Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
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/021316.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. 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. People in Palestine were divided into roughly 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 entertainment with them, including table fellowship. Jesus’ association with the latter, especially  with tax collectors and public sinners, shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.

When the Pharisees challenged Jesus unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defence 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?

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb11.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

Posted by: RAM | February 11, 2016

Friday (February 12): Fasting for the kingdom of God

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
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/021216.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).

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?

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb11.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
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/021016.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. 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!

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 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 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 outgive 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 live and work and pray in me.” (Prayer from The Grail) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb11.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Our Lady of Lourdes:  
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”

During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.

Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1288

Saint of the Day: St. Gregory II (d. 731)
Born in Rome, Gregory became involved in Church affairs from an early age. It was Pope St. Sergius I who noticed the fine qualities of the pious young man and ordained Gregory a subdeacon. He served under the next four popes as treasurer of the church, then librarian. He was assigned important missions and accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople for discussions with Emperor Justinian II. Upon the death of Constantine, Gregory was chosen pope and installed in 715.

Gregory served as pope for 15 years. During that time he held synods to correct abuses, stop heresy and promote discipline and morality. He rebuilt a great portion of the walls of Rome to protect the city against attacks by the Lombards. He restored many churches, and was especially solicitous of the sick and aged. The great monastery near the church of St. Paul was reestablished, as was the abbey of Monte Cassino which had been destroyed by the Lombards 150 years before. He consecrated St. Boniface and St. Corbinian as bishops to go as missionaries to the tribes in Germany. Under Gregory, pilgrims from England increased in numbers to such an extent that they required a church, a cemetery and a school of their own.

It was in his dealings with Emperor Leo III that Gregory’s spirit of strength and patience was best shown. Leo demanded the destruction of all holy images and severely penalized those who did not follow his orders. When bishops failed to convince him of his error, they disobeyed and appealed to the pope. On the one hand, Gregory tried his best to change the thinking of the emperor. On the other, he counseled the people to maintain their allegiance to the prince, all the time encouraging the bishops to oppose the heresy.

Gregory II died in 731. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1305&calendar=1

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

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/021016.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.

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 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).

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.

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 as we prepare to celebrate the feast of Easter, the Christian Passover. The Lord gives us spiritual food and supernatural strength 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 we begin this holy season of testing and preparation, let’s ask the Lord for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit that we 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb10.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Scholastica (480-542?)
Twins often share the same interests and ideas with an equal intensity. Therefore, it is no surprise that Scholastica and her twin brother, Benedict (July 11), established religious communities within a few miles from each other.

Born in 480 of wealthy parents, Scholastica and Benedict were brought up together until he left central Italy for Rome to continue his studies.

Little is known of Scholastica’s early life. She founded a religious community for women near Monte Cassino at Plombariola, five miles from where her brother governed a monastery.

The twins visited each other once a year in a farmhouse because Scholastica was not permitted inside the monastery. They spent these times discussing spiritual matters.

According to the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, the brother and sister spent their last day together in prayer and conversation. Scholastica sensed her death was close at hand and she begged Benedict to stay with her until the next day.

He refused her request because he did not want to spend a night outside the monastery, thus breaking his own Rule. Scholastica asked God to let her brother remain and a severe thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning to the abbey.

Benedict cried out, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.”

Brother and sister parted the next morning after their long discussion. Three days later, Benedict was praying in his monastery and saw the soul of his sister rising heavenward in the form of a white dove. Benedict then announced the death of his sister to the monks and later buried her in the tomb he had prepared for himself. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1287&calendar=1

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 330

First Reading: 1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
Psalms 84:3-5, 10-11:   How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
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/020916.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb9.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Apollonia, Patron of dental diseases (d. 249)
The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned.

While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.

There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1303&calendar=1#

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

Posted by: RAM | February 8, 2016

Monday (February 8): “Many were made well”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 329

First Reading: 1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
Psalms 132:6-10:  Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
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/020816.cfm

Reflection: Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life? The Gospel records that when Jesus disembarked from the boat the peopleimmediately 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb8.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Jerome Emiliani (1481?-1537)
A careless and irreligious soldier for the city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon. In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies for the priesthood.

In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital.

Around 1532 Jerome and two other priests established a congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in 1767. In 1928 Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1286&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Cointha
St. Cuthman of Steyning
St. Dionysius
St. Elfleda
St. Honoratus
St. Jacut and Guethenoc
St. Jerome Emiliani
St. Josephine Bakhita
St. Kigwe
St. Llibio
St. Meingold of Huy
St. Nicetius of Besancon
St. Oncho
St. Paul Lucius, and Cyriacus
St. Paul of Verdun
Bl. Peter Igneus
St. Peter Igneus
St. Stephen of Muret

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 75

First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8
Psalms 138:1-5, 7-8:  In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening
to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020716.cfm

Reflection: Why did Jesus perform the miracle of the great catch of fish? No doubt the great crowd of people who had pressed upon Jesus had something to do with this miracle. They were very hungry for God and were eager to hear his word. Jesus wanted to use this occasion to teach his disciples an important lesson. Although Simon was wearied from a night of fruitless toil, he nonetheless did what the Lord Jesus told him to do: At your word I will let down the nets. When you meet disappointment and failure, do you press upon the Lord, like Simon, to hear his word and to receive his command?

God expects greater things than we can do by ourselves
This incident tells us an important truth about how God works in and through each of us for his glory. God expects of us greater things than we can do by ourselves. When we cooperate in his works, we accomplish far beyond what we can do on our own. Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four, wrote to a friend: “Jesus has so incomprehensible a love for us that he wills that we have a share with him in the salvation of souls. He wills to do nothing without us. The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of a poor little soul to save other souls redeemed like it at the price of all his Blood.”

When God’s word is spoken his kingdom is revealed and his power is released. When people respond to God’s word with faith and obedience they are changed and made “a new creation” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Witness the joy of the Gospel
God chooses ordinary people, like you and me, as his ambassadors and he uses the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives and work situations to draw others into his kingdom. Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the Gospel. Paul the Apostle says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

Do you witness to those around you the joy of the Gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love and truth?

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love and compassion for those who do not know you or follow you. May I be a good witness of your truth and salvation to my family, friends, and co-workers.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb6.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Colette (1381-1447)
Colette did not seek the limelight, but in doing God’s will she certainly attracted a lot of attention.

Colette was born in Corbie, France. At 21 she began to follow the Third Order Rule and became an anchoress, a woman walled into a room whose only opening was a window into a church.

After four years of prayer and penance in this cell, she left it. With the approval and encouragement of the pope, she joined the Poor Clares and reintroduced the primitive Rule of St. Clare in the 17 monasteries she established. Her sisters were known for their poverty—they rejected any fixed income—and for their perpetual fast. Colette’s reform movement spread to other countries and is still thriving today. Colette was canonized in 1807. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1284&calendar=1

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 328

First Reading: 1 Kings 3:4-13
Psalms 119:9-14:  Lord, teach me your statutes.
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020616.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020616.cfm

Reflection: What does the image of a shepherd tell us about God’s care for us? Shepherding was one of the oldest of callings in Israel, even before farming, since the Chosen People had traveled from place to place, living in tents, and driving their flocks from one pasture to another. Looking after sheep was no easy calling. It required great skill and courage. Herds were often quite large, thousands or even ten thousands of sheep. The flocks spent a good part of the year in the open country. Watching over them required a great deal of attention and care.

Stray sheep must be brought back lest they die
Sheep who strayed from the flock had to be sought out and brought back by the shepherd. Since hyenas, jackals, wolves, and even bear were common and fed on sheep, the shepherds often had to do battle with these wild and dangerous beasts. A shepherd literally had to put his life on the line in defending his sheep. Shepherds took turns watching the sheep at night to ward off any attackers. The sheep and their shepherds continually lived together. Their life was so intimately bound together that individual sheep, even when mixed with other flocks, could recognize the voice of their own shepherd and would come immediately when called by name.

God himself leads us like a good shepherd
The Old Testament often spoke of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11).

Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4, John 10). When he saw the multitude of people in need of protection and care, he was moved to respond with compassionate concern. His love was a personal love for each and every person who came to him in need.

Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Peter the apostle called Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life freely submitted to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? In the person of the Lord Jesus we see the unceasing vigilance and patience of God’s love. In our battle against sin and evil, Jesus is ever ready to give us help, strength, and refuge. Do you trust in his grace and help at all times?

“Lord Jesus, you guard and protect us from all evil. Help me to stand firm in your word and to trust in your help in all circumstances. May I always find rest and refuge in the shelter of your presence.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb5.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Paul Miki and Companions (d. 1597)
Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1283&calendar=1

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

Posted by: RAM | February 4, 2016

Friday (February 5): Herod’s guilty conscience

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 327

 

First Reading: Sirach 47:2-11
Psalms 18:31, 47, 50-51:  Blessed be God my salvation!
Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020516.cfm

Reflection: Do you ever feel haunted by a past failure or a guilty conscience? The Lord Jesus came to set us free from the oppression of sin and guilt. King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea, had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodias. John ended up in prison because of Herodias’ hatred and jealousy. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded. Now Herod’s conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen.

When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin. Herod was a weak man. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. The Lord gives grace to the humble, to those who acknowledge their sins and who seek God’s mercy and pardon. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in thought and action as well.  God’s grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise goodness and truth with wrongdoing and falsehood.

John Chrysostom describes John’s death as a crown:

In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet – provided they had a penitent disposition – because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day – the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death, but a crown, not an end, but the beginning of a greater life. Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events, but will reap the greatest benefits.(ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD 22.10)

Do you rely on God’s grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would compromise your faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ?

“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the Gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb5.htm

More Saints of the Day
St. Abraham
St. Adelaide of Bellich
St. Agatha
St. Avitus
St. Avitus of Vienne
Bl. Elizabeth Canori Mora
St. Gonsalo Garcia
St. Leo Karasuma
St. Louis Ibachi
St. Modestus
St. Philip of Jesus
St. Vodoaldus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 326

First Reading: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12
Psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10-12:  Lord, you are exalted over all.
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020416.cfm

Reflection: What kind of authority and power does the Lord want you to exercise on his behalf? Jesus gave his apostles both the power and the authority to speak and to act in his name. He commanded them to do the works which he did – to heal the sick. to cast out evil spirits, and to speak the word of God – the good news of the gospel which they received from Jesus. When Jesus spoke of power and authority he did something unheard of. He wedded power and authority with self-sacrificing love and humility. The “world” and the “flesh” seek power for selfish gain. Jesus teaches us to use it for the good of our neighbor.

Why does Jesus tell the apostles to “travel light” with little or no provision? “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with our possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. Are you ready to use the spiritual authority and power which God wishes you to exercise on his behalf? The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and talents. Are you eager to place yourself at his service, to do whatever he bids you, and to witness his truth and saving power to whomever he sends you?

“Lord Jesus, make me a channel of your healing power and merciful love that others may find abundant life and freedom in you. Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the treasure of your heavenly kingdom. May I witness the joy of the Gospel both in word and deed.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb4.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joan of Valois (1464-1505)
Joan, or Jane, the physically deformed daughter of King Louis XI of France, was endowed with wonderful gifts of mind and heart. Although she suffered much throughout her life, she accepted her disabilities with patience and spent many of her days in prayer and meditation.

Under the guidance of her spiritual director, a Franciscan priest from whom she received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis, young Joan prepared to give her life in service to God as a member of a religious community.

But her father had other plans. He announced that Joan would marry the Duke of Orleans, and no objections were to be voiced. Joan dutifully obliged, though her marriage was not a happy one. When the duke ascended the throne as King Louis XII, his first act was to divorce the queen on the grounds that he had only agreed to the marriage to escape the anger of the king, his predecessor. The pope agreed that compulsion had been involved, and declared the marriage null and void.

Joan felt an immediate sense of relief and made her way to Bourges. There she lived a secluded life of prayer and, in 1501, founded a contemplative order of nuns—the Sisters of the Annunciation. God called Joan home only a few years later.

She was canonized in 1950. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1292&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Aldate
St. Andrew Corsini
St. Aventinus of Chartres
St. Eutychius
St. Gilbert of Sempringham
St. Joan of Valois
St. John de Britto
Bl. John Speed
St. John Stone
St. Joseph of Leonissa
St. Liephard
St. Modan
St. Nicholas Studites
St. Nithard
St. Obitius
Bl. Rabanus Maurus
St. Rembert
St. Theophilus the Penitent
St. Vincent of Troyes
St. Vulgis

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Feast of St. Blaise, Patron of throat illnesses, animals, wool combers, and wool trading (d. 316)
Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 325

First Reading: 2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17
Psalms 32:1-2, 5-7:  Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020316.cfm

Reflection: 
Are you critical towards others, especially those who may be close to you? The most severe critics are often people very familiar to us, a member of our family, a relative, or neighbor or co-worker we rub shoulders with on a regular basis. Jesus faced a severe testing when he returned to his home town, not simply as the carpenter’s son, but now as a rabbi with disciples. It would have been customary for Jesus to go to the synagogue each week during the Sabbath, and when his turn came, to read from the scriptures during the Sabbath service. His hometown folks listened with rapt attention on this occasion because they had heard about the miracles he had performed in other towns. What sign would he do in his hometown?

Jesus startled his familiar audience with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God can receive honor among his own people. The people of Nazareth took offense at Jesus and refused to listen to what he had to say. They despised his preaching because he was a mere workman, a carpenter, and a layman who had no formal training by a scholar or teacher. They also despised him because of his undistinguished family background. How familiarity can breed contempt. Jesus could do no mighty works in their midst because they were closed-minded and unbelieving towards him. If people have come together to hate and to refuse to understand, then they will see no other point of view than their own and they will refuse to love and accept others. How do you treat those who seem disagreeable to you?

The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to the afflicted who suffered from physical, mental, or spiritual oppression (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came to set people free – not only from their physical, mental, and spiritual infirmities – but also from the worst affliction of all – the tyranny of slavery to sin, Satan, and the fear of losing one’s life. God’s power alone can save us from hopelessness, dejection, and emptiness of life. The Gospel of salvation is “good news” for everyone who will receive it. Do you know the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings grace, truth, freedom, and abundant life. Set my heart on fire with your love and truth.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb3.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Blaise, Patron of throat illnesses, animals, wool combers, and wool trading (d. 316)
Little is known about Saint Blaise prior to his mention in a court physician’s medical journal. The physician, Aëtius Amidenus, spoke of Saint Blaise’s aid in treating objects caught in the throat. He was also mentioned in the book of Acts, where he was aided by animals and treated people and beasts alike.

Saint Blaise is believed to begin as a healer then, eventually, became a “physician of souls.” He then retired to a cave, where he remained in prayer. People often turned to Saint Blaise for healing miracles.

In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, Agricola, arrested then-bishop Blaise for being a Christian. On their way to the jail, a woman set her only son, who was chocking to death on a fish bone, at his feet.

Blaise cured the child, and though Agricola was amazed, he could not get Blaise to renounce his faith. Therefore, Agricola beat Blaise with a stick and tore at his flesh with iron combs before beheading him.

In another tale, Blaise was being led to the prison in Sebastea, and on the way came across a poor old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf return the pig, which it did -alive and uninjured – to the amazement of all.

When he reached Sebastea, the woman came to him and brought two fine wax candles in an attempt to dispel the gloom of his darkened cell.

In the Middle Ages, Blaise became quite popular and his legend as a beast tamer spread. He was then referred to as the “saint of the wild beast.”

Many German churches are dedicated to Saint Blaise, sometimes called Saint Blasius.

In Great Britain, the village of St. Blazey got its name from Saint Blaise, and a church dedicated to the saint can be found in Decon hamlet of Haccombe, near Newton Abbot.

There is a Saint Blaise’s Well in Kent, and the water is believed to have medicinal properties. A Blessing of the Throats ceremony is held every February 3 at Saint Etheldreda’s Church in Londan and Balve, Germany.

A Catholic middle school was named after Saint Blaise in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The name was decided upon when the link between Bradford and the woolen industry was connected to the way St. Blaise was martyred: with woolcomb.

Saint Blaise is often depicted holding two crossed candles in his hand, or in a cave with wild animals. He is also often shown with steel combs. The similarity of the steel combs and the wool combs made a large contribution to Saint Blaise’s leadership as the patron saint of wool combers and the wool trade. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=28

More Saints of the Day
St. Anatolius
St. Ansgar
St. Anskar
St. Berlinda
St. Blaise
St. Caellainn
St. Celerinus
St. Deodatus
St. Hadelin
St. Ia of Cornwall
Bl. John Nelson
St. Liafdag
St. Lupicinus & Felix
St. Margaret of England
Bl. Marie Rivier
Bl. Odoric of Pordenone
St. Oliver
St. Philip of Vienne
St. Remedius
St. Tigides & Remedius
St. Werburg
St. Werburga

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 524

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Psalms 24:7-10:  Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
Band you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020216.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the favor of the Lord? After Jesus’ birth, Mary fulfills the Jewish right of purification after childbirth. Since she could not afford the customary offering of a lamb, she gives instead two pigeons as an offering of the poor. This rite, along with circumcision and the redemption of the first-born point to the fact that children are gifts from God. Jesus was born in an ordinary home where there were no luxuries. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear and wisdom of God. He, in turn, was obedient to them and grew in wisdom and grace. The Lord’s favor is with those who listen to his word with trust and obedience. Do you know the joy of submission to God? And do you seek to pass on the faith and to help the young grow in wisdom and maturity?

The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Savior of the world 
What is the significance of Simeon’s encounter with the baby Jesus and his mother in the temple? Simeon was a just and devout man who was very much in tune with the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Lord would return to his temple and renew his chosen people. The Holy Spirit also revealed to him that the Messiah and King of Israel would also bring salvation to the Gentile nations. When Joseph and Mary presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized this humble child of Bethlehem as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be “a revealing light to the Gentiles”. The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to those who are receptive and eager to receive him.  Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with you?

The ‘new temple’ of God’s presence in the world
Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night as he led them through the wilderness. God’s glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). When the first temple was built in Jerusalem God’s glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8). After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave it (Ezekiel 10). But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9). That promise is fulfilled when the “King of Glory” himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1).  Through Jesus’ coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Ask the Lord to renew your faith in the indwelling presence of his Spirit within you. And give him thanks and praise for coming to make his home with you.

Mary receives both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord.  Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way.  Do you know the peace and joy of a life surrendered to God with faith and trust?

The Holy Spirit renews our hope in the promise of God
Simeon was not alone in recognizing the Lord’s presence in the temple. Anna, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. She was found daily in the temple, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about God’s promise to send a redeemer. Supernatural hope grows with prayer and age! Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.

Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope rightly placed. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God’s promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God’s people.

Our hope is anchored in God’s everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy
What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus has won for us a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The Holy Spirit gives hope to all who place their trust in the promises of God. God never fails because his promises are true and he is faithful. The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trails, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way.

Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified trust and submission to his will for your life? Allow the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire –  your life, family, friends, health, honor, wealth, and future. If you seek his kingdom first he will give you everything you need to know, love, and serve him now and enjoy him forever.

“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my life. May I never cease to place all my trust in you. Fill me with the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly point others to your saving presence and words of eternal life.”
http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/feb2.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Presentation of the Lord
At the end of the fourth century, a woman named Etheria made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her journal, discovered in 1887, gives an unprecedented glimpse of liturgical life there. Among the celebrations she describes is the Epiphany (January 6), the observance of Christ’s birth, and the gala procession in honor of his Presentation in the Temple 40 days later—February 15. (Under the Mosaic Law, a woman was ritually “unclean” for 40 days after childbirth, when she was to present herself to the priests and offer sacrifice—her “purification.” Contact with anyone who had brushed against mystery—birth or death—excluded a person from Jewish worship.) This feast emphasizes Jesus’ first appearance in the Temple more than Mary’s purification.

The observance spread throughout the Western Church in the fifth and sixth centuries. Because the Church in the West celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25, the Presentation was moved to February 2, 40 days after Christmas.

At the beginning of the eighth century, Pope Sergius inaugurated a candlelight procession; at the end of the same century the blessing and distribution of candles which continues to this day became part of the celebration, giving the feast its popular name: Candlemas. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1279&calendar=1

Saint of the Day: St. Joan de Lestonnac, Patron of abuse victims, people rejected by religious orders, widows (1556-1640)
St. Joan de Lestonnac was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556. She married at the age of seventeen. The happy marriage produced four children, but her husband died suddenly in 1597. After her children were raised, she entered the Cistercian monastery at Toulouse. Joan was forced to leave the Cistercians when she became afflicted with poor health. She returned to Bordeaux with the idea of forming a new congregation, and several young girls joined her as novices. They ministered to victims of a plague that struck Bordeaux, and they were determined to counteract the evils of heresy promulgated by Calvinism. Thus was formed the Congregation of the Religious of Notre Dame of Bordeaux. In 1608, Joan and her companions received the religious habit from the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Joan was elected superior in 1610, and many miracles occurred at her tomb. She was canonized in 1949 by Pope Pius XII. Her feast day is February 2. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=685

More Saints of the Day
St. Adalbald of Ostrevant
St. Adeloga
St. Apronian
St. Cornelius
Ebsdorf Martyrs
St. Feock
St. Flosculus
St. Joan de Lestonnac
St. Lawrence of Canterbury
Martyrs of Ebsdorf
St. Theodoric

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 72

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Psalms 71:1-6, 15-17:  I will sing of your salvation.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/013116.cfm

Reflection: Do you believe that God wants to act with power in your life today? Power to set you free from sin and hurtful desires, fear and oppression. Throughout the Scriptures we see God performing mighty acts to save his people from death and destruction – from Noah’s ark that spared his family from the flood of wickedness that had spread across the land to Moses and the Israelites who crossed through the parting waters of the Red Sea as they fled the armies of Pharoah their slave Master and oppressor.

Throughout the Gospel accounts Jesus praised individuals who put their faith in God as they remembered the great and wonderful deeds he had performed time and again. Jesus even praised outsiders – non-Jews and pagans from other lands who had heard about the mighty deeds of the God of Israel. One example Jesus mentioned was Naaman the pagan army commander from Syria who was afflicted with leprosy – a debilitating skin disease that slowly ate away the flesh (2 Kings 5:1-15). Naaman’s slave-girl was a young Jewish woman who had faith in God and compassion for Naaman her master. She urged him to seek healing from Elisha, the great prophet of Israel.When Naaman went to the land of Israel to seek a cure for his leprosy, the prophet Elisha instructed him to bathe seven times in the Jordan river. Namaan was indignant at first, but then repented and followed the prophet’s instructions. In doing so he was immediately restored in body and spirit.

Healing the leprosy of soul and body
What is the significance of Naaman’s healing for us? Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), an early Christian teacher from Edessa, tells us that Naaman’s miraculous healing at the River Jordan, prefigures the mystery of the healing which is freely granted to all nations of the earth by our Lord Jesus through the regenerating waters of baptism and renewal in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

“Therefore Naaman was sent to the Jordan as to the remedy capable to heal a human being. Indeed, sin is the leprosy of the soul, which is not perceived by the senses, but intelligence has the proof of it, and human nature must be delivered from this disease by Christ’s power which is hidden in baptism. It was necessary that Naaman, in order to be purified from two diseases, that of the soul and that of the body, might represent in his own person the purification of all the nations through the bath of regeneration, whose beginning was in the river Jordan, the mother and originator of baptism.”(commentary ON THE SECOND BOOK OF KINGS 5.10-1)

Jesus told Nicodemus, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The Lord Jesus wants to renew in each one of us the gift of faith and the regenerating power of baptism and the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) which cleanses us of the leprosy of sin and makes us “newborn” sons and daughters of God.

Confronting the sin of indifference and unbelief
When Jesus first proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom to his own townspeople at Nazareth (Luke 4:23-27), he did not hesitate to confront them with their sin of indifference and unbelief. He startled his listeners in the synagogue at Nazareth with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God could receive honor among his own people. He then angered them when he complimented Gentiles (non-Jews) who had shown more faith in God than the “chosen ones” of Israel. Some who despised the Gentiles (non-Jews) even spoke of them as “fuel for the fires of hell.” Jesus’ praise for “outsiders” offended the ears of his own people because they were blind-sighted to God’s merciful plan of redemption for all the nations. The word of rebuke spoken by Jesus was met with indignation and hostility. The Nazarenes forcibly threw him out of their town and would have done him physical harm had he not stopped them.

We all stand in need of God’s grace and merciful help every day and every moment of our lives. Scripture tells us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God gives grace to the humble who seek him with expectant faith and with a repentant heart that wants to be made whole and clean again.

The Lord Jesus will set us free from every sinful habit and every harmful way of relating to our neighbor, if we allow him to cleanse and heal us. If we want to walk in freedom and grow in love and holiness, then we must humbly renounce our sinful ways and submit to Christ’s instruction and healing discipline in our lives. Scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness (Hebrews 12:10). Do you want the Lord Jesus to set you free and make you whole again? Ask him to show you the way to walk in his healing love and truth.

“Lord Jesus, teach me to love your ways that I may be quick to renounce sin and wilfulness in my life. Make me whole and clean again that I may delight to do your will.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan31.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saints of the Day: St. John Bosco (1815-1888)
John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by St. Francis de Sales [January 24].

With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1277&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Adamnan of Coldingham
St. Aidan of Ferns
St. Athanasius
St. Bobinus
St. Cyrus
St. Domitius
St. Eusebius
St. Francis Xavier Bianchi
St. Geminian
St. John Bosco
St. Julius of Novara
St. Madoes
St. Marcella
St. Marcella
St. Martin Manuel
St. Metranus
St. Nicetas
Sts. Saturninus, Thrysus, & Victor
St. Tarskius
St. Trypbaena
St. Ulphia

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux, FSC (1841-1917)
St. Aldegunais, Patron of Cancer, Wounds (639-684)
Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 322

First Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17
Psalms 51:12-17:  Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Gospel: Mark 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/013016.cfm

Reflection: How can we fight fear with faith? Jesus’ sleeping presence on the storm-tossed sea reveals the sleeping faith of his disciples. They feared for their lives even though their Lord and Master was with them in the boat. They were asleep to Christ while he was present to them in their hour of need. The Lord is ever present to us. And in our time of testing he asks the same question:Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, especially when you meet the storms of adversity, sorrow, and temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message: “It is I, do not be afraid.”

What are the characteristics of faith and how can we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and who opens the eyes of the mind to understand and accept the truth which God has revealed to us. Faith enables us to relate to God rightly and confidently, with trust and reliance, by believing and adhering to his word, because he is utterly reliable and trustworthy. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.

Fear does not need to cripple us from taking right action or rob us of our trust and reliance on God. Courage working with faith enables us to embrace God’s word of truth and love with confidence and to act on it with firm hope in God’s promises. The love of God strengthens us in our faith and trust in him and enables us to act with justice and kindness towards our neighbor even in the face of opposition or harm. Do you allow the love of Christ to rule in your heart and mind, and to move your will to choose what is good in accordance with his will?

“Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. And give me courage to do your will in all circumstances.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan30.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saints of the Day: St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux (1841-1917)
Christian Brother praised as a model teacher. He was born the son of a blacksmith in Mellet, Belgium, in 1841. Entering the Christian Brothers, he changed his baptismal name, Louis, to Mutien. In 1859 he was assigned to St. Bertuin’s School in Maloone, where he taught for fifty-eight years. Mutien specialized in art and music. He was canonized in 1989 by Pope John Paul II. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5185

St. Aldegunais, Patron of Cancer, Wounds (639-684)
Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or Orgonne. She was a member of the royal family of the Merovingians and was raised by two saints: St. Walbert and St. Bertila, her parents. The family resided in the Hainault region of Flanders, a region of the Low Countries. Aldegundis reflused offers of marriage from other nobles and received the veil from St. Amandius, the bishop of Maastricht. She followed this ceremony of acceptance into the religious life with the foundation of a convent near the Sambre River, at a desert site called Malbode. Her sister, St. Waldetrudis, had founded a convent at Mons. Aldegundis’ foundation became Mauberge, a noted Benedictine monastery, later taken over by canonesses. Aldegundis is reported to have died of cancer at the age of fifty-four. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1220

More Saints of the Day
St. Aldegunais
St. Aleaunie
St. Alexander
St. Armentarius
St. Armentarius
St. Barsimaeus
St. Bathildis
St. Felician
St. Hippolytus
St. Hyacinth
St. Martina of Rome
St. Matthias of Jerusalem
St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux
St. Savina of Milan
St. Tudy

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

Posted by: RAM | January 28, 2016

Friday (January 29): What the kingdom of God is like

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 321

First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17
Psalms 51:3-7, 10-11:  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012916.cfm

Reflection: What can mustard seeds teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Just as a seed has no power to change itself until it is planted in the ground, so we cannot change our lives to be like God until God gives us the power of his Holy Spirit.

The Lord of the Universe is ever ready to transform us by the power of his Spirit. Are you ready to let God change you by his life-giving Word and Spirit? The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to the Lord Jesus and allow his word to take root in us, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Paul the Apostle says, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

Peter Chrysologous (400-450 AD), an early church father, explained how the ” tree of the cross” spread its branches throughout the world and grew into a worldwide community of faith offering its fruit to the whole world:

It is up to us to sow this mustard seed in our minds and let it grow within us into a great tree of understanding reaching up to heaven and elevating all our faculties; then it will spread out branches of knowledge, the pungent savor of its fruit will make our mouths burn, its fiery kernel will kindle a blaze within us inflaming our hearts, and the taste of it will dispel our unenlightened repugnance. Yes, it is true: a mustard seed is indeed an image of the kingdom of God. Christ is the kingdom of heaven. Sown like a mustard seed in the garden of the virgin’s womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world. Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has produced seasoning enough for the flavoring and preservation of every living creature with which it comes in contact. As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it is crushed they are exceedingly evident. So it was with Christ; he chose to have his body crushed, because he would not have his power concealed….

Christ became all things in order to restore all of us in himself. The man Christ received the mustard seed which represents the kingdom of God; as man he received it, though as God he had always possessed it. He sowed it in his garden, that is in his bride, the Church. The Church is a garden extending over the whole world, tilled by the plough of the gospel, fenced in by stakes of doctrine and discipline, cleared of every harmful weed by the labor of the apostles, fragrant and lovely with perennial flowers: virgins’ lilies and martyrs’ roses set amid the pleasant verdure of all who bear witness to Christ and the tender plants of all who have faith in him. Such then is the mustard seed which Christ sowed in his garden. When he promised a kingdom to the patriarchs, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew tall; in the Church it became a great tree putting forth innumerable branches laden with gifts. And now you too must take the wings of the psalmist’s dove, gleaming gold in the rays of divine sunlight, and fly to rest for ever among those sturdy, fruitful branches. No snares are set to trap you there; fly off, then, with confidence and dwell securely in its shelter. (SERMON 98)

Do you allow the seed of God’s word to take deep root in your life and transform you into a fruit-bearing disciple of Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan29.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea (d. 101)
Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa during the persecutions of Emperor Trajan. Sarbelius, also called Sharbel, was a high priest at Edessa, in Mesopotamia. They were arrested for converting to the faith, and were tortured with red-hot irons prior to execution. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2447

More Saints of the Day
St. Aquilinus
St. Blath
Bl. Boleslava Lament
St. Caesarius
St. Dallan
St. Papias and Maurinus
St. Sabinian of Troyes
Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
St. Valerius of Trčves
St. Voloc

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church, Patron of students and all universities
Lectionary: 320

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29
Psalms 132:1-5, 11-14:  The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
Gospel: Mark 4:21-25
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012816.cfm

Reflection: What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God’s kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.

Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all.

There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him; they will not lack what they need to live as Christ’s disciples, and they will shine as lights to those who hunger for God’s truth and wisdom. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?

“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan28.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron of students and all universities (1225-1274)
By universal consent, Thomas Aquinas is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents’ hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually became abbot. In 1239 he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle’s philosophy.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family’s plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother’s dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year.

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies with Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades his writings. One might expect Thomas, as a man of the gospel, to be an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as coming from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished.

The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on…. All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1274&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Amadeus of Lausanne
St. Antilnus
St. Cannera
St. Flavian
St. Glastian
St. James the Hermit
St. Jerome Lou-Tin-Mei
Bl. Jerome Lu
St. John of Reomay
Bl. Joseph Freinademetz
St. Julian of Cuenca
Bl. Lawrence Wang
St. Odo of Beauvais
St. Palladius
St. Peter Nolasco
St. Richard of Vaucelles
Bl. Roger of Todi
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thyrsus, Leucius, & Callinicus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 319

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:4-17
Psalms 89:4-5, 27-30:  For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
Gospel: Mark 4:1-20
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012716.cfm

Reflection: Why did Jesus speak to people in parables? Like the rabbis of his time, Jesus used simple word-pictures, called parables, to help people understand who God is and what his kingdom or reign is like. Jesus used images and characters taken from everyday life to create a miniature play or drama to illustrate his message. This was Jesus’ most common way of teaching. His stories appealed to the young and old, poor and rich, and to the learned and unlearned as well. Over a third of the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain parables told by Jesus.

Cyril of Alexandria (150-215 AD ), an early church teacher, described the purpose of Jesus’ parables:

Parables are word pictures not of visible things, but rather of things of the mind and the spirit. That which cannot be seen with the eyes of the body, a parable will reveal to the eyes of the mind, informing the subtlety of the intellect by means of things perceivable by the senses, and as it were tangible. (COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 8.5.4)

Parable of the sower
What does the parable about seeds and roots say to us about the kingdom of God? Any farmer will attest to the importance of good soil for supplying nutrients for growth. And how does a plant get the necessary food and water it needs except by its roots? The scriptures frequently use the image of fruit-bearing plants or trees to convey the principle of spiritual life and death. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit(Jeremiah 17:7-8; see also Psalm 1:3).

Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what he or she doesn’t want to hear. Then there is the shallow hearer. He or she fails to think things out or think them through; they lack depth. They may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off their mind wanders to something else.

Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests or cares, but who lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important. Such a person is too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditate on God’s word.

Then there is the one whose mind is open. Such a person is at all times willing to listen and to learn. He or she is never too proud or too busy to learn. They listen in order to understand. God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength to live according to it.  Do you hunger for God’s word?

Secrets of the kingdom
Why does Jesus say that the secrets of the kingdom of God will be revealed to some while others will not be able to recognize nor understand the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11-12)? Origen (185-254  AD), an early church Bible scholar, comments on why Jesus makes a distinction between those who are ready to hear and understand his message with those who are not ready to hear nor understand:

Sometimes it does not turn out to be an advantage for one to be healed quickly or superficially, especially if the disease by this means becomes even more shut up in the internal organs where it rages more fiercely. Therefore God, who perceives secret things and who knows all things before they come to be, in his great goodness delays the healing of such persons and defers the remedy to a later time. If I may speak paradoxically, God heals them by not healing them, lest a premature recovery of health should render them incurable. This pertains to those whom our Lord and Savior addressed as ‘those outside,’ whose hearts and reins he searches out. Jesus covered up the deeper mysteries of the faith in veiled speech to those who were not yet ready to receive his teaching in straightforward terms. The Lord wanted to prevent the unready from being too speedily converted and only cosmetically healed. If the forgiveness of their sins were too easily obtained, they would soon fall again into the same disorder of sin which they imagined could be cured without any difficulty. (ON FIRST PRINCIPLES 3.1.7)

The Lord Jesus will give us perceiving eyes and listening ears to understand the message of his kingdom if we approach him with faith and humility and the readiness to be taught. The proud cannot see nor hear the truth of God’s kingdom because they trust in their own opinion and perception of what is true or real. They have shut their minds to supernatural truth of God and his word. Do you approach God’s word with trust and humility or with doubtful pride and skepticism?

“Lord Jesus, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it”. http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan27.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Angela Merici (1470?-1540)
Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women.

As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood.

She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals.

She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost.

At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1273&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Angela Merici
St. Aviates
St. Avitus
St. Candida
St. Datius
St. Devota
St. Emerius
St. Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch
St. Gamo
St. Gilduin
St. Henry de Osso y Cervello
St. Julian of Le Mans
St. Julian of Sora
St. Lupus of Chalons
St. Marius
St. Maurus
St. Natalis
Bl. Rosalie du Verdier de la Soriniere
St. Sabas of Serbia
St. Theodoric of Orleans

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. John Baptist De La Salle
Lasallian Mentors’ Day
Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops
Lectionary: 520/318

First Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-8
Psalms 96:1-3, 7-8, 10:  Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Gospel: Mark 3:31-35
The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012616.cfm

Reflection: Who do you love and cherish the most? God did not intend for us to be alone, but to be with others. He gives us many opportunities for developing relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Why did Jesus, on this occasion, seem to ignore his own relatives when they pressed to see him? His love and respect for his mother and his relatives was unquestionable. Jesus never lost an opportunity to teach his disciples a spiritual lesson and truth about the kingdom of God. On this occasion when many gathered to hear Jesus he pointed to another higher reality of relationships, namely our relationship with God and with those who belong to God.

What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement, support, strength, protection, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity. God offers us the greatest of relationships – union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself, the very author and source of love (1 John 4:8,16).

God’s love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints us. His love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional, and unstoppable. We may choose to separate ourselves from him, but nothing will make him ignore us, leave us, or treat us unkindly. He will pursue us, love us, and call us to return to him no matter what might stand in the way. It is his nature to love. That is why he created us – to be united with him and to share in his love and unity of persons (1 John 3:1). God is a trinity of persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a community of love. That is why Jesus challenged his followers and even his own earthly relatives to recognize that God is the true source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in his love.

Jesus is God’s love incarnate – God’s love made visible in human flesh (1 John 4:9-10). That is why Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep and the shepherd who seeks out the sheep who have strayed and lost their way. God is like the father who yearns for his prodigal son to return home and then throws a great party for his son when he has a change of heart and comes back (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus offered up his life on the cross for our sake, so that we could be forgiven and restored to unity and friendship with God. It is through Jesus that we become the adopted children of God – his own sons and daughters. That is why Jesus told his disciples that they would have many new friends and family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family – his sons and daughters who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ.

An early Christian martyr once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints” – namely those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and adopted as sons and daughters of God. Those who have been baptized into Jesus Christ and who live as his disciples enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all of our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God first and to his kingdom of righteousness and peace. Do you want to grow in love and friendship? Allow God’s Holy Spirit to transform your heart, mind, and will to enable you to love freely and generously as he loves.

“Heavenly Father, you are the source of all true friendship and love. In all my relationships, may your love be my constant guide for choosing what is good and for rejecting what is contrary to your will.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan26.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Timothy and Titus
Timothy (d. 97?): What we know from the New Testament of Timothy’s life makes it sound like that of a modern harried bishop. He had the honor of being a fellow apostle with Paul, both sharing the privilege of preaching the gospel and suffering for it.

Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother named Eunice. Being the product of a “mixed” marriage, he was considered illegitimate by the Jews. It was his grandmother, Lois, who first became Christian. Timothy was a convert of Paul around the year 47 and later joined him in his apostolic work. He was with Paul at the founding of the Church in Corinth. During the 15 years he worked with Paul, he became one of his most faithful and trusted friends. He was sent on difficult missions by Paul—often in the face of great disturbance in local churches which Paul had founded.

Timothy was with Paul in Rome during the latter’s house arrest. At some period Timothy himself was in prison (Hebrews 13:23). Paul installed him as his representative at the Church of Ephesus.

Timothy was comparatively young for the work he was doing. (“Let no one have contempt for your youth,” Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:12a.) Several references seem to indicate that he was timid. And one of Paul’s most frequently quoted lines was addressed to him: “Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Titus (d. 94?): Titus has the distinction of being a close friend and disciple of Paul as well as a fellow missionary. He was Greek, apparently from Antioch. Even though Titus was a Gentile, Paul would not let him be forced to undergo circumcision at Jerusalem. Titus is seen as a peacemaker, administrator, great friend. Paul’s second letter to Corinth affords an insight into the depth of his friendship with Titus, and the great fellowship they had in preaching the gospel: “When I went to Troas…I had no relief in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia…. For even when we came into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—external conflicts, internal fears. But God, who encourages the downcast, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus…” (2 Corinthians 2:12a, 13; 7:5-6).

When Paul was having trouble with the community at Corinth, Titus was the bearer of Paul’s severe letter and was successful in smoothing things out. Paul writes he was strengthened not only by the arrival of Titus but also “by the encouragement with which he was encouraged in regard to you, as he told us of your yearning, your lament, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more…. And his heart goes out to you all the more, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, when you received him with fear and trembling” (2 Corinthians 7:7a, 15).

The Letter to Titus addresses him as the administrator of the Christian community on the island of Crete, charged with organizing it, correcting abuses and appointing presbyter-bishops. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1272&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Angela Merici
St. Aviates
St. Avitus
St. Candida
St. Datius
St. Devota
St. Emerius
St. Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch
St. Gamo
St. Gilduin
St. Henry de Osso y Cervello
St. Julian of Le Mans
St. Julian of Le Mans
St. Julian of Sora
St. Lupus of Chalons
St. Marius
St. Maurus
St. Natalis
Bl. Rosalie du Verdier de la Soriniere
St. Sabas of Serbia
St. Theodoric of Orleans

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Lectionary: 519

First Reading: Acts 22:3-16
Psalms 117:1-2:  Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Gospel: Mark 16:15-18
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012516.cfm

Reflection: Mark ends his Gospel account with Jesus’ last appearance to the apostles before his ascension into heaven. Jesus’ departure and ascension was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus’ physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus’ presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time. Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Savior, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief. Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his saving death and his glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it. The gospel is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to deliver from evil and oppression, and to restore life. Do you believe in the power of the gospel?

This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission to every land and peoples. Do you witness to others the joy of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

Conversion of Paul the Apostle
Many Christians celebrate today the conversion of St. Paul who became an apostle to the Gentile nations. Paul testified how he first opposed the gospel and persecuted Christians, but was converted when Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:3-16). Paul’s encounter with the person of Christ radically changed his life and opened his eyes to the truth of the gospel. Benedict XVI reflects on the significance of Paul’s conversion for the whole Christian people:

“Paul’s conversion matured in his encounter with the Risen Christ; it was this encounter that radically changed his life. What happened to him on the road to Damascus is what Jesus asks in today’s Gospel: Saul is converted because, thanks to the divine light, “he has believed in the Gospel”. In this consists his and our conversion: in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening to the illumination of his divine grace. In that moment Saul understood that his salvation did not depend on good works fulfilled according to the law, but on the fact that Jesus died also for him the persecutor and has risen. This truth by which every Christian life is enlightened thanks to Baptism completely overturns our way of life. To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus “has given himself for me”, dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me. Entrusting myself to the power of his forgiveness, letting myself be taken by his hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of his love.” (from address given on January 25, 2009)

“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan25.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Conversion of St. Paul
Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “…entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.

One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).

Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1271&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Amarinus
St. Apollo
St. Artemas
St. Bretannion
St. Donatus
St. Dwynwen
St. Eochod of Galloway
St. Juventius & Maximus
St. Maurus
St. Peter Thomas
St. Poppo
St. Praejectus
St. Racho

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 69

First Reading: Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10
Psalms 19:8-10, 15:  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012416.cfm

Reflection: What does the Gospel of Luke tell us about Jesus and his mission and what he came to do for us? Many skeptics question the reliability and accuracy of the Gospel accounts of Jesus. Luke tells us that his account is utterly believable because it comes from firsthand witnesses (Luke 1:2) who knew Jesus personally, heard him teach, saw his miracles, and witnessed his atoning death on the cross and his rising from the tomb to everlasting life.

Luke begins his account by addressing his friend, Theophilus, a name which means “beloved of God” (Luke 1:3). In so many words Luke tells his friend (and us as well), I am writing to you the most incredible story humankind has known – and which many witnesses and messengers of God’s word have openly explained on many occasions. Luke wants his friend and all who read his account to “know the truth” (Luke 1:4) concerning Jesus of Nazareth who was sent from the Father in heaven and anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring us the good news and power of God’s kingdom.

The “good news”of Jesus brings new life and freedom
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.”  The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ and the new life and freedom he has won for us through his atoning death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection to everlasting life and glory with the Father in heaven. The Gospel is the all-powerful and all-merciful word of God for us today as much as it was for the people who first heard it in Jesus’ time. It’s a life-giving word that has supernatural power to change, transform, and bring freedom and healing to those who accept it as the living word of God. Are you hungry for God’s word of truth and mercy, love and forgiveness? And do you want to grow in the knowledge of God and what he has accomplished for us through his Son, Jesus Christ?

Jesus came in the power of the Spirit 
Luke tells us that Jesus was about 30 years of age when he began his public ministry (Luke 3:23). Right after Jesus was baptized by John and anointed by the Spirit at the River Jordan (Luke 3:21-22), he spent 40 days in the wilderness to devote himself to prayer and fasting (Luke 4:1-13). At the end of this period of spiritual preparation and testing, Luke tells us that Jesus “returned in the power of the Spirit to his own land of Galilee” (Luke 4:14). Jesus chose to begin his public ministry in Galilee first, rather than in Jerusalem, the holy city and temple of God. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1,2.

Luke tells us that Jesus chose to publicly announce his mission in the synagogue at Nazareth. The people there were familiar with Jesus since it was his custom to regularly attended the weekly Sabbath service. Jesus was also known by many in Nazareth as a “carpenter” (Mark 6:3) and “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:21). When the president of the synagogue called on Jesus to read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus chose to read Isaiah’s description (verses 1-2 of chapter 61) of  what the Messiah would do when he came to restore God’s kingdom for the people of Israel.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:1-2).

Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would be sent by God and anointed in the power of the Holy Spirit to preach “good news” and bring healing, blessing, and freedom to all who were oppressed (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus awakened their hope in God’s promises when he announced that this word was now being fulfilled in his very own person. Luke tells us that the people of Nazareth spoke well of him and received his “gracious word” with amazement and wonder. But they also openly questioned how the “son of Joseph” would fulfill this Messianic mission (Luke 4:21). Jesus challenged them to believe the word God had spoken through the prophets and the word he now speaks in God’s name through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus renews and strengthens us in faith, hope, and love
The Lord Jesus speaks this same word to each of us today – he comes to bring us healing and restoration, pardon and freedom from the oppression of sin, despair, hopelessness, and destruction. Do you believe his word with expectant faith and trust, or with doubt and indifference? The Lord will not refuse to pour out his Spirit on all who trust in him. Ask the Lord Jesus to renew in you the joy of the Gospel and the freedom to live each day with trusting faith, joyful hope, and fervent love.
“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us truth, freedom, and abundant life. Fill me with the joy of the Gospel and inflame my heart with a burning love for you and a deep thirst for your word.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan24.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Francis de Sales, Patron Saint of Journalists, Writers (1567-1622)

Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder’s place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35 he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world. ”

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1270&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Anicet Hryciuk
St. Artemius
St. Babylas
Bl. Bartlomiej Osypiuk
St. Bertrand
Bl. Daniel Karmasz
St. Exuperantius of Cingoli
St. Felician of Foligno
Bl. Filip Geryluk
St. Francis de Sales
St. Guasacht
Bl. Ignacy Franczuk
Bl. John Grove
St. Macedonius
St. Mardonius
St. Messalina
Bl. Michal Wawryszuk
Bl. Onufry Wasyluk
St. Thyrsus & Projectus
Bl. William Ireland
St. Zama

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

Posted by: RAM | January 22, 2016

Saturday (January 23): “He is out of his mind.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 316

First Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27
Psalms 80:2-3, 5-7:  Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Gospel: Mark 3:20-21
Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012316.cfm

Reflection: Is the Lord Jesus honored in your home? Why would Jesus’ relatives be so upset with him when he began his public ministry? On one occasion Jesus remarked that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:36). The Gospel of Mark records the reaction of Jesus’ relatives when he went home: they came to seize him. They, no doubt, thought that Jesus must have gone mad or become a religious fanatic. How could a good home-body from Nazareth leave his carpentry trade and go off to become a traveling preacher? To their way of thinking, Jesus had thrown away the security and safety of a quiet and respectable life close to his family and relatives.

Jesus probably expected to meet opposition from the highest religious authorities in Jerusalem. For him to meet opposition from his own relatives must have been even harder. When we choose to be disciples of the Lord Jesus and to follow his will for our lives, we can expect to meet opposition from those who are opposed to the Gospel message and Christian way of life. But the hardest opposition may actually come from someone close to us, a family member or close friend who doesn’t want us to take the Gospel message too seriously. Jesus met opposition – whether from family, friend, or foe – with grace and determination to fulfill his Father’s will. Are you ready to obey and follow the Lord Jesus even if others oppose your doing so?

“Lord Jesus, may I always put you first and find joy in doing your will. May your love and charity grow in me, especially in the face of opposition and adversity.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan23.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Marianne Cope (1838-1918)
Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).

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

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

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

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

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.

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

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1123&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Abakuh
St. Agathangelus
ST. Amasius
St. Asclas
St. Barnard
St. Colman of Lismore
St. Emerentiana
St. Eusebius
Bl. Henry Suso
St. Ildephonsus
St. John the Almoner
St. Luthfild
St. Maimbod
St. Marianne Cope
St. Ormond
St. Parmenas
St. Severian & Aquila

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 315

First Reading: 1 Samuel 24:3-21
Psalms 57:2-4, 6, 11:  Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Gospel: Mark 3:13-19
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012216.cfm

Reflection: What is God’s call on your life? When Jesus embarked on his mission he chose twelve men for the task of preaching the kingdom of God and healing the sick in the power of that kingdom. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God’s work: Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.

When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you make your life an offering to the Lord and allow him to use you as he sees fit?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude and generosity for all you have done for me. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan22.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Vincent of Zaragossa (d. 304)
When Jesus deliberately began his “journey” to death, Luke says that he “set his face” to go to Jerusalem. It is this quality of rocklike courage that distinguishes the martyrs.

Most of what we know about this saint comes from the poet Prudentius. His Actshave been rather freely colored by the imagination of their compiler. But St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on St. Vincent, speaks of having the Acts of his martyrdom before him. We are at least sure of his name, his being a deacon, the place of his death and burial.

According to the story we have (and as with some of the other early martyrs the unusual devotion he inspired must have had a basis in a very heroic life), Vincent was ordained deacon by his friend St. Valerius of Zaragossa in Spain. The Roman emperors had published their edicts against the clergy in 303, and the following year against the laity. Vincent and his bishop were imprisoned in Valencia. Hunger and torture failed to break them. Like the youths in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel, chapter three), they seemed to thrive on suffering.

Valerius was sent into exile, and Dacian, the Roman governor, now turned the full force of his fury on Vincent. Tortures that sound very modern were tried. But their main effect was the progressive disintegration of Dacian himself. He had the torturers beaten because they failed.

Finally he suggested a compromise: Would Vincent at least give up the sacred books to be burned according to the emperor’s edict? He would not. Torture on the gridiron continued, the prisoner remaining courageous, the torturer losing control of himself. Vincent was thrown into a filthy prison cell—and converted the jailer. Dacian wept with rage, but strangely enough, ordered the prisoner to be given some rest.

Friends among the faithful came to visit him, but he was to have no earthly rest. When they finally settled him on a comfortable bed, he went to his eternal rest. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1268&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Anastasius XIV
St. Blaesilla
St. Brithwald
St. Dominic of Sora
St. Francis Gil de Frederich
Bl. Ladislaus Batthyany-Strattmann
Bl. Laura Vicuna
St. Matthew Alonso Leziniana
St. Paschasius
St. Valerius of Saragossa
St. Vincent of Digne
St. Vincent, Orontius, & Victor
St. Vincent Pallotti
St. Vincent Pallottiano
St. Vincent Saragossa
St. Vincent the Deacon
Bl. William Joseph Chaminade
Bl. William Patenson

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

Posted by: RAM | January 20, 2016

Thursday (January 21): “You are the Son of God.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 314

First Reading: 1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7
Psalms 56:2-3, 9-13:  In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Gospel: Mark 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012116.cfm

Reflection: Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself to God without fear or reservation? Jesus offered freedom to everyone who sought him out. Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard about all the wonderful deeds and miracles which he performed. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Do you seek to lay hold of Jesus’ presence in your life that he may touch and heal you?

Augustine of Hippo remarked:

It is by faith that we touch Jesus. And far better to touch him by faith than to touch or handle him with the hands only and not by faith. It was no great thing to merely touch him manually. Even his oppressors doubtless touched him when they apprehended him, bound him, and crucified him, but by their ill-motivated touch they lost precisely what they were laying hold of. O worldwide church! It is by touching him faithfully that your “faith has made you whole.” (SERMONS, ON EASTER 148)

Why did Jesus perform so many countless miracles and signs during his earthly ministry? Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD ) wrote that these signs and miracles showed that Jesus was truly God – the eternal Word who was made flesh for our salvation:

[Jesus] performed very many wonderful miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from incurable diseases whoever drew near to him, and displaying his own most divine power. He did these works so that both the Jews, who had run together to him, and those from the country of the Greeks might know that Christ was not some ordinary man of those in our degree but, on the contrary, God. He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate. He was the Word that was made man but retained nevertheless his own glory. “For power went forth from him and healed all.” Christ did not borrow strength from some other person, but being himself God by nature, even though he had become flesh, he healed them all, by the demonstration of power over the sick. (COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 25)

Why did the demons tremble in the presence of Jesus (Mark 3:11)? They recognized that his power and authority came from heaven and not from earth. But while they confessed Christ and trembled in his presence, they did not respond in love.

When you read God’s word and consider all that Jesus said and did, how do you respond? With indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with expectant faith and willing obedience? Ask the Lord Jesus to draw you to himself with increasing faith, fervent love, and eager readiness to do his will.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from all that hinders me from drawing closer to you.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan21.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Agnes, Patron of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, and the Children of Mary (291-304)

St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised in a Christian family. Agnes was very beautiful and belonged to a wealthy family. Her hand in marriage was highly sought after, and she had many high ranking men chasing after her. However, Agnes made a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was great and she hated sin even more than death!

Whenever a man wished to marry Agnes, she would always say, “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”

According to legend, the young men she turned away became so angry and insulted by her devotion to God and purity that they began to submit her name to authorities as a Christian follower.

In one incident, Procop, the Governor’s son, became very angry when she refused him. He tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, “I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy.

Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. “I would offend my Spouse,” she said, “if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.

Other accounts of Agnes’ life hold the Prefect Sempronius responsible for her martyrdom. It is said he condemned the young girl to be dragged through the streets naked. Some versions of the legend state that Agnes’ hair grew instantly to cover her entire body and all the men who attempted to rape the beautiful virgin were immediately struck blind.

The stories go on to explain that another man presided over Agnes’ trial after Sempronius excused himself. The new man sentenced Agnes to death. At first, Agnes was tied to a stake, but either the wood would not burn or the flames parted away from her. This prompted an officer to draw his sword and behead the girl. It is believed that her blood, which poured out to the stadium, was soaked up with cloths by Christians.

She died a virgin-martyr at the age of 12 or 13 on 21 January 304.

Agnes was buried beside the Via Nomentana in Rome. Her bones are currently conserved beneath the high altar in the church of Sant’Angese fuori le mura in Rome, which was built over the catacomb that held her tomb. Her skull is preserved in the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome’s Piazza Navona.

In 1858, Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian missionary founded the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.

St. Agnes is widely known as the patron saint of young girls. She is also the patron saint of chastity, rape survivors and the Children of Mary. She is often represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virgin innocence, and a palm branch, like other martyrs. She is shown as a young girl in robes holding a palm branch with the lamb either at her feet or in her arms.

Her feast day is celebrated on January 21. On her feast day, it is customary for two lambs to be brought in to be blessed by the pope. On Holy Thursday the lambs’ wool is removed and woven into the pallium the pope gives to a newly consecrated archbishop as a sign of his power and union with the pope. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=106

More Saints of the Day
St. Agnes
St. Alban Bartholomew Roe
St. Brigid
Bl. Edward Stransham
St. Epiphanius of Pavia
St. Fructuosus of Tarragona
Bl. Inez
St. Lawdog
St. Maccalin
St. Meinrad
St. Patroclus
St. Patroclus
St. Publius
Bl. Thomas Reynolds
St. Vimin
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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 313

First Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51
Psalms 144:1-2, 9-10:  Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Gospel: Mark 3:1-6
Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012016.cfm

Reflection: What is God’s intention for the commandment, keep holy the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12)? The scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God’s law. In a few penetrating words Luke records that Jesus knew their thoughts. They were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God. They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God. Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God’s intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life.

Christians have traditionally celebrated Sunday as the Lord’s Day, to commemorate God’s work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation he accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection. Taking “our sabbath rest” is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us. Such “rest” however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor. If we truly love the Lord above all else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well. Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord’s Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?

“Lord Jesus, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform my heart with your love that I may freely serve my neighbor for his good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as the Lord’s Day.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan20.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Fabian (c. 250)
Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity, and he was chosen unanimously.

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

In the catacombs of St. Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian’s grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, “Fabian, bishop, martyr.” http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1265&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Abadios
Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
St. Eustochia Calafato
St. Eustochium Calafato
St. Euthymius
St. Fabian
St. Fechin
St. Maurus
St. Molagga
St. Neophytus
St. Sebastian

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 312

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalms 89:20-22, 27-28:  I have found David, my servant.
Gospel: Mark 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011916.cfm

Reflection: What does the commandment “keep holy the Sabbath” require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus’ disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom.

When David and his men were fleeing for their lives, they sought food from Ahimelech the priest (1 Samuel 21:1-6). The only bread he had was the holy bread offered in the Temple. None but the priests were allowed to eat it. In their hunger, David and his men ate of this bread. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Sabbath was given for our benefit, to refresh and renew us in living for God. It was intended for good and not for evil. Withholding mercy and kindness in response to human need was not part of God’s intention that we rest from unnecessary labor. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord’s Day?

“Lord Jesus, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and in the way I treat my neighbor. May I honor the Lord’s Day as a day holy to you. And may I always treat others with the same mercy and kindness which you have shown to me. Free me from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan19.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Fillan
Fillan, son of Feriach and St. Kentigerna, was also known as Foelan. He became a monk in his youth and accompanied his mother from Ireland to Scotland where he lived as a hermit near St. Andrew’s monastery for many years, and then was elected abbot. He later resigned and resumed his eremitical life at Glendochart, Pertchire, where he built a church and was reknowned for his miracles. Various legends attribute the most extravagant miracles to him, such as the one in which his prayers caused a wolf that had killed the ox he was using to drag materials to the church he was building, to take the ox’s place. Fillan died on January 19. His feast day is January 19. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=581

More Saints of the Day
St. Absadah
St. Arcontius
St. Arsenius
St. Bassian
St. Beshada (Abshadius, Psote)
St. Canute IV
St. Catellus of Castellamore
St. Contentius
St. Fillan
St. Firminus
St. Germanicus of Smyrna
St. Germanicus of Smyrna
St. Henry
St. Henry of Uppsala
St. Henry of Sweden
St. Henry of Uppsala
St. Macarius the Great of Alexandria
Bl. Nathalan
St. Paul, Gerontius and Companions
St. Pontian
St. Pontianus
St. Remigius
St. Tomasso da Cori
St. Wulfstan

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 312

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalms 89:20-22, 27-28:  I have found David, my servant.
Gospel: Mark 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011916.cfm

Reflection: What does the commandment “keep holy the Sabbath” require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus’ disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom.

When David and his men were fleeing for their lives, they sought food from Ahimelech the priest (1 Samuel 21:1-6). The only bread he had was the holy bread offered in the Temple. None but the priests were allowed to eat it. In their hunger, David and his men ate of this bread. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Sabbath was given for our benefit, to refresh and renew us in living for God. It was intended for good and not for evil. Withholding mercy and kindness in response to human need was not part of God’s intention that we rest from unnecessary labor. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord’s Day?

“Lord Jesus, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and in the way I treat my neighbor. May I honor the Lord’s Day as a day holy to you. And may I always treat others with the same mercy and kindness which you have shown to me. Free me from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan19.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Fillan
Fillan, son of Feriach and St. Kentigerna, was also known as Foelan. He became a monk in his youth and accompanied his mother from Ireland to Scotland where he lived as a hermit near St. Andrew’s monastery for many years, and then was elected abbot. He later resigned and resumed his eremitical life at Glendochart, Pertchire, where he built a church and was reknowned for his miracles. Various legends attribute the most extravagant miracles to him, such as the one in which his prayers caused a wolf that had killed the ox he was using to drag materials to the church he was building, to take the ox’s place. Fillan died on January 19. His feast day is January 19. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=581

More Saints of the Day
St. Absadah
St. Arcontius
St. Arsenius
St. Bassian
St. Beshada (Abshadius, Psote)
St. Canute IV
St. Catellus of Castellamore
St. Contentius
St. Fillan
St. Firminus
St. Germanicus of Smyrna
St. Germanicus of Smyrna
St. Henry
St. Henry of Uppsala
St. Henry of Sweden
St. Henry of Uppsala
St. Macarius the Great of Alexandria
Bl. Nathalan
St. Paul, Gerontius and Companions
St. Pontian
St. Pontianus
St. Remigius
St. Tomasso da Cori
St. Wulfstan
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Posted by: RAM | January 17, 2016

Monday (January 18): “Fasting or feasting?”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 311

First Reading: 1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23:  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Gospel: Mark 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011816.cfm

Reflection: Which comes first, fasting or feasting? The disciples of John the Baptist were upset with Jesus’ disciples because they did not fast. Fasting was one of the three most important religious duties, along with prayer and almsgiving. Jesus gave a simple explanation. There’s a time for fasting and a time for feasting (or celebrating). To walk as a disciple with Jesus is to experience a whole new joy of relationship akin to the joy of the wedding party in celebrating with the groom and bride their wedding bliss. But there also comes a time when the Lord’s disciples must 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 and fasting and for mourning over sin. Do you take joy in the Lord’s presence with you and do you express sorrow and contrition for your sins?

Jesus goes on to warn his disciples about the problem of the “closed mind” that refuses to learn new things. Jesus used an image familiar to his audience – new and old wine skins. In Jesus’ times, wine was stored in wine skins, not bottles. New wine poured into skins was still fermenting. The gases exerted gave pressure. New wine skins were elastic enough to take the pressure, but old wine skins easily burst because they were hard. What did Jesus mean by this comparison? Are we to reject the old in place of the new? Just as there is a right place and a right time for fasting and for feasting, so there is a right place for the old as well as the new.

Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old (Matthew 13:52). How impoverished we would be if we only had the Old Testament or the New Testament, rather than both. The Lord gives us wisdom so we can make the best use of both the old and the new. He doesn’t want us to hold rigidly to the past and to be resistant to the new work of his Holy Spirit in our lives. He wants our minds and hearts to be like new wine skins – open and ready to receive the new wine of the Holy Spirit. Are you eager to grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s word and plan for your life?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Help me to seek you earnestly in prayer and fasting that I may turn away from sin and wilfulness and conform my life more fully to your will. May I always find joy in knowing, loving, and serving you.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan18.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Charles of Sezze (1613-1670)
Charles thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in India, but he never got there. God had something better for this 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper.

Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan; he did that in 1635. Charles tells us in his autobiography, “Our Lord put in my heart a determination to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love.”

Charles served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. In some ways, he was “an accident waiting to happen.” He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.

One story shows how thoroughly Charles adopted the spirit of St. Francis. The superior ordered Charles — then porter — to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.

At the direction of his confessor Charles wrote his autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. He made good use of his various spiritual directors throughout the years; they helped him discern which of Charles’ ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.

Charles had a firm sense of God’s providence. Father Severino Gori has said, “By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal” (Leonard Perotti, St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page 215).

He died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1264&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Ammonius
St. Archelais and Companions
St. Bastmus
St. Day
St. Deicola
St. Fazzio
St. Jaime Hilario Barbel
St. Leobard
St. Liberata
St. Margaret of Hungary
Bl. Marie de la Dive du Verdier
Bl. Monique Pichery
St. Moseus & Ammonius
St. Ulfrid
Bl. Victoire Gusteau
St. Vincenza Mary Lopez y Vicuna
St. Volusian

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Feast of the St. Niño
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 66

First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalms 96:1-3, 7-10:  Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.

Reflection: Do you recognize the glory and presence of the Lord Jesus in your life? God often reveals his glory to us in the unlikeliest of places – in a cold stable at Bethlehem, at a village wedding party in Cana, on a bloody cross at Golgatha, or on the road to Emmaus. In today’s Gospel reading we see the first public sign and miracle which Jesus performed. The Lord Jesus brought great blessing and joy to a newly wed couple and their wedding party. First by his presence, and second by saving them from embarrassment when the wine ran out. Changing water into wine was a remarkable act of kindness; but giving the best to last was unnecessary and unheard of. In the Old Testament wine is seen as both a gift and blessing of God (Deuteronomy 7:13; Proverbs 3:10, Psalm 105:). That Jesus would miraculously produce 120 gallons of the best wine (many times more than needed) shows the superabundance of the blessings which he came to offer.

This miracle signifies the “new rich wine” of the Gospel and it points to the “wine of the new covenant” and the “bread of life” which Jesus provides for his disciples in the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. It also points to the Messianic banquet which Jesus will provide at the end of the age when he comes again in his glory. The miracles of Jesus demonstrate the power of God’s love and mercy for his people. God’s kindness knows no limits. And the ultimate expression of his love is revealed in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He became flesh for our sake, and he died for our redemption, and he rose that we, too, might be raised up and glorified with him. Do you thirst for God and for the abundant life and blessings he offers to you?

“Heavenly Father, you have revealed your glory in our Lord Jesus Christ. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bring you glory in all that I do and say.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan17.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Anthony of Egypt (251-356)
The life of Anthony will remind many people of St. Francis of Assisi. At 20, Anthony was so moved by the Gospel message, “Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor” (Mark 10:21b), that he actually did just that with his large inheritance. He is different from Francis in that most of Anthony’s life was spent in solitude. He saw the world completely covered with snares, and gave the Church and the world the witness of solitary asceticism, great personal mortification and prayer. But no saint is antisocial, and Anthony drew many people to himself for spiritual healing and guidance.

At 54, he responded to many requests and founded a sort of monastery of scattered cells. Again like Francis, he had great fear of “stately buildings and well-laden tables.”

At 60, he hoped to be a martyr in the renewed Roman persecution of 311, fearlessly exposing himself to danger while giving moral and material support to those in prison. At 88, he was fighting the Arian heresy, that massive trauma from which it took the Church centuries to recover. “The mule kicking over the altar” denied the divinity of Christ.

Anthony is associated in art with a T-shaped cross, a pig and a book. The pig and the cross are symbols of his valiant warfare with the devil—the cross his constant means of power over evil spirits, the pig a symbol of the devil himself. The book recalls his preference for “the book of nature” over the printed word. Anthony died in solitude at 105. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1263&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Achillas
St. Achillas
St. Anthony the Abbot
Bl. Gonzalo de Amarante
Bl. Gregory Khomyshyn
St. Julian Sabas the Elder
St. Mildgytha
St. Nennius
St. Pior
St. Sulpicius

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 310

First Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1
Psalms 21:2-7:  Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Gospel: Mark 2:13-17
Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011616.cfm

Reflection: What draws us to the throne of God’s mercy and grace? Mark tells us that many people were drawn to Jesus, including the unwanted and the unlovable, such as the lame, the blind, and the lepers, as well as the homeless such as widows and orphans. But public sinners, like the town prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors, were also drawn to Jesus. In calling Levi, who was also named Matthew (see Matthew 9:9) to be one of his disciples, Jesus picked one of the unlikeliest of men – a tax collector who by profession was despised by the people.

Why did the religious leaders find fault with Jesus for making friends with sinners and tax collectors like Levi? The orthodox Jews had a habit of dividing everyone into two groups – those who rigidly kept the law of Moses and its minute regulations and those who did not. They latter were treated like second class citizens. The orthodox 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 entertainment with them, including table fellowship. Jesus’ association with sinners shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.

When the Pharisees challenged his unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit 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 Jews were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed 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). The Lord fills us with his grace and mercy. And he wants us, in turn,  to seek the good of our neighbors, including the unlikeable and the trouble-maker by showing them the same kindness and mercy which we have received. Do you thank the Lord for the great kindness and mercy he has shown to you?

“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, 4th century) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan16.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Berard and Companions (d. 1220)
Preaching the gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving one’s homeland and adjusting to new cultures, governments and languages is difficult enough; but martyrdom caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219 with the blessing of St. Francis, Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain Vitalis became sick and commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him.

They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended and ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on January 16, 1220.

These were the first Franciscan martyrs. When Francis heard of their deaths, he exclaimed, “Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!” Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian canon to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the next year. That young man was Anthony of Padua. These five martyrs were canonized in 1481. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1262&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Dunchaid O’Braoin
St. Fursey
St. Fusca and Marura
St. Henry of Cocket
St. Honoratus of Aries
St. Honoratus
St. James of Tarentaise
St. Liberata
St. Melas
St. Titian of Oderzo
St. Triverius
St. Valerius

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 309

First Reading: 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Psalms 89:16-19:  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011516.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the healing power of forgiveness and compassion? Jesus’ treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt.

Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God’s redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of body, mind, and spirit. Is there any area in your life that cripples you from walking in the freedom of Christ’s transforming love and forgiveness?

Bishop Ambrose of Milan (339-397 AD), an early church father, explains how the healing of the paralytic points not only to Christ’s power to heal the whole person, but also to raise the body to everlasting life as well:

But the Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. He adds, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?'” In this passage he shows the full likeness of the resurrection. Alongside of healing the wounds of body and mind, he also forgives the sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It is a great thing to forgive people’s sins – who can forgive sins, but God alone? For God also forgives through those to whom he has given the power of forgiveness. Yet it is far more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord himself is the resurrection. (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.12–13.5)

Do you believe in the healing transforming power of Christ’s forgiveness and merciful love? Ask him to set you free and transform your mind and heart to be like his heart.

“Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life – my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offenses and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your love, truth, and righteousness.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan15.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Paul the Hermit, Patron of San Pablo City, Philippines (c. 233-345) It is unclear what we really know of Paul’s life, how much is fable, how much fact.

Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay.

He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place.

St. Anthony of Egypt [January 17] attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend.

Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the “First Hermit.” His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1261&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Arnold Jansen
St. Beauch (Bagug)
St. Blaithmaic
St. Bonitus
St. Ceolwulf of Northumbria
St. Emebert
St. Ephysius
St. Eugyppius
Bl. Frances de Capillas
St. Francisco Fernandez de Capillas
St. Francis Ferdinand de Capillas
St. Ita
St. John Calabytes
St. Liewellyn & Gwrnerth
St. Lleudadd
St. Macarius the Great
St. Malard
St. Maura & Britta
St. Maximus of Nola
St. Nina
St. Paul the Hermit
Bl. Peter of Castelnau
St. Sawl
St. Secundina
St. Tarsicia
St. Teath

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 308

First Reading: 1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalms 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25:  Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011416.cfm

Reflection: Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith? No one who sought Jesus out was refused his help. Even the untouchables and the outcasts of Jewish society found help in him. Unlike the people of Jesus’ time who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and he made him whole and clean. Why was this so remarkable? Lepers were outcasts of society. They were driven from their homes and communities and left to fend for themselves. Their physical condition was terrible as they slowly lost the use of their limbs and withered away. They were not only shunned but regarded as “already dead” even by their relatives. The Jewish law forbade anyone from touching or approaching a leper, lest ritual defilement occur.

This leper did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his physical touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as grave risk for incurring infection. Jesus met the man’s misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words. He touched the man and made him clean – not only physically but spiritually as well.

How do you approach those who are difficult to love, or who are shunned by others because they are deformed or have some defect? Do you show them kindness and offer them mercy and help as Jesus did? The Lord is always ready to show us his mercy and to free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving towards others.

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean and whole in body, mind, and spirit. May I never doubt your love nor cease to tell others of your mercy and compassion.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan14.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Felix of Nola
Felix was the son of Hermias, a Syrian who had been a Roman soldier. He was born on his father’s estate at Nola near Naples, Italy. On the death of his father, Felix distributed his inheritance to the poor, was ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, and became his assistant. When Maximus fled to the desert at the beginning of Decius’ persecution of the Christians in 250, Felix was seized in his stead and imprisoned. He was reputedly released from prison by an angel, who directed him to the ailing Maximus, whom he brought back to Nola. Even after Decius’ death in 251, Felix was a hunted man but kept well hidden until the persecution ended. When Maximus died, the people unanimously selected Felix as their Bishop, but he declined the honor in favor of Quintus, a senior priest. Felix spent the rest of his life on a small piece of land sharing what he had with the poor, and died there on January 14. His tomb soon became famous for the miracles reported there, and when St. Paulinus became bishop of Nola almost a century later (410), he wrote about his predecessor, the source of our information about him, adding legendary material that had grown up about Felix in the intervening century. His feast day is January 14th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=639

More Saints of the Day
St. Barbasymas
St. Dacius
St. Deusdedit
St. Euphrasius
St. Felix
St. Felix of Nola
St. Fulgentius of Cartagena
St. Macrina the Elder
Martyrs of Mount Sinai
Martyrs of Raithu
Bl. Peter Donders
St. Sava

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 307

First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
Psalms 40:2, 5, 7-10:  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011316.cfm

Reflection: Who do you take your troubles to? Jesus’ disciples freely brought their troubles to him because they found him ready and able to deal with any difficulty, affliction, or sickness which they encountered. When Simon brought Jesus to his home, his mother-in-law was instantly healed because Jesus heard Simon’s prayer. Jerome, an early church bible scholar and translator (c. 347-420), reflects on this passage:

“Can you imagine Jesus standing before your bed and you continue sleeping? It is absurd that you would remain in bed in his presence. Where is Jesus? He is already here offering himself to us. ‘In the middle,’ he says, ‘among you he stands, whom you do not recognize’ (Cf. John 1:26) ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst’ (Mark 1:15). Faith beholds Jesus among us. If we are unable to seize his hand, let us prostrate ourselves at his feet. If we are unable to reach his head, let us wash his feet with our tears. Our repentance is the perfume of the Savior. See how costly is the compassion of the Savior.”

Do you allow Jesus to be the Lord and healer in your personal life, family, and community? Approach the Lord with expectant faith. God’s healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with and there is no bondage he can’t set us free from. Do you take your troubles to him with expectant faith that he will help you?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have all power to heal and to deliver from harm. There is no trouble nor bondage you cannot overcome. Set me free to serve you joyfully and to love and serve others generously. May nothing hinder me from giving myself wholly to you and to your service.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan13.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hilary of Poitiers, Patron against snake bites (315?-368)
This staunch defender of the divinity of Christ was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, and was like his Master in being labeled a “disturber of the peace.” In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy. He was bishop of Poitiers in France.

Raised a pagan, he was converted to Christianity when he met his God of nature in the Scriptures. His wife was still living when he was chosen, against his will, to be the bishop of Poitiers in France. He was soon taken up with battling what became the scourge of the fourth century, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ.

The heresy spread rapidly. St. Jerome said “The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian.” When Emperor Constantius ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey). Eventually he was called the “Athanasius of the West.” While writing in exile, he was invited by some semi-Arians (hoping for reconciliation) to a council the emperor called to counteract the Council of Nicea. But Hilary predictably defended the Church, and when he sought public debate with the heretical bishop who had exiled him, the Arians, dreading the meeting and its outcome, pleaded with the emperor to send this troublemaker back home. Hilary was welcomed by his people. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1259&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Agrecius
St. Andrew of Trier
St. Berno of Cluny
St. Elian
St. Elian ap Erbin
St. Enogatus
St. Erbin of Dumnonia
St. Glaphyra
St. Gumesindus
St. Hermylus
St. Hilary of Poitiers
St. Kentigern Mungo
St. Leontius of Caesarea
St. Viventius
Bl. Yvette

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

 

Posted by: RAM | January 11, 2016

Tuesday (January 12): Jesus taught with authority

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 306

First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:9-20
Psalms 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8:  My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011216.cfm

Reflection: Do you believe that God’s word has power to set you free and to transform your life? When Jesus taught he spoke with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities. The prophets spoke with delegated authority – “Thus says the Lord.” When Jesus spoke he needed no authorities to back his statements. He was authority incarnate – the Word of God made flesh. When he spoke, God spoke. When he commanded even the demons obeyed.

Faith works through love and abounds in hope
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) remarked that “faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing. The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, ‘What have we to do with you’ (Mark 1:24)? They confessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils.”

Faith is powerful, but without love it profits nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Scripture tells us that true faith works through love (Galatians 5:6) and abounds in hope (Romans 15:13). Our faith is made perfect in love because love orients us to the supreme good which is God himself as well as the good of our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27).

Hope anchors our faith in the promises of God and purifies our desires for the things which will last for eternity. That is why the word of Christ has power to set us free from all that would keep us bound up in sin, deception, and despair. Bede the venerable abbot of an English monastery (672-735) contrasted the power and authority of Jesus’ word with the word of the devil:  “The devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak” [Homilies on the Gospels 1.8].

Faith must be nourished with the Word of God
Faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. To live, grow, and persevere in the faith to the end, we must nourish it with the word of God. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds that we may grow in his truth and in the knowledge of his great love for each of us. If we approach God’s word with trust and submission, and with an eagerness to do what the Lord desires for us, then we are in a much better position to learn what God wants to teach us through his word. Are you eager to be taught by the Lord and to conform your mind, heart, attitude, and intentions according to his word of truth, goodness, and love?

“Lord Jesus, your word is power and life. May I never doubt your love and mercy, and the power of your word that sets us free, and brings healing and restoration to body, mind, heart, and spirit.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan12.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700)
“God closes a door and then opens a window,” people sometimes say when dealing with their own disappointment or someone else’s. That was certainly true in Marguerite’s case. Children from European as well as Native American backgrounds in seventeenth-century Canada benefited from her great zeal and unshakable trust in God’s providence.

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

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

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

Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal. At the age of 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec in response to the bishop’s request to establish a community of her sisters in that city. By the time she died, she was referred to as the “Mother of the Colony.” Marguerite was canonized in 1982. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1258&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Aelred of Rievaulx
St. Anthony Mary Pucci
St. Arcadius
St. Bartholomew Alvarez
St. Benedict Biscop
St. Caesaria
Ephesus Martyrs
Bl. John Gaspard Cratz
St. John of Ravenna
St. Margaret Bourgeoys
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
St. Martina
St. Martin of Leon
Martyrs of Ephesus
Bl. Pierre-Francois Jamet
St. Salvius
St. Satyrus
St. Tatiana
St. Tatiana of Rome
St. Tigrius & Eutropius
St. Victorian
St. Victorian of Asan
Bl. Vincent de Cunha
St. Zoticus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 305

First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-8
Psalms 116:12-19:  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011116.cfm

Reflection: What is the Gospel of God which Jesus came to preach? The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. When a king had good news to deliver to his subjects he sent messengers or heralds throughout the land to make a public announcement – such as the birth of a newborn king or the victory over an invading army or occupied force. God sent his prophets to announce the coming of God’s anointed King and Messiah. After Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan and anointed by the Spirit he begins his ministry of preaching the Gospel – the good news that the kingdom of God was now at hand for all who were ready to receive it.

God rules over all
What is the kingdom of God? The word “kingdom” means something more than a territory or an area of land. It literally means “sovereignty” or “reign” and the power to “rule” and exercise authority. The prophets announced that God would establish a kingdom not just for one nation or people but for the whole world. The Scriptures tell us that God’s throne is in heaven and his rule is over all (Psalm 103:19). His kingdom is bigger and more powerful than anything we can imagine because it is universal and everlasting (Daniel 4:3). His kingdom is full of glory, power, and splendor (Psalm 145:11-13).

In the Book of Daniel we are told that this kingdom is given to the Son of Man (Daniel 7:14,18,22,27). The Son of Man is a Messianic title for God’s anointed King. The New Testament word for “Messiah” is “Christ” which literally means the “Anointed One” or the “Anointed King”. God sent us his Son not to establish an earthly kingdom but to bring us into his heavenly kingdom – a kingdom ruled by truth, justice, peace, and holiness. The kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ mission. It’s the core of his gospel message.

As soon as John the Baptist had finished his testimony, Jesus began his in Galilee, his home district. John’s enemies had sought to silence him, but the gospel cannot be silenced. Jesus proclaimed that the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls disciples to believe in the gospel – the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good news which Jesus delivers? It is the good news of peace (restoration of relationship with God – Ephesians 6:15), of hope (the hope of heaven and everlasting life – Colossians 1:23 ), of truth (God’s word is true and reliable – Colossians 1:5), of promise (he rewards those who seek him – Ephesians 3:6)), of immortality (God gives everlasting life – 2 Timothy 1:10), and the good news of salvation (liberty from sin and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God – Ephesians 1:13).

Two conditions for the kingdom – repent and believe
How do we enter the kingdom of God? In announcing the good news, Jesus gave two explicit things each of us must do to in order to receive the kingdom of God: repent and believe. When we submit to Christ’s rule in our lives and believe the gospel message the Lord Jesus gives us the grace and power to live a new way of life as citizens of his kingdom. He gives us grace to renounce the kingdom of darkness ruled by sin and Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the ruler of this present world (John 12:31). That is why repentance is the first step.

Repentance means to change – to change my way of thinking, my attitude, disposition, and life choices so that Christ can be the Lord and Master of my heart rather than sin, selfishness, and greed. If we are only sorry for the consequences of our sins, we will very likely keep repeating the sin that is mastering us. True repentance requires a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and sorrow for sin and a firm resolution to avoid it in the future. The Lord Jesus gives us grace to see sin for what it really is – a rejection of his love and wisdom for our lives and a refusal to do what is good and in accord with his will. His grace brings pardon and help for turning away from everything that would keep us from his love and truth.

To believe is to take Jesus at his word and to recognize that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to free us from bondage to sin and harmful desires. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to a relationship of peace and friendship with himself. He is our Father and he wants us to live as his sons and daughters. God loved us first and he invites us in love to surrender our lives to him. Do you believe that the gospel -the good news of Jesus – has power to free you from bondage to sin and fear?

Like fishermen – we are called to gather in people for the kingdom of Christ
When Jesus preached the gospel message he called others to follow as his disciples and he gave them a mission – “to catch people for the kingdom of God.” What kind of disciples did he choose? Smelly fishermen! In the choice of the first apostles we see a characteristic feature of Jesus’ work:  he chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.

When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not think we have nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you believe that God wants to work in and through you for his glory?

Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the gospel. Paul the Apostles says, But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do you witness to those around you the joy of the Gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?

“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Help me to believe your word and follow you faithfully. Fill me with the joy of the gospel that your light may shine through me to many others.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan11.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed William Carter (d. 1584)
Born in London, William Carter entered the printing business at an early age. For many years he served as apprentice to well-known Catholic printers, one of whom served a prison sentence for persisting in the Catholic faith. William himself served time in prison following his arrest for “printing lewd [i.e., Catholic] pamphlets” as well as possessing books upholding Catholicism.

But even more, he offended public officials by publishing works that aimed to keep Catholics firm in their faith. Officials who searched his house found various vestments and suspect books, and even managed to extract information from William’s distraught wife. Over the next 18 months William remained in prison, suffering torture and learning of his wife’s death.

He was eventually charged with printing and publishing the Treatise of Schisme, which allegedly incited violence by Catholics and which was said to have been written by a traitor and addressed to traitors. While William calmly placed his trust in God, the jury met for only 15 minutes before reaching a verdict of “guilty.” William, who made his final confession to a priest who was being tried alongside him, was hanged, drawn and quartered the following day: January 11, 1584.

He was beatified in 1987. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1257&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Alexander
St. Alexander
St. Anastasius X
St. Boadin
St. Brandan
St. Ethenea and Fidelmia
St. Francisca Salesia Aviat
St. Honorata
St. Hyginius
St. Hyginus, Pope
St. Leucius of Brindisi
St. Palaemon
St. Paldo, Tato, and Taso
St. Paulinus of Aquileia
St. Paulinus of Aquileia
St. Paulinus of Aquileia
St. Peter, Severus and Leucius
St. Salvius
St. Theodosius
St. Theodosius of Antioch
St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch
St. Vitalis of Gaza
Bl. William Carter

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

The Baptism of the Lord
Saturday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 21

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalms 29:1-4, 3, 9-10:  The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38
Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011016.cfm

Reflection: Do you want to be on fire for God? John the Baptist said that the Messiah would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Fire in biblical times was associated with God and with his action in the world and in the lives of his people. God sometimes manifested his presence by use of fire, such as the burning bush which was not consumed when God spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:2). The image of fire was also used to symbolize God’s glory (Ezekiel 1:4, 13), his protective presence (2 Kings 6:17), his holiness (Deuteronomy 4:24), righteous judgment (Zechariah 13:9), and his wrath against sin (Isaiah 66:15-16). It is also used of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11 and Acts 2:3). God’s fire both purifies and cleanses, and it inspires a reverent fear of God and of his word in us.

Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire
Jesus came to give us the fire of his Spirit that we may radiate the joy and truth of the Gospel to a world in desperate need of God’s light and truth. His word has power to change and transform our lives that we may be lights pointing others to Christ. Like John the Baptist, we too are called to give testimony to the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Do you want the Lord’s power, grace, and love to burn brightly in your life? Ask him to fill you with his Holy Spirit.

John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). Why did Jesus, the Sinless One, submit himself to John’s baptism? In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of his bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

Jesus’ baptism – beginning of a new creation
The Father proclaimed his entire delight in his Son and spoke audibly for all to hear. The Holy Spirit, too, was present as he anointed Jesus for his ministry which began that day as he rose from the waters of the Jordan river. Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all who come to believe in him. At his baptism the heavens were opened and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, signifying the beginning of a new creation.

Heaven will open for those who bow before the Lord
How can we enter into the mystery of Jesus’ humble self-abasement and baptism? Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389 AD), an early church father tells us: “Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.” Do you want to see your life transformed in the likeness of Christ? And do you want to become a more effective instrument of the Gospel? Examine Jesus’ humility and ask the Holy Spirit to forge this same attitude in your heart. As you do, heaven will open for you as well.

The Lord Jesus is ever ready to renew and refashion us in his likeness through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit – and he anoints us for mission as ambassadors of his kingdom of righteousness (moral goodness), peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). We are called to be the “light” and salt” of his kingdom that radiate the beauty and aroma of his mercy and goodness to those around us (Matthew 5:13,15-16). The Lord Jesus wants his love and truth to shine through us that many others may may find new life, freedom, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with his Holy Spirit that you may radiate the joy of the Gospel to those around you.

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and with the fire of your love and goodness. May I always find joy and delight in seeking to please you in doing your will just as you have delighted in the joy of pleasing your Father and doing his will.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan10.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Servant of God Vico Necchi (1876-1930)
On January 9, 1930, Ludovico (Vico) Necchi, professor of biology at the University of Milan, died. According to his will, his headstone was to be inscribed with the simple words: Vico Necchi, Franciscan Tertiary. An extraordinary man, he is buried in the chapel of the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan in the expectation that one day he will be raised to the altars.

As a young man Vico was deeply in love with Christ, St. Francis and the Church. Invested in the habit of the Third Order, he displayed the enthusiasm of Paul and the gentleness of Francis. He used his position as a physician to counter the secular, anti-Christian attitudes of his age and to bring others to Christ. One of his converts was the radical, Augustine Gemelli, who with Vico was the cofounder of the University of the Sacred Heart.

Vico himself was a prayerful, humble, charming and cheerful man who stood at the forefront of the new Italian Catholic Action. Despite opposition and trials, he used his medical profession as a holy apostolate for the conversion of his patients while his charity was being lavished on retarded children. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1888&calendar=1

 

More Saints of the Day

St. Agatho
Bl. Anna of the Angels Monteagudo
St. Dermot
St. John Camillus the Good
St. Marcian
St. Nicanor
St. Peter Orseolo
St. Peter Urseolus
St. Petronius
St. Saethryth
St. Thomian
St. William of Bourges

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Feast of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo, Maynila
Saturday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 217

First Reading: 1 John 5:14-21
Psalms 149:1-6, 9:  The Lord takes delight in his people.
Gospel: John 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010916.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the joy of the Lord? When some friends of John the Baptist complain that all the people are now going to Jesus, John in his characteristic humility exclaimed that he was not the Messiah but only the messenger sent to prepare his way. John describes the Messiah as the Bridegroom and himself as the friend of the Bridegroom. The image of the groom delighting in his bride and the joy of the wedding feast is used in the Bible as a sign or symbol of God’s covenant love and joy in being united with his people, whom he calls his bride. As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:5).

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit John recognized that Jesus was the anointed Messiah, sent from the Father in heaven to reunite his people to himself. John acted as the groom’s best man in arranging the marriage and in making preparations for the marriage feast. John and his disciples now rejoice that the Bridegroom has come to make his bride, the people of God, ready for the marriage feast. The New Testament tells us that Christ’s blood which was shed upon the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, seals us in a new covenant between God and his people. The Book of Revelation depicts the final fulfillment and consummation of this new covenant relationship at the marriage feast of the “Lamb and his Bride”  in the New Jerusalem (see Revelations 21-22). Do you look with joyful anticipation to the consummation of God’s plan for his people at the end of the ages?

“Lord Jesus, may I never forget the love you have poured out for me when you shed your blood upon the Cross of Calvary for my sins and for my salvation. May your love always grow in me and your hope fill me with joy as I wait for your return in glory when all of your people will be fully united with you at your heavenly banquet feast in the New Jerusalem.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan9.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Adrian of Canterbury (d. 710)
Though St. Adrian turned down a papal request to become Archbishop of Canterbury, England, Pope St. Vitalian accepted the rejection on the condition that Adrian serve as the Holy Father’s assistant and adviser. Adrian accepted, but ended up spending most of his life and doing most of his work in Canterbury.

Born in Africa, Adrian was serving as an abbot in Italy when the new Archbishop of Canterbury appointed him abbot of the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in Canterbury. Thanks to his leadership skills, the facility became one of the most important centers of learning. The school attracted many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future bishops and archbishops. Students reportedly learned Greek and Latin and spoke Latin as well as their own native languages.

Adrian taught at the school for 40 years. He died there, probably in the year 710, and was buried in the monastery. Several hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state. As word spread, people flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles. Rumor had it that young schoolboys in trouble with their masters made regular visits there. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1255&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Abhor (Amba Hor)
St. Adrian, Abbot
St. Basilissa
St. Brithwald
St. Epicharis
St. Foellan
St. Honorius
St. Julian and Basilissa
St. Marciana of Mauretania
St. Maurontus
St. Paschasia
Bl. Tommaso Reggio
St. Vitalicus
St. Waningus

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Posted by: RAM | January 7, 2016

Friday (January 8): “Be made clean.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Friday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 216

First Reading: 1 John 5:5-13
Psalms 147:12-15, 19-20:  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Gospel: Luke 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010816.cfm

Reflection: Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith? No one who sought Jesus out was refused his help. Even the untouchables and the outcasts of Jewish society found help in him. Unlike the people of Jesus’ time who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and he made him whole and clean. Why was this so remarkable? Lepers were outcasts of society. They were driven from their homes and communities and left to fend for themselves. Their physical condition was terrible as they slowly lost the use of their limbs and withered away. They were not only shunned but regarded as “already dead” even by their relatives. The Jewish law forbade anyone from touching or approaching a leper, lest ritual defilement occur.

This leper did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his physical touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as grave risk for incurring infection. Jesus met the man’s misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words. He touched the man and made him clean – not only physically but spiritually as well.

How do you approach those who seem difficult to love, or who are shunned by others because they are deformed or have some physical or mental weakness? Do you show them kindness and offer them mercy and help as Jesus did? The Lord Jesus is always ready to show us his mercy and to free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving.

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean and whole in body, mind, and spirit. May I never doubt your love nor cease to tell others of your mercy and compassion.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan8.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Thorfinn
In the year 1285, there died in the Cistercian monastery at TerDoest, near Bruges, a Norwegian bishop named Thorfinn. He had never attracted particular attention and was soon forgotten. But over fifty years later, in the course of some building operations, his tomb in the Church was opened and it was reported that the remains gave out a strong and pleasing spell. The Abbot made inquiries and found that one of his monks, and aged man named Walter de Muda, remembered Bishop Thorfinn staying in there monastery and the impression he had made of gentle goodness combined with strength. Father Walter had in fact, written a poem about him after his death and hung it up over his tomb. It was then found that the parchment was still there, none the worse for the passage of time. This was taken as a direction from on high that the Bishop’s memory was to be perpetuated, and Father Walter was instructed to write down his recollections of him. For all that, there is little enough known about St. Thorfinn. He was a Trondhjem man and perhaps was a Canon of the Cathedral of Nidaros, since there was such a one named Thorfinn among those who witnessed the agreement of Tonsborg in 1277. This was an agreement between King Magnus VI and the Archbishop of Nidaros confirming certain privileges of the clergy, the freedom of episcopal elections and similar matters. Some years later, King Eric repudiated this agreement, and a fierce dispute between Church and state ensued. Eventually the King outlawed the Archbishop, John, and his two chief supporters, Bishop Andrew of Oslow and Bishop Thorfinn of Hamar. Bishop Thorfinn, after many hardships, including shipwreck, made his way to the Abbey of TerDoest in Flanders, which had a number of contacts with the Norwegian Church. It is possible that he had been there before, and there is some reason to suppose he was himself a Cistercian of the Abbey of Tautra, near Nidaros. After a visit to Rome he went to TerDoest, in bad health. Indeed, though probably still a youngish man, he saw death approaching and so made his will; he had little to leave, but what there was, he divided between his mother, his brothers and sisters, and certain monasteries, churches and charities in his dioceses. He died shortly after on January 8, 1285. After his recall to the memory of man as mentioned in the opening paragraph of this notice, miracles were reported at his tomb and St. Thorfinn was venerated by the Cistercians and around Bruges. In our own day, his memory has been revived among the few Catholics of Norway, and his feast is observed in his episcopal city of Hamar. The tradition of Thorfinn’s holiness ultimately rests on the poem of Walter de Muda, where he appeared as a kind, patient, generous man, whose mild exterior covered a firm will against whatever he esteemed to be evil and ungodly. His feast day is January 8th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=245

More Saints of the Day
St. Albert of Cashel
St. Apollinaris
St. Athelm
St. Atticus of Constantinople
St. Carterius
St. Ergnad
St. Erhard of Regensburg
St. Eugenian
St. Frodobert
St. Frodobert
St. Garibaldus
St. Gudula
St. Lucian of Beauvais
St. Maximus of Pavia
St. Pega
St. Severinus
St. Severinus of Noricum
St. Theophilus & Helladius
St. Thorfinn
St. Wulsin

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Thursday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 215

First Reading: 1 John 4:19–5:4
Psalms 72:1-2, 14-15, 17:  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Gospel: Luke 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010716.cfm

Reflection: What can bring us true freedom and joy? In Jesus we see the healing power of God’s love and mercy in action. Wherever Jesus went, people gathered to hear him speak about the kingdom of heaven and God’s promise to bring freedom and healing to those who put their trust in God. His gracious words brought hope, joy, and favor to those who were ready to receive him.

Jesus began his public ministry in his own land of Galilee where he was reared. His proclamation of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah brought wonder to the people. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus awakened their hope in the promises of God. They, in turn, received his words favorably and wondered what would become of “Joseph’s son”. Their hearts were hungry for the word of life and they looked to Jesus with anticipation and wonder. Do you look to Jesus with confidence and hope in the fulfillment of all God’s promises?

The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those who suffered from physical, mental, or spiritual oppression (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came to set people free, not only from their infirmities, but from the worst affliction of all – the tyranny of slavery to sin, Satan, and the fear of losing one’s life. God’s power alone can save us from dejection, hopelessness, and emptiness of life. The Gospel of salvation is “good news” for everyone who will receive it. Do you know the joy and freedom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to bring us the kingdom of heaven?

“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us truth, freedom, and abundant life. Fill me with the joy of the Gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your kingdom of peace and righteousness”. http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan7.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)
Some saints show marks of holiness very early. Not Angela! Born of a leading family in Foligno, Italy, she became immersed in the quest for wealth and social position. As a wife and mother, she continued this life of distraction.

Around the age of 40 she recognized the emptiness of her life and sought God’s help in the Sacrament of Penance. Her Franciscan confessor helped Angela to seek God’s pardon for her previous life and to dedicate herself to prayer and the works of charity.

Shortly after her conversion, her husband and children died. Selling most of her possessions, she entered the Secular Franciscan Order. She was alternately absorbed by meditating on the crucified Christ and by serving the poor of Foligno as a nurse and beggar for their needs. Other women joined her in a religious community.

At her confessor’s advice, Angela wrote her Book of Visions and Instructions. In it she recalls some of the temptations she suffered after her conversion; she also expresses her thanks to God for the Incarnation of Jesus. This book and her life earned for Angela the title “Teacher of Theologians.” She was beatified in 1693, and canonized in 2013. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1254&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Aidric
St. Anastasius XVIII
St. Brannock
St. Canute Lavard
St. Clerus
St. Crispin
St. Cronan Beg
Bl. Edward Waterson
St. Emilian
St. Felix & Januarius
St. Julian of Cagliari
St. Kentigerna
St. Lucian of Antioch
St. Nicetas of Remesiana
St. Raymond of Pennafort
St. Reinold
St. Theodore of Egypt
St. Tillo
St. Valentine

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Wednesday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 214

First Reading: 1 John 4:11-18
Psalms 72:1-2, 10, 12-13:  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Gospel: Mark 6:45-52
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010616.cfm

Reflection: Does the Lord Jesus ever seem distant when trials or difficulties come your way? Right after Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, he left his disciples by themselves so he could go to a remote place to pray alone.It was at Jesus’ initiative that the disciples sailed across the lake of Galilee, only to find themselves in a life-threatening storm. Although they were experienced fishermen, they feared for their lives. The Lake of Galilee was known for its sudden storms whipped up by strong winds which swept down from the nearby mountains. The disciples must have cried out for help when they recognized that their boat was about to be capsized by the threatening waves.

Jesus always intercedes for us
Although Jesus was not physically with them in the boat, he nonetheless had been keeping vigilant watch for them in earnest prayer. When Jesus perceived their trouble he came to them walking on the sea and startled them with his sudden appearance. The disciples were terrified rather than joyful when they saw Jesus’ presence on the water. They thought a ghost had appeared to seal their doom. They couldn’t believe it was really him until he spoke words of assurance: “Don’t give in to fear or panic, but take courage and be calm, because I am here for you and ready to help you in your need.” Jesus not only calmed their fears, but the threatening waves and storm as well.

Do you recognize the Lord’s abiding presence with you?
Does the Lord Jesus seem distant when trials and difficulties come your way? The Lord never leaves us alone, but keeps constant watch over us at all times, especially when we are tempted and feel weak or helpless. Do you look to the Lord Jesus to give you his strength and help when you are in need? Jesus assures us that we do not have to give into fear or discouragement if we put our trust in Him and remember his great love for us. He will see us through any trial that comes our way. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, do you respond with faith and hope in God’s love and presence with you?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your ever watchful presence, especially in times of adversity. Fortify my faith with courage and my hope with steady perseverance that I may never waver in placing all my trust in you who are my all.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan6.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. André Bessette (1845-1937)
Brother André expressed a saint’s faith by a lifelong devotion to St. Joseph.

Sickness and weakness dogged André from birth. He was the eighth of 12 children born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal. Adopted at 12, when both parents had died, he became a farmhand. Various trades followed: shoemaker, baker, blacksmith—all failures. He was a factory worker in the United States during the boom times of the Civil War.

At 25, he applied for entrance into the Congregation of the Holy Cross. After a year’s novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension and the urging of Bishop Bourget (see Marie-Rose Durocher, October 6), he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained 40 years,” he said.

In his little room near the door, he spent much of the night on his knees. On his windowsill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of St. Joseph, to whom he had been devoted since childhood. When asked about it he said, “Some day, St. Joseph is going to be honored in a very special way on Mount Royal!”

When he heard someone was ill, he visited to bring cheer and to pray with the sick person. He would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel. Word of healing powers began to spread.

When an epidemic broke out at a nearby college, André volunteered to nurse. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious; doctors called him a quack. “I do not cure,” he said again and again. “St. Joseph cures.” In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he received each year.

For many years the Holy Cross authorities had tried to buy land on Mount Royal. Brother André and others climbed the steep hill and planted medals of St. Joseph. Suddenly, the owners yielded. André collected 200 dollars to build a small chapel and began receiving visitors there—smiling through long hours of listening, applying St. Joseph’s oil. Some were cured, some not. The pile of crutches, canes and braces grew.

The chapel also grew. By 1931 there were gleaming walls, but money ran out. “Put a statue of St. Joseph in the middle. If he wants a roof over his head, he’ll get it.” The magnificent Oratory on Mount Royal took 50 years to build. The sickly boy who could not hold a job died at 92.

He is buried at the Oratory. He was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. At his canonization in October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that St. Andre “lived the beatitude of the pure of heart.” http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1252&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Anastasius VIII
St. Andre Bessette
St. Diman
St. Edeyrn
St. Eigrad
St. Erminold
St. Erminold
St. Hywyn
St. John de Ribera
St. Macra
St. Melanie
St. Melanius
St. Peter of Canterbury
St. Peter of Canterbury
St. Schotin
St. Wiltrudis

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name
Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

Lectionary: 213

First Reading: 1 John 4:7-10
Psalms 72:1-4, 7-8:  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Gospel: Mark 6:34-44
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010516.cfm

Reflection: Nothing can satisfy the deepest longing and desire of the heart – except God alone. Do you believe that is true? Of all the miracles Jesus did, the multiplication of loaves and fishes is the only one which is repeated in all four Gospels. A great crowd of people had gathered to hear Jesus because they were hungry for God’s word. Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the crowd away at the end of the day because they did not have the resources to feed them. They even complained how much money it would take to feed such a large crowd – at least six month’s wages!

Jesus satisfies our hunger – both physically and spiritually
Jesus did the unthinkable. He took the little food they had – only five loaves and two fish – and giving thanks to his Father in heaven, he blessed and distributed this meager portion to the vast crowd. To the amazement of all, there was more than enough food for everyone present. And they ate until there were satisfied of their hunger. The twelve disciples took up what was left over – twelve baskets full of fish and loaves – so that nothing would be wasted.

Jesus is the true bread of heaven – which produces abundant life
What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses’ leadership. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience.

The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. When God gives – he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something to share with others as well, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God’s provision for your life and do you freely share what you have with others, especially those who lack what they need?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:16). Fill me with gratitude for your blessings and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan5.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John Neumann (1811-1860)
Perhaps because the United States got a later start in the history of the world, it has relatively few canonized saints, but their number is increasing.

John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York at 25 and was ordained a priest. He did missionary work in New York until he was 29, when he joined the Redemptorists and became its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, where he became popular with the Germans.

At 41, as bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one, increasing the number of pupils almost twentyfold within a short time.

Gifted with outstanding organizing ability, he drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. During his brief assignment as vice provincial for the Redemptorists, he placed them in the forefront of the parochial movement.

Well-known for his holiness and learning, spiritual writing and preaching, on October 13, 1963, John Neumann became the first American bishop to be beatified. Canonized in 1977, he is buried in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1251&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Apollinaris Syncletica
St. Cera
St. Charles of Sezze
St. Convoyon
St. Emiliana
St. Gaudentius
St. Genoveva Torres Morales
St. Gerlac
Bl. Jacques Ledoyen
St. John Nepomucene Neumann
St. John Neumann
St. Lomer
Bl. Marcelina Darowska
Martyrs of Egypt
St. Paula
St. Roger
St. Syncletica
St. Syncletica of Alexandria
St. Talida

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

Lectionary: 212

First Reading: 1 John 3:22–4:6
Psalms 2:7-8, 10-12:  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
Gospel:
 Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010416.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the joy and freedom of the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom of God? John the Baptist’s enemies had sought to silence him, but the good news of God’s kingdom of salvation cannot be silenced. As soon as John had finished his testimony Jesus began his in Galilee. Galilee was at the crossroads of the world and much traffic passed through this little region. It had been assigned to the tribes of Asher, Naptali and Zebulum when the Israelites first came into the land (see Joshua 9). For a long time it had been under Gentile occupation (non-Jewish nations).

Jesus brings the light and truth of salvation to the world
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the good news of salvation would reach Jews and Gentiles in the “land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations” (Isaiah 9:1). Jesus begins the proclamation of the Gospel here to fulfill the word of God. The Old Testament prophets spoke of God’s promise to send a Redeemer who would establish God’s rule. That time is now fulfilled in Jesus who brings the light and truth of the Gospel to the world.

The “good news” brings peace, hope, truth, promise, immortality, and salvation
Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls his hearers to believe in the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good newswhich Jesus brings? It is the good news of peace – the Lord comes to reconcile and restore us to friendship with God. The good news of  hope – the Lord comes to dwell with us and to give us a home with him in his heavenly kingdom. The good news of  truth – the Lord Jesus sets us free from the lies and deception of Satan and opens our mind to understand the truth and revelation of God’s word (John 8:32). The good news of promise – Jesus fulfills the promise of God to reward those who seek him with the treasure of heaven. The good news of immortality – Jesus overcomes sin and death for us in order to raise our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body which will never die again. And the good news of salvation – the Lord Jesus delivers us from every fear, every sin, and every obstacle that would keep us from entering his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

The Gospel is the power and the wisdom of God – both power to change and transform our lives and wisdom to show us how to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Lord makes it possible for us to receive his word with faith and to act upon it with trust and obedience.

The Gospel demands a response of faith and obedience to God’s gift of salvation
In announcing the good news, Jesus makes two demands: repent and believe! Repentance requires a change of course – a turning away from sin and disobedience and a turning towards the Lord with faith and submission to his word of truth and righteousness (right living according to God’s truth and moral goodness). The Holy Spirit gives us a repentant heart, a true sorrow and hatred for sin and its bad consequences (the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23), and a firm resolution to avoid whatever would lead us into sin. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sin for what it is – rebellion and a rejection of the love of God. God’s grace helps us to turn away from all that would keep us from his love.

Faith or belief is an entirely free gift which God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and makes it possible for us to accept and to grow in our understanding of the truth. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we can know God personally and the truth he reveals to us through his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior is to accept God’s revelation of his Son as the eternal Word of God and the Redeemer who delivers us from the tyranny of sin, Satan, and death. God the Father made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to atone for our sins and to bring us back to himself.

Do you want to grow in the knowledge of God’s love and truth? Ask the Holy Spirit to renew in you the gift of faith, the love of wisdom, and the heart of a disciple who desires to follow the Lord Jesus and his will for your life.

“Lord Jesus, your ways are life and light!  Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to choose your ways and to do what is pleasing to you.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan4.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Patron of in-law problems, against the death of children, widows, death of parents, and opposition of Church authorities (1774-1821)  
Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage. All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born August 28, 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence. By birth and marriage, she was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society. Reared a staunch Episcopalian by her mother and stepmother, she learned the value of prayer, Scripture and a nightly examination of conscience. Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley, did not have much use for churches but was a great humanitarian, teaching his daughter to love and serve others.

The early deaths of her mother in 1777 and her baby sister in 1778 gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the temporariness of the pilgrim life on earth. Far from being brooding and sullen, she faced each new “holocaust,” as she put it, with hopeful cheerfulness.

At 19, Elizabeth was the belle of New York and married a handsome, wealthy businessman, William Magee Seton. They had five children before his business failed and he died of tuberculosis. At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.

While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends. Three basic points led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.

To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore. From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.

The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity. She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son. She died January 4, 1821, and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonized (1975). She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1250&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Abraham
Bl. Angela of Foligno
St. Aquilinus
St. Dafrosa
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Eugendus
St. Ferreolus of Uzes
St. Hermes
St. Libentius
Bl. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia
St. Mavilus
St. Pharaildis
St. Rigobert
St. Rigobert (Robert)
Bl. Thomas Plumtree

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

The Epiphany of the Lord
Lectionary: 20

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13:  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010316.cfm

Reflection: If Jesus truly is who he claims to be, the eternal Son of God and Savior of the world, then why is he not recognized by everyone who hears his word and sees his works? John the Evangelist states that when Jesus came into the world the world knew him not and his own people received him not (John 1:10-11). Jesus was born in obscurity. Only the lowly shepherds recognized him at his birth. Some wise men also found their way to Bethlehem to pay homage to the newborn King of Israel. These men were not Israelites, but foreigners. They likely had read and discussed the Messianic prophecies and were anxious to see when this Messianic King would appear. God led them by means of an extraordinary star across the desert to the little town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

John Chrysostom (347-407), in his homily on this passage from Matthew 2, explains the significance of the star of Bethlehem:

“Note how fitting was the order of events: the wise men saw the star, were received by the Jews and their king; they heard prophecy to explain what had appeared; the angel instructed them; and then they journeyed from Jerusalem to Bethlehem by the guidance of the star. From all this we learn that this was not an ordinary star, for no other star has this capacity to guide, not merely to move but to beckon, to “go before them,” drawing and guiding them along their way. The star remained after bringing them to the place, in order that the child might also be seen. For there is nothing conspicuous about the place. The inn was ordinary. The mother was not celebrated or notable. The star was needed to manifest and illumine the lowly place, until they had reached their destination at the manger.” [The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 7:3]

In their thirst for knowledge of God, the wise men from the East willingly left everything, their home and country, in pursuit of that quest. In their diligent search they were led to the source of true knowledge – to Jesus Christ, the Light and Wisdom of God. When they found the newborn King they humbly worshiped him and gave him gifts fitting for a king.

The Lord of the universe who revealed the star of Bethlehem to the Gentiles of the East so they could come and worship Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and King of Kings (Revelations 19:16), gives each one of us the same light of revelation to recognize and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. It is through the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and opens the eyes of the mind, that we are able to understand, accept, and believe the truth which God has revealed to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. In faith, the human will and intellect cooperate with grace. “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace” (Thomas Aquinas).

To know and to encounter Jesus Christ is to know God personally. In the encounter of the wise men with Jesus we see the plan of God to give his only Son as King and Savior, not just for the Jewish people but for all the nations as well. The Lord Jesus came that both Jew and Gentile might find true and lasting peace with God.  Let us pray today that Jew and Gentile alike will find the Lord and Savior on their journey of life. Do you bring the light of Jesus Christ to those you meet through the witness of your life and testimony?

“Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for bringing salvation to all the nations. May the gospel of salvation be proclaimed to every nation today and to every person on the face of the earth.  Help me to be a good witness of the joy of the gospel to all I meet.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan3.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Most Holy Name of Jesus
In a world of fiercely guarded corporate names and logos, it should be easy to understand this feast. The letters IHS are an abbreviation of Jesous, the Greek name for Jesus.

Although St. Paul might claim credit for promoting devotion to the Holy Name because Paul wrote in Philippians that God the Father gave Christ Jesus “that name that is above every name” (see 2:9), this devotion became popular because of 12th-century Cistercian monks and nuns but especially through the preaching of St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan (May 20).

Bernardine used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter and often bloody class struggles and family rivalries or vendettas in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, partly because of Franciscan and Dominican preachers. It spread even more widely after the Jesuits began promoting it in the 16th century.

In 1530, Pope Clement V approved an Office of the Holy Name for the Franciscans. In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1909&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

St. Bertilia
St. Blitmund
St. Cyrinus
St. Daniel of Padua
St. Finlugh
St. Fintan
St. Florentius of Vienne
St. Genevieve
St. Narses
St. Theopemptus and Theonas
St. Wenog
St. Zosimus & Athanasius

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Memorial of Saint Basil the Great, Patron of hospital administrators and Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Memorial of Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 205

First Reading: 1 John 2:22-28
Psalms 98:1-4: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Gospel: John 1:19-28
This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010216.cfm

Reflection: Do you recognize the presence of the Lord Jesus in your life? John the Baptist did such a great job of stirring the peoples’ expectation of the Messiah’s arrival, that many thought he might be the Messiah himself, or at least the great prophet Elijah who was expected to reappear at the Messiah’s coming (see Malachi 4:5, Deuteronomy 18:15). John had no mistaken identity. In all humility and sincerity he said he was only a voice bidding people to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah King.

John points to the Redeemer who comes to save us from sin and death
John the Baptist bridges the Old and New Testaments. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets who points the way to the Messiah. He is the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs. He is the herald who prepares the way for Jesus and who announces his mission to the people:Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! John saw from a distance what the Messiah came to accomplish – our redemption from slavery to sin and our adoption as sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father. Do you recognize your identity as an adopted child of God and a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom?

John was the greatest of the prophets, yet he lived as a humble and faithful servant of God. He pointed others to Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world. The Christian church from the earliest of times has given John many titles which signify his prophetic mission: Witness of the Lord, Trumpet of Heaven, Herald of Christ, Voice of the Word, Precursor of Truth, Friend of the Bridegroom, Crown of the Prophets, Forerunner of the Redeemer, Preparer of Salvation, Light of the Martyrs, and Servant of the Word. Do you point others to Jesus Christ by the testimony of your witness and example?

The Lord reveals his presence to us through the Holy Spirit
Luke tells us that when the presence of the Lord Jesus was revealed to Mary (Luke 1:35), and to her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), and to John the Baptist in the womb of his mother (Luke 1:15,41), and to Zechariah, John’s father (Luke 2:67) – they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the presence of the Lord Jesus who comes to dwell within us. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit and to renew in you the gifts of faith, hope, and love, and the boldness and courage to point others to the presence and power of the Lord Jesus.

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me a herald of your word of truth and grace. Fill me with the joy of the Gospel that I may eagerly point others to you as John did through his life and testimony.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan2.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Basil the Great, Patron of hospital administrators (d. 379)  St. Basil the Great was born at Caesarea of Cappadocia in 330. He was one of ten children of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia. Several of his brothers and sisters are honored among the saints. He attended school in Caesarea, as well as Constantinople and Athens, where he became acquainted with St. Gregory Nazianzen in 352. A little later, he opened a school of oratory in Caesarea and practiced law. Eventually he decided to become a monk and found a monastery in Pontus which he directed for five years. He wrote a famous monastic rule which has proved the most lasting of those in the East. After founding several other monasteries, he was ordained and, in 370, made bishop of Caesaria. In this post until his death in 379, he continued to be a man of vast learning and constant activity, genuine eloquence and immense charity. This earned for him the title of “Great” during his life and Doctor of the Church after his death. Basil was one of the giants of the early Church. He was responsible for the victory of Nicene orthodoxy over Arianism in the Byzantine East, and the denunciation of Arianism at the Council of Constantinople in 381-82 was in large measure due to his efforts. Basil fought simony, aided the victims of drought and famine, strove for a better clergy, insisted on a rigid clerical discipline, fearlessly denounced evil wherever he detected it, and excommunicated those involved in the widespread prostitution traffic in Cappadocia. He was learned, accomplished in statesmanship, a man of great personal holiness, and one of the great orators of Christianity. His feast day is January 2. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=261

St. Gregory Nazianzen (329-390) After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians. An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.” http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1249&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

St. Adalard of Corbie
St. Adelard
St. Argeus
St. Artaxus
St. Aspasius
St. Basil the Great
St. Blidulf
St. Caspar del Bufalo
St. Gregory Nazianzus
Bl. Guillaume Repin
Bl. Marie-Anne Vaillot
St. Martinian
St. Munchin
Bl. Odilia Baumgarten
St. Seraphim of Sarov

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Posted by: RAM | December 31, 2015

Friday (January 1): “He was named Jesus”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 Holy Name

The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Lectionary: 18

First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27
Psalms 67:2-3, 5-6, 8: May God bless us in his mercy.
Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 2:16-21
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010116.cfm

Reflection: What’s the significance of a name? For the Jewish people the giving of a name had great importance. When a name was given it represented what that person should be in the future. An unknown name meant that someone could not be completely known. To not acknowledge someone’s name meant both denial of the person, destruction of their personality, and change in their destiny. A person’s name expressed the reality of his or her being at its deepest level. A Jewish male child was named at the time of circumcision, eight days after birth. This rite was instituted by God as an outward sign to single out those who belonged to the chosen people (Genesis 17:10-12). It was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his posterity.

Jesus – the eternal Son of God who was born of a woman to become our Savior
In fulfilment of this precept, Mary’s newborn child is given the name Jesus on the eighth day according to the Jewish custom. Joseph and Mary gave the name Jesus because that is the name given by God’s messenger before Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:31, Matthew 1:21). This name signifies Jesus’ identity and his mission. The literal Hebrew means the Lord saves. Since God alone can forgive sins and free us from death, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son became a man to offer up his life as the atoning sacrifice to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The son that Mary bore is both God and man – the “Word who was God” (John 1:1) and who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). That is why Mary is not only called the mother of the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah in Hebrew) but also the mother of God orTheotokos in Greek which literally means “God bearer.”

Jesus – the name above every other name
In the birth and naming of this child we see the wondrous design and plan of God in giving us a Savior who would bring us grace (the gift of God’s favor), mercy, and freedom from the power of sin and the fear of death. The name Jesus signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son who became man for our salvation. Peter the Apostle exclaimed that there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved (Acts 2:12). In the name of Jesus demons flee, cripples walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised. His name is exalted far above every other name (Philippians 2:9-11).

The name Jesus is at the heart of all Christian prayer. It is through and in Jesus that we pray to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians have died with one word on their lips, the name of Jesus. Do you exalt the name of Jesus and pray with confidence in his name?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I exalt your name above every other name. For in you I have pardon, mercy, grace and victory over sin and death. You humbled yourself for my sake and for the sake of all sinners by sharing in our humanity and by dying on the cross. Help me to always praise your holy name and to live for your greater glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jan1.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Mary the Blessed Virgin, Patron of all humanity
Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother “was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men.”

Mary is venerated with a special cult, called by St. Thomas Aquinas, hyperdulia, as the holiest of all creatures. The main events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of the universal Church.

Mary’s life and role in the history of salvation is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, while the events of her life are recorded in the New Testament. Traditionally, she was declared the daughter of Sts. Joachim and Anne. Born in Jerusalem, Mary was presented in the Temple and took a vow of virginity. Living in Nazareth, Mary was visited by the archangel Gabriel, who announced to her that she would become the Mother of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

She became betrothed to St. Joseph and went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was bearing St. John the Baptist. Acknowledged by Elizabeth as the Mother of God, Mary intoned the Magnificat.

When Emperor Augustus declared a census throughout the vast Roman Empire, Mary and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem, his city of lineage, as he belonged to the House of David. There Mary gave birth to Jesus and was visited by the Three Kings.

Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, where St. Simeon rejoiced and Mary received word of sorrows to come later. Warned to flee, St. Joseph and Mary went to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. They remained in Egypt until King Herod died and then returned to Nazareth.

Nothing is known of Mary’s life during the next years except for a visit to the Temple of Jerusalem, at which time Mary and Joseph sought the young Jesus, who was in the Temple with the learned elders.

The first recorded miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding in Cana, and Mary was instrumental in calling Christ’s attention to the need. Mary was present at the Crucifixion in Jerusalem, and there she was given into John the Apostle’s care. She was also with the disciples in the days before the Pentecost, and it is believed that she was present at the resurrection and Ascension.

No scriptural reference concerns Mary’s last years on earth. According to tradition, she went to Ephesus, where she experienced her “dormition.” Another tradition states that she remained in Jerusalem. The belief that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven is one of the oldest traditions of the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII declared this belief Catholic dogma in 1950. The four Catholic dogmas are: Mother of God, Perpetual virginity of Mary, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary. The feast of the Assumption is celebrated on August 15. The Assumption was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. According to Pope Pius XII, the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception – that Mary, as the Mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was free of original sin at the moment of her conception. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8. The birthday of Mary is an old feast in the Church, celebrated on September 8, since the seventh century.

Other feasts that commemorate events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary are listed in the Appendices. Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944. The Church has long taught that Mary is truly the Mother of God .

The Blessed Virgin Mary may be taken as a patroness of any good activity, for she is often cited as the patroness of all humanity. Mary is also associated with protecting many occupations and locations.

St. Paul observed that “God sent His Son, born of a woman,” expressing the union of the human and the divine in Christ. As Christ possesses two natures, human and divine, Mary was the Mother of God in his human nature.

This special role of Mary in salvation history is clearly shown in the Gospel where she is seen constantly at her son’s side during his soteriological mission. Because of this role, exemplified by her acceptance of Christ into her womb, her offering of him to God at the Temple, her urging him to perform his first miracle, and her standing at the foot of the Cross at Calvary Mary was joined fully in the sacrifice by Christ of himself.

Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1918: “To such an extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, and immolated him – insofar as she could in order to appease the justice of God, that we might rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ.”

Mary is entitled to the title of Queen because, as Pope Pius XII expressed it in a 1946 radio speech, “Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through him, with him, and subordinate to him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election.”

Mary possesses a unique relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity, thereby giving her a claim to the title of Queenship. She was chosen by God the Father to be the Mother of his Son; God the Holy Spirit chose her to be his virginal spouse for the Incarnation of the Son; and God the Son chose her to be his mother, the means of incarnating into the world for the purposes of the redemption of humanity.

This Queen is also our Mother. While she is not our Mother in the physical sense, she is called a spiritual mother, for she conceives, gives birth, and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person. As Mediatrix of All Graces, she is ever present at the side of each person, giving nourishment and hope, from the moment of spiritual birth at Baptism to the moment of death.

In art, Mary is traditional portrayed in blue. Her other attributes are a blue mantle, crown of 12 stars, pregnant woman, roses, and/or woman with child.

Hundreds of thousands of pieces of Marian artwork and sculptures have been created over the years from the best and most brilliant artists, like Michelangelo and Botticell, to simple peasant artists. Some of the most early examples of veneration of Mary is documented in the Catacombs of Rome. Catacomb paintings show Mary the Blessed Virgin with her son.

The confidence that each person should have in Mary was expressed by Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Ubipriinum : “The foundation of all our confidence. . . is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary.” http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4967

More Saints of the Day
St. Almachius
St. Basil
Bl. Berka Zdislava
St. Clarus
St. Concordius
St. Connat
St. Cuan
St. Elvan & Mydwyn
St. Euphrosyne
St. Fanchea
St. Fulgentius of Ruspe
St. Giuseppe Maria Tommasi
Bl. Jean-Baptiste Lego
St. Joseph Mary Tommasi
St. Justin of Chieti
St. Maelrhys
St. Magnus
Mary the Blessed Virgin
St. Odilo
Bl. Rene Lego
St. Telemachus
St. Giuseppe Maria Tomasi
Bl. Valentin Paquay
St. William of Dijon
St. Zdislava of Lemberk
St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary:203

First Reading: 1 John 2:12-17
Psalms 96:7-10:  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Gospel: Luke 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/123015.cfm

Reflection: What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. Hope grows with prayer and perseverance. Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found daily in the house of the Lord, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about the Lord’s promise to send a redeemer. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.

Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope placed rightly. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew with age! She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God’s promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God’s people.

How do we grow in hope? By placing our trust in the promises of Jesus Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit. Does your hope and fervor for God grow with age?

“Lord Jesus, may I never cease to hope in you and to trust in your promises. Inflame my zeal for your kingdom and increase my love for prayer, that I may never cease to give you praise and worship”.

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec30.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Egwin (d. 717)

You say you’re not familiar with today’s saint? Chances are you aren’t—unless you’re especially informed about Benedictine bishops who established monasteries in medieval England.

Born of royal blood in the 7th century, Egwin entered a monastery and was enthusiastically received by royalty, clergy and the people as the bishop of Worcester, England. As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge. Who could argue with that?

His popularity didn’t hold up among members of the clergy, however. They saw him as overly strict, while he felt he was simply trying to correct abuses and impose appropriate disciplines. Bitter resentments arose, and Egwin made his way to Rome to present his case to Pope Constantine. The case against Egwin was examined and annulled.

Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to Mary, who had reportedly made it known to Egwin just where a church should be built in her honor.

He died at the abbey on December 30, in the year 717. Following his burial many miracles were attributed to him: The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1245&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

St. Anysia
St. Anysius
St. Egwin of Evesham
St. Eugene
Bl. John Alcober
St. Liberius of Ravenna
St. Mansuetus
St. Raynerius
St. Sabinus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204

First Reading: 1 John 2:18-21
Psalms 96:1-2, 11-13:   Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Gospel: John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/123115.cfm

Reflection: Why does John the Evangelist begin his Gospel account with a description of the Word of God which began the creation of the universe and humankind in the first book of Genesis? The “word of God” was a common expression among the Jews. God’s word in the Old Testament Scriptures is an active, creative, and dynamic word. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6). “He sends forth his commands to the earth; his word runs swiftly” (Psalm 147:15). “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29)?

The writer of the (deutero-canonical) Book of Wisdom addresses God as the one who “made all things by your word” (Wisdom 9:1). God’s word is also equated with his wisdom. “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth” (Proverbs 3:19). The Book of Wisdom describes “wisdom” as God’s eternal, creative, and illuminating power. Both “word” and “wisdom” are seen as one and the same. “For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command” (deutero-canonical Book of Wisdom 18:14-16).

John describes Jesus as God’s creative, life-giving and light-giving Word that has come to earth in human form. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus is the wisdom and power of God which created the world and sustains it who assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. “What he was, he remained, and what he was not he assumed” (from an early church antiphon for morning prayer). Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother. From the time of the Apostles the Christian faith has insisted on the incarnation of God’s Son “who has come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2)

Gregory of Nyssa, one of the great early church fathers (330-395 AD) wrote:

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again.  We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.  Are these things minor or insignificant?  Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?

Christians never cease proclaiming anew the wonder of the Incarnation. The Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. The Son of God …worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved.  Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin (Gaudium et Spes).

If we are going to behold the glory of God we will do it through Jesus Christ. Jesus became the partaker of our humanity so we could be partakers of his divinity (2 Peter 1:4). God’s purpose for us, even from the beginning of his creation, is that we would be fully united with Him. When Jesus comes God is made known as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By our being united in Jesus, God becomes our Father and we become his sons and daughters. Do you thank the Father for sending his only begotten Son to redeem you and to share with you his glory?

“Almighty God and Father of light, your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec31.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Sylvester I (d. 335)
When you think of this pope, you think of the Edict of Milan, the emergence of the Church from the catacombs, the building of the great basilicas, Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter’s and others, the Council of Nicaea and other critical events. But for the most part, these events were planned or brought about by Emperor Constantine.

A great store of legends has grown up around the man who was pope at this most important time, but very little can be established historically. We know for sure that his papacy lasted from 314 until his death in 335. Reading between the lines of history, we are assured that only a very strong and wise man could have preserved the essential independence of the Church in the face of the overpowering figure of the Emperor Constantine. The bishops in general remained loyal to the Holy See and at times expressed apologies to Sylvester for undertaking important ecclesiastical projects at the urging of Constantine. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1246&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Barbatian
St. Columba of Sens
St. Donata
St. Hermes
St. Melania
St. Offa
Sts. Sabinian & Potentian
St. Sylvester
St. Zoticus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the the Divine Infancy
The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203

First Reading: 1 John 2:12-17
Psalms 96:7-10: Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Gospel: Luke 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/123015.cfm

Reflection: What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. Hope grows with prayer and perseverance. Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found daily in the house of the Lord, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about the Lord’s promise to send a redeemer. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.

Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope placed rightly. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew with age! She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God’s promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God’s people.

How do we grow in hope? By placing our trust in the promises of Jesus Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit. Does your hope and fervor for God grow with age?

“Lord Jesus, may I never cease to hope in you and to trust in your promises. Inflame my zeal for your kingdom and increase my love for prayer, that I may never cease to give you praise and worship”. http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec30.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Egwin (d. 717)
You say you’re not familiar with today’s saint? Chances are you aren’t—unless you’re especially informed about Benedictine bishops who established monasteries in medieval England.
Born of royal blood in the 7th century, Egwin entered a monastery and was enthusiastically received by royalty, clergy and the people as the bishop of Worcester, England. As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge. Who could argue with that?

His popularity didn’t hold up among members of the clergy, however. They saw him as overly strict, while he felt he was simply trying to correct abuses and impose appropriate disciplines. Bitter resentments arose, and Egwin made his way to Rome to present his case to Pope Constantine. The case against Egwin was examined and annulled.

Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to Mary, who had reportedly made it known to Egwin just where a church should be built in her honor.

He died at the abbey on December 30, in the year 717. Following his burial many miracles were attributed to him: The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1245&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Anysia
St. Anysius
St. Egwin of Evesham
St. Eugene
Bl. John Alcober
St. Liberius of Ravenna
St. Mansuetus
St. Raynerius
St. Sabinus

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary:202

First Reading: 1 John 2:3-11
Psalms 96:1-3, 5-6:  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Gospel: Luke 2:22-35
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122915.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the favor of the Lord? After Jesus’ birth, Mary fulfills the Jewish rite of purification after childbirth. Since she could not afford the customary offering of a lamb, she gives instead two pigeons as an offering of the poor. This rite, along with circumcision and the redemption of the first-born point to the fact that children are gifts from God. Jesus was born in an ordinary home where there were no luxuries. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear and wisdom of God. He, in turn, was obedient to them and grew in wisdom and grace. The Lord’s favor is with those who listen to his word with trust and obedience. Do you know the joy of submission to God? And do you seek to pass on the faith and to help the young grow in wisdom and maturity?

The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Savior of the world 
What is the significance of Simeon’s encounter with the baby Jesus and his mother in the temple? Simeon was a just and devout man who was very much in tune with the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Lord would return to his temple and renew his chosen people. The Holy Spirit also revealed to him that the Messiah and King of Israel would also bring salvation to the Gentile nations. When Joseph and Mary presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized this humble child of Bethlehem as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be “a revealing light to the Gentiles”. The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to those who are receptive and eager to receive him.  Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with you?

The ‘new temple’ of God’s presence in the world
Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night as he led them through the wilderness. God’s glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). When the first temple was built in Jerusalem God’s glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8). After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave it (Ezekiel 10). But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9). That promise is fulfilled when the “King of Glory” himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1).  Through Jesus’ coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Ask the Lord to renew your faith in the indwelling presence of his Spirit within you. And give him thanks and praise for coming to make his home with you.

Mary receives both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord.  Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way.  Do you know the peace and joy of a life surrendered to God with faith and trust?

Our hope is anchored in God’s everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy
What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus has won for us a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The Holy Spirit gives hope to all who place their trust in the promises of God. God never fails because his promises are true and he is faithful. The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trails, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way.

Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified trust and submission to his will for your life? Allow the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire –  your life, family, friends, health, honor, wealth, and future. If you seek his kingdom first he will give you everything you need to know, love, and serve him now and enjoy him forever.

“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my life. May I never cease to place all my trust in you. Fill me with the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly point others to your saving presence and words of eternal life.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec29.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170)
A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1244&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Aileran
St. Albert of Gambron
St. Callistus, Felix & Boniface
St. Dominic
St. Ebrulf
St. Ebrulf
St. Thomas Becket
St. Trophimus of Arles
Bl. William Howard

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Lectionary:698

First Reading: 1 John 1:5–2:2
Psalms 124:2-5, 7-8: Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Gospel: Matthew 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more
.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122815.cfm

Reflection: Who can explain suffering, especially the suffering of innocent children? Herod’s massacre of children who gave their lives for a person and a truth they did not know seemed so useless and unjust. What a scandal and stumbling block for those who can’t recognize God’s redeeming love. Why couldn’t God prevent this slaughter? Suffering is indeed a mystery. No explanation seems to satisfy our human craving to understand.

First martyrs for Christ
These innocent children who died on Christ’s behalf are the first martyrs for Christ. Suffering, persecution, and martyrdom are the lot of all who chose to follow Jesus Christ. There is no crown without the cross. It was through Jesus’ suffering, humiliation, and death on a cross, that our salvation was won. His death won life – eternal life for us. And his blood which was shed for our sake obtained pardon and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

Suffering takes many forms: illness, disease, handicap, physical pain and emotional trauma, slander, abuse, poverty, and injustice. Paul the Apostle states: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose (Romans 8:28)? Jesus exclaimed that those who weep, who are reviled and persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12). The word blessed[makarios in the Greek] literally means happiness or beatitude. It describes a kind of joy which is serene and untouchable, self-contained and independent from chance and changing circumstances of life.

Supernatural joy in the face of suffering
There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

The Lord gives each of us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the joy of a life fully given over to God with faith and trust?

“Lord, you gave your life for my sake, to redeem me from slavery to sin and death.  Help me to carry my cross with joy that I may willingly do your will and not shrink back out of fear or cowardice when trouble besets me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec28.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Holy Innocents
Herod “the Great,” king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children…” (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1243&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Anthony the Hermit
St. Caesarius
St. Castor
St. Domnio
St. Eutychius & Domitian
St. Romulus and Conindrus
St. Troadius

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lectionary:17

First Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalms 128:1-5: Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-21
Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122715.cfm

Reflection: How cans families grow together in mutual love, harmony, and care for one another? When God made a covenant with his people, he taught them his way of  love:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength – And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart – and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).  

God the Father’s love is a covenant love that binds people together as his beloved children. His love is the cornerstone that binds man and woman in one flesh in marriage, and in their mutual love for their children, and for their children’s children for generations to come. God wants his love to be the center of all our relationships and all that we do. That is why God gives us his Holy Spirit so we can love as he loves us. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Jesus was born into a family devoted to the word of God
When God sent his only begotten Son into the world, Jesus was born into a human family as a Jew who was raised according to the teaching and wisdom of God’s word in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament Scriptures) and the religious customs of his people. Jesus was born under the law of Moses (Galatians 4:4) and was circumcised (the sign of being a covenanted member of Israel) on the eighth day and given his name, Yeshuain Hebrew (Jesus in English) which means “God saves.”

We know little about Jesus’ early life at home in Nazareth. Luke in his Gospel account gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ growth as a boy into young manhood. Luke tells us that Jesus was obedient to his parents – Mary, his mother and Joseph, his foster father. As devout and God-fearing Jews, Joseph and Mary raised the boy Jesus according to the Scriptures and Jewish customs. It was the duty of all Jewish parents to raise their children in the instruction and wisdom of God’s word in the Scriptures.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

A home life centered on prayer and the reading of Scripture
Jewish home life was centered on daily family prayers, including the singing of the Psalms and the reading of the Scriptures. Every Friday evening, the family gathered for a festive meal with the lighting of the Sabbath candle and prayers of blessing over the bread and wine to open the celebration of the Sabbath holy day. Each Saturday morning the family attended the Sabbath service which includes a reading from the Torah (five books of Moses) and chanting the psalms at the local community synagogue. Older boys were sent to school on weekday mornings, called the “house of the book” (either at the synagogue or the rabbi’s house), where they were given further instruction in the reading and study of the Jewish Scriptures. Every Jewish boy was required to memorize the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures (the Torah or Books of Moses) by the age of 13. They also learned to memorize and put into practice the wise counsels found in the Book of Proverbs (Wisdom of Solomon) and the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) which was another common book of instruction for Jews living throughout the Greek-speaking world.

Jesus’ journey to the Father’s house
Jews were expected to travel to Jerusalem for the high feasts each year (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles). Jesus undoubtedly traveled with his parents every year from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This eighty mile journey normally took three days. So families often traveled in large groups, for safety and comfort.

Luke records a remarkable incident which happened when Jesus went up to the temple at Jerusalem for his first Passover at the dawn of his manhood (usually the age of twelve for Jewish males). It was at this key turning point in his earthly life that Jesus took the name “father” from Joseph and addressed it to God his Father in heaven. His answer to his mother’s anxious inquiry reveals his confident determination to pursue his heavenly Father’s will. Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49)

Jesus obeyed and served his family at Nazareth
While Jesus identified himself as Son of the eternal Father in heaven, he, nonetheless, submitted himself with love and obedience to Mary and Joseph.  Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear (Godly respect) and wisdom of God. Luke tells us that Jesus grew as a man in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and with the people of Nazareth, his home town. He remained at Nazareth until the age of 30 when he was baptized by John at the River Jordan and anointed by the Spirit for his mission as the Messiah and Savior of the world.

God the Father reveals his rich favor, blessing, and joy to all who listen to his word and who follow his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you follow and obey the Son who shows us the way to the our Father’s house and family in heaven?

“Lord Jesus, you came to restore us to peace and friendship with the Father in heaven. Where there is division, bring healing and restoration. Where there is strife bring peace and forgiveness. May all families and nations on the earth find peace, harmony, and unity in you, the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec27.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John the Apostle, Patron of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors
It is God who calls; human beings answer. The vocation of John and his brother James is stated very simply in the Gospels, along with that of Peter and his brother Andrew: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John “were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

For the three former fishermen—Peter, James and John—that faith was to be rewarded by a special friendship with Jesus. They alone were privileged to be present at the Transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemane. But John’s friendship was even more special. Tradition assigns to him the Fourth Gospel, although most modern Scripture scholars think it unlikely that the apostle and the evangelist are the same person.

John’s own Gospel refers to him as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and the one to whom he gave the exquisite honor, as he stood beneath the cross, of caring for his mother. “Woman, behold your son…. Behold, your mother” (John 19:26b, 27b).

Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter. But the ever-frank Gospels reveal some very human traits. Jesus gave James and John the nickname, “sons of thunder.” While it is difficult to know exactly what this meant, a clue is given in two incidents.

In the first, as Matthew tells it, their mother asked that they might sit in the places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom—one on his right hand, one on his left. When Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup he would drink and be baptized with his baptism of pain, they blithely answered, “We can!” Jesus said that they would indeed share his cup, but that sitting at his right hand was not his to give. It was for those to whom it had been reserved by the Father. The other apostles were indignant at the mistaken ambition of the brothers, and Jesus took the occasion to teach them the true nature of authority: “…[W]hoever 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” (Matthew 20:27-28).

On another occasion the “sons of thunder” asked Jesus if they should not call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, who would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus “turned and rebuked them” (see Luke 9:51-55).

On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene “ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him’” (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then “the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first” (John 20:4b). He did not enter, but waited for Peter and let him go in first. “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8).

John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of his mortal life. At the Last Supper, John’s Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus’ glory. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1242&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Fabiola
St. John the Apostle
St. John the Evangelist
St. Maximus
St. Nicarete
St. Theodore and 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

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