Perhaps Jesus wanted to contrast useful salt and salt which lost its ability to prevent corruption to encourage his disciples to bring the rich flavor of Christ’s love, holiness, and righteousness to a world dominated by greed, selfish ambition, and neglect for the weak, poor, and defenseless.

Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be “the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ). The Lord Jesus wants the fragrance of his love and righteousness to permeate our lives, thoughts, speech, and actions. Do you allow the fragrance of Christ’s love and truth to permeate your relationships and circle of influence, especially among your family, friends, and neighbors?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with the fragrance of your love and truth that I may radiate the joy and peace of the Gospel wherever I go and with whomever I meet.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb23.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Polycarp
Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist.

But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first generation could not teach about. What did you do when those eyewitnesses were gone? How do you carry on the correct teachings of Jesus? How do you answer new questions that never came up before?

With the apostles gone, heresies sprang up pretending to be true teaching, persecution was strong, and controversies arose over how to celebrate liturgy that Jesus never laid down rules for.

Polycarp, as a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, found there was only one answer — to be true to the life of Jesus and imitate that life. Saint Ignatius of Antioch told Polycarp “your mind is grounded in God as on an immovable rock.”

When faced with heresy, he showed the “candid face” that Ignatius admired and that imitated Jesus’ response to the Pharisees. Marcion, the leader of the Marcionites who followed a dualistic heresy, confronted Polycarp and demanded respect by saying, “Recognize us, Polycarp.” Polycarp responded, “I recognize you, yes, I recognize the son of Satan.”

On the other hand when faced with Christian disagreements he was all forgiveness and respect. One of the controversies of the time came over the celebration of Easter. The East, where Polycarp was from, celebrated the Passover as the Passion of Christ followed by a Eucharist on the following day. The West celebrated Easter on the Sunday of the week following Passover. When Polycarp went to Rome to discuss the difference with Pope Anicetus, they could not agree on this issue. But they found no difference in their Christian beliefs. And Anicetus asked Polycarp to celebrate the Eucharist in his own papal chapel.

Polycarp faced persecution the way Christ did. His own church admired him for following the “gospel model” — not chasing after martyrdom as some did, but avoiding it until it was God’s will as Jesus did. They considered it “a sign of love to desire not to save oneself alone, but to save also all the Christian brothers and sisters.”

One day, during a bloody martyrdom when Christians were attacked by wild animals in the arena, the crowd became so mad that they demanded more blood by crying, “Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found.” (They considered Christians “atheists” because they didn’t believe in their pantheon of gods.) Since Polycarp was not only known as a leader but as someone holy “even before his grey hair appeared”, this was a horrible demand.

Polycarp was calm but others persuaded him to leave the city and hide at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer for people he knew and for the Church. During his prayer he saw a vision of his pillow turned to fire and announced to his friends that the dream meant he would be burned alive.

As the search closed in, he moved to another farm, but the police discovered he was there by torturing two boys. He had a little warning since he was upstairs in the house but he decided to stay, saying, “God’s will be done.”

Then he went downstairs, talked to his captors and fed them a meal. All he asked of them was that they give him an hour to pray. He spent two hours praying for everyone he had every known and for the Church, “remembering all who had at any time come his way — small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.” Many of his captors started to wonder why they were arresting this holy, eighty-six-year-old bishop.

But that didn’t stop them from taking him into the arena on the Sabbath. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, “Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man.”

The proconsul begged the eighty-six-year-old bishop to give in because of his age. “Say ‘Away with the atheists'” the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to the face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, “Away with the atheists.” The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, “If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian.” Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, “Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us.”

Because of Polycarp’s lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive but Polycarp knew that the fire that burned for an hour was better than eternal fire.

When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed, “Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, among those who are in you presence, as you have prepared and foretold and fulfilled, God who is faithful and true. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen.”

The fire was lit as Polycarp said Amen and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn’t being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.

The proconsul wouldn’t let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: “They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world.” After the body was burned, they stole the bones in order to celebrate the memory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution. The date was about February 23, 156. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=99

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander Akimetes
St. Boswell
St. Cerneuf
Bl. Daniel Brottier
St. Dositheus
St. Felix of Brescia
St. Florentius
Bl. Josephine Vannini
St. Jurmin
St. Lazarus Zographos
St. Martha
Martyrs of Sirmium
St. Medrald
St. Milburga
St. Ordonius
St. Polycarp
St. Polycarp of Smyrna
Bl. Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St. Romana
St. Serenus the Gardener
St. Willigis
St. Zebinus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
Lectionary: 535

First Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalms 23:1-6The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022217.cfm

Reflection:  At an opportune time Jesus tests his disciples with a crucial question: Who do men say that I am and who do you say that I am? He was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God.

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father comments on Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus:

Peter did not say “you are a Christ” or “a son of God” but “the Christ, the Son of God.” For there are many christs [meaning anointed ones]by grace, who have attained the rank of adoption [as sons], but [there is] only one who is by nature the Son of God. Thus, using the definite article, he said, the Christ, the Son of God. And in calling him Son of the living God, Peter indicates that Christ himself is life and that death has no authority over him. And even if the flesh, for a short while, was weak and died, nevertheless it rose again, since the Word, who indwelled it, could not be held under the bonds of death. (FRAGMENT 190)

Jesus plays on Peter’s name which is the same word for “rock” in both Aramaic and Greek.  To call someone a “rock” is one of the greatest of compliments. The ancient rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: “I have discovered a rock to found the world upon”. Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones.

Jesus then confers on Peter authority to govern the church that Jesus would build, a church that no powers would overcome because it is founded on the rock which is Christ himself. Epiphanius, a 6th century Scripture scholar who also translated many early church commentaries from Greek into Latin, explains the significance of Jesus handing down the “keys of the kingdom”:

For Christ is a rock which is never disturbed or worn away. Therefore Peter gladly received his name from Christ to signify the established and unshaken faith of the church.… The devil is the gateway of death who always hastens to stir up against the holy church calamities and temptations and persecutions. But the faith of the apostle, which was founded upon the rock of Christ, abides always unconquered and unshaken. And the very keys of the kingdom of the heavens have been handed down so that one whom he has bound on earth has been bound in heaven, and one whom he has set free on earth he has also set free in heaven. (INTERPRETATION OF THE GOSPELS 28)

The Lord Jesus offers us the gift of unshakeable faith, enduring hope, and unquenchable love – and the joyful boldness to proclaim him as the one true Savior who brings us the kingdom of God both now and forever. Who do you say he is to yourself and to your neighbor?

“Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong like Peter’s and give me boldness to speak of you to others that they may come to know you personally as Lord and Savior and grow in the knowledge of your great love.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb22.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297)
Margaret of Cortona, penitent, was born in Loviana in Tuscany in 1247. Her father was a small farmer. Margaret’s mother died when she was seven years old. Her stepmother had little care for her high-spirited daughter. Rejected at home, Margaret eloped with a youth from Montepulciano and bore him a son out of wedlock. After nine years, her lover was murdered without warning. Margaret left Montpulciano and returned as a penitent to her father’s house. When her father refused to accept her and her son, she went to the Friars Minor at Cortona where she received asylum. Yet Maragaret had difficulty overcoming temptations of the flesh. One Sunday she returned to Loviana with a cord around her neck. At Mass, she asked pardon for her past scandal. She attempted to mutilate her face, but was restrained by Friar Giunta. Margaret earned a living by nursing sick ladies. Later she gave this up to serve the sick poor without recompense, subsisting only on alms. Evenually, she joined the Third Order of St. Francis, and her son also joined the Franciscans a few years later. Margaret advanced rapidly in prayer and was said to be in direct contact with Jesus, as exemplified by frequent ecstacies. Friar Giunta recorded some of the messages she received from God. Not all related to herself, and she courageously presented messages to others. In 1286, Margaret was granted a charter allowing her to work for the sick poor on a permanent basis. Others joined with personal help, and some with financial assistance. Margaret formed her group into tertiaries, and later they were given special status as a congregation which was called The Poverelle (“Poor Ones”). She also founded a hospital at Cortona and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy. Some in Cortona turned on Margaret, even accusing her of illicit relations with Friar Giunta. All the while, Margaret continued to preach against vice and many, through her, returned to the sacraments. She also showed extraordinary love for the mysteries of the Eucharist and the Passion of Jesus Christ. Divinely warned of the day and hour of her death, she died on February 22, 1297, having spent twenty-nine years performing acts of penance. She was canonized in 1728. Her feast day is February 22nd. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=234

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aristion
St. Athanasius
St. Baradates
St. Elwin
Bl. John the Saxon
St. Margaret of Cortona
Martyrs of Arabia
St. Maximian of Ravenna
St. Papias of Hierapolis
St. Raynerius
Bl. Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St. Thalassius & Limuneus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 342

First Reading: Sirach 2:1-11
Psalms 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022117.cfm

Reflection:  Whose glory do you seek? There can be no share in God’s glory without the cross. When Jesus prophesied his own betrayal and crucifixion, it did not make any sense to his disciples because it did not fit their understanding of what the Messiah came to do. And they were afraid to ask further questions! Like a person who might receive a bad verdict from the doctor and then refuse to ask further questions, they, too, didn’t want to know any more. How often do we reject what we do not wish to see? We have heard the good news of God’s word and we know the consequences of accepting it or rejecting it. But do we give it our full allegiance and mold our lives according to it? Ask the Lord to fill you with his Holy Spirit and to inspire within you a reverence for his word and a readiness to obey it.

Do you compare yourself with others?
How ashamed the disciples must have been when Jesus overheard them arguing about who among them was the greatest! But aren’t we like the disciples? We compare ourselves with others and desire their praise. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn’t cherish the ambition to be “somebody” whom others admire rather than a “nobody”? Even the psalms speak about the glory God has destined for us. You have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5).

Jesus made a dramatic gesture by embracing a child to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God. What can a little child possibly teach us about greatness? Children in the ancient world had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the “bottom of the rung” and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants.

Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom?
What is the significance of Jesus’ gesture? Jesus elevated a little child in the presence of his disciples by placing the child in a privileged position of honor. It is customary, even today, to seat the guest of honor at the right side of the host. Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart – who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant or child.

Jesus, himself, is our model. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Paul the Apostle states that Jesus emptied himself and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). Jesus lowered himself (he whose place is at the right hand of God the Father) and took on our lowly nature that he might raise us up and clothe us in his divine nature.

God wants to fill us with his own glory
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble
 (James 4:6). If we want to be filled with God’s life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way – pride, self-seeking glory, vanity, etc. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Corinthians 4:7). Are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did?

“Lord Jesus, by your cross you have redeemed the world and revealed your glory and triumph over sin and death. May I never fail to see your glory and victory in the cross.  Help me to conform my life to your will and to follow in your way of holiness.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb21.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Severian (d. 452)
Bishop and martyr. The bishop of Scythopolis in Galilee. He attended the Council of Chalcedon (451) and took part in the complete triumph of the orthodox Christian cause against the heretics of the era. On his return home he was assassinated by a group of heretics at the command of Emperor Theodosius II. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2517

More Saints of the Day:
St. Avitus II of Clermont
St. Felix of Metz
St. Gundebert
St. Paterius
Bl. Pepin of Landen
St. Peter Damian
St. Peter the Scribe
St. Severian
St. Valerius
St. Verulus and Companions

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 341

First Reading: Sirach 1:1-10
Psalms 93:1-2, 5The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Gospel: Mark 9:14-29
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022017.cfm

Reflection:  What kind of faith does the Lord Jesus expect of us, especially when we meet challenges and difficulties? Inevitably there will be times when each of us cause disappointment to others. In this Gospel incident the disciples of Jesus brought disappointment to a pleading father because they failed to heal his epileptic son. Jesus’ response seemed stern; but it was really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once both Jesus’ dismay with the disciples’ lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his anguished father. Jesus recognized the weakness of the father’s faith and at the same time challenged him to pray boldly with expectant faith: “All things are possible to him who believes!”

Prayer and faith go together
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), in his commentary on this passage, reminds us that prayer and faith go together: “Where faith fails, prayer perishes. For who prays for that in which he does not believe? ..So then in order that we may pray, let us believe, and let us pray that this same faith by which we pray may not falter.” The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit that we may have the confidence and boldness we need to ask our heavenly Father for his help and grace. Do you trust in God’s love and care for you and pray with expectant faith that he will give you what you need?

When Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, the boy at first seemed to get worse rather than better as he went into a fit of convulsion. Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena, reflects on this incident:

“Though it was the boy who fell on the ground, it was the devil in him who was in anguish. The possessed boy was merely convulsed, while the usurping spirit was being convicted by the awesome judge. The captive was detained, but the captor was punished. Through the wrenching of the human body, the punishment of the devil was made manifest.”

God promises each one of us freedom from oppression, especially from the oppression of sin and the evil one who tries to rob us of faith, hope, and peace with God. The Lord Jesus invites us, as he did this boy’s father, to pray with expectant faith. Do you trust in God’s unfailing love and mercy?

Faith and trust in God’s unfailing love and mercy
The mighty works and signs which Jesus did demonstrate that the kingdom of God is present in him. These signs attest that the Father has sent him as the promised Messiah. They invite belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. The coming of God’s kingdom means defeat of Satan’s kingdom. Jesus’ exorcisms anticipate his great victory over “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). While Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and may cause grave injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature, his power is nonetheless limited and permitted by divine providence (Romans 8:28). Jesus offers freedom from bondage to sin and Satan. There is no affliction he cannot deliver us from. Do you make full use of the protection and help he offers to those who seek him with faith and trust in his mercy?

“Lord Jesus, help my unbelief! Increase my faith and trust in your saving power. Give me confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer. And help me to bring your healing love and truth to those I meet”. http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb20.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Wulfric (1080-1154)
Wulfric (d. 1154) + hermit and miracle worker. Born at Compton Martin, near Bristol, England, he became a priest and was excessively materialistic and worldly. After meeting with a beggar, he underwent a personal conversion and became a hermit at Haselbury; Somerset, England. For his remaining years, he devoted himself to rigorous austerities and was known for his miracles and prophecies. While he was never formally canonized, Wulfric was a very popular saint during the Middle Ages, and his tomb was visited by many pilgrims. Feast day: February 20. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2053

More Saints of the Day:
St. Amat 
St. Basil 
St. Bolcan 
St. Colgan 
St. Eleutherius of Tournai 
St. Eucherius of Orleans 
Bl. Francisco Marto
Bl. Jacinta Marto 
St. Leo of Catania 
Martyrs of Tire 
St. Sadoth 
Sts. Tyrannio & Silvanus 
St. Valerius 
St. Wulfric

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2017

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 79

First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Psalms 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13The Lord is kind and merciful.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021917.cfm

Reflection:  If someone insults you or tries to take advantage of you, how do you respond? Do you repay in kind? Jesus approached the question of just retribution with a surprising revelation of God’s intention for how we should treat others, especially those who mistreat us. When Jesus spoke about God’s law, he did something no one had done before. He gave a new standard based not just on the requirements of justice – giving each their due – but based on the law of grace, love, and freedom.

Law of grace and love
Jesus knew the moral law and its intention better than any jurist or legal expert could imagine. He quoted from the oldest recorded law in the world: If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:23-25). Such a law today seems cruel, but it was meant to limit vengeance as a first step towards mercy. This law was not normally taken literally but served as a guide for a judge in a law court for assessing punishment and penalty (see Deuteronomy 19:18).

The Old Testament is full of references to the command that we must be merciful: You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the  LORD (Leviticus 19:18). If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink (Proverbs 25:21). Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done” (Proverbs 24:29). Let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults (Lamentations 3:30).

Jesus does something quite remarkable and unheard of. He transforms the law of mercy with grace, forbearance, and loving-kindness. Jesus also makes clear that there is no room for retaliation. We must not only avoid returning evil for evil, but we must seek the good of those who wish us ill. Do you accept insults, as Jesus did, with no resentment or malice? When you are compelled by others to do more than you think you deserve, do you insist on your rights, or do you respond with grace and cheerfulness?

Grace of the Holy Spirit
What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from everyone else? What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with loving-kindness and mercy. Only the cross of  Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. The Lord Jesus suffered insult, abuse, injustice, and death on a cross for our sake. Scripture tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and guilt (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7, I John 1:7, Revelation 1:5). Since God has been merciful towards us through the offering of his Son, Jesus Christ, we in turn are called to be merciful towards our neighbor, even those who cause us grief and harm.

How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction.  Do you know the power and freedom of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?

Perfect – made whole
Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Jesus’ command seems to parallel two passages from the Old Testament Scriptures. The first is where God instructed Abraham to “be perfect/blameless” before God (Genesis 17:1). The original meaning of “perfect” in Hebrew and the Aramaic dialect which Jesus spoke is”“completeness”” or”“wholeness” – “not lacking in what is essential.”

The second passage that seems to parallel Jesus’ expression – “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”-  is the command that God gave to Moses and the people of Israel to “be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44,45; 19:2). God created each one of us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). That is why he calls us to grow in maturity and wholeness so we can truly be like him – a people who loves as he loves and who chooses to do what is good and to reject what is evil (Ephesians 4:13-16).

Freedom and power to love as God loves
God knows our sinfulness and weaknesses better than we do – and he assures us of his love, mercy, and help. That is why he freely gives us his power, strength, and gifts so that we may not lack anything we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters (2 Peter 1:3). Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to purify and transform you in the image of the Father that you may know and live in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb19.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Bl. Alvarez of Corova (1350-1430)
Alvarez was born in either Lisbon, Portugal, or Cordova, Spain. He entered the Dominican convent at Cordova in 1368. He became known for his preaching prowess in Spain and Italy, was confessor and adviser of Queen Catherine, John of Gaunt’s daughter, and tutor of King John II in his youth. He reformed the court, and then left the court to found a monastery near Cordova. There the Escalaceli (ladder of heaven) that he built became a center of religious devotion. He successfully led the opposition to antipope Benedict XII (Peter de Luna), and by the time of his death was famous all over Spain for his teaching, preaching, asceticism, and holiness. His cult was confirmed in 1741.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=332

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Alvarez of Corova
St. Auxibius
St. Barbatus of Benevento
St. Beatus
St. Belina
St. Boniface of Lausanne
Bl. Lucy
St. Odran
St. Valerius
St. Zambdas

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 340

First Reading: Hebrews 11:1-7
Psalms 145:2-5, 10-11I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Gospel: Mark 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021817.cfm

Reflection:  Are you prepared to see God’s glory? God is eager to share his glory with us! We get a glimpse of this when the disciples see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Jesus’ face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (Mark 9:2,3).
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says thatthe Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). In the Gospel account Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles – Peter, James, and John.

What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).

The Lord wants to share his glory with each of us
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father’s glory: follow me – obey my words – take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessings of my Father’s kingdom – your name will be written in heaven.

Jesus succeeded in his mission because he went to Calvary so that Paradise would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each one of us, if we will follow in his footsteps.

Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD), an early church bible scholar and writer, shows us how the transfiguration can change our lives:

“When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness.”

Stay awake spiritually – Don’t miss God’s glory and action 
Luke’s Gospel account tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually?  There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the “unexamined life” can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ.  Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.

Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?

“Lord Jesus, keep me always alert and awake to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb18.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Simon the Zealot
In St. Matthew’s Gospel, we read of St. Simon or Simeon who is described as one of our Lord’s brethren or kinsmen. His father was Cleophas, St. Joseph’s brother, and his mother, according to some writers, was our Lady’s sister. He would therefore be our Lord’s first cousin and is supposed to have been about eight years older than He. No doubt he is one of those brethren of Christ who are  mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as having received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. St. Epiphanius says that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, his brother Simeon upbraided them for their cruelty. The apostles and disciples afterwards met together to appoint a successor to James as bishop of Jerusalem, and they unanimously chose Simeon, who had probably assisted his brother in the government of that church. In the year 66 civil war broke out in Palestine, as a consequence of Jewish opposition to the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned of the impending destruction of the city and appear to have been divinely ordered to leave it. Accordingly that same year, before Vespasian entered Judaea, they retired with St. Simeon at their head to the other side of the Jordan, occupying a small city called Pella. After the capture and burning of Jerusalem, the Christians returned and settled among the ruins until the Emperor Hadrian afterwards entirely razed it. We are told by St. Epiphanius and by Eusebius that the church here flourished greatly, and that many Jews were converted by the miracles wrought by the saints. When Vespasian and Domitian had ordered the destruction of all who were of the race of David, St. Simeon had escaped their search; but when Trajan gave a similar injunction, he was denounced as being not only one of David’s descendants, but also a Christian, and he was brought before Atticus, the Roman governor. He was condemned to death and, after being tortured, was crucified. Although he was extremely old – tradition reports him to have attained the age of 120 – Simeon endured his sufferings with a degree of fortitude which roused the admiration of Atticus himself. His feast day is February 18.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=747

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agatha Lin
Fra Angelico
St. Angilbert
St. Angilbert
St. Charalampias
St. Colman of Lindisfarne
St. Flavian of Constantinople
St. Gertrude Caterina Comensoli
Bl. John Pibush
St. Leo & Paregorius
St. Lucius
Bl. Martin
St. Maximus
St. Simon
St. Theotonius
Bl. William Harrington

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 339

First Reading: Genesis 11:1-9
Psalms 33:10-15Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Gospel: Mark 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021717.cfm

Reflection:  What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity. Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.

God gives without measure – we give all we have in return
Jesus asks the question: What will a person give in exchange for his life? Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. A true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish.

The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to know the power of his saving death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness to others the joy and truth of the gospel. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I want to follow you as your disciple. I gladly offer all that I have to you. Take and use my life as a pleasing sacrifice of praise to your glory.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb17.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Alexis Falconeri (1200-1310)
Founder and mystic, one of the first Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence in 1225. Gathered together on the Feast of the Assumption in 1233, the group experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary which inspired them to found a new religious community dedicated to prayer. They founded such a group at La Camarzia, near Florence, moving eventually to Monte Senario, on the outskirts of the city. Another vision inspired Alexis and his companions to form the Servites, or the Servants of Mary. All in the group were ordained priests, except for Alexis, who believed he was not worthy of such an honor. He helped build the Servite church at Cafaggio, and he managed the day-to-day temporal affairs of the congregation. The Servites received papal approval from Pope Benedict XI in 1304. Alexis was the only founding member still alive. He died at Monte Senario on February 17, 1310, recorded as 110 years old. Alexis and his companions are called the Seven Holy Founders. They were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1257

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexis Falconieri
St. Benedict of Cagliari
St. Constabilis
St. Donatus
St. Evermod
St. Faustinus & Companions
St. Finan of Lindisfarne
St. Fintan of Clonenagh
St. Fortchern
St. Habet Deus
St. Hugh dei Lippi Uggucioni
St. Julian of Caesarea
St. Loman
St. Manettus
St. Polychronius
St. Theodulus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 338

First Reading: Genesis 9:1-13
Psalms 102:16-21, 29, 22-23From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Gospel: Mark 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021617.cfm

Reflection:  Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the “Christ of God” – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One, consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.

Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish 
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, after all, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:

There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on LukeHomily 49)

God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.

We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the Gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?

“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb16.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Daniel
Died in 309, He and four companions, Elias, Isaias, Jeremy and Samuel were Egyptians who visited Christians condemned to work in the mines of Cilicia during Maximus persecution, to comfort them. Apprehended at the gates of Caesarea, Palestine, they were brought before the governor, Firmilian and accused of being Christians. They were all tortured and then beheaded. When Porphyry, a servant of St. Pamphilus demanded that the bodies be buried, he was tortured and then burned to death when it was found he was a Christian. Seleucus witnessed his death and applauded his constancy in the face of his terrible death; whereupon he was arrested by the soldiers involved in the execution, borught before the governor and was beheaded at Firmilian’s order. Feast day Feb. 16.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=218

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aganus
St. Daniel
St. Elias & Companions
St. Faustinus
St. Honestus
St. Jeremy
Bl. Joseph Allamano
St. Juliana of Nicomedia
St. Juliana of Cumae
St. Julian of Egypt
St. Onesimus
St. Pamphilus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 337

First Reading: Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22
Psalms 116:12-15, 18-19: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Gospel: Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021417.cfm

Reflection:  What’s worse than physical blindness? A mind and heart darkened by sin, unbelief, and prideful rejection of God’s light and truth. Jesus came to set people free from the blinding darkness of sin, deception, and the lies of Satan and he offered them new abundant life and freedom to walk in his way of love, truth, and holiness. Wherever Jesus went he proclaimed the kingdom of God, and many people drew near to hear, see, and touch the power which came from him to heal and restore people to wholeness of life.

The gift of faith dispels the darkness of sin and unbelief
When Jesus came to Bethsaida, the fishing village of Andrew, Peter, James, and John, a blind man was brought to Jesus by some of his friends. Without their help he could not have found the one who could restore his sight and make him whole. Jesus understood the fears and hopes of this blind man and his friends who begged him to touch the blind so he could be restored. The blind in a special way perceive the power of touch.

Why did Jesus first lead the blind man away from the village (Mark 8:23)? Jesus very likely wanted to remove him from the distraction of bystanders and unbelieving skeptics. We know from the Gospel accounts written by Luke and Matthew that Jesus had strong words of rebuke for the inhabitants of Bethsaida:

“Woe to you Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you… You shall be brought down to Hades” (Luke 10:13, Matthew 11:21).

Jesus identifies with our weaknesses and strengthens us in faith
Jesus showed considerateness in bringing the blind man to a place away from the skeptics and gawkers who might dampen his faith and trust in Jesus. Then Jesus did something quite remarkable and unexpected. Mark says that Jesus “spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him” (Mark 8:23). Jesus physically identified with the blind man’s incurable condition both to show his personal compassion for him and to also awaken faith in him. Jesus then asks the man, “Do you see anything?” The blind man begins to recognize that he can now see a little bit – but his sight is very blurry. So Jesus lays his hands on him a second time to strengthen his faith so he can receive a complete healing. Mark records in three short phrases the dramatic healing which occurred to the blind man: “He looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.” His sight was restored in stages as he responded in faith to Jesus’ healing touch and words.

Jesus gives us “eyes of faith” to recognize the truth of his word
Jerome, an early church bible scholar (347-420 AD), explains the spiritual significance of this healing not only for the blind man but for us as well:

“Christ laid his hands upon his eyes that he might see all things clearly, so through visible things he might understand things invisible, which the eye has not seen, that after the film of sin is removed, he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eye of a clean heart.”

Sinful pride and the refusal to repent of wrongdoing easily lead to deception and spiritual blindness which rob people of faith and trust in God’s merciful pardon and healing forgiveness. Jesus is the true light that opens our eyes and hearts to the truth of his word and the power of his love to heal, restore, and make us whole.

Removing blind-spots that cloud of vision of the Lord and his kingdom power
Are there any blind-spots in your life that cloud your vision of the Lord Jesus and his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? Ask the Lord Jesus to touch you with his grace and power that you may see more clearly his transforming power and grace at work in your life.

“Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the revelation of your healing presence and saving word. Help me to walk in the truth and power of your love and to not stumble in the darkness of sin and unbelief. Use me to help others find your healing light and saving presence as well.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb15.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Walfrid (d. 765)
Walfrid or Galfrido della Gherardesca was born in Pisa, of which he became a prosperous and honored citizen. He married a wife to whom he was deeply attached, and they had five sons and at least one daughter. After a time, Walfrid and his wife Thesia felt that God was calling them to enter the religious life. Walfrid had two friends – A kinsman named Gunduald and a certain Fortis, a native of Corsica: like him they were living in the world, but were drawn to a closer service of God under monastic discipline. Together they discussed the future, and were led by a dream to choose Monte Verde, between Volterra and Piombino, as the site of their future monastery. They decided to follow the Benedictine Rule of Monte Casino and, besides their own Abbey of Palazzuolo, they built at a distance of about eighteen miles a convent for women, in which their wives and Walfrid’s daughter Rattruda took the veil. The new foundation attracted many novices, and before long there were sixty monks including Walfrid’s favorite son Gimfrid and Gunduald’s only son Andrew, who became the third Abbott and wrote the history of St. Walfrid. Gimfrid was made priest, but in an hour of temptation he flew from the monastery, taking with him men, horses and papers which belonged to the community. Walfrid, greatly distressed, sent a search party after the fugitive. On the third day, when he was praying in the midst of his monks for his son’s repentance and return, he besought God also to send Gimfrid a sign which would be constantly before him as a reminder and a warning for the rest of his life. That same day Wimfrid was caught and brought back penitent, but with the middle finger of his right hand so mutilated that he could never use it again. Walfrid ruled the Abbey wisely and well for ten years, and after his death, was succeeded by Gimfrid, who inspite of his earlier lapse became, as Andrew records, a great and good pastor. St. Walfrid’s cultus was confirmed in 1861. His feast day is February 15th.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=595

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agape
St. Berach
St. Claude La Colombiere
St. Craton
St. Decorosus
St. Dochow
St. Druthmar
St. Eusebius
St. Euseus
St. Farannan
St. Faustinus and Jovita
St. Faustus
St. Georgia
St. Jordan
St. Joseph of Antioch
St. Jovita
St. Quinidius
St. Saturninus
St. Walfrid
St. Winaman

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop
Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 336

First Reading: Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10
Psalms 29:1-4, 3, 9-10: The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Gospel: Mark 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021417.cfm

Reflection:  Do you allow anxiety or fear to keep you from trusting in God’s provision for your life? The apostles worried because they forgot to bring bread for their journey. And that was right after Jesus miraculously fed a group of five thousand people (Mark 6:41-44, Matthew 14:17-21), and then on another occasion four thousand people (Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:34-38)! How easy it is to forget what God has already done for us and to doubt what he promises to do for us in the future as well. Scripture tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Ask the Lord Jesus to fill your heart with his love and to increase your faith in his provident care for you.

Beware the “leaven” which corrupts mind, body, and soul
Jesus cautioned the disciples to beware of bread that corrupts, such as the “leaven of the Pharisees.” When leaven ferments a lump of wet dough, it transforms the dough and changes it into life-enriching bread when heated. Left-over dough which had been leavened (but not baked) would rot and become putrified. For the Jew leaven was a sign or symbol of evil influence. It signified anything which rots and corrupts, not just physically but spiritually and morally as well.

Jesus warned his disciples to avoid the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought their own counsels rather than the mind of God. They were blinded by their own arrogance and were unable to recognize the truth and wisdom which Jesus spoke in the name of his Father in heaven. What kind of leaven (spiritual, moral, intellectual) do you allow to influence your way of thinking and living? Jesus sharply contrasts the bread and leaven which produces life, especially the abundant life which God offers through Jesus, the true bread of heaven, with the bread and leaven which rots and corrupts mind, body, and soul.

Let God’s word nourish and strengthen you in faith, hope, and love
As the disciples continued to worry about their lack of physical bread for the journey, Jesus reminded them of his miraculous provision of bread in the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand. He then upbraided them for their lack of trust in God. Aren’t we like the apostles? We too easily get preoccupied with the problems, needs, and worries of the present moment, and we forget the most important reality of all – God’s abiding presence with us!

When the people of Israel wandered in the desert homeless and helpless for forty years, God was with them every step of the way. And he provided for them shelter, food, water, and provision, as long as they trusted in him. Each day he gave them just what they needed. Jesus teaches us to trust in God’s abiding presence with us and in his promise to provide us what we need each and every day to live as his sons and daughters. Do you pray with joyful confidence, “Father, give us this day our daily bread”?

“Lord Jesus, you alone are the true bread of life which sustains us each and every day. Give me joy and strength to serve you always and help me to turn away from the leaven of sin and worldliness which brings corruption and death.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb14.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Valentine, Patron of Love, Young People, Happy Marriages (d. 269)
Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated with “courtly love.”

Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrolgy.

The legends attributed to the mysterious saint are as inconsistent as the actual identification of the man.

One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test.

St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision.

Judge Asterius was humbled and obeyed Valentine’s requests. Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates.

St. Valentine was later arrested again for continuing to try to convert people to Christianity. He was sent to Rome under the emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II). According to the popular hagiographical identity, and what is believed to be the first representation of St. Valentine, the Nuremberg Chronicle, St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during Claudius’ reign. The story tells that St. Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Both acts were considered serious crimes. A relationship between the saint and emperor began to grow, until Valentine attempted to convince Claudius of Christianity. Claudius became raged and sentenced Valentine to death, commanding him to renounce his faith or be beaten with clubs and beheaded.

St. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and Christianity and was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269. However, other tales of St. Valentine’s life claim he was executed either in the year 269, 270, 273 or 280. Other depictions of St. Valentine’s arrests tell that he secretly married couples so husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. Another variation of the legend of St. Valentine says he refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, was imprisoned and while imprisoned he healed the jailer’s blind daughter. On the day of his execution, he left the girl a note signed, “Your Valentine.”

Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole in his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini.

The romantic nature of Valentine’s Day may have derived during the Middle Ages, when it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. According to English 18th-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, Valentine’s Day was most likely created to overpower the pagan holiday, Lupercalia.

Although the exact origin of the holiday is not widely agreed upon, it is widely recognized as a day for love, devotion and romance.

Whoever he was, Valentine did really exist, because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St. Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.

Relics of St. Valentine can be found all over the world. A flower-crowned skull of St. Valentine can be found in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In 1836, other relics were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina and were identified as Valentine’s. These were transported for a special Mass dedicated to those young and in love.

Fr. John Spratt received a gift from Pope Gregory XVI in 1836 contianing a “small vessel tinged” with St. Valentine’s blood. This gift now stands placed in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Other alleged relics were found in Prague in the Church of St Peter and Paul at Vysehrad; in the parish church of St. Mary’s Assumption in Chelmno Poland; at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France; in the Stephansdom in Vienna; in Balzan in Malta and also in Blessed John Duns Scotus’ church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland.

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=159

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abraham of Carrhae
St. Antoninus of Sorrento
St. Auxentius of Bithynia
St. Conran
Sts. Cyril and Methodius
St. Dionysius
St. Eleuchadius
St. Maro
Sts. Cyril and Methodius
St. Nostrianus
St. Theodosius
St. Valentine
Bl. Vicente Vilar David

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 335

First Reading: Genesis 4:1-15, 25
Psalms 50:1, 8, 16-17, 20-21:
Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
Gospel: Mark 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021317.cfm

Reflection:  Are you good at reading signs? Signs tell us what is coming ahead. The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. The religious leaders tested Jesus to see if he had a genuine sign from heaven to back his claim to be the Messiah. False messiahs in the past had made extraordinary claims to attract their followers, such as claiming that they could cleave the Jordan River in two or cause the walls of Jerusalem to fall.

What makes us blind-sighted to God’s presence and power in our lives?
Jesus knew the hearts of those who came to test him. They were more interested in seeking signs to prove that they were right and Jesus was wrong. Jesus revealed the true intention of their heart – they came to argue with him and to test him (Mark 8:11) because they did not believe that he spoke in the name of his Father in heaven. They wanted to discredit his claim to be the true Messiah and Savior. They unfortunately were blind-sighted to the truth of Jesus’ message that the Father had sent him, the only begotten Son, to set them free from sin, Satan, and death. No miracle of Jesus would convince them because their hearts were full of self-seeking pride and glory for themselves.

Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus gave the Pharisees no sign except himself and the ultimate proof of his divinity when he overcame death and rose victorious from the tomb on the third day.We also need no further proof than the witness of Jesus who fulfilled what Moses and the prophets had foretold would take place when the Messiah came to redeem his people.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who came from the Father in heaven to set us free from the power of sin, Satan, and death. His death on the cross atones for all of our sins and opens for us the floodgates of God’s merciful love and healing forgiveness. He alone can set us free from guilt, condemnation, pride, and fear. He alone can give us abundant life, peace, and joy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gives us “listening ears” and “eyes of faith” to recognize his presence in our lives 
The Lord reveals himself and makes his presence known to us in many ways – in his “word” (the good news he came to give us) and in the “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist (he is the Bread of Life), in his church – the Body of Christ, and in his creation (he is the Word who created all things). And even in the daily circumstances of our lives the Lord Jesus continues to speak to us and guide us. If we seek the Lord Jesus, we will surely find him. And we can be confident that he will give us whatever we need to carry out his will for our lives. Most of all the Lord Jesus assures us of his daily presence with us and the promise that he will never leave us. Theresa of Avila’s prayer book contained a bookmark which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; All things pass: God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices. Is God enough for you?

“Lord Jesus, may I always recognize your saving presence in my life and never forget your promises when I encounter trials and difficulties. Give me a faith that never wavers, a hope that never fades, and a love that never grows cold.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb13.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine de Ricci (1522-1589)
St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her baptismal name was Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine upon entering religion. From her earliest infancy she manifested a great love of prayer, and in her sixth year, her father placed her in the convent of Monticelli in Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. After a brief return home, she entered the convent of the Dominican nuns at Prat in Tuscany, in her fourteenth year. While very young, she was chosen Mistress of Novices, then subprioress, and at twenty-five years of age she became perpetual prioress. The reputation of her sanctity drew to her side many illustrious personages, among whom three later sat in the chair of Peter, namely Cerveni, Alexander de Medicis, and Aldo Brandini, and afterward Marcellus II, Clement VIII, and Leo XI respectively. She corresponded with St. Philip Neri and, while still living, she appeared to him in Rome in a miraculous manner.She is famous for the “Ecstacy of the Passion” which she experienced every Thursday from noon until Friday at 4:00 p.m. for twelve years. After a long illness she passed away in 1589. Her feast day is February 13.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=587

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agabus
Bl. Archangela Girlani
St. Benignus
St. Catherine de Ricci
St. Dyfnog
St. Ermengild
Bl. Eustochium
St. Gosbert
St. Huno
Bl. John Lantrua of Triora
St. Julian of Lyons
St. Lezin
St. Martinian
St. Modomnoc
St. Polyeuctus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 76

First ReadingSirach 15:15-20
Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34:
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

GospelMatthew 5:17-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife –  unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021217.cfm

Reflection:  Why do people tend to view the “law of God” negatively rather than positively? Jesus’ attitude towards the law of God can be summed up in the great prayer of Psalm 119: “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

For the people of Israel the “law” could refer to the ten commandments or to the five Books of Moses, called the Pentateuch or Torah, which explain the commandments and ordinances of God for his people. The “law” also referred to the whole teaching or way of life which God gave to his people. The Jews in Jesus’ time also used it as a description of the oral or scribal law. Needless to say, the scribes added many more things to the law than God intended. That is why Jesus often condemned the scribal law because it placed burdens on people which God had not intended.

The essence of God’s law
Jesus made it very clear that the essence of God’s law – his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled. God’s law is true and righteous because it flows from his love, goodness, and holiness. It is a law of grace, love, and freedom for us. That is why God commands us to love him above all else and to follow in the way of his Son, the Lord Jesus who taught us how to love by laying down our lives for one another.

Reverence and respect
Jesus taught reverence and respect for God’s law – reverence for God himself, reverence for the Lord’s Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person’s good name, respect for oneself and for one’s neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master and enslave us. Reverence and respect for God’s commandments teach us the way of love – love of God and love of neighbor. What is impossible to humans is possible to God who gives generously of his gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit to those who put their faith and trust in him.

God gives us the grace, help, and strength to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think and judge as he judges, and to act as he acts with mercy, loving-kindness, and goodness. The Lord loves righteousness and hates wickedness. As his followers we must love his commandments and hate every form of sin and wrong-doing. If we want to live righteously as God desires for us, then we must know and understand the intention of God’s commands for us, and decide in our heart to obey the Lord. Do you seek to understand the intention of his law and to grow in wisdom of his ways?

The Holy Spirit transforms our minds and hearts
Jesus promised his disciples that he would give them the gift of the Holy Spirit who writes God’s law of love and truth on our hearts. The Holy Spirit teaches us God’s truth and gives us wisdom and understanding of God’s ways. The Spirit helps us in our weakness, strengthens us in temptation, and transforms us, day by day, into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Merciful Savior and Humble Lord. There is great blessing and reward for those who obey God’s commandments and who encourage others, especially the younger generations, to love, respect, and obey the Lord. Do you trust in God’s love and allow his Holy Spirit to fill you with a thirst for holiness and righteousness in every area of your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with a burning desire and reverence for God’s life-giving word so that you may grow day by day in the wisdom and knowledge of God’s love, truth, and goodness.

“Lord Jesus, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love and respect for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of holiness and righteousness. Purify my thoughts, desires, and intentions that I may only desire what is pleasing to you and in accord with your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb12.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Buonfiglio Monaldo
He was one of seven Florentines who had joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin (the Laudesi) in a particularly lax period in the city’s history and who were inspired by a vision on the feast of the Assumption to take up a life of solitude and prayer. After nearly fifteen years of austerity at a hermitage on Monte Senario he took the name in 1240 of Servants of Mary, or Servites. Six were ordained, developed as mendicant friars under the direction of James of Poggibonsi and Bishop Ardingo of Florence and established many houses and foreign missions. Br. Bounfiglio served as its first prior general from 1240 to 1256 and died on Jan 1. St. John Bounagiunta succeded him, St. Bartholomew Amidei (Br. Hugh) established the order in Paris and St. Ricovero Ugoccione (Br. Sostenesw) in lGermany. SS. Benedict dell’Antella (Br. Manettus) were ordained; St. Alexis Falconieri became a lay brother and was the only one to live to see the order approved by Pope Benedict XI in 1304. The “Seven Holy Founders” of the Servites were canonized in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII. His feastday is Feb. 12.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=392

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anthony Kauleas
St. Anthony of Saxony
St. Benedict Revelli
St. Buonfiglio Monaldo
St. Damian
St. Ethelwald
St. Febronia
St. Humbeline
Bl. James Feun
St. John of Nicomedia
St. Julian
St. Julian the Hospitaler
St. Juventius of Pavia
St. Ludan
St. Meletius of Antioch
St. Modestus
St. Modestus & Ammonius
St. Modestus & Julian
Bl. Thomas Hemerford

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Our Lady of Lourdes
Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 334

First Reading: Genesis 3:9-24
Psalms 90:2-6, 12-13:    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Gospel: Mark 8:1-10
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021117.cfm

Reflection:  Can anything on earth truly satisfy the hunger we experience for God? The enormous crowd that pressed upon Jesus for three days were hungry for something more than physical food. They hung upon Jesus’ words because they were hungry for God. When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were confronted with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness.

Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The Gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover. When God gives he gives abundantly – more than we deserve and more than we need so that we may have something to share with others as well. The Lord Jesus nourishes and sustains us with his life-giving word and with his heavenly bread.

Jesus nourishes us with the true bread of heaven
The sign of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes through his disciples, prefigures the superabundance of the unique bread of his Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.

When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and refreshment for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving from the Lord’s Table is an intimate union with Christ himself. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for Jesus, the true “bread of life”?

“Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the hunger in our lives. Fill me with grateful joy and eager longing for the true heavenly bread which gives health, strength, and wholeness to body and soul alike.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb11.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Paschal
Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a Roman. He studied at the Lateran, was named head of St. Stephen’s monastery, which housed pilgrims to Rome, and was elected Pope to succeed Pope Stephen IV (V) on the day Stephen died, January 25, 817. Emperor Louis the Pious agreed to respect papal jurisdiction, but when Louis’ son Lothair I came to Rome in 823 to be consecrated king, he broke the pact by presiding at a trial involving a group of nobles opposing the Pope. When the two papal officials who had testified for the nobles were found blinded and murdered, Paschal was accused of the crime. He denied any complicity but refused to surrender the murderers, who were members of his household, declaring that the two dead officials were traitors and the secular authorities had no jurisdiction in the case. The result was the Constitution of Lothair, severely restricting papal judicial and police powers in Italy. Paschal was unsuccessful in attempts to end the iconoclast heresy of Emperor Leo V, encouraged SS. Nicephorous and Theodore Studites in Constantinople to resist iconoclasm, and gave refuge to the many Greek monks who fled to Rome to escape persecution from the iconoclasts. Paschal built and redecorated many churches in Rome and transferred many relics from the catacombs to churches in the city. Although listed in the Roman Martyrology, he has never been formally canonized. His feast day is February 11. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=890

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adolf of Osnabruck
St. Ardanus
St. Benedict of Aniane
St. Desiderius
St. Jonas
St. Lucius
St. Paschal
St. Severinus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | February 9, 2017

Friday (February 10): “”Ephphatha! Be opened!”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin
Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 333

First Reading: Genesis 3:1-8
Psalms 32:1-2, 5-7:   Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Gospel: Mark 7:31-37
Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
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.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021017.cfm

Reflection:  How do you expect the Lord to treat you when you ask for his help? Do you approach with fear and doubt, or with faith and confidence?Jesus never turned anyone aside who approached him with sincerity and trust. And whatever Jesus did, he did well. He demonstrated both the beauty and goodness of God in his actions. When Jesus approaches a man who is both deaf and a stutterer, Jesus shows his considerateness for this man’s predicament. Jesus takes him aside privately, not doubt to remove him from embarrassment with a noisy crowd of gawkers (onlookers). Jesus then puts his fingers into the deaf man’s ears and he touches the man’s tongue with his own spittle to physically identify with this man’s infirmity and to awaken faith in him. With a word of command the poor man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

What is the significance of Jesus putting his fingers into the man’s ears? Gregory the Great, a church father from the 6th century, comments on this miracle: “The Spirit is called the finger of God. When the Lord puts his fingers into the ears of the deaf mute, he was opening the soul of man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

The kindness and compassion of the Lord
The people’s response to this miracle testifies to Jesus’ great care for others: He has done all things well. No problem or burden was too much for Jesus’ careful consideration. The Lord treats each of us with kindness and compassion and he calls us to treat one another in like manner. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us enables us to love as Jesus loves. Do you show kindness and compassion to your neighbors and do you treat them with considerateness as Jesus did?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and inflame my heart with love and compassion. Make me attentive to the needs of others that I may show them kindness and care. Make me an instrument of your mercy and peace that I may help others find healing and wholeness in you.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb10.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Apollonia (d. 543)
St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, consecrated her life to God from her earliest youth. After her brother went to Monte Cassino, where he established his famous monastery, she took up her abode in the neighborhood at Plombariola, where she founded and governed a monastery of nuns, about five miles from that of St. Benedict, who, it appears, also directed his sister and her nuns. She visited her brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went in company with some of his brethren to meet her at a house some distance away. These visits were spent in conferring together on spiritual matters. On one occasion they had passed the time as usual in prayer and pious conversation and in the evening they sat down to take their reflection. St. Scholastica begged her brother to remain until the next day. St. Benedict refused to spend the night outside his monastery. She had recourse to prayer and a furious thunderstorm burst so that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could return home. They spent the night in spiritual conferences. The next morning they parted to meet no more on earth. Three days later St. Scholastica died, and her holy brother beheld her soul in a vision as it ascended into heaven. He sent his brethren to bring her body to his monastery and laid it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. She died about the year 543, and St. Benedict followed her soon after. Her feast day is February 10th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=240

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Alexander of Lugo
St. Andrew
St. Aponius
St. Austreberta
St. Baldegundis
St. Erluph
Bl. Louise Bessay de la Voute
Bl. Louise Poirier Barre
St. Paganus
St. Paul and Ninety Companions
Bl. Pierre Fremond
St. Scholastica
St. Trumwin
St. William of Maleval

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 332

First Reading: Genesis 2:18-25
Psalms 128:1-5:   Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 7:24-30
Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020917.cfm

Reflection:  Do you ever feel “put-off” by the Lord? This passage describes the only occasion in which Jesus ministered outside of Jewish territory. (Tyre and Sidon were fifty miles north of Israel and still exist today in modern Lebanon.) A Gentile woman – an outsider who was not a member of the chosen people – puts Jesus on the spot by pleading with him to show mercy to her daughter who was tormented with an evil spirit. At first Jesus seemed to pay no attention to her, and this made his disciples feel embarrassed. Jesus very likely did this not to put the woman off, but rather to test her sincerity and to awaken faith in her.

The Lord shows mercy to those who seek him
What did Jesus mean by the expression “throwing bread to the dogs”? The Jews often spoke of the Gentiles with arrogance and insolence as “unclean dogs” since the Gentiles were excluded from God’s covenant and favor with Israel. For the Greeks the “dog” was a symbol of dishonor and was used to describe a shameless and audacious woman. Matthew’s Gospel records the expression do not give dogs what is holy (Matthew 7:6). Jesus, no doubt, spoke with a smile rather than with an insult because this woman immediately responds with wit and faith – “even the dogs eat the crumbs”.

Love conquers with persistent trust and faith
Jesus praises a Gentile woman for her persistent faith and for her affectionate love. She made the misery of her child her own and she was willing to suffer rebuff in order to obtain healing for her loved one. She also had indomitable persistence. Her faith grew in contact with the person of Jesus. She began with a request and she ended on her knees in worshipful prayer to the living God. No one who ever sought Jesus with faith – whether Jew or Gentile – was refused his help. Do you seek Jesus with expectant faith?

“Lord Jesus, your love and mercy knows no bounds. May I trust you always and never doubt your loving care and mercy. Increase my faith in your saving help and deliver me from all evil and harm.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb9.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Apollonia (d. 249)
St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was martyred for not renouncing her faith during the reign of Emperor Philip. The account of the life of St. Apollonia was written by St. Dionysius to Fabian, Bishop of Antioch. Apollonia had all her teeth knocked out after being hit in the face by a Christian persecutor under the reign of Emperor Philip. After she was threatened with fire unless she renounced her faith, Apollonia jumped into the flames voluntarily. She is considered the patron of dental diseases and is often invoked by those with toothaches. Ancient art depicts her with a golden tooth at the end of her necklace. Also in art, she is seen with pincers holding a tooth. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=104

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alexander
St. Alto
St. Ammon
Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerick
St. Ansbert
St. Apollonia
St. Cronan the Wise
St. Cuaran
St. Eingan
St. Michael Febres Cordero
St. Miguel Febres Cordero
St. Nebridius
St. Nicephorus
St. Raynald of Nocera
St. Teilo

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 331

First Reading: Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17
Psalms 104:1-2, 27-30:   O bless the Lord, my soul!
Gospel: Mark 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020817.cfm

Reflection:  Where does evil come from and how can we eliminate it from our personal lives? Jesus deals with this issue in response to the religious leaders’ concern with ritual defilement (uncleanness) – making oneself unfit to offer acceptable worship and sacrifice to God. The religious leaders were very concerned with avoiding ritual defilement, some no doubt out of reverent fear of God, and others because they wanted to be seen as observant Jews. Jesus points his listeners to the source of true defilement – evil desires which come from inside a person’s innermost being. Sin does not just happen from external forces. It first springs from the innermost recesses of our thoughts and intentions, from the secret desires which only the individual mind and heart can conceive.

God gives us his strength to resist sinful thoughts and desires
When Cain became jealous of his brother Abel, God warned him to guard his own heart: “Sin is couching at the door; it’s desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). Cain unfortunately did not take God’s warning to heart. He allowed his jealousy to grow into spite and hatred for his brother, and he began to look for an opportunity to eliminate his brother all together. When jealously and other sinful desires come knocking at the door of your heart, how do you respond? Do you entertain them and allow them to overtake you? Fortunately God does not leave us alone in our struggle with hurtful desires and sinful tendencies. He gives us the grace and strength we need to resist and overcome sin when it couches at the door of our heart.

God’s word has power to set us free to chose what is good and reject what is wrong
The Lord Jesus wants to set us free from the burden of guilt and from the destructive force of sin and wrong-doing in our personal lives. He wants to purify our hearts and renew our minds so we can freely choose to love and do what is right, good, just, and wise. The Lord Jesus is ready to change and purify our hearts through the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God through his Word and Spirit first brings sin into the light that we may recognize it for what it truly is and call upon his mercy and grace for pardon, healing, and restoration. The Spirit of truth is our Counselor and Helper. His power and grace enables us to choose what is good and to reject what is evil. Do you believe in the power of God’s love to heal, change, and transform your heart and mind?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make my heart like yours. Strengthen my heart, mind, and my will that I may freely choose to love what is good and to reject what is evil.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb8.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Jerome Emiliani, Patron saint of abandoned children and orphans (1481-1537)
Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty dungeon. Only a short time before he had been a military commander for Venice in charge of a fortress. He didn’t care much about God because he didn’t need him — he had his own strength and the strength of his soldiers and weapons. When Venice’s enemies, the League of Cambrai, captured the fortress, he was dragged off and imprisoned. There in the dungeon, Jerome decided to get rid of the chains that bound him. He let go of his worldly attachments and embraced God.

When he finally was able to escape, he hung his metal chains in the nearby church of Treviso — in gratitude not only for being freed from physical prison but from his spiritual dungeon as well.

After a short time as mayor of Treviso he returned his home in Venice where he studied for the priesthood. The war may have been over but it was followed by the famine and plague war’s devastation often brought. Thousands suffered in his beloved city. Jerome devoted himself to service again — this time, not to the military but the poor and suffering around him. He felt a special call to help the orphans who had no one to care for them. All the loved ones who would have protected them and comforted them had been taken by sickness or starvation. He would become their parent, their family.

Using his own money, he rented a house for the orphans, fed them, clothed them, and educated them. Part of his education was to give them the first known catechetical teaching by question and answer. But his constant devotion to the suffering put him in danger too and he fell ill from the plague himself. When he recovered, he had the ideal excuse to back away, but instead his illness seemed to take the last links of the chain from his soul. Once again he interpreted his suffering to be a sign of how little the ambitions of the world mattered.

He committed his whole life and all he owned to helping others. He founded orphanages in other cities, a hospital, and a shelter for prostitutes. This grew into a congregation of priests and brothers that was named after the place where they had a house: the Clerks Regular of Somascha. Although they spent time educating other young people, their primary work was always Jerome’s first love — helping orphans.

His final chains fell away when he again fell ill while taking care of the sick. He died in 1537 at the age of 56.

He is the patron saint of abandoned children and orphans. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=61

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adaucus
St. Amulwinus
St. Anatolius
Bl. Anselm Polanco Fontecha
St. Augulus
St. Chrysolius
Bl. Felipe Ripoll Morata
St. Fidelis
St. Julian of Bologna
St. Lawrence of Siponto
St. Luke the Younger
St. Meldon
St. Moses
Bl. Pius IX
St. Richard
Bl. Rizzerio
St. Theodore Stratelates
St. Tressan
Bl. William Richardson

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 330

First Reading: Genesis 1:20–2:4
Psalms 8:4-9:   O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
Gospel: Mark 7:1-13
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020717.cfm

Reflection:  What makes a person unclean or unfit to offer God acceptable worship? The Jews went to great pains to ensure that their worship would conform to the instructions which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. God’s call to his people was a call to holiness: “be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44; 19:2). In their zeal for holiness many elders developed elaborate traditions which became a burden for the people to carry out in their everyday lives. The Scribes and Pharisees were upset with Jesus because he allowed his disciples to break with their ritual traditions by eating with unclean hands. They sent a delegation all the way from Jerusalem to Galilee to bring their accusation in a face-to-face confrontation with Jesus.

Jesus dealt with their accusation by going to the heart of the matter – by looking at God’s intention and purpose for the commandments. Jesus gave an example of how their use of ritual tradition excused them from fulfilling the commandment to honor one’s father and mother. If someone wanted to avoid the duty of financially providing for their parents in old age or sickness they could say that their money or goods were an offering “given over to God” and thus exempt from any claim of charity or duty to help others. They broke God’s law to fulfill a law of their own making. Jesus explained that they void God’s command because they allowed their hearts and minds to be clouded by their own notions of religion.

Jesus accused them specifically of two things. First of hypocrisy. Like actors, who put on a show, they appear to obey God’s word in their external practices while they inwardly harbor evil desires and intentions. Secondly, he accused them of abandoning God’s word by substituting their own arguments and ingenious interpretations for what God requires. They listened to clever arguments rather than to God’s word. Jesus refers them to the prophecy of Isaiah (29:31) where the prophet accuses the people of his day for honoring God with their lips while their hearts went astray because of disobedience to God’s laws.

If we listen to God’s word with faith and reverence, it will both enlighten our mind and purify our heart – thus enabling us to better understand how he wants us to love and obey him. The Lord invites us to draw near to him and to feast at his banquet table. Do you approach with a clean heart and mind? Ask the Lord to cleanse and renew you with the purifying fire of his Holy Spirit.

“Lord Jesus, let the fire of your Holy Spirit cleanse my mind and my heart that I may love you purely and serve you worthily.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb7.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Moses (d. 372)
Arab hermit and bishop who is called “the Apostle of the Saracens.” He lived in the desert regions of Syria and Egypt, caring for the local nomadic tribes. When the Romans imposed peace upon the Saracens, Queen Mavia, the Saracen ruler, demanded that Moses be consecrated a bishop. He accepted against his will and maintained the peace between the Saracens and Rome. The Saracens were a nomadic people of the Syro-Egyptian desert so designated by the Romans. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1069

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adaucus
St. Amulwinus
St. Anatolius
Bl. Anselm Polanco Fontecha
St. Augulus
St. Chrysolius
Bl. Felipe Ripoll Morata
St. Fidelis
St. Julian of Bologna
St. Lawrence of Siponto
St. Luke the Younger
St. Meldon
St. Moses
Bl. Pius IX
St. Richard
Bl. Rizzerio
St. Theodore Stratelates
St. Tressan
Bl. William Richardson

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Posted by: RAM | February 5, 2017

Monday (February 6): “Many were made well.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 329

First Reading: Genesis 1:1-19
Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35:   May the Lord be glad in his works.
Gospel: Mark 6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020617.cfm

Reflection:  Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life? The Gospel records that when Jesus disembarked from the boat the people immediately recognized him. What did they recognize in Jesus? A prophet, a healer, the Messiah, the Son of God? For sure they recognized that Jesus had power from God to heal and to make whole bodies, limbs, minds, and hearts that were beset with disease, affliction, and sin. What happened when they pressed upon him and touched the fringe of his garment? They were made well. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to meet our needs as well. Do you approach him with expectant faith?

Faith is an entirely free gift which God makes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believing and trusting in God to act in our lives is only possible by the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and helps us to understand, accept, and believe God’s word. How do we grow in faith? By listening to God’s word with trust and submission. Faith also grows through testing and perseverance. The Lord wants to teach us how to pray in faith for his will for our lives and for the things he wishes to give us to enable us to follow him faithfully and serve him generously.

Jesus gave his disciples the perfect prayer which acknowledges God as our Father who provides generously for his children. The Lord’s prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and to pray that God’s will be accomplished in our lives. The Lord in turn, gives us what we need to live each day for his glory. The Lord is never too distant nor too busy to meet us and to give his blessing. Do you pray to the Father with confidence that he will show you his will and give you what you need to follow him? Ask the Lord to increase your faith and gratitude for his merciful love and provision for your life.

“Lord Jesus, let my heart sing for joy in your presence. Give me eyes of faith to recognize your presence and fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in your way of love and peace.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb6.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Paul Miki
Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. Among the Japanese layment who suffered the same fate were: Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan’s porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, who was then arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862. Their feast day is February 6th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1069

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco
St. Amand
St. Antholian
St. Anthony Dainan
St. Bonaventure of Miako
St. Cosmas
Bl. Diego De Avezedo
St. Dorothy
St. Francis Nagasaki
St. Francis of St. Michael
St. James Kisai
St. John Soan de Goto
St. Martin de Aguirre
St. Martin Loynaz of the Ascension
St. Matthias of Meako
St. Mel
St. Michael Kozaki
St. Mun
St. Paul Miki
St. Peter Shukeshiko
St. Relindis of Maaseik
Sts. Saturninus, Theophilus, & Revocata
St. Tanco
St. Theophilus the Lawyer
St. Thomas Danki
St. Thomas Kozaki
St. Vedast
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

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