Posted by: RAM | May 20, 2018

Monday (May 21): “Behold, your mother.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Lectionary: 572A

First Reading: Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7:  
Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Gospel: John 19:25-34
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately Blood and water flowed out.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052118.cfm

Reflection:
Why was it necessary for the Son of God to be born of a virgin mother – only to suffer rejection, betrayal, and cruel death on a cross? God’s love know no bounds. He created the human race in love for love – to be united with him and with one another in a bond of unbreakable love, peace, and friendship. True love risks all and gives all for the beloved. With the gift of love and fruit-bearing life God also gave freedom and responsibility – freedom to choose for good or for evil, for community or for division, for peace or for strife, for life or for death.

God’s gift of love – broken by sin and rebellion
Adam and Eve, the man and woman God created to be the beginning of a people who were made in the image and likeness of God, received everything they needed for life, happiness, and friendship with God. God provided a dwelling place specially made for them – a Garden of Paradise and fruit of his creation. God took great delight in his son Adam and Eve his wife – he walked with them daily in the garden so they could grow in the knowledge of his great love and wisdom.

God allowed the tempter, whom Scripture calls the devil and Satan, the father of lies, to test them so they could freely choose whom they would serve and obey. Satan tricked them into believing that they could be all powerful and wise, like God, on their own terms and conditions, according to their own desires and preferences. Like Satan and the fallen angels who rebelled against God, Adam and Eve thought they could be equal with God and chart their own course for happiness and life together. They choose to believe Satan’s word over God’s word – a choice that opened the door to sin, rebellion, and separation from God.

Their fall resulted in a grievous wound which only God could heal and restore to wholeness. God in his merciful love and wise judgment, disciplined them for their own good, to lead them to repentance, purification, and restoration of friendship with God. God did not leave them in sin and darkness – he promised to send them a Redeemer who would restore them and their descendants to fullness of life with God.

The promised Redeemer who comes to restore our fallen humanity
How did God fulfill his promise to restore a broken and fallen humanity? The prophet Isaiah foretold that God himself would send his people a Redeemer, born of a virgin mother from the house of David (Isaiah 7:14), who would willingly undergo affliction and chastisement to the point of shedding his blood to make atonement for their sins (Isaiah 53:1-12, and Isaiah 50:4-8; 52:13-15).
In the wonderous cross of Christ, who shed his blood for our sins, we see God’s unfolding plan of restoration for the human race. Through his obedience to the Father’s will and the willing sacrifice of his own life for our sake, he reversed the curse of our first parents’ sin and won for us pardon and abundant life. John tells us in his Gospel account that “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, humbled himself by taking on human flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary, so he could become one with us in our humanity and offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and the sin of he world.

Christ is the new Adam – who creates a new humanity through his cross and resurrection
Paul the Apostle tells us that Jesus Christ is the new Adam who begets a new humanity and a new creation (Romans 5:12-18, 2 Corinthians 15:7) through his victory on the cross and his resurrection. That is why Jesus explained to Nicodemus that we must be born anew (John 3:3) – of water and the Spirit(John 3:5,8).

Woman, behold, your son! Disciple, behold, your mother!
As Jesus hung on the cross at Calvary, he looked down and saw his mother and John the beloved disciple standing at the foot of the cross. Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son,” and then to John he said, “behold, your mother” (John 19:26-27). John takes Mary as his spiritual mother, and Mary takes John as her spiritual son. 

Why did Jesus address Mary as “Woman” rather than “mother” (see also Jesus addressing Mary as “Woman” in John 2:4). Jesus may be alluding to the beginning of creation in Genesis when Adam addressed Eve first as Woman, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). Adam later called her “Eve” because she became the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

Mary’s mission is inseparably linked with the mission of her Son, the Lord Jesus
Mary’s mission as the bearer of the Son of God  (theo-tokos which means God-bearer in Greek) is inseparably linked with the mission of her Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the grace and gift of the Holy Spirit Mary becomes the first disciple and a spiritual mother of a new humanity who are born again through her son, the Lord Jesus.

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary was enriched by God with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable her to assume this awesome role. A number of early church fathers saw Mary as a new Eve who cooperated with her Son’s mission through her faith and devotion to God’s word, and her prompt “yes” to God’s will.

Irenaeus, an early second century bishop of Lyons (130-200 AD), described Mary’s role in the service of her Son’s mission:

“The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband…
As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve…
The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith” 
(quotes from Against Heresies (Lib. 5, 19, 1; 20, 2; 21,1: SC 153, 248-250. 260-264)

Throughout her life Mary remained steadfast and faithful to the call and mission God entrusted to her, as the mother of the Son of God who took flesh in her womb. She is the first Christian because she accepted the Gospel and gave her “yes” to God’s plan of redemption. She followed her son to the cross and she prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all the disciples at Pentecost.  She is a model for us of faith and obedience, hope and perseverance, and love and fidelity. Are you ready to take up your cross and follow the Lord Jesus in his way of love and sacrifice?
God gives us the grace to say “yes” to his will and to his transforming work in our lives
What is the key that unlocks the power of God’s kingdom and his abundant life in our personal lives? Faith is the free gift of God for all who accept his Son as Lord and Redeemer. Our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus opens the door to all the promises of God who find their fulfillment in Christ. God gives us all the grace and strength we need and he expects us to respond with the same willing obedience and heart-felt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God’s promises and do you yield to his grace?

“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified “yes” to your will and your plan for my life.”   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may21.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Eugene de Mazenod, Patron saint of dysfunctional families
Birth: 1782
Death: 1861
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II
Eugene de Mazenod was born on August 1, 1782, at Aix-en-Provence in France. Early in life he experienced the upheaval of the French Revolution. None the less, he entered the seminary, and following ordination he returned to labor in Aix-en-Provence. That area had suffered greatly during the Revolution and was not really a safe place for a priest. Eugene directed his ministry toward the poorest of the poor. Others joined his labors, and became the nucleus of a religious community, the Missionaries of Provence. Later Eugene was named Bishop of Marseille. There he built churches, founded parishes, cared for his priests, and developed catechetics for the young. Later he founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and in 1841 the Oblates sailed for missions in five continents. Pius XI said, “the Oblates are the specialists of difficult missions.” After a life dedicated to spreading the Good News, Eugene died on May 21, 1861. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1975. His feast day is May 21. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=346

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Agustin Caloca Cortes
St. Ansuinus
St. Atilano Cruz Alvarado
St. Barrfoin
St. Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod
St. Constantine the Great
St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara
St. Eugene de Mazenod
St. Gollen
Bl. Hyacinthe Marie Cormier
Bl. Jenaro Sanchez Delgadillo
St. Jose Maria Robles Hurtado
St. Mateo Correa Magallanes
St. Mateo Correa
St. Nicostratus, Antiochus, and Companions
St. Polyeuctus, Victorius and Donatus
Bl. Roman Adame Rosales
St. Secundinus
St. Secundus & Companions
St. Serapion the Sindonite
St. Theobald of Vienne
Sts. Timothy, Polius & Eutychius
St. Valens
St. Zeno

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Advertisements

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Pentecost Sunday

Lectionary: 63

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34:  Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
Gospel: 
John 20:19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052018.cfm

Reflection:
Do you know and experience in your own life the gift and power of the Holy Spirit? After his death and resurrection Jesus promised to give his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. He said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit! (John 20:22) Jesus knew that his disciples would need the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to them. The gift of the Holy Spirit was conditional upon the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father. That is why Jesus instructed the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). Why did they need power from on high? The Gospels tell us that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit when he was baptized at the Jordan River:

“And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him… this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit'” (John 1:32,33; Mark 1:8; Matthew 3:11).

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness… and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” (Luke 4:1,14).

Just as Jesus was anointed with the Spirit at the beginning of his ministry, so the disciples needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is given to all who are baptized into Jesus Christ to enable us to live a new way of life – a life of love, peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17). The Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the love of God (Romans 5:7), and he gives us the strength and courage we need in order to live as faith-filled disciples of the Lord Jesus. The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), and enables us to grow in spiritual freedom – freedom from doubt, fear, and from slavery to our unruly desires (2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:21). The Spirit instructs us in the ways of God, and guides us in living according to God’s will. The Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. Isaiah foretold the seven-fold gifts that the Spirit would give: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

The gift of Pentecost – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual gifts and blessings of God – are made possible through the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus. After his resurrection Jesus “breathed” on his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. Just as God breathed life into Adam, so the gift of the Holy Spirit is an impartation of  “new life” for his people. With the gift of the Holy Spirit a new creation begins. God recreates us for his glory. Jesus’ gift of peace to his disciples was more than an absence of trouble. His peace included the forgiveness of sins and the fullness of everything good. Do you want power to live a faith-filled life as a disciple of Jesus? Ask the Father to fill you with the power of his Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

Basil the Great (329-379 AD), an early church father, explains the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives:

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

The Lord Jesus offers each one of us the gift and power of his Holy Spirit. He wants to make our faith strong, give us hope that endures, and a love that never grows cold. He never refuses to give his Spirit to those who ask with expectant faith. Jesus instructed his disciples to ask confidently for the gift of the Spirit: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).  Do you thirst for God and for the abundant life he offers through the gift of his Spirit?

“Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of Pentecost and for the new life you offer in the Holy Spirit. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with the fire of your love that I may serve you in joy and freedom.”   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may20.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Bernadine of Siena
In the year 1400, a young man came to the door of the largest hospital in Siena. A plague was raging through the city so horrible that as many as twenty people died each day just in the hospital alone. And many of the people who died were those who were needed to tend the ill. It was a desperate situation — more and more people were falling ill and fewer and fewer people were there to help them.

The twenty-year-old man who stood there had not come because he was ill but because he wanted to help. And he brought not new patients but young men like himself willing to tend the dying. For four months Bernardine and his companions worked day and night not only to comfort the patients but to organize and clean the hospital. Only at the end of the plague did Bernardine himself fall ill — of exhaustion.

But that was Bernardine’s way — whatever he did, he put his whole self into it. Immediately after he recovered he was back caring for the sick — but this time, he was responsible not for a whole hospital but one person — an invalid aunt. Yet for fourteen months she got his full attention. Throughout his life, he put as much energy into caring for one person as for hundreds, as much commitment into converting one citizen as to preaching to a whole city.

After his aunt died, Bernardine started to think about where his life should be going. The son of a noble family, he had been orphaned at seven and raised by an aunt. We are told as a young person that he hated indecent talk so much that he would blush when he heard it. Even his schoolmates hesitated to make him so uncomfortable but apparently one adult citizen thought it would be a great joke to needle Bernardine. In a public marketplace he stopped Bernardine and started to talk to him in a shameful way. But if he had thought to get away with his cruel trick, he was surprised when Bernardine slapped him in the face. The man slunk away, shamed in front of the very crowd he’d been trying to impress.

Bernardine, who had come to Siena to study, threw himself into prayer and fasting to discover what God wanted him to do. One might have expected him to continue his work with the sick but in 1403 he joined the Franciscans and in 1404 he was ordained a priest.

The Franciscans were known as missionary preachers, but Bernardine did very little preaching with because of a voice that was weak and hoarse. For twelve years he remained in the background, his energies going to prayer or to his own spiritual conversion and preparation.

At the end of that time, he went to Milan on a mission. When he got up to preach his voice was strong and commanding and his words so convincing that the crowd would not let him leave unless he promised to come back.

Thus began the missionary life of the one whom Pope Pius II called a second Paul. As usual, Bernardine through his whole self, body and soul, into his new career. He crisscrossed Italy on foot, preaching for hours at a time, several times a day. We are told he preached on punishment for sin as well as reward for virtue but focusing in the end on the mercy of Jesus and the love of Mary. His special devotion was to the Holy Name of Jesus.

Some who were jealous denounced him to the pope by saying he preached superstition. Silenced for a short while, Bernardine was soon cleared and back to preaching.

Bernardine refused several cities that wanted him as bishop but he was unable to avoid being named vicar general of his order. All his energy during that period went to renewing the original spirit of the order.

Soon, however, Bernardine heard the call to go back to preaching which consumed his last days. As a matter of fact, even when it was clear he was dying, he preached fifty consecutive days. He died in 1444 when he was almost 64 years old. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anastasius XIII
St. Aquila
St. Austregisilus
St. Basilissa
St. Basilla
St. Baudelius
St. Bernardine of Siena
St. Ethelbert
St. Hilary
St. Ivo of Chartres
St. Plautilla
St. Sanctan
St. Thalelaeus
St. Theodore of Pavia

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 302

First Reading: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
Psalms 11:4, 5, 7:  The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
Gospel: 
John 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051918.cfm

Reflection:
Why do we often compare ourselves with others? Do we envy those who seem more fortunate than ourselves? Why did Peter question Jesus about John’s future? Jesus had predicted that Peter was to suffer and die as a martyr for his faith. What would John’s fate be? Jesus seems to indicate that John would live a long life – in fact he outlived all the other apostles.

Jesus says, “Follow me and you will have life in abundance”
While Peter and John were both called as disciples of Jesus, each was given a particular task and mission to fulfill. When Peter questions John’s role, Jesus responds, “What is that to you? Follow me!” Peter’s given task was to “shepherd the sheep of Christ,” and in the end to die as a martyr for the Lord Jesus. John’s role was preeminently to witness to the risen Lord Jesus and to give his testimony to the Gospel account of Jesus’ identity as the divine Son of God who became a man to save us from sin, Satan, and death (John 20:31). John lived to long age and wrote the Gospel as his testimony to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus does not cease to do great works of power and love through his people today
John ends his Gospel with an astonishing remark: “Human books cannot exhaust the person and work of Jesus Christ.” His power is inexhaustible, his grace is limitless, his wisdom unfathomable, his triumphs are innumerable, and his love is unquenchable. We can never say enough of the power, majesty and glory which belongs to Jesus Christ alone. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel message that Jesus died for us to bring us new life, freedom, love and power to live as his disciples?

“May the power of your love, Lord Christ, fiery and sweet as honey, so absorb our hearts as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven. Grant that we may be ready to die for love of your love, as you died for love of our love.”  (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may19.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Celestine
When the father of this Italian saint died, his good mother brought up her twelve children well, even though they were very poor. “Oh, if I could only have the joy of seeing one of you become a saint!” she use to say. Once when she asked as usual, “which one of you is going to become a saint?” little Peter (who was to become Pope Celestine) answered with all his heart, “Me, mama! I’ll become a saint!” And he did.

When he was twenty, Peter became a hermit and spent his days praying and reading the Holy Bible. If he was not praying or reading, he would copy books or do some hard work so that the devil would not find him doing nothing, and tempt him. Because other hermits kept coming to him and begging him to guide them, he started a new Order.

Peter was an old monk, eighty-four years of age when he was made Pope. It came about in a very unusual way. For two years, there had been no Pope, because the Cardinals could not decide whom to choose. St. Peter sent them a message to decide quickly, for God was not pleased at the long delay. Then and there, they chose the holy old hermit himself! Poor Peter wept when he heard the news, but he sorrowfully accepted and took the name Celestine V.

He was Pope only about five months. Because he was so humble and simple, everyone took advantage of him. He could not say “no” to anyone, and soon matters were in great confusion. At last, the Saint decided that he had better give up his position as Pope. He did so and then threw himself at the feet of the Cardinals for not having been capable of governing the Church. What an impression his humility made on all of them!

St. Celestine hoped to live in one of his monasteries in peace. But the new Pope thought it would be safer to keep him where wicked people could not take advantage of him. The saint was put in a cell and died there. Yet he was cheerful and close to God. “You wanted a cell, Peter,” he would repeat to himself, “and a cell you have.” His feast day is May 19th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=172

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Alcuin
St. Calocerus & Parthenius
St. Celestine
St. Cyriaca & Companions
St. Dunstan
St. Hadulph
St. Ivo of Kermartin
Bl. Peter de Duenas
Bl. Peter Wright
St. Philoterus
St. Pudentiana
St. Theophilus of Corte

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Posted by: RAM | May 17, 2018

Friday (May 18): “Follow me.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 301

First Reading: Acts 25:13B-21
Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB:  The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
Gospel: 
John 21:15-19
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051818.cfm

Reflection:
The Lord Jesus asked Simon Peter and he asks each one of us a very personal and profound question – do you love me more than anything else that might be very dear to you? How can the love of Jesus Christ be so attractive and so costly at the same time? Jesus on many occasions spoke to his disciples about the nature of God’s unquenchable love. God is love (1 John 4:16) because he is the creator and source of all that is true love. His love is unconditional, unmerited, and unlimited. We can’t buy it, earn it, demand it. It is a pure gift, freely given, and freely received. God’s love doesn’t change or waver. It endures because it is eternal and timeless. It’s the beginning and the end – the purpose for which God created us and why he wants us to be united with him in a bond of unbreakable love. And it’s the essence of what is means to be a son or daughter of God the eternal Father.

Love gives all for the good of others
The Lord Jesus shows us that love is a personal choice and a gift freely given – it is the giving of oneself to another person for their sake. Unselfish love is oriented wholly to the good of the other person for their own welfare and benefit. John the Evangelist tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave us his only-begotten Son” (John 3:16) who took on human flesh for our sake and who died upon the cross for our salvation – to set us free from the power of sin so that we might receive abundant everlasting life and peace with God.

God’s love heals and transforms our lives and frees us from fear, selfishness, and greed. It draws us to the very heart of God and it compels us to give him the best we have and all we possess – our gifts, our time, our resources, our full allegiance, and our very lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (Romans 5:5). What can quench such love? Certainly fear, sin, pride, indifference, disbelief, and the loss of hope and trust in God’s promises and his mercy towards us.

Do you love me more than these?
Why did Jesus question Peter’s loyalty and love three times in front of the other apostles? It must have caused Peter great pain and sorrow since he had publicly denied Jesus three times during the night of Jesus’ betrayal and condemnation by the religious authorities who had sought to kill him. Now Peter, full of grief and deep remorse, unequivocally stated that he loved his master and was willing to serve and obey him whatever it might cost. When Jesus asks him “do you love me more than these?” Jesus may have pointed to the boats, fishing nets, and catch of fish from the night’s work. He may have challenged Peter to abandon his work as a fisherman for the task of shepherding the community of God’s people. Jesus may have also pointed to the other disciples and to Peter’s previous boast: “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33). Peter now makes no boast or comparison but humbly responds: “You know that I love you.”

We love because he loved us first
The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, even in our own weakness, sins, and failings, to love him above all else. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) in his Confession wrote:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you! …You shone your Self upon me to drive away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me… and in astonishment I drew my breath…now I pant for you! I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me! – and I burn to live within your peace” (Confession 10:27).

Nothing but our own sinful pride and stubborn wilfullness can keep us from the love of God. He loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding graciousness and mercy towards us. Do you allow God’s love to fill your heart and transform your life?

“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and burn away everything within it that may be unloving, unkind, ungrateful, unholy, and not in accord with your will. May I always love what you love and reject what is contrary to your love and will for my life.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may18.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Pope John I
St. John I, Pope and Martyr (Feast day – May 18) A native of Tuscany in Italy, John was elected Pope while he was still an archdeacon upon the death of Pope Hormisdas in 523. At that time, the ruler of Italy was Theodoric the Goth who subscribed to the Arian brand of Christianity, but had tolerated and even favored his Catholic subjects during the early part of his reign. However, about the time of St. John’s accession to the Papacy, Theodoric’s policy underwent a drastic change as a result of two events: the treasonable (in the sovereign’s view) correspondence between ranking members of the Roman Senate and Constantinople and the severe edict against heretics enacted by the emperor Justin I, who was the first Catholic on the Byzantine throne in fifty years. Spurred on by the appeals of Eastern Arians, Theodoric threatened to wage war against Justin but ultimately decided to negotiate with him through a delegation of five Bishops and four senators. At its head he named Pope John – much against the latter’s wishes. Little is known for certain about the nature of the message which the Pope bore and the manner in which he carried out his mission. What is known is that he succeeded in persuading the Emperor to mitigate his treatment of the Arians and thus avoid reprisals against the Catholics in Italy. The Pope’s visit also brought about the reconciliation of the Western and Eastern Churches which had been plagued by a schism since 482 when Zeno’s Henoticon had been published. However, Theodoric had been becoming more suspicious with each passing day. While waiting for the delegation to return, he ordered the execution of the philosopher Boethius and his father-in-law Symmachus on a charge of treason; and as he got word of the friendly relations between the Pope and the emperor, he concluded that they were plotting against him. Hence, on the delegation’s return to the capitol city of Ravenna, Pope John was imprisoned by order of Theodoric and died a short time later as a result of the treatment he experienced there. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=432

More Saints of the Day:
St. Dioscorus
St. Elgiva of Shaftesbury
St. Eric IX of Sweden
St. Eric IX of Sweden
St. Felix of Cantalice
St. Felix of Spoleto
St. Feredarius
St. Merililaun
St. Pope John I
St. Theodotus of Ancyra
St. Venantius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300

First Reading: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-11:  Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Gospel: 
John 17:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051718.cfm

Reflection:
When you pray what do you ask for – God’s help, blessing, guidance, and wisdom? One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities we have been given by God is to pray not only for ourselves, but for others as well. The Lord Jesus lived a life full of prayer, blessing, and gratitude to his Father in heaven. He prayed for his disciples, especially when they were in great need or danger. Mark tells us in his Gospel account (see chapter 6:46-51) that when Jesus was praying alone on the mountain he saw that his disciples were in great distress due to a life-threatening storm that was beating against their boat. Jesus immediately came to their rescue – walking on the waves of the rough waters before he calmed their fears and calmed the raging waters as well! Luke records in his Gospel account the words of Jesus to Simon Peter shortly before Jesus’ arrest and Peter’s denial of the Lord three times. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). Jesus’ prayers were personal, direct, and focused on the welfare and well-being of others – especially that they might find peace and unity with God and with one another.

Jesus prays for all Christians to be united as one
The longest recorded prayer of Jesus is found in the Gospel of John, the “high priestly” prayer which Jesus prayed aloud at his last supper meal with his disciples (John 17). This prayer most clearly reveals the heart and mind of Jesus – who and what he loved most – love for his Father in heaven and love for all who believe in him. His prayer focuses on the love and unity he desires for all who would believe in him and follow him, not only in the present, but in the future as well.

Jesus’ prayer concludes with a petition for the unity among all Christians who profess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus prays for all men and women who will come after him and follow him as his disciples (John 17:20). In a special way Jesus prays here for each one of us that as members of his body the church we would be one as he and his Father are one. The unity of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, with the eternal Father is a unity of mutual love, service, and honor, and a oneness of mind, heart, and spirit. The Lord Jesus calls each and every one of his followers into this unity of mutual love, respect, service, honor, and friendship with all who belong to Christ.

To make him known and loved by all
Jesus’ prayer on the eve of his sacrifice shows the great love and trust he had for his beloved disciples. He knew they would abandon him in his hour of trial, yet he entrusted to them the great task of spreading his name throughout the world and to the end of the ages. The Lord Jesus entrusts us today with the same mission – to make him known and loved by all. Jesus died and rose again that all might be one as he and the Father are one. Do you love all who belong to Christ and do you recognize and accept all baptized Christians as your brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, draws each one of us into the unity which he and the Father have together and into the unity he desires for all who belong to him – we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and sons and daughters of our beloved Father in heaven.

The Lord intercedes for us right now
The Lord Jesus Christ included each one of us in his high priestly prayer at the last supper meal with his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice on the cross (John 17:20). And today the Lord Jesus continues his high priestly office as our intercessor before the throne of God in heaven. Paul the Apostle tells us that it is “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us” (Romans 8:34; see also Hebrews 7: 25). Do you join in Jesus’ high priestly prayer that all who profess Jesus as Lord may grow in love and unity together as brothers and sisters who have been redeemed through the precious blood that was shed for us on the cross?

“Heavenly Father, have mercy on all your people who have been redeemed by the precious blood of your Son who offered up his life for us on the cross. Pardon our sins and heal our divisions that we may grow in love, unity, and holiness together as your sons and daughters. May all Christian people throughout the world attain the unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his sacrifice. Renew in us the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be a sign of that unity and a means of its growth. Increase in us a fervent love, respect, and care for all of our brothers and sisters who believe in Jesus Christ.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may17.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Paschal Baylon, Patron of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations (1540-1592)
Franciscan lay brother and mystic. Born to a peasant family at Torre Hermosa, in Aragon, on Whitsunday, he was christened Pascua in honor of the feast. According to accounts of his early life, Paschal labored as a shepherd for his father, performed miracles, and was distinguished for his austerity. He also taught himself to read. Receiving a vision which told him to enter a nearby Franciscan community, he became a Franciscan lay brother of the Alcantrine reform in 1564, and spent most of his life as a humble doorkeeper. He practiced rigorous asceticism and displayed a deep love for the Blessed Sacrament, so much so that while on a mission to France, he defended the doctrine of the Real Presence against a Calvinist preacher and in the face of threats from other irate Calvinists. Paschal died at a friary in Villareal, and was canonized in 1690. In 1897 Pope Leo XIII declared him patron of all eucharistic confratemities and congresses. Since 1969, his veneration has been limited to local calendars. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5230

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adrio
Bl. Antonia Mesina
St. Cathan
St. Giulia Salzano
St. Heradius
St. Madern
St. Maiduif
St. Paschal Baylon
St. Restituta
St. Restituta
St. Thethmar

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 299

First Reading: Acts 20:28-38
Psalms 68:29-30, 33-36:  Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
Gospel: 
John 17:11-19
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051618.cfm

Reflection:
Do you know why God created you – what purpose and mission he has entrusted to you? Jesus’ aim and mission was to glorify his heavenly Father. All he said and did gave glory to his Father. On the eve of his sacrifice on the cross and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one”. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples and for all who would believe in him. Jesus’ prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of  Christ’s body.

A mission of love to make us one
What motivated Jesus to lay down his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world? It was love – love for his Father in heaven and love for each and everyone of us who are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, Satan, fear, death, and hopelessness. Jesus saw glory in the cross rather than shame. Obedience to his Father’s will was his glory. Jesus kept his Father’s word even when tempted to forgo the cross. Jesus did not rely on his own human resources and strength to accomplish his Father’s will. He trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation.

God created us for a purpose and a mission
We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) wrote: “God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.” Do you trust in God and in his call and purpose for your life?

Consecrated in truth and holiness
Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified and consecrated in God’s truth and holiness. The scriptural word for consecration comes from the same Hebrew word which means holy or set apart for God. This word also means to be equipped with the qualities of mind and heart and character for such a task or service.

Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God’s truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God’s goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ. Is your life consecrated to God?

“Lord Jesus, take my life and make it wholly pleasing to you. Sanctify me in your truth and guide me by your Holy Spirit that I may follow you faithfully wherever you lead.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may16.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Simon Stock
Although little is known about Simon Stock’s early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning “tree trunk,” derives from the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree. It is also believed that, as a young man, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he joined a group of Carmelites with whom he later returned to Europe. Simon Stock founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna, and he helped to change the Carmelites from a hermit Order to one of mendicant friars. In 1254 he was elected Superior-General of his Order at London. Simon Stock’s lasting fame came from an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, at a time when the Carmelite Order was being oppressed. In it the Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. Her words were: “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.” The scapular (from the Latin, scapula, meaning “shoulder blade”) consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest, and the other on the back, which were connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders. In certain Orders, monks and nuns wear scapulars that reach from the shoulders almost to the ground as outer garments. Lay persons usually wear scapulars underneath their clothing; these consist of two pieces of material only a few inches square. There are elaborate rules governing the wearing of the scapular: although it may be worn by any Catholic, even an infant, the investiture must be done by a priest. And the scapular must be worn in the proper manner; if an individual neglects to wear it for a time, the benefits are forfeited. The Catholic Church has approved eighteen different kinds of scapulars of which the best known is the woolen brown scapular, or the Scapular of Mount Carmel, that the Virgin Mary bestowed on Simon Stock. His feast day is May 16th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=746

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abdas of Susa
St. Abdas
St. Adam
St. Andrew Bobola
St. Annobert
St. Brendan
St. Carantac
St. Domnolus
St. Felix & Gennadius
St. Fidouls
St. Forannan
St. Germerius
St. Hilary
St. Honoratus of Amiens
St. Honoratus of Amiens
St. John Nepomucene
St. Peregrinus of Terni
St. Peregrinus of Auxerre
St. Simon Stock
St. Ubald Baldassini

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 298

First Reading: Acts 20:17-27
Psalms 68:10-11, 20-21:  Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
Gospel: 
John 17:1-11
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051518.cfm

Reflection:
In his Last Supper discourse with his beloved disciples Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father. What is this glory? It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here and the willing offering of his life for us. How does the cross reveal this glory? In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation (Romans 8:1). Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross for our sake. In times of defense the greatest honor belongs not to those who fought and survived but to those who gave the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow citizens.The Lord Jesus freely and willingly offered up his life out of obedience to his Father and love for us.

Jesus reveals the glory of God to us
Jesus speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation – the eternal Word who became flesh for our sake (John 1:14) – and the Cross of Christ which won for us pardon, freedom, and new life in the Holy Spirit. God the Father gave us his only begotten Son to set us free from slavery to sin, guilt, and condemnation. His sacrificial death brings us new life – the abundant life of peace and joy which God wishes to share with each one of us. There is no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross we see a new way of love – a love that is merciful, sacrificial, and generous beyond measure.

Jesus offers abundant life without end
Jesus offers us eternal life. What is eternal life? It is more than simply a life without end or an eternal state of being. Science and medicine look for ways to extend the duration of human life – but God offers us something vastly greater and more surpassing than a simple extension of physical life. Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative. To have eternal life is to have the very life of God within us. When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God’s majesty, glory, and holiness which he shares with us. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, God fills us with the abundant fruit of his peace, joy and love.

We can know God personally
Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally and be united with God in a personal relationship of love and friendship. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal and experiential knowledge of God as our eternal Father – the one who knew us before creation (Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8:29) and who knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5). Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.

A unity of love that endures forever
In Jesus Christ we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Do you hunger to know God personally and to be united with the Father in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through the unity of the Holy Spirit who dwells with us? The Lord Jesus invites each of us to enter more deeply into a personal relationship of love and oneness of mind, heart, and spirit with the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who created us in love for love.

“If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with you. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to your perfect goodness.You are all mine; when shall I be yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to your sacred heart. You have made me for yourself; make me one with you. Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came.” (Prayer of Francis de Sales, 1567-1622)  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may15.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Dymphna, Patron of those suffering for nervous and mental afflictions
Birth: 7th century
Death: 7th century
Canonized on: 620
Dymphna was born in Ireland sometime in the seventh century to a pagan father and devout Christian mother. When she was fourteen, she consecrated herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity. Soon afterward, her mother died and her father – who had loved his wife deeply – began to suffer a rapid deterioration of his mental stability.

So unhinged was Dymphna’s father, Damon, that the King’s counselors suggested he remarry. Though he was still grieving for his wife, he agreed to remarry if a woman as beautiful as she could be found.

Damon sent messengers throughout his town and other lands to find woman of noble birth who resembled his wife and would be willing to marry him, but when none could be found, his evil advisors whispered sinful suggestions to marry his own daughter. So twisted were Damon’s thoughts that he recognized only his wife when he looked upon Dymphna, and so he consented to the arrangement.

When she heard of her father’s misguided plot, Dymphna fled her castle with her confessor, a priest named Gerebran, two trusted servants, and the king’s fool. The group sailed toward what is now called Belgium, and hid in the town of Geel.

Though it becomes uncertain what exactly happened next, the best-known version claims the group settled in Geel, where Dymphna built a hospital for the poor and sick, but in using her wealth, her father was able to discover her location.

When Damon found his daughter was in Belgium, he traveled to Geel and captured them. He ordered the priest’s head to be separated from his body and attempted to convince Dymphna to return to Ireland and marry him.

When Dymphna refused, Damon became enraged and drew his sword. He struck Dymphna’s head from her shoulders and left her there. When she died, Dymphna was only fifteen-years-old. After her father left Geel, the residents collected both Dymphna and Gerebran’s remains and laid them to rest in a cave.

In defense of her purity, Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom around the year 620 and became known as the “Lily of Éire. In 1349, a church honoring St. Dymphna was built in Geel, and by 1480, so many pilgrims were arriving in need of treatment for mental ills, that the church was expanded. The expanded sanctuary was eventually overflowing again, leaving the townspeople to accept them into their homes, which began a tradition of care for the mentally ill that continues to this day.

Unfortunately, in the 15th century, the original St. Dymphna Church in Geel burned to the ground, and the magnificent Church of St. Dymphna was erected and consecrated in 1532, where it still stands above the location her body was originally buried.

Many miracles have been proven to take place at her shrine in the church erected in her honor, and her remains were placed in a silver reliquary in the church. Some of her remains can also be found at the Shrine to Saint Dymphna in the United States.

The priest who had helped Dymphna was also sainted, and his remains were moved to Xanten, Germany.

The United States National Shrine of Saint Dymphna is at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Massillon, Ohio and St. Dymphna’s Special School can be found in ballina, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland.

Saint Dymphna is the patroness of those suffering nervous and mental afflictions as well as victims of incest.

Traditionally, Saint Dymphna is often portrayed with a crown on her head, dressed in royal robes, and holding a sword. In modern art, Saint Dymphna is shown holding the sword, which symbolizes her martyrdom, quite awkwardly. She is also often shown holding a lamp, while some holy cards feature her wearing green and white, holding a book and white lilies. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=222

More Saints of the Day:
St. Achillas
St. Andrew
St. Bertha
St. Britwin
St. Caesarea
St. Caesarn
St. Cassius of Clermont
St. Dionysia
St. Dymphna
St. Gerebrand
St. Hallvard
St. Hilary of Galeata
St. Isidore, the Farmer
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac
St. Nicholas the Mystic
St. Peter
St. Torquatus
St. Waldalenus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
Lectionary: 564

First Reading: Acts 1:15-17, 20-2
Psalms 113:1-8:  The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
Gospel: 
John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051418.cfm

Reflection:
How can love lead to immeasurable joy? Jesus tells his disciples that he is united with his Father in heaven in a perfect bond of mutual love, honor, and joy in one another. Their love is inseparable and unbreakable. That is why the Son delights in obeying the eternal Father who loves him with infinite love. The Father and Son invite all to join in their eternal bond of love and friendship. How can we enter into that unbreakable bond of  love and friendship? Jesus, the Word of God who became flesh for us, shows us the way – keep my word, keep my commandments. If you abide in my word you will know my love and that love will fill you with immense joy – a joy which is unsurpassing, exalted, and unfading (2 Peter 1:3,8).

A new command of love
Jesus’ commands are not hard or burdensome for those who know his love and mercy. The Lord fills us with his Spirit and transforms our hearts to be like his heart. Paul  the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment – a new way of love and fruitful service which is empowered by his Holy Spirit. We are called to love and serve others just as Jesus has loved us with heartfelt compassion, kindness, and mercy. Jesus proved his love for us by laying down his life for us, even to death on the cross. Our love for God is a response to his exceeding love for us through the gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How do we prove our love for God and grow in the knowledge and depth of his unfathomable love? The same way Jesus did – by embracing the way of the cross each and every day. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God’s will, then his will must be done. If we accept God’s way of love, truth, and wisdom, then we will discover the joy and freedom of loving, serving, and laying down our lives for others, just as Jesus freely laid down his life for each and every one of us. Do you know the joy of being united with the Lord Jesus in a bond of unbreakable love and peace?

A Friend of God
One of the special marks of favor shown in the Scriptures is to be called the friend of God. God called Abraham his friend (Isaiah 41:8), and God spoke with Moses as a “man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Jesus, the Lord and Master, calls the disciples his friends rather than his servants (John 15:15). What does it mean to be a friend of God? Friendship certainly entails a relationship of love which goes beyond mere duty or loyalty. Scripture tells us that “a friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

The distinctive feature of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was his personal and unconditional love and care for them. He loved his own to the very end (John 13:1). He loved his disciples selflessly and generously because his love was wholly directed to their good. His love was costly and sacrificial – he gave not only the best he had, but all that he had. He gave his very own life in order to bring the abundant everlasting life of the eternal Father to those who believed in him.

The fire of Christ’s love purifies and transforms
The love of Jesus Christ compels us to give our best not only to God but to our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God. God’s love purifies and transforms us into the likeness of Christ. The Lord Jesus promises that those who abide in his love will bear much fruit for the kingdom of God – fruit that will last for eternity as well (John 15:16). If you seek to unite your heart with the heart of Jesus, your life will bear abundant fruit – the fruit which comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells within us – the fruit of love, joy, peace, goodness, and friendship which lasts forever (Galatians 5:22-23).

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me fruitful in your love, mercy, kindness, and compassion. May there be nothing in my life which keeps me from your love and joy.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may14.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Matthias
How does one qualify to be an apostle?

The first act of the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus was to find a replacement for Judas. With all the questions, doubts, and dangers facing them, they chose to focus their attention on finding a twelfth apostle. Why was this important? Twelve was a very important number to the Chosen People: twelve was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the new Israel was to come from the disciples of Jesus, a twelfth apostle was needed.

But Jesus had chosen the original twelve. How could they know whom he would choose?

One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice.

Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension. The reason for this was simple, the new apostle would must become a witness to Jesus’ resurrection. He must have followed Jesus before anyone knew him, stayed with him when he made enemies, and believed in him when he spoke of the cross and of eating his body — teachings that had made others melt away.

Two men fit this description — Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection. The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God’s will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

That’s the first we hear of Matthias in Scripture, and the last. Legends like the Acts of Andrew and Matthias testify to Matthias’ enthusiastic embrace of all that being an apostle meant including evangelization, persecution, and death in the service of the Lord.

How does one qualify to be an apostle?

Clement of Alexandria says that Matthias, like all the other apostles, was not chosen by Jesus for what he already was, but for what Jesus foresaw he would become. He was elected not because he was worthy but because he would become worthy. Jesus chooses all of us in the same way. What does Jesus want you to become? https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5

More Saints of the Day:
St. Boniface
St. Carthach the Younger
St. Engelmer
St. Engelmund
St. Erembert
St. Just
St. Maria Dominic Mazzarello
St. Matthias
St. Michael Garicoits
St. Victor and Corona

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Ascension of the Lord
Lectionary: 58

First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Psalms 47:2-3, 6-9:  God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: 
Mark 16:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051318.cfm

Reflection:
Why did Jesus leave his disciples forty days after his resurrection? 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. For forty days after his resurrection Jesus appeared numerous times to his disciples to assure them that he had risen indeed and to prepare them for the task of carrying on the work which he began during his earthy ministry.

The Risen Lord Jesus is with us always to the end of time
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 (Matthew 28:20). 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.

The Risen Lord empowers us to carry on his work
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 Gospel – the good news of salvation – not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations as well. God’s love and gift of salvation is not reserved for a few or for one nation alone, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it. The Gospel is the power of God, the power to release people from their burden of guilt, sin, and oppression, and the power to heal, restore, and make us whole. Do you believe in the power of the Gospel?

We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ
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 world-wide. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“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 great victory over sin and death.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may13.htm

Saint of the Day: St. John the Silent (452-558)
Bishop of Colonia in Palestine and a hermit. Born in Nicopolis, Armenia, he established a monastery at the age of eighteen. Appointed a bishop at the age of twenty-eight, he spent nine years in his office before retiring to Jerusalem to embrace the eremitical life. Through a vision, he found his way to the monastery, or laura, of St. Sabas, asking to be walled up and living for seventy-five years as a silent recluse. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4055

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abban
St. Agnes of Poitiers
St. Euthymius
St. Glyceria
Bl. Imelda
St. John the Silent
St. Juliana of Norwich
St. Mael
St. Merewenna
St. Mucius
St. Natalis
St. Onesimus
St. Servatus
St. Valerian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 296

First Reading: Acts 18:23-28
Psalms 47:2-3, 8-10
:  God is king of all the earth.
Gospel: John 16:23-28
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051218.cfm

Reflection:
Do you pray with confidence to your heavenly Father? Jesus often taught his disciples by way of illustration or parable. Here he speaks not in “figures” (the same word used for parables), but in plain speech. Jesus revealed to them the hidden treasure of the heavenly kingdom and he taught them how to pray to the Father in his name. Now Jesus opens his heart and speaks in the plainest of language: “The Father himself loves you!” How can the disciples be certain of this?

The Lord Jesus unites us with the Father through the love and power of the Holy Spirit
Paul the Apostle states that “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus makes it possible for his disciples to have a new relationship as sons and daughters of God the Father (Romans 8:14-17). No one would have dared to call God his or her Father before this! Because of what Jesus has done for us in offering his life for our redemption we now can boldly and confidently pray to God as our Father in heaven.

The presence and action of the Holy Spirit within us is living proof of this new relationship with the Father. Paul the Apostles says that “when we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).

We can boldly approach God as our Father and ask him for the things we need. In love he bids us to draw near to his throne of grace and mercy. Do you approach the Father with confidence in his love and with expectant faith in his promise to hear your prayers?

“Heavenly Father, your love knows no bounds and your mercies are new every day. Fill me with gratitude for your countless blessings and draw me near to your throne of grace and mercy. Give me confidence and boldness to pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may12.htm

Saint of the Day: Sts. Nereus & Achilleus
So often we hear people or even ourselves excuse an action by saying “I was only following orders.” But for Nereus and Achilleus this excuse could not stand in the face of the cross.

Everything we know from authority about the two first- century martyrs comes from a testimony written by Pope St. Damasus in the fourth century and inscribed on a memorial tablet that commemorates their lives. But even this commentary comes 300 years after they died.

Damasus tells us that Nereus and Achilleus were soldiers in the Roman army where they helped carry out the persecution of Christians. They probably had nothing against Christians and didn’t carry for the bloody slaughter they were commanded to perform, but they obeyed these cruel orders out of fear of dying themselves. After all, that was what soldiers have always been expected to do.

We are not told how they were converted, only that it was a “miracle of faith.” After this miracle, they threw down their weapons and escaped from their camp, discarding armor and arms as they went toward their new life in Christ. As participants in the persecution they knew perhaps better than any other Christian what pain awaited them. Faith, however, had triumphed over fear of death and the victory of faith was the sweetest they had known.

We are told they were martyred but Damasus doesn’t mention how.

Later legend had it that they served Flavia Domitilla, the great-niece of Emperor Domitian, and were exiled and executed with her when she converted. This legend probably originated in the fact that the martyrs were buried in what was later known as the cemetery of Domitilla. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2

More Saints of the Day:
St. Diomma
St. Dionysius
St. Dominic de la Calzada
St. Epiphanius of Salamis
St. Etheihard
St. Flavia Domitilla
Bl. Francis Patrizzi
St. Leopold Mandic
St. Modoaldus
Sts. Nereus & Achilleus
St. Nereus and Achilleus
St. Pancras
St. Philip of Agirone
St. Richrudis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 295

First Reading: Acts 18:9-18
Psalms 47:2-7:  God is king of all the earth.
Gospel: 
John 16:20-23
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051118.cfm

Reflection:
Why did the Lord Jesus tell his disciples that they would weep and be sorrowful? Jesus was neither a pessimist nor a masochist, and he was certainly more than a realist! The way to happiness and joy in the kingdom of God is through the cross. Sin must be brought to the cross of Jesus Christ and evil can only be completely mastered by the power of God’s redeeming love. Jesus told his disciples that it was more blessed to mourn for sin because it would yield the fruit of peace, joy, and righteousness. Jesus knew that the cross would be a stumbling block for those who refused to believe in him.

We, too, have a share in the victory and joy of Christ’s resurrection 
The cross for Jesus was not defeat but victory – victory over sin, over the forces of evil in the world, and over the devil – the arch-enemy of God and the human race. Through his atoning sacrifice on the cross Jesus won for us new abundant life and freedom over the power of sin, despair, and death. He was raised in power from the tomb on the third day and his glorified body will never taste death again. The Easter victory of the Lord Jesus gives us courage, strength, and confident hope in the face of suffering and death. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ our fears are laid to rest. His resurrection is total and final triumph over death, and for us peace and joy in the confident hope that we, too, will be raised to everlasting life with Christ.

We will have trials in this present age – .but, through the eyes of faith, we know the final outcome – complete victory over sin, suffering, and death in Jesus Christ. That is why we can pray confidently now, knowing that the Father in heaven will give us everything we need to live as his children and as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know the Easter joy of Christ’s victory over sin and death?

“Lord Jesus, we are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may we radiate the joy of your Resurrection and live in the reality of your great victory over sin and death.”   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may11.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Laconi (1701-1781)
Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701. When he was about seventeen, he became very ill. He promised to be a Franciscan if he would get better. But when the illness left him, his father convinced him to wait. A couple of years later, Ignatius was almost killed when he lost control of his horse. Suddenly, however, the horse stopped and trotted on quietly. Ignatius was convinced, then, that God had saved his life. He made up his mind to follow his religious vocation at once.

Brother Ignatius never had any important position in the Franciscan order. For fifteen years he worked in the weaving shed. Then, for forty years, he was part of the team who went out from house to house. They requested food and donations to support the friars. Ignatius visited families and received their gift. But the people soon realized that they received a gift in return. Brother Ignatius consoled the sick and cheered up the lonely. He made peace between enemies, converted people hardened by sin and advised those in trouble. They began to wait for his visits.

There were some difficult days, too. Once in a while, a door was slammed in his face, and often the weather was bad. Always, there were miles and miles to walk. But Ignatius was dedicated. Yet people noticed he used to skip one house. The owner was a rich moneylender. He made the poor pay back much more than they could afford. This man felt humiliated because Ignatius never visited his home to ask for donations. He complained to Brother Ignatius’ superior. The superior knew nothing about the moneylender so he sent Ignatius to his home. Brother Ignatius never said a word, but did as he was told. He returned with a large sack of food. It was then that God worked a miracle. When the sack was emptied, blood dripped out. “This is the blood of the poor,” Ignatius explained softly. “That is why I never ask for anything at that house.” The friars began to pray that the moneylender would repent.

Brother Ignatius died at the age of eighty, on May 11, 1781. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1951. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=6982

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Albert of Bergamo
St. Anastasius VI
St. Anastasius VII
St. Ansfrid
St. Anthimus
Bl. Antonio de Sant’Anna Galvao
St. Evellius
St. Francis Jerome
St. Gangulphus
St. Ignatius of Laconi
Bl. John of Rochester
St. Majolus of Cluny
St. Mamertius
Bl. Matthew Gam
St. Maximus
St. Odilo of Cluny
Bl. Peter the Venerable
St. Tudy of Landevennec
St. Walbert
St. Walter

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas 2018

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

St. Damien de Veuster (of Molokai), Priest, Patron of people with leprosy
(1840-1889)

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

First Reading: Acts 18:1-8
Psalms 98:1-4:  The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Gospel: 
John 16:16-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051018.cfm

Reflection:
How does “weeping” and “rejoicing” go together? Jesus contrasts present sorrows with the future glory to be revealed to those who put their hope in God. For the people of Israel time was divided into two ages – the present age and the age to come. The prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah as the dawn of a new age. Jesus tells his disciples two important truths. First, he must leave them to return to his Father and second, he will surely come again at the end of time to usher in the new age of God’s kingdom.

Jesus’ victory over sin and death brings us supernatural joy without end
Jesus’ orientation for the time between his first coming and his return in glory at the end of the world is a reversal of the world’s fortunes. The world says take your joy now in whatever pleasures you can get from this present life. Jesus points to an “other-worldly” joy which transcends anything this world can offer. Jesus contrasts present sorrows with future joy. A woman in labor suffers the birth-pangs first, but then forgets her sorrow as soon as her new-born child comes to birth. We cannot avoid pain and sorrow if we wish to follow Jesus to the cross. But in the cross of Christ we find freedom, victory, and joy.  Thomas Aquinas said: “No one can live without joy. That is why a man or woman deprived of spiritual joy will turn to carnal pleasures”. Do you know the joy of the Lord?

“To you, O Jesus, do I turn my true and last end. You are the river of life which alone can satisfy my thirst. Without you all else is barren and void. Without all else you alone are enough for me. You are the Redeemer of those who are lost; the sweet Consoler of the sorrowful; the crown of glory for the victors; the recompense of the blessed. One day I hope to receive of your fullness, and to sing the song of praise in my true home. Give me only on earth some few drops of consolation, and I will patiently wait your coming that I may enter into the joy of my Lord.” (Bonaventure, 1221-74 AD) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may10.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Damien of Molokai, Patron of people with leprosy
(1840-1889)
Beatified By: June 4th, 1995, Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Koekelberg), Brussels, by Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: October 11th, 2009, Vatican City, by Pope Benedict XVI

The man who would become St. Damien of Molokai, was born in rural Belgium, on January 3, 1840. His name was Jozef De Veuster, and he was the youngest of seven children. Growing up on the farm, Jozef was prepared to take over for his family, but he did not want the responsibility. Instead, he wanted to follow his older brother and two sisters who took religious vows.

Jozef attended school until the age of 13 when his help was needed on the family farm full-time. He aided his family until he was old enough to enter the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He took the name Damien, after a sixth century martyr.

In 1864, Damien’s brother who was also in the same order of religious, was ordered to Hawaii. But his brother became ill, so Br. Damien offered to go in his place.

The brothers worried that Br. Damien was too uneducated to become a priest, although he was not considered unintelligent. Br. Damien demonstrated his ability by quickly learning Latin from his brother. He was also devoted in prayer, Br. Damien prayed each day before an icon of Saint Francis Xavier to be sent on a mission.

Eventually, his religious brothers agreed to send him and have him ordained.

Br. Damien arrived in Hawaii in March 1864, and was ordained as a priest on the island of Hawaii two months later. For nine years, he worked on the island as a priest, leading an important, yet undistinguished life.

In 1866, Hawaii established a leper colony on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. It was still mistakenly believed that leprosy was highly contagious. This belief resulted in the forced quarantine of leprosy patients.

These people still needed spiritual and medical care, so to Fr. Damien discerned his call to serve them. In 1873, Fr. Damien made the trip to be with these people in their colony.

Upon arrival, he found the colony was poorly maintained. Anarchy reigned among the people living there. Many patients required treatment but had nobody to care for them. Other patients took to drinking and became severe alcoholics. Every kind of immorality and misbehavior was on display in the lawless colony. There was no law or order.

Fr. Damien realized the people needed leadership, so he provided it. He asked people to come together to build houses and schools and eventually the parish church, St. Philomena. The church still stands today.

The sick were cared for and the dead buried. Order and routine made the colony livable. Fr. Damien personally provided much of the care the people needed.

He was supposed to only work in the colony for a time then he would be replaced by one of three other volunteers for the work. But the leper colony was to become his permanent home. After working with the people for a time Fr. Damien grew attached to the people and his work. He asked permission to stay at the colony to serve. His request was granted.

Leprosy is not as contagious as most people of the period assumed, however five percent of the human population is susceptible. The disease can also take several years to show symptoms.

Fr. Daminen became one of those people. He contracted leprosy in 1885, after several years of work. He realized he had the disease when he placed his foot into scalding water by accident, but felt no pain. This was a common way by which people discovered they were infected. Leprosy attacks nerve endings and a victim may hurt themselves but not feel any pain.

Fr. Damien continued his work, despite his illness, which slowly took over his body. He derived strength from prayer and devotion. He often went to the cemetery to pray the Rosary or spent time in the presence of the Eucharist. “It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation,” he wrote.

By all accounts, Fr. Daminen was courageous, headstrong and resilient. His personal toughness served to inspire others. He was also reportedly very happy, a common phenomenon for those who pray and work hard to serve others and the Lord.

After sixteen years in the colony, Fr. Damien succumbed to leprosy on April 15, 1889. He was first buried nearby, then his remains were transferred to Belgium in 1936. His right hand was returned to Hawaii in 1995 to be reburied in his original grave at Molokai.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Brussels, Belgium on June 4, 1995. His sainthood was confirmed on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. His feast day is May 10.

The day of his passing, April 15, is a minor statewide holiday in Hawaii.

Saint Damien is the patron saint of people suffering from leprosy. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2817

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alphius
St. Aurelian of Limoges
St. Calepodius
St. Catald
St. Cataldus
St. Comgall
St. Comgall
St. Dioscorides
St. Epimachus
St. Gordian and Epimachus
Bl. Ivan Merz
St. John of Avila
St. Peter Van
St. Quaratus and Quintus
St. Solange
St. William of Pontoise

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 293
 

First Reading: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1
Psalms 148:1-2, 11-14:  Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Gospel: 
John 16:12-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050918.cfm

Reflection:
Do you live in the shadow of doubt and uncertainty or in the light of God’s truth and revelation? Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth, the Way, and the Life (John 14:6). Truth is not something we create nor is it our discovery. It is the gift of God who is the possessor and giver of all truth. Jesus tells his disciples that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to reveal what is true, right, and good. How can this be? Many skeptics of truth don’t want to believe in an absolute, objective, and unchanging Truth. If truth is objective then it must be asserted to as trustworthy and right and be submitted to as authoritative and binding.

Some fear the truth because they think it will inhibit their freedom to think, judge, and act as they wish. Jesus told his disciples that the truth will set you free (John 8:32). The truth liberates us from whatever is false, misleading, doubtful, or deceptive. In God there is no lie or falsehood since he is utterly true, good, and just. Since he is the author and source of all that is true and good, then the closer we draw near to him in order to listen to his word and understand his mind and will for us, the more we will grow in the knowledge of God and of his great love, wisdom, and plan for us.

The Spirit of truth
Jesus told his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who will guide you into all the truth ..and declare to you the things that are to come(John 16:13). Jesus knew that his disciples could not fully understand on their own everything he had taught and revealed to them while he was physically present with them. He knew that they would need the ongoing guidance and help of the Holy Spirit after he returned to his Father in heaven. That is why he assured them that the Holy Spirit would take what he had spoken to them and guide them into a fuller understanding of God’s wisdom, power, and glory he wished to share with them so they could live in the joy and freedom of his love and truth.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) explains the progressive work of the Spirit in guiding the disciples of Jesus in all the truth:

“Accordingly, when he says, ‘He will teach you all truth’ or ‘will guide you into all truth,’ I do not think the fulfillment is possible in anyone’s mind in this present life. For who is there, while living in this corruptible and soul-oppressing body (Wisdom 9:15), that can know all truth when even the apostle says, ‘We know in part’? But it is effected by the Holy Spirit, of whom we have now received the promise (2 Corinthians 1:21), that we shall attain also to the actual fullness of knowledge that the same apostle references when he says, ‘But then face to face’ and ‘Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). He is not talking about something he knows fully in this life but about something that would still be in the future when he would attain that perfection. This is what the Lord promised us through the love of the Spirit, when he said, ‘He will teach you all truth’ or ‘will guide you unto all truth.'” (TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 96.4)

On the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the first disciples of Jesus, the apostles boldly began to carry out the mission Jesus had entrusted to them – to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and to make disciples [followers of Jesus] of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Helper
Today, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we, too, proclaim the same ancient faith which the apostles taught – that Jesus died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day, and will come again to judge, raise the dead, and give everlasting life (from the Apostles Creed). We not only share the same faith which was given to the apostles, we also have the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. The Lord Jesus gives each of us his Holy Spirit as our divine Teacher and Helper that we may grow in the knowledge, wisdom, and strength of God. Do you  listen attentively to God’s word and allow his Holy Spirit to give you understanding of God’s truth and plan for your life?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me in your way of life, truth, and goodness. Free me from ignorance of your truth, and from deception and moral blindness caused by sinful pride and the refusal to believe and obey your word of truth. May I love you with all of my heart, mind, and strength, and seek to please you in all things.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may9.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Pachomius (292-348)
St. Pachomius was born about 292 in the Upeer Thebaid in Egypt and was inducted into the Emperor’s army as a twenty-year-old. The great kindness of Christians at Thebes toward the soldiers became embedded in his mind and led to his conversion after his discharge. After being baptized, he became a disciple of an anchorite, Palemon, and took the habit. The two of them led a life of extreme austerity and total dedication to God; they combined manual labor with unceasing prayer both day and night. Later, Pachomius felt called to build a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi; so about 318 Palemon helped him build a cell there and even remained with him for a while. In a short time some one hundred monks joined him and Pachomius organized them on principles of community living. So prevalent did the desire to emulate the life of Pachomius and his monks become, that the holy man was obliged to establish ten other monasteries for men and two nunneries for women. Before his death in 346, there were seven thousand monks in his houses, and his Order lasted in the East until the 11th century. St. Pachomius was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and write down a Rule for them. Both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from his Rule in setting forth their own more famous ones. Hence, though St. Anthony is usually regarded as the founder of Christian monasticism, it was really St. Pachomius who began monasticism as we know it today. Other saints whose feast day is May 9th are St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Beatus. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=800

More Saints of the Day:
St. Beatus of Lungern
St. Beatus of Vendome
St. Brynoth
St. George Preca
St. Gerontius of Cervia
St. Gorfor
St. Hermas
St. John of Chalons
St. Pachomius
St. Pachomius
Bl. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger
Bl. Thomas Pickering
St. Vincent

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Feast of the Our Lady of the Star
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 292

First Reading: Acts 16:22-34
Psalms 138:1-3, 7-8:  Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Gospel: 
John 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050818.cfm

Reflection:
Why does God seem far from us at times? Separation and loss of relationship often lead to grief and pain. The apostles were filled with sorrow when Jesus spoke about his imminent departure. Jesus explained that it was for their sake that he must leave them and return to his Father. He promised,  however, that they would never be left alone. He will send in his place the best of friends, the Holy Spirit.

Paul reminds us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39). By sending the Holy Spirit to his followers, the Lord Jesus makes his presence known to us in a new and on-going way. We are not left as orphans, but the Lord himself dwells within us through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:9; 6:16b).

The work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus tells his disciples three very important things about the work of the Holy Spirit – to convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. The original word for convince also means convict. The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier. He makes us holy as God is holy. He does this first by convicting us of our unbelief and sin and by bringing us humbly to the foot of the Cross. The Spirit convinces us of God’s love and forgiveness and of our utter dependence on God for his mercy and grace. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us from the error of our unbelief and sinful ways and to show us the way of love and truth.

The Jews who had condemned Jesus as a blasphemer and false messiah thought they were serving God rather than sinning when they crucified Jesus. When the Gospel was later preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37), many were pricked in their heart and convicted of their sin. What made them change their mind about Jesus? The Holy Spirit opened their hearts to recognize Jesus as the true Messiah sent by the Father in heaven.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to both convict us of our unbelief and wrongdoing and to convince us of God’s truth. The Spirit convinces us of the righteousness (moral truth and goodness) of Christ, backed by the fact that Jesus rose again and went to his Father. The Holy Spirit also convicts us of judgment. The Spirit gives us the inner and unshakable conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. God’s judgments are just and good. He not only forgives those who repent of their wrongdoing, he also vindicates the innocent who have been unjustly treated and restores their rights and he rewards those who have done what is just and good. When we heed his judgments we find true peace, joy and reconciliation with God. Do you allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your life that he may set you free from the grip of sin and set you ablaze with the fire of God’s love?

“Come Holy Spirit, and let the fire of your love burn in my heart. Let me desire only what is pure, lovely, holy and good and in accord with the will of God and give me the courage to put away all that is not pleasing in your sight.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may8.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Peter of Tarantaise (1102-1175)
Cistercian archbishop. Peter was born near Vienne, in Dauphine, France, and joined the Cistercian Order at Bonneveaux at the age of twenty with his two brothers and father. Known for his piety, at age thirty he was sent to serve as the first abbot of Tamie, in the Tarantaise Mountains, between Geneva and Savoy. There he built a hospice for travelers. In 1142, he was named the archbishop of Tarantaise against his wishes, and he devoted much energy to reforming the diocese, purging the clergy of corrupt and immoral members, aiding the poor, and promoting education. He is also credited with starting the custom of distributing bread and soup the so called May Bread just before the harvest, a custom which endured throughout France until the French Revolution. After thirteen years as bishop, Peter suddenly disappeared. Eventually he was discovered serving as a lay brother in a Cistercian abbey in Switzerland and was convinced to return to Tarantaise and resume his episcopal duties. Trusted as an advisor by popes and kings, he defended papal rights in France and was called upon to assist in bringing about a reconciliation between King Louis VII of France and then Prince Henry II of England. Peter was canonized in 1191. He should not be confused with Peter of Tarantaise, who became Pope Innocent V. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5392

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abran
St. Acacius
St. Desideratus
St. Dionysius
St. Helladius of Auxerre
St. Indract
St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa
St. Odrian
St. Peter of Tarantaise
St. Victor the Moor
St. Victor Maurus
St. Wiro

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

First Reading: Acts 16:11-1
Psalms 149:1-6, 9
:  The Lord takes delight in his people.
Gospel: 
John 15:26–16:4
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050718.cfm

Reflection:
Where do you find help and support when you most need it? True friendship is strengthened in adversity. Jesus offers his disciples the best and truest of friends. Who is this promised friend? Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor and Advocate (also translated Paraclete or Helper). How does the Holy Spirit help us as the counselor? Counselor is a legal term for the person who defends someone against an adversary and who guides that person during the ordeal of trial. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate and Helper who guides and strengthens us and brings us safely through the challenges and adversities we must face in this life.

Person and role of the Holy Spirit
As Jesus approaches the hour he was to be glorified – through his death on the cross and his resurrection – he revealed more fully to his disciples the person and role of the Holy Spirit. What does Jesus tell us about the Holy Spirit? First, the Holy Spirit is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. It is the Holy Spirit who gives life – the very life of God – and who makes faith come alive in hearts and minds of people who are receptive to God’s word.

The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to know God personally. He gives us experiential knowledge of God as our Father. The Spirit witnesses to our spirit that the Father has indeed sent his only begotten Son into the world to redeem it and has raised his Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead and has seated him at his right hand in glory and power.

The Holy Spirit reveals to us the knowledge, wisdom and plan of God for the ages and the Spirit enables us to see with the “eyes of faith” what the Father and the Son are doing. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit we become witnesses to the great work of God in Christ Jesus.

Spirit strengthens us in faith and courage
Jesus warned his disciples that they could expect persecution just as Jesus was opposed and treated with hostility. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Spirit gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. Do you pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith, hope and love and to give you courage and perseverance when you meet adversities and challenges?

“O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may7.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Rose Venerini (1656-1728)
Beatified By: May 4, 1952
Canonized By: 3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI

Blessed Rose was born at Viterbo in 1656, the daughter of Godfrey Venerini, a physician. Upon the death of a young man who had been paying court to her, she entered a convent, but after a few months had to return home to look after her widowed mother. Rose use to gather the women and girls of the neighborhood to say the rosary together in the evenings, and when she found how ignorant many of them were of their religion, she began to instruct them. She was directed by Father Ignatius Martinelli, a Jesuit, who convinced her that her vocation was as a teacher “in the world” rather than as a contemplative in a convent; whereupon in 1685, with two helpers, Rose opened a preschool for girls in Viterbo: it soon became a success. Blessed Rose had the gift of ready and persuasive speech, and a real ability to teach and to teach others to teach, and was not daunted by any difficulty when the service of God was in question. Her reputation spread, and in 1692, she was invited by Cardinal Barbarigo to advise and help in the training of teachers and organizing of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone. Here she was the mentor and friend of Lucy Filippini, who became foundress of an institute of maestre pie and was canonized in 1930. Rose organized a number of schools in various places, sometimes in the face of opposition that resorted to force in unbelievable fashion – the teachers were shot at with bows and their house fired. Her patience and trust overcame all obstacles, and in 1713 she made a foundation in Rome that received the praise of Pope Clement XI himself. It was in Rome that she died, on May 7, 1728; her reputation of holiness was confirmed by miracles and in 1952, she was beatified. It was not until sometime after her death that Blessed Rose’s lay school teachers were organized as a religious congregation: they are found in America as well as in Italy, for the Venerini Sisters have worked among Italian immigrants since early in the twentieth century. Her feast day is May 7. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=136

More Saints of the Day:
St. Domitian of Huy
St. Flavius
St. John of Beverly
St. Juvenal of Benevento
St. Liudhard
Bl. Michael Ulumbijski
St. Peter of Pavia
St. Placid
St. Quadratus
St. Rose Venerini
St. Serenidus & Serenus
St. Villanus

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

Posted by: RAM | May 5, 2018

Sunday (May 6): “Remain in my love.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 56

First Reading: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalms 98:1-4:  The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-10
Gospel: 
John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050618.cfm

Reflection:
What is the greatest act of love which one can give for the sake of another? Jesus defines friendship – the mutual bond of trust and affection which people choose to have for one another – as the willingness to give totally of oneself – even to the point of laying down one’s life for a friend. How is such love possible or even desirable? God made us in love for love. That is our reason for being, our purpose for living, and our goal in dying.

God is the source and origin of love – divine and human
Scripture tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8) – and everything he does flows from his immense love for us. He loved us so much – far beyond what we could ever expect or deserve – that he was willing to pay any price to redeem us from our slavery to sin and death. That is why the Father sent us his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. In this great exchange – the Father giving up his Son to death on the cross in order to give us abundant everlasting life and adopt us as his beloved sons and daughters in Christ (Romans 8:14-17).

God’s love has been poured into our hearts
It is for this reason that we can take hold of a hope that does not fade and a joy that does not diminish because God has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). God’s love is not limited or subject to changing circumstances. It is an enduring love that has power to change and transform us to be like him – merciful, gracious, kind, forgiving, and steadfast in showing love not only for our friends, but for our enemies as well. God’s love is boundless because he is the source of abundant life, perfect peace, and immeasurable joy for all who open their hearts to him. That is why Jesus came to give us abundant life through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.

A new way of loving and serving one another
Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment – a new way of loving and serving one another. Jesus’ love was wholly directed toward the good of others. He love them for their sake and for their welfare. That is why he willingly laid down his own life for us to free us from sin, death, fear, and everything that could separate us from the love of God. Our love for God and our willingness to lay down our life for others is a response to the exceeding love God has given us in Christ. Paul the Apostle states,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35,38-39).

Friendship with God
Jesus calls his disciples his friends. Jesus not only showed his disciples that he personally cared for them and sought their welfare. He personally enjoyed their company and wanted to be with them. He ate with them, shared everything he had with them – even his inmost heart and thoughts. And he spent himself doing good for them. To know Jesus personally is to know God and the love and friendship he offers to each one of us.

One of the special marks of favor shown in the Scriptures is to be called the friend of God. Abraham is called the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). God spoke with Moses as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). Jesus, the Lord and Master, calls the disciples his friends rather than his servants.

What does it mean to be a friend of God? Friendship with God certainly entails a loving relationship which goes beyond mere duty and obedience. Jesus’ discourse on friendship and brotherly love echoes the words of Proverbs: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). The distinctive feature of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was his personal love for them. He loved his own to the end (John 13:1). His love was unconditional and wholly directed to the good of others. His love was also sacrificial. He gave the best he had and all that he had. He gave his very life for those he loved in order to secure for them everlasting life with the Father.

Love to the death
The Lord Jesus gives his followers a new commandment – a new way of love that goes beyond giving only what is required or what we think others might deserve. What is the essence of Jesus’ new commandment of love? It is a love to the death – a purifying love that overcomes selfishness, fear, and pride. It is a total giving of oneself for the sake of others – a selfless and self-giving love that is oriented towards putting the welfare of others ahead of myself.

Jesus says that there is no greater proof in love than the sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. Jesus proved his love by giving his life for us on the cross of Calvary. Through the shedding of his blood for our sake, our sins are not only washed clean, but new life is poured out for us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We prove our love for God and for one another when we embrace the way of the cross. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God’s will, then God’s will must be done. Do you know the peace and joy of a life fully surrendered to God and consumed with his love?

The Lord Jesus tells us that he is our friend and he loves us whole-heartedly and unconditionally. He wants us to love one another just as he loves us,
whole-heartedly and without reserve. His love fills our hearts and transforms our minds and frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others. If we open our hearts to his love and obey his command to love our neighbor, then we will bear much fruit in our lives, fruit that will last for eternity. Do you wish to be fruitful and to abound in the love of God?

“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may6.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Dominic Savio, Patron  of choirboys, the falsely accused, and juvenile delinquents 
Birth: April 2, 1842
Death: March 9, 1857
Beatified By: March 5, 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Canonized By: June 12, 1954 by Pope Pius XII

Dominic Savio was born on April 2, 1842 in the village of Riva in northern Italy. His father was a blacksmith and his mother a seamstress. He had nine brothers and sisters. His family was poor but hardworking. They were devout and pious Catholics.

When he was just two years old, Dominic’s family returned to their native village of Castlenuovo d’Asti, (Today, Castlenuovo Don Bosco) near the birthplace of John Bosco. Bosco would himself later be canonized as a Saint by the Church and became a major influence on the life of Dominic.

As a small child, Dominic loved the Lord and His Church. He was very devout in practicing his Catholic faith. For example, he said grace before every meal and refused to eat with those who did not. He was always quick to encourage others to pray.

Dominic attended Church regularly with his mother and was often seen kneeling before the Tabernacle in prayer. He even prayed outside the Church building. It did not matter to Dominic if the ground was covered with mud or snow, he knelt and prayed anyway.

Dominic was quickly recognized as an exceptional student who studied hard and performed well in school. He became an altar server. He also attended daily Mass and went to confession regularly. He asked to receive his first communion at the age of seven. This was not the practice in the Church of Italy at the time. Normally, children received their first holy communion at the age of twelve. Dominic’s priest was so impressed with his intelligence concerning the faith, his love for the Lord and his piety that he made an exception. Dominic said that the day of his First Communion was the happiest day of his life.

On the Day he received his first communion, Dominic wrote four promises in a little book. Those promises were:

I will go to Confession often, and as frequently to Holy Communion as my confessor allows.
I wish to sanctify the Sundays and festivals in a special manner.
My friends shall be Jesus and Mary.
Death rather than sin.

The young Dominic graduated to secondary school and walked three miles to school each day. He undertook this chore gladly. While walking to school on a hot day a farmer asked why he wasn’t yet tired. Dominic cheerfully replied, “Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a master who pays well.”

Although he was young, Dominic was clearly different than his peers. When two boys stuffed a school heating stove with snow and rubbish. The boys were known troublemakers and were likely to face expulsion if caught, so they blamed Dominic for the misdeed. Dominic did not deny the accusation and he was scolded before the class. However, a day later the teacher learned the truth. He asked Dominic why he did not defend himself while being scolded for something he did not do. Dominic mentioned he was imitating Jesus who remained silent when unjustly accused.

Dominic’s teacher spoke well of him and brought him to the attention of Fr. John Bosco, who was renowned for looking after hundreds of boys, many of them orphaned and poor. In October 1854, Dominic was personally introduced to Fr. Bosco – along with his father.

At the meeting, Bosco wanted to test Dominic’s intelligence and understanding of the Catholic faith. He gave Dominic a copy of The Catholic Readings, which was a pamphlet that dealt with apologetics. He expected Dominic to provide a report the next day, but just ten minutes later Dominic recited the text and provided a full explanation of its significance. This solidified Bosco’s high opinion of Dominic.

Dominic expressed an interest in becoming a priest and asked to go to Turin to attend the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. Fr. Bosco agreed to take him.

At the Oratory, Dominic studied directly under Fr. Bosco. He worked diligently and always asked questions when he did not understand something. He renewed his First Communion promises that he wrote in his little book at the age of seven. After six months at the Oratory, Dominic delivered a speech on the path to sainthood. In his speech, he made three outstanding points; it is God’s will that we ALL become saints, it is easy to become a saint, and there are great rewards in heaven for saints.

Dominic’s desire to become a saint troubled him however. He wondered to himself how someone as young as he was could become a saint? In his zeal, he tried voluntary mortification and other voluntary penances, hoping that they would help him to grow closer to Jesus and help him to be less concerned with his own needs. He even made his bed uncomfortable and wore thin clothes in winter. When Fr. Bosco observed these practices, he corrected Dominic. He explained that as a child, what he should do instead was to devote himself to his studies and to be cheerful. He discouraged Dominic from any more physical penances. Dominic’s happy demeanor quickly returned.

At the same time Dominic was developing his reputation as a fantastic student, his health began to fail. He started to lose his appetite and Fr. Bosco became concerned. Dominic was taken to the doctor who recommended that he be sent home to his family to recover. Dominic wanted to stay at the oratory, but Fr. Bosco insisted he go home. Everybody expected Dominic to recover, except for Dominic himself who insisted he was dying.

Before he departed, Dominic made the Exercise of a Happy Death and predicted this would be his final devotion.

After four days at home, Dominic’s health worsened. The doctor ordered him to bed to rest. He then performed bloodletting, which was still performed at that time. Over the next four days, Dominic was bled ten times before the doctor was satisfied he would recover.

But Dominic was sure of his impending death. He implored his parents to bring the parish priest so he could make a last confession. They obliged him and Dominic made a confession and was given the Anointing of the Sick. He asked his father to read him the prayers for the Exercise of a Happy Death. Then he fell asleep. Hours later he awoke and said to his father: “Goodbye, Dad, goodbye … Oh what wonderful things I see!” Dominic fell asleep and died within minutes. It was March 9, 1857 and Dominic was merely 14 year of age.

His father wrote to Fr. Bocso to report the sad news.

Fr. Bosco was powerfully touched by Dominic and he wrote a biography, “The Life of Dominic Savio.” The biography quickly became popular and would eventually be read in schools across Italy. As people learned about Dominic, they called for his canonization.

Detractors argued that Dominic was too young to be canonized and pointed out that he was not a martyr. However, Pope Pius X disagreed and opened his cause for canonization.

Dominic Savio was declared venerable in 1933 by Pope Pius XI, beatified in 1950, then canonized in 1954 by Pope Pius XII.

Saint Dominic is the patron saint of choirboys, the falsely accused, and juvenile delinquents. His feast day is May 6, moved from March 9. Many schools and institutions dedicated to boys are dedicated to him.
https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=43

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno
Bl. Anthony Middleton
St. Benedicta
St. Eadbert
Bl. Edward Jones
St. Evodius
Bl. Francis de Laval
St. Heliodorus
St. Heliodorus
St. Lucius of Cyrene
St. Petronax
St. Theodotus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

First Reading: Acts 16:1-10
Psalms 100:1-3, 5:  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Gospel: 
John 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050418.cfm

Reflection:
What does Jesus mean when he says “you are not of this world”? The world in Scripture refers to that society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to his will. The world rejected the Lord Jesus and treated him with contempt, and his disciples can expect the same treatment. The Lord Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are either for him or against him, for his kingdom of light and truth or for the kingdom of darkness and deception. The prophet Isaiah warned that people who separate themselves from God because of their rebellious pride and spiritual blindness would end up calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

“Those who kept my word” (John 15:20)
If we want to live in the light of God’s truth, how can we rightly distinguish good from evil and truth from deception? True love of God and his ways draw us to all that is lovely, truthful and good. If we truly love God then we will submit to his truth and obey his word. A friend of God cannot expect to be a friend of the world because the world is opposed to God’s truth and way of righteousness.

“I chose you out of the world” (John 15:18)
Jesus’ demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your intentions, actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and mind with the love and truth of God (Romans 5:5).

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love fill my heart with an eagerness to please you in all things. May there be no rivals to my love and devotion to you who are my all.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may5.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Hilary of Arles (400-449)
Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative of St. Honoratus. He was born to a noble family in Lorraine and was successful, although he gave up his secular career to join St. Honoratus at Lerins Abbey. When Honoratus died after being named the bishop of Arles, Hilary was chosen as his successor in 429. He was known for his austerities, his aid to the poor, and for ransoming captives. On two occasions Hilary became embroiled in controversies with Pope St. Leo I the Great, but they were reconciled, and Hilary’s sanctity brought him great veneration. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3769

More Saints of the Day:
St. Angelo
St. Aventinus of Tours
St. Brito
St. Crescentiana
St. Echa
Bl. Edmund Ignatius Rice
St. Eulogius of Edessa
St. Hilary of Arles
St. Hydroc
Bl. John Haile
St. Jovinian
St. Jutta
St. Maurontus
St. Maximus of Jerusalem
St. Nectarius
St. Nicetius
St. Sacerdos
St. Theodore of Bologna

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 289

First Reading: Acts 15:22-31
Psalms 57:8-12:  I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
Gospel: John 15:12-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050418.cfm

Reflection:
What is the greatest act of love which one can give for the sake of another? Jesus defines friendship – the mutual bond of trust and affection which people choose to have for one another – as the willingness to give totally of oneself – even to the point of laying down one’s life for a friend. How is such love possible or even desirable? God made us in love for love. That is our reason for being, our purpose for living, and our goal in dying.

Scripture tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8) – and everything he does flows from his immense love for us. He loved us so much – far beyond what we could ever expect or deserve – that he was willing to pay any price to redeem us from our slavery to sin and death. That is why the Father sent us his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. In this great exchange – the Father giving up his Son to death on the cross in order to give us abundant everlasting life and adopt us as his beloved sons and daughters in Christ (Romans 8:14-17).

God has poured his love into our hearts
It is for this reason that we can take hold of a hope that does not fade and a joy that does not diminish because God has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). God’s love is not limited or subject to changing circumstances. It is an enduring love that has power to change and transform us to be like him – merciful, gracious, kind, forgiving, and steadfast in showing love not only for our friends, but for our enemies as well. God’s love is boundless because he is the source of abundant life, perfect peace, and immeasurable joy for all who open their hearts to him. That is why Jesus came to give us abundant life through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment – a new way of loving and serving one another. Jesus’ love was wholly directed toward the good of others. He loved them for their sake and for their welfare. That is why he willingly laid down his own life for us to free us from sin, death, fear, and everything that could separate us from the love of God. Our love for God and our willingness to lay down our life for others is a response to the exceeding love God has given us in Christ. Paul the Apostle states,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35,38-39).

Friendship with God
Jesus calls his disciples his personal friends. Jesus not only showed his disciples that he personally cared for them and sought their welfare. He personally enjoyed their company and wanted to be with them in a close and intimate relationship. He ate with them, shared everything he had with them – even his innermost heart and thoughts. And he spent himself in doing as much good for them as he could. To know Jesus personally is to know God and the love and friendship he offers to each one of us.

One of the special marks of favor shown in the Scriptures is to be called the friend of God. Abraham is called the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). God spoke with Moses as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). Jesus, the Lord and Master, calls the disciples his friends rather than his servants.

What does it mean to be a friend of God? Friendship with God who is our everlasting Father and with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ entails a personal, close, and loving relationship and a union of heart, mind, and spirit with the One who created us in love for love. Such a relationship with our Father, Creator, and Redeemer involves loyalty, respect, and obedience. But it is even more than these because God has chosen to love us in the same way in which the Father and the Son love and serve each other – a total giving of oneself to the other in a bond of affection, esteem, and joy in each others company.

Jesus’ discourse on friendship and brotherly love echoes the words of Proverbs: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). The distinctive feature of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was his personal, loyal, and sacrificial love for each one of them. He loved his own to the end (John 13:1). His love was unconditional and wholly directed to the good of others. His love was costly and sacrificial. He gave the best he had and all that he had. He gave his very own life for those he loved in order to secure for them an everlasting life of union and love with the Father in heaven.

Love to the death
The Lord Jesus gives his followers a new commandment – a new way of love that goes beyond giving only what is required or what we think others might deserve. What is the essence of Jesus’ new commandment of love? It is a love to the death – a purifying love that overcomes selfishness, fear, and pride. It is a total giving of oneself for the sake of others – a selfless and self-giving love that is oriented towards putting the welfare of others ahead of myself.

Jesus says that there is no greater proof in love than the sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. Jesus proved his love by giving his life for us on the cross of Calvary. Through the shedding of his blood for our sake, our sins are not only washed clean, but new life is poured out for us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We prove our love for God and for one another when we embrace the way of the cross. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God’s will, then God’s will must be done. Do you know the peace and joy of a life fully surrendered to God and consumed with his love?

Love that produces abundant fruit and joy
The Lord Jesus tells us that he is our personal friend and he loves us wholeheartedly and unconditionally. He wants us to love one another just as he has loved us, wholeheartedly, without reserve, and full of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. His love fills our hearts and transforms our minds and frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others. If we open our hearts to his love and obey his command to love our neighbor, then we will know his love more fully and we will bear much fruit – especially the fruit of peace, joy, patience, kindness, and goodness – the kind of fruit that lasts for eternity. Do you wish to be fruitful and to abound in the love of God? Trust and obey him and he will fill you with his overflowing love.

“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may4.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Florian
The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on May 4th, was an officer of the Roman army, who occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, and who suffered death for the Faith in the days of Diocletian. His legendary “Acts” state that he gave himself up at Lorch to the soldiers of Aquilinus, the governor, when they were rounding up the Christians, and after making a bold confession, he was twice scourged, half-flayed alive, set on fire, and finally thrown into the river Enns with a stone around his neck. His body, recovered and buried by a pious woman, was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz. It is said to have been at a later date translated to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint’s relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Cracow. Since that time, St. Florian has been regarded as a patron of Poland as well as of Linz, Upper Austria and of firemen. There has been popular devotion to St. Florian in many parts of central Europe, and the tradition as to his martyrdom, not far from the spot where the Enns flows into the Danube, is ancient and reliable. Many miracles of healing are attributed to his intercession and he is invoked as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water. His feast day is May 4th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=149

More Saints of the Day:
St. Augustine Webster
Bl. Carthusian Martyrs
Bl. Ceferino Jimenez Malla
St. Conleth
St. Conleth
St. Cyriacus
St. Ethelred
St. Florian
St. John Payne
St. Judas Cyriacus
85 Martyrs of England and Wales
Martyrs of the Carthusian Order
Martyrs of England
Forty Martyrs of England & Wales
St. Nepotian
St. Paulinus of Sinigaglia
St. Pelagia of Antioch
St. Pelagia of Tarsus
St. Richard Reynolds
St. Robert Lawrence
St. Sacerdos
St. Venerius

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Lectionary: 561

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Psalms 19:2-5:  Their message goes out through all the earth.
Gospel: 
John 14:6-14
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050318.cfm

Reflection:
What’s the greatest thing we can aim for in this life? – To know God. What is the best thing we can possess in this life, bringing more joy, contentment, and happiness, than anything else? – Knowledge of God. Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal knowledge of God as our Father.

Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us unconditionally – without reservation, unselfishly – for our sake and not his, and perfectly – without neglecting or forgetting us even for a brief moment. Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3) Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him always.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may3.htm

Saint of the Day: St. James the Less, Patron of hatmakers
St. James the Less, the author of the first Catholic Epistle, was the son of Alphaeus of Cleophas. His mother Mary was either a sister or a close relative of the Blessed Virgin, and for that reason, according to Jewish custom, he was sometimes called the brother of the Lord. The Apostle held a distinguished position in the early Christian community of Jerusalem. St. Paul tells us he was a witness of the Resurrection of Christ; he is also a “pillar” of the Church, whom St. Paul consulted about the Gospel.

According to tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and was at the Council of Jerusalem about the year 50. The historians Eusebius and Hegesippus relayed that St. James was martyred for the Faith by the Jews in the Spring of the year 62, although they greatly esteemed his person and had given him the surname of “James the Just.”

Tradition has always recognized him as the author of the Epistle that bears his name. Internal evidence based on the language, style, and teaching of the Epistle reveals its author as a Jew familiar with the Old Testament, and a Christianthoroughly grounded in the teachings of the Gospel. External evidence from the early Fathers and Councils of the Church confirmed its authenticity and canonicity.

The date of its writing cannot be determined exactly. According to some scholars it was written about the year 49 A.D. Others, however, claim it was written after St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (composed during the winter of 57-58 A.D.). It was probably written between the years 60 and 62 A.D.

St. James addresses himself to the “twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion,” that is, to Christians outside Palestine; but nothing in the Epistle indicates that he is thinking only of Jewish Christians. St. James realizes full well the temptations and difficulties they encounter in the midst of paganism, and as a spiritual father, he endeavors to guide and direct them in the faith. Therefore, the burden of his discourse is an exhortation to practical Christian living. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=356

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adalsindis
St. Alexander
St. Diodorus
St. Ethelwin
St. Gluvias
St. James the Lesser
St. James the Less
St. Juvenal of Narni
Bl. Marie Leonie Paradis
St. Philip
St. Philip of Zell
St. Scannal
Sts. Timothy & Martha

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 287

First Reading: Acts 15:1-6
Psalms 122:1-5:  Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Gospel: 
John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050218.cfm

Reflection:
Why does Jesus speak of himself as the true vine? The image of the vine was a rich one for the Jews since the land of Israel was covered with numerous vineyards. It had religious connotations to it as well. Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord”(Isaiah 5:7). Jeremiah said that God had planted Israel “as his choice vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). While the vine became a symbol of Israel as a nation, it also was used in the Scriptures as a sign of degeneration – a deformed state of spiritual growth and moral decline. Isaiah’s prophecy spoke of Israel as a vineyard which “yielded wild grapes” (see Isaiah 5:1-7). Jeremiah said that Israel had become a “degenerate and wild vine” (Jeremiah 2:21).

One must be firmly rooted in the “Tree of Life”
When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can grow in spiritual fruitfulness and moral goodness unless they are rooted in God and in his life-giving word. Religious affiliation or association with spiritually minded people is not sufficient by itself – one must be firmly rooted in the “Tree of Life” (Revelation 22:1-2, Genesis 2:8-9) who is the eternal Father and his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus makes a claim which only God can make – he is the true source of life that sustains us and makes us fruitful in living the abundant life which God has for us. It is only through Jesus Christ that one can be fully grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.

Bearing the fruit of righteousness, peace, and joy
Jesus offers true life – the abundant life which comes from God and which results in great fruitfulness. How does the vine become fruitful? The vine dresser must carefully prune the vine before it can bear good fruit. Vines characteristically have two kinds of branches – those which bear fruit and those which don’t. The non-bearing branches must be carefully pruned back in order for the vine to conserve its strength for bearing good fruit. Jesus used this image to describe the kind of life he produces in those who are united with him – the fruit of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus says there can be no fruit in our lives apart from him. The fruit he speaks of here is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

There is a simple truth here: We are either fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing. There is no in-between. But the bearing of healthy fruit requires drastic pruning. The Lord promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and allow him to purify us. Do you trust in the Lord’s healing and transforming power to give you the abundant life and fruit of his heavenly kingdom?

“Lord Jesus, may I be one with you in all that I say and do. Draw me close that I may glorify you and bear fruit for your kingdom. Inflame my heart with your love and remove from it anything that would make me ineffective or unfruitful in loving and serving you as my All.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may2.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Athanasius, Patron of Theologians, faithful Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians (296 or 298-373)
St. Athanasius, also known as Athanasius the Great and Athanasius the Confessor, was a bishop and doctor of the church. He is called the “Father of Orthodoxy,” the “Pillar of the Church” and “Champion of Christ’s Divinity.” Athanasius became one of the most dedicated opponents of the heresy of Arianism. Much of his life was a testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Born in either 296 or 298 in Alexandria, Egypt to a prominent Christian family, Athanasius received a wonderful education in Christian doctrine, Greek literature, philosophy, rhetoric and jurisprudence.

He was well studied in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospel accounts and the Christian texts which would later be recognized by the Church as the canon of the New Testament. He credited the confessors during the Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor Maximian as his teachers of theology.

Bishop Alexander of Alexandria became a strong influence in Athanasius’ life after Alexander witnessed him playing at administering Baptism as a young boy, with other children. Alexander called the boys over and after questioning them, he determined the baptisms were valid and decided to train them for priesthood.

As he grew up, Athanasius befriended many monks and hermits of the desert, including St. Antony. He later wrote the biography of Antony.

Athanasius became Alexander’s secretary in 318 after being ordained a deacon. Around this time, Athanasius wrote his first work, a theological treatise on the Incarnation which is still quoted extensively in Christian theological studies and spiritual literature.

Around 323, Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church, denied the Divinity of Christ, and began spreading word that Jesus Christ was not truly divine, but merely created in time by the Eternal Father.

Alexander demanded Arius produce a written statement on the false doctrine. It was condemned as heresy after two dissenting Bishops came forward. Arius and 11 other priests and deacons were deposed, or removed from their office, for teaching false doctrine.

Arius left for Caesarea, but continued to teach his false doctrine and enlisted support from the Bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius and other Syrian prelates.

Athanasius, as Alexander’s secretary, was present during the great Church debate. He may have even composed the letter that announced Arius’ condemnation. Athanasius stood alongside Alexander during the famous Council of Nicaea to determine the matters of dogma.

It was during this meeting, summoned by Emperor Constantine, that Arius’ sentencing was officially confirmed and the Nicene Creed was adopted as the Creed of the Church and a worthy symbol of the orthodox Christian faith.

The early Christian Church, still undivided, rejoiced at the defense of the true nature of Jesus Christ. To this day, Athanasius is considered the great defender of the Faith in both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

Just five months later, Alexander died and Athanasius succeeded him after being unanimously elected. He was consecrated as the new Bishop of Alexandria in 328 and continued the fight against Arianism.

In 330, Eusebius approached Emperor Constantine and convinced him to command Athanasius to allow Arians back into communion. Athanasius refused, noting the Catholic Church could not hold communion with heretics who attacked the divinity of Christ.

However, Eusebius did not give up on his cause. He wrote to Athanasius trying to justify Arius and he wrote to the Egyptian Meletians in efforts to have Athanasius impeached.

The Meletians charged Athanasius with the crimes of exacting a tribute of linen for use in his church, sending gold to Philomenus, treason against the emperor and authorizing one of his deputies to destroy a chalice being used at the altar by a Meletian priest.

He was tried and proved his innocence on all accusations.

The Arians didn’t stop there though; they came forward with another charge, claiming he murdered a Meletian bishop. Athanasius was ordered to attend a council at Caesarea, but knowing the bishop was alive and in hiding, Athanasius ignored the summons.

In 335, Emperor Constantine commanded Athanasius to go to the Council of Tyre, Lebanon. The council was full of Athanasius’ opponents and was led by an Arian. Athanasius realized his condemnation was already pre-decided.

Athanasius was exiled for the first time to Trier, Germany. While there, he kept in touch with his flock by letter.

Athanasius’ exile lasted for two and a half years. He returned to Alexandria in 338 to find both Emperor Constantine and Arius had died. Constantine’s empire was divided between his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius and Constans.

After he returned to Alexandria, his enemies continued to try to bring him to exile. They accused him of raising sedition, of promoting bloodshed, and detaining his own use of corn.

Eusebius was able to obtain a second sentence of deposition against Athanasius and get the election of an Arian bishop for Alexandria approved.

After this, a letter was written to Pope St. Julius asking for his intervention and a condemnation of Athanasius. The case for Athanasius was set forth, and the pope accepted the suggestion offered by Eusebius for a synod to discuss the situation.

Meanwhile, a Cappadocian named Gregory was installed in Alexandria, and Athanasius went to Rome to await his hearing.

Athanasius was completely vindicated by the synod, but was unable to return home to Alexandria until the death of the Cappadocian Gregory in 345.

Athanasius returned to Alexandria to scenes of people rejoicing after he had been absent for eight years.

However, in 353 Athanasius would face more condemnations by the Arians in the councils at Arles, France and again in 355 in Milan, Italy.

Persecution continued against Athanasius and escalated to physical attacks against him. While he was celebrating a vigil Liturgy in a church in Egypt, soldiers forced their way in and killed some of the congregation. Athanasius managed to escape and hid in the desert, where a group of monks kept him safe for six years.

During his years as a hermit, he wrote his Apology to Constantius, the Apology for His Flight, the Letter to the Monks, and the History of the Arians.

Athanasius returned to Alexandria after the death of Constantius in 361 and the new emperor, Julian, revoked all sentences of exile enacted by his predecessor.

This lasted only a few months though. Emperor Julian’s plan for paganizing the Christian world couldn’t get very far so long as Athanasius, the champion for Catholic faith, was around. Therefore, Julian exiled Athanasius and he once again sought refuge in the desert.

He stayed there until 363 when Julian died and the next emperor, Emperor Jovian reinstalled him. Jovian’s reign was a short one, and Athanasius was again banished just eight months later.

Jovian’s successor, Valens issued an order banning all Orthodox bishops who were exiled by Constantius.

Four months later, Valens revoked his own order and Athanasius was restored permanently.

Over the course of his life, Athanasius was banished five times and spent 17 years of his life in exile for the defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity.

However, the last years of his life were peaceful and he died on May 2, 373 in Alexandria.

His body was transferred, first to Constantinople, then to Venice.

St. Athanasius is often shown as a bishop arguing with a pagan, a bishop holding an open book or a bishop standing over a defeated heretic. He is a patron saint of theologians, and faithful Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians and hailed to this day as a great Defender of the Faith.

His feast day is celebrated on May 2.

https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=336

More Saints of the Day:
St. Athanasius
St. Exuperius
St. Felix of Seville
Bl. Jose M. Rubio y Peralta
St. Joseph Luu
St. Neachtian
St. Saturninus
St. Valentine
St. Vindemialis, Eugene, & Longinus
St. Waldebert
St. Waldebert, Abbot
St. Wiborada
St. Zoe

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

First Reading: Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21:  Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Gospel: 
John 14:27-31
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050118.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)? In his farewell discourse Jesus grants peace as his gift to his disciples. What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good. The world’s approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things. Jesus offers the peace which conquers our fears and anxieties. Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less.

The true nature of peace
How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers his followers? Through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Lord Jesus shows us how to yield our passions of anger, fear, and pride to him so we can receive his gift of peace. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and strengthens us with his gifts and supernatural virtues which enable us to live as wise and holy disciples of Christ.

Caesarius of Arles (470-542 AD), an early church bishop in Gaul who was noted for his godly wisdom and preaching of Scripture, linked peace with the character of Christ and the Christlike virtues which help us to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Caesarius describes some of the key character traits (virtues) which form us into true people of peace:

“Peace, indeed, is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, tramples on pride, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant and makes enemies agree. For it is pleasing to everyone. It does not seek what belongs to another or consider anything as its own. It teaches people to love because it does not know how to get angry, or to extol itself or become inflated with pride. It is meek and humble to everyone, possessing rest and tranquility within itself. When the peace of Christ is exercised by a Christian, it is brought to perfection by Christ. If anyone loves it, he will be an heir of God, while anyone who despises it rebels against Christ.

“When our Lord Jesus Christ was returning to the Father, he left his peace to his followers as their inherited good, teaching them and saying, ‘My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.’ Anyone who has received this peace should keep it, and one who has destroyed it should look for it, while anyone who has lost it should seek it. For if anyone is not found with it, he will be disinherited by the Father and deprived of his inheritance.” (Sermon 174.1)

Destiny with the Father
Jesus speaks to his disciples about his destination – and their destiny as well. He tells them in plain words that he must return to his Father in heaven (John 14:28). If his disciples truly love him for who he is – the only begotten Son of the Father, then they will rejoice that Jesus will ascend to the throne of God and be reunited with his Father in heaven.

Jesus also speaks of his struggle – his passion, suffering and death which he undertook on the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin and death. Jesus called Satan the “ruler of this world” (John 14:30) who seeks to rob people of peace and friendship with God. Jesus defeated the evil one through his death and resurrection and won pardon and peace for all who believe in him.The victory of the cross brought glory to Jesus and to the Father and it is our way to glory with the Father in heaven as well. In the Cross of Christ we find true peace and reconciliation with God our Father. Do you live in the peace of Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/may1.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Marculf
Marculf is also known as Marcoul. He was born at Bayeux, Gaul, at noble parents. He was ordained when he was thirty, and did missionary work at Coutances. Desirous of living as a hermit, he was granted land by king Childebert at Nanteuil. He attracted numerous disciples, and built a monastery, of which he was abbot. It became a great pilgrimage center after his death on May 1. St. Marculf was regarded as a patron who cured skin diseases, and as late as 1680, sufferers made pilgrimages to his shrine at Nanteuil and bathed in the springs connected with the church. His feast day is May 1. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=303

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aceolus
St. Acius
St. Aldebrandus
St. Amator
St. Andeolus
St. Arigius
St. Asaph
St. Augustus Schoffler
St. Benedict of Szkalka
St. Bertha of Kent
St. Bertha of Val d’Or
St. Brieuc
St. Buriana
St. Ceallach
St. Cominus
St. Evermarus
St. Grata
St. Isidora
St. Isidora the Simple
St. John-Louis Bonnard
St. Marculf
St. Orentius
St. Orentius and Patientia
St. Panacea
St. Peregrine Laziosi
St. Riccardo Pampuri
St. Theodard
St. Ultan

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 285

First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
Psalms 115:1-4, 15-16:  Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
Gospel: 
John 14:21-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name —
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/043018.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the love that surpasses all, that is stronger than death itself (Song of Songs 8:6)? In Jesus’ last supper discourse he speaks of the love he has for his disciples and of his Father’s love. He prepares his disciples for his imminent departure to return to his Father by exhorting them to prove their love for him through their loyalty and obedience to his word. He promises them the abiding instruction and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Augustine says the Lord loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love. God’s love for each of us is as real and tangible as the love of a mother for her child and the love of a lover who gives all for his beloved. God made us in love for love – to know him personally and to grow in the knowledge of his great love for us and to love him in return.

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit
How can we know and be assured of the love of God? The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in the knowledge of God and his great love. The Spirit enables us to experience the love of God and to be assured of the Lord’s abiding presence with us (see Romans 5:5 and 8:35-39). The Holy Spirit also opens our ears to hear and understand the word of God. Do you listen attentively to God’s word and believe it? Ask the Holy Spirit to inflame your heart with the love of God and his word.

“Lord Jesus, in love you created me and you drew me to yourself. May I never lose sight of you nor forget your steadfast love and faithfulness. And may I daily dwell upon your word and give you praise in the sanctuary of my heart, You who are my All.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr30.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Pope Pius V (1504-1572)
Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses. Named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, he was so capable in the fulfillment of his office that by 1551, and at the urging of the powerful Cardinal Carafa, he was named by Pope Julius III commissary general of the Inquisition. In 1555, Carafa was elected Pope Paul IV and was responsible for Ghislieri’s swift rise as a bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, and grand inquisitor in 1558. While out of favor for a time under Pope Pius IV who disliked his reputation for excessive zeal, Ghislieri was unanimously elected a pope in succession to Pius on January 7, 1566. As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal; he also declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, and created a commission to revise the Vulgate. The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World, and the pontiff insisted on their strict adherence. In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church’s resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy. In dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks who were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean, Pius organized a formidable alliance between Venice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete and shattering triumph over the Turks. The day of the victory was declared the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory in recognition of Our Lady’s intercession in answer to the saying of the Rosary all over Catholic Europe. Pius also spurred the reforms of the Church by example. He insisted upon wearing his coarse Dominican robes, even beneath the magnificent vestments worn by the popes, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the religious life. His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I of England  in February 1570, an act which also declared her deposed and which only worsened the plight of English Catholics. These were overshadowed in the view of later generations by his contributions to the Catholic Reformation. Pope Clement beatified him on May 1, 1672, and Pope Clement XI canonized him on May 22, 1712. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5515

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adjutor
St. Aimo
St. Ajuture
St. Aphrodisius
St. Cynwl
St. Desideratus
St. Donatus of Evorea
St. Eutropius
St. Forannan
Bl. Francis Dickenson
St. Joseph Cottolengo
St. Lawrence of Novara
St. Louis von Bruck
St. Marianus
St. Maximus of Rome
Bl. Miles Gerard
St. Pius V, Pope
St. Pomponius of Naples

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 53

First Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Psalms 22:26-28, 30-32:  I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
Second Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
Gospel: 
John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042918.cfm

Reflection: 
Why does Jesus speak of himself as the true vine? The image of the vine was a rich one for the Jews since the land of Israel was covered with numerous vineyards. It had religious connotations to it as well. Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord”(Isaiah 5:7). Jeremiah said that God had planted Israel “as his choice vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). While the vine became a symbol of Israel as a nation, it also was used in the Scriptures as a sign of degeneration – a deformed state of spiritual growth and moral decline. Isaiah’s prophecy spoke of Israel as a vineyard which “yielded wild grapes” (see Isaiah 5:1-7). Jeremiah said that Israel had become a “degenerate and wild vine” (Jeremiah 2:21).

One must be firmly rooted in the “Tree of Life”
When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can grow in spiritual fruitfulness and moral goodness unless they are rooted in God and in his life-giving word. Religious affiliation or association with spiritually minded people is not sufficient by itself – one must be firmly rooted in the “Tree of Life” (Revelation 22:1-2, Genesis 2:8-9) who is the eternal Father and his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus makes a claim which only God can make – he is the true source of life that sustains us and makes us fruitful in living the abundant life which God has for us. It is only through Jesus Christ that one can be fully grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.

Bearing the fruit of righteousness, peace, and joy
Jesus offers true life – the abundant life which comes from God and which results in great fruitfulness. How does the vine become fruitful? The vine dresser must carefully prune the vine before it can bear good fruit. Vines characteristically have two kinds of branches – those which bear fruit and those which don’t. The non-bearing branches must be carefully pruned back in order for the vine to conserve its strength for bearing good fruit. Jesus used this image to describe the kind of life he produces in those who are united with him – the fruit of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus says there can be no fruit in our lives apart from him. The fruit he speaks of here is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

There is a simple truth here: We are either fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing. There is no in-between. But the bearing of healthy fruit requires drastic pruning. The Lord promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and allow him to purify us. Do you trust in the Lord’s healing and transforming power to give you the abundant life and fruit of his heavenly kingdom?

“Lord Jesus, may I be one with you in all that I say and do. Draw me close that I may glorify you and bear fruit for your kingdom. Inflame my heart with your love and remove from it anything that would make me ineffective or unfruitful in loving and serving you as my All.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr29.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Siena, Patroness against fire, illness, miscarriages, sexual temptation, and of people ridiculed for their faith, nurses, the United States, Italy (1347-1380)
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.

At the age of 16, Catherine’s sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine’s parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance.

Her parents attempted to resist this move, to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Catherine once explained that she regarded her father as a representation of Jesus and her mother as Our Lady, and her brothers as the apostles, which helped her to serve them with humility.

Despite Catherine’s religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.

Fellow Dominican sisters taught St. Catherine how to read. Meanwhile, she lived quietly, isolated within her family home.

St. Catherine developed a habit of giving things away and she continually gave away her family’s food and clothing to people in need. She never asked permission to give these things away, and she quietly put up with their criticisms.

Something changed her when she was 21. She described an experience she referred to as her “mystical marriage to Christ.” There are debates over whether or not St. Catherine was given a ring with some claiming she was given a bejeweled ring, and other claiming the ring was made of Jesus’s skin. St. Catherine herself started the rumor of the latter in her writings, but she was known to often claim the ring itself was invisible.

Such mystical experiences change people, and St. Catherine was no exception. In her vision, she was told to reenter public life and to help the poor and sick. She immediately rejoined her family and went into public to help people in need.

She often visited hospitals and homes where the poor and sick were found. Her activities quickly attracted followers who helped her in her mission to serve the poor and sick.

St. Catherine was drawn further into the world as she worked, and eventually she began to travel, calling for reform of the Church and for people to confess and to love God totally. She became involved in politics, and was key in working to keep city states loyal to the Pope. She was also credited with helping to start a crusade to the Holy Land. On one occasion, she visited a condemned political prisoner and was credited with saving his soul, which she saw being taken up to heaven at the moment of his death.

St. Catherine allegedly was given the stigmata, but like her ring, it was visible only to herself. She took Bl. Raymond of Capua has her confessor and spiritual director.

From 1375 onwards, St. Catherine began dictating letters to scribes. She petitioned for peace and was instrumental in persuading the Pope in Avignon to return to Rome.

She became involved in the fractured politics of her time, but was instrumental in restoring the Papacy to Rome and in brokering peace deals during a time of factional conflict and war between the Italian city states.

She also established a monastery for women in 1377 outside of Siena. She is credited with composing over 400 letters, her Dialogue, which is her definitive work, and her prayers. These works are so influential that St. Catherine would later be declared a Doctor of the Church. She is one of the most influential and popular saints in the Church.

By 1380, the 33-year-old mystic had become ill, possibly because of her habit of extreme fasting. Her confessor, Raymond, ordered her to eat, but she replied that she found it difficult to do so, and that possibly she was ill.

In January of 1380, her illness accelerated her inability to eat and drink. Within weeks, she was unable to use her legs. She died on April 29, following a stroke just a week prior.

St. Catherine’s feast day is April 29, she is the patroness against fire, illness, the United States, Italy, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their faith, sexual temptation, and nurses.
https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=9

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agapius
St. Ava
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Daniel
St. Dichu
St. Endellion
St. Fiachan
St. Hugh the Great
Martyrs of Corfu
St. Paulinus of Brescia
St. Peter of Verona
Bl. Robert Bruges
St. Robert of Molesmes
St. Senan
St. Torpes of Pisa
St. Tychicus
St. Wilfrid the Younger

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284

First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
Psalms 98:1-4:  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Gospel: 
John 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042818.cfm

Reflection: 
What’s the greatest thing we can aim for in this life? – Is it not to know God personally as your Father and Redeemer? What is the best thing we can possess in this life, bringing more joy, contentment, life and happiness, than anything else? – Is it not true knowledge and understanding of who God is and what kind of relationship he wants to have with you? Scripture tells us the greatest thing we can know and possess is true knowledge of God: Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

We can know God the Father personally and be united with him
One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal knowledge of God as our Father.

Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our heavenly Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us unconditionally, unselfishly and perfectly – without neglecting or forgetting us even for a brief moment. If we put our trust in Jesus and believe in him, Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3)Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his personal love and care for you?

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him always.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr28.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Peter Chanel (1803-1841)
In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day – April 28) The protomartyr of the South Seas, St. Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. His intelligence and simple piety brought him to the attention of the local priest, Father Trompier, who saw to his elementary education. Entering the diocesan Seminary, Peter won the affection and the esteem of both students and professors. After his ordination he found himself in a rundown country parish and completely revitalized it in the three year span that he remained there. However, his mind was set on missionary work; so, in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists) which concentrated on missionary work at home and abroad. To his dismay, he was appointed to teach at the seminary at Belley and remained there for the next five years, diligently performing his duties.

In 1836, the Society was given the New Hebrides in the Pacific as a field for evangelization, and the jubilant St. Peter was appointed Superior of a little band of missionaries sent to proclaim the Faith to its inhabitants. On reaching their destination after an arduous ten month journey, the band split up and St. Peter went to the Island of Futuna accompanied by a laybrother and an English layman, Thomas Boog. They were at first well received by the pagans and their king Niuliki who had only recently forbidden canabalism. However, the kings jealousy and fear were aroused when the missionaries learned the language and gained the people’s confidence; he realized the adoption of the Christian Faith would lead to the abolition of some of the prerogatives he enjoyed as both highpriest and sovereign.

Finally, when his own son expressed a desire to be baptized, the king’s hatred erupted and he dispatched a group of his warriors to set upon the saintly head of the missionaries. Thus, on April 28, 1841, three years after his arrival, St. Peter was seized and clubbed to death by those he had come to save. And his death brought his work to completion – within five months the entire island was converted to Christianity. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=403

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aphrodisius
St. Artemius
St. Cronan of Roscrea
St. Cronan of Roscrea
St. Gianna Beretta Molla
St. John Baptist Thanh
St. Louis de Montfort
St. Louis Mary Grignion
St. Luchesio
St. Mark of Galilee
St. Pamphilus
St. Patrick of Prusa
St. Peter Chanel
St. Peter Hieu
St. Pollio
St. Theodora
St. Theodora & Didymus
St. Valeria of Milan
St. Valerie
St. Vitalis

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 283

First Reading: Acts 13:26-33
Psalms 2:6-11:  You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
Gospel: 
John 14:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042718.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God’s peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we all inevitably encounter trouble and difficulties. Jesus knew his disciples would have to face trials and persecution after he left them to return to his Father in heaven. Adversity can make us lose hope and become discouraged, or it can press us closer to God and to his promises for us.

“It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

A place for you in my Father’s house
Just as God, who appeared as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, went ahead of Moses and the Israelites to lead them safely through the wilderness to the promised land, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going ahead through his ascension into heaven to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house – a place of lasting peace, friendship, and happiness with God. God’s house is never closed nor over-crowded – there is plenty of room for everyone who believes in God and in his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest fear in this present life – whether it be the separation and loss of a loved one or the threat to one’s own life – is put to rest by Jesus’ promise that we will live forever with him and the eternal Father. There we will be joined with a great company of saints and angels who will be our friends forever as well.

Do you know the way to the Father’s house in heaven? Jesus expected his disciples to know where his life was headed – to dwell in everlasting glory with his Father in heaven. And he expected that his disciples would recognize that this was their ultimate destination as well. Thomas, who was both a doubter and a realist, spoke for all the disciples when he said, “we neither know where you are going nor how we shall get there on our own?” Thomas was a very practical “down to earth” kind of person who wanted to see the map and landmarks showing the exact path that would lead the way to the desired haven. Jesus assured Thomas that he would not only give him everything he needed to complete the journey, he would be Thomas’ personal guide as well.

Traveling alone in unfamiliar or uncharted places can be unnerving and bewildering without a companion or guide. And some places are impossible to pass through without the right person who knows the way and who can guarantee a safe passage. Several years ago I was invited by Christian friends to visit their community in Lebanon. They were in the middle of a civil war that would last for 15 years (1975-1990). Months and years of hardship, exposure to danger, and the uncertainty of the war’s outcome, as well as being physically cutoff from outside contact with friends, was weighing heavily. I was eager to visit to offer some support. Since I had never traveled there before, nor spoke the local language, I knew that I was helpless without a trustworthy guide. Fortunately a close Christian friend from Lebanon met me half-way on my journey and personally guided me through some unfamiliar territory, including check-points, road-blocks, physical danger, and some social, religious, and political hurdles as well. My guide got me safely to my destination. I literally owed my life to his safe-keeping. The Lord Jesus promised his followers that he would be their personal guide and friend who would lead them to the source of  lasting peace, enduring friendship, and abundant life.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father’s house and would return to take them with him. And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father’s house. Jesus’ answer to there question, “show us the way”, was both a reminder that his disciples should trust their Master and Teacher to show them the way, and a challenge for them to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from. Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name which God had revealed to Moses, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims which only God could make. He stated unequivocally to his disciples: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)

Jesus proclaims: I am the Way (John 14:6). He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning – before time and creation ever existed. The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and guide book. He personally is the way to the Father’s kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him. He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the good shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way. Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?

Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, “I have taught you the truth.” Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He possesses in himself the fulness of truth. Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth which proceeds from the Father. Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would learn the truth and the  truth would set them free” (John 8:31). The truth which Jesus proclaims has power to set us free from ignorance, deception, and sin. The words which Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him. Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true – true in thought, speech, deed, example, and action. Jesus embodies the truth in his person.

Jesus proclaims that he is the Life (John 14:6). He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give – abundant life that lasts forever. Is there any trouble, fear, or distraction that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr27.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Zita
St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her older sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle Graziano was a hermit whom the local people regarded as a saint. Zita herself always tried to do God’s will obediently whenever it was pointed out to her by her mother. At the age of twelve Zita became a housekeeper in the house of a rich weaver in Lucca, Italy, eight miles from her home at Monte Sagrati. As things turned out, she stayed with that family for the last forty-eight years of her life. She found time every day to attend Mass and to recite many prayers, as well as to carry out her household duties so perfectly that the other servants were jealous of her. Indeed, her work was part of her religion! She use to say: “a servant is not holy if she is not busy; lazy people of our position is fake holiness.” At first, her employers were upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor, but in time, they were completely won over by her patience and goodness and she became a very close friend. St. Zita was given a free reign over her working schedule and busied herself with visits to the sick and those in prison. Word spread rapidly in Lucca of her good deeds and the heavenly visions that appeared to her. She was sought out by the important people, and at her death in 1278 the people acclaimed her as a saint. She is the patroness of domestic workers. Her feast day is April 27. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=582

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adelelmus
St. Asicus
St. Castor & Stephen
St. Enoder
St. Floribert of Liege
St. John of Constantinople
St. Lawrence Huong
St. Liberalis of Treviso
St. Maughold
Bl. Nicolas Roland
Bl. Osanna of Cattaro
Bl. Peter Armengol
St. Tertullian
St. Theodore of Tabenna
St. Theophilus
St. Winewald
St. Zita

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 282

First Reading: Acts 13:13-25
Psalms 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27:  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: 
John 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042618.cfm

Reflection: 
How do you treat those who cause you grief or harm, especially those who are close to you in some way? In his last supper discourse, Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships. Jesus knew beforehand that one of his own disciples would betray him. Such knowledge could have easily led Jesus to distance himself from such a person and to protect himself from harm’s way. Instead, Jesus expresses his love, affection, and loyalty to those who were his own, even to the one he knew would “stab him in the back” when he got the opportunity. Jesus used a quotation from Psalm 4:9 which describes an act of treachery by one’s closest friend. In the culture of Jesus’ day, to eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust. Jesus extends such friendship to Judas right at the moment when Judas is conspiring to betray his master. The expression lift his heel against me reinforces the brute nature of this act of violent rejection.

Love and loyalty that endure to the end
Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness to them even to death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection Jesus opened a new way of relationship and friendship with God. Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father who sent him. This principle extends to all who belong to Christ and who speak in his name. To accept the Lord’s messenger is to accept Jesus himself. The great honor and the great responsibility a Christian has is to stand in the world for Jesus Christ. As his disciples and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are called to speak for him and to act on his behalf.  Are you ready to stand for Jesus at the cross of humiliation, rejection, opposition, and suffering?

“Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus our Lord.” (Prayer of Saint Augustine) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr26.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Cletus
St. Cletus was the third bishop of Rome, and succeeded St. Linus, which circumstance alone shows his eminent virtue among the first disciples of St. Peter in the West. He sat twelve years, from 76 to 89. The canon of the Roman mass, (which Bossuet and all others agree to be of primitive antiquity,) Bede, and other Martyrologists, style him a martyr. He was buried near St. Linus, on the Vatican, and his relics still remain in that church.  https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=610

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aldo
St. Anacletus II
St. Basileus
St. Cletus
St. Exuperantia
St. Franca Visalta
St. Lucidius of Verona
St. Paschasius Radbertus
St. Peter of Rates
St. Riquier
St. Trudpert

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist
Lectionary: 555

First Reading: 1 Peter 5:5-14
Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17:  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: 
Mark 16:15-20
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.”

Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042518.cfm

Reflection: 
In many churches in the East and West, Mark the Evangelist is honored today. Each of the four Gospel accounts gives us a portrait of Jesus, his life, teaching, mission, and his death and resurrection. Each is different in style, length, and emphasis. But they all have a common thread and purpose – the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Among the four Gospels, Mark’s account is unique in many ways. It is the shortest account and seems to be the earliest. Mark the Evangelist was an associate of the apostle Peter and likely wrote his Gospel in Rome where Peter was based. Mark wrote it in Greek. It was likely written for Gentile (non-Jewish) readers in general, and for the Christians at Rome in particular.

It is significant that Mark, as well as Luke, was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write the Gospel account even though he wasn’t one of the twelve apostles. Augustine of Hippo, explains: “The Holy Spirit willed to choose for the writing of the Gospel two [Mark and Luke] who were not even from those who made up the Twelve [Apostles], so that it might not be thought that the grace of evangelization had come only to the apostles and that in them the fountain of grace had dried up” (Sermon 239.1).

All must hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ until he comes again
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 atoning death for sin and his glorious resurrection to new life for all who will believe in Jesus, God’s beloved Son. 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?

Christ calls every believer to be his ambassador of Good News (the Gospel message)
This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church – the people of God. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news (the Gospel message) 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 world-wide. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“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 victory over the grave and gift of everlasting life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr25.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Mark, Patron of notaries, Venice, Barristers (1st Century-April 25, 68 AD)
Much of what we know about St. Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, comes largely from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Mark the Evangelist is believed to be the ‘John Mark’ referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, the history of the early Church found in the Canon of the New Testament.

He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) whose home became a meeting place for the apostles. He is also the cousin of St. Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), a Levite and a Cypriot.

Mark joined St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first missionary journey to Antioch in 44 A.D. When the group reached Cyprus, Christian tradition holds that Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem, possibly because he was missing his home (Acts 13:13). This incident may have caused Paul to question whether Mark could be a reliable missionary. This created a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas and led Paul to refuse Mark’s accompaniment on their second journey to the churches of Cilicia and the rest of Asia Minor.

However, it can be assumed the troubles between Paul and Mark did not last long, because when Paul was first imprisoned, Mark, who was at the time in Rome with plans of visiting Asia Minor, visited him as one of his trusted companions (Col 4:10).

Mark’s hopes to visit Asia Minor were most likely carried out, because during Paul’s second captivity and just before his martyrdom, Paul wrote to Timothy at Ephesus advising him to “take Mark and bring him with you [to Rome], for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). If Mark returned to Rome at this time, he was probably there when Paul was martyred.

According to Christian tradition, Mark also held a close relationship with St. Peter, who referred to Mark has ‘his son’ in his letter addressed to a number of churches in Asia Minor (1 Peter 5:13). Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Papias all indicate that Mark was an interpreter for Peter.

Although Papias states Mark had not personally heard the Lord speak firsthand and, like Luke, Mark was not one of the twelve apostles, some believe Mark was likely speaking of himself when he wrote the description of Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemani. “Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked” (Mark 14:51-52).

St. Mark lived for years in Alexandria, where he died as a martyr while being dragged through the streets.

Mark’s Gospel was probably written between 60 and 70 A.D., and was based upon the teachings of St. Peter. It is believed Mark provided both Luke and Matthew with basic sources for their Gospel’s.

He was probably the first bishop of Alexandria, Egypt and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, although he is not mentioned in connection to the city by either Clement of Alexandria nor by Origen.

In 828, relics of St. Mark were stolen from Alexandria and taken to Venice, Italy. There they are enshrined in a beautiful cathedral dedicated to the saint.

St. Mark’s symbol is a winged lion. This is believed to be derived from his description of St. John the Baptist, as “a voice of one crying out in the desert” (Mark 1:3). The wings come from Ezekiel’s vision of four winged creatures as the evangelists.

He is often depicted as writing or holding his Gospel. He is sometimes shown as a bishop on a throne or as a man helping Venetian sailors.

St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice. His feast day is celebrated on April 25. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=305

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anianus
St. Erminus
St. Evodius
St. Macaille
St. Macedonius
St. Mark
St. Mella
St. Phaebadius
St. Philo and Agathopodes
Bl. Robert Anderton
St. Robert of Syracuse
Bl. William Marsden

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

Posted by: RAM | April 23, 2018

Tuesday (April 24) “The Father and I are one.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280

First Reading: Acts 11:19-26
Psalm 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7 All you nations, praise the Lord.
Gospel: 
John 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042418.cfm

Reflection: 
How secure is your faith and trust in God? Scripture describes God’s word as a “lamp for our feet and a light for our steps”(Psalm 119:105). The Jewish Feast of the Dedication is also called the Festival of Lights or Hanakkuh. This feast was held in late December, near the time when Christians celebrate the feast of Christmas. This is the time of year when the day is shortest and the night longest. Jesus used this occasion to declare that he is the true light of the world (John 8:12). In his light we can see who God truly is and we can find the true path to heaven.

Our true and lasting security rests in Jesus alone
Jesus speaks of the tremendous trust he has in God his Father and the tremendous trust we ought to have in him because he is our good shepherd (John 10:11). Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless against prey, such as wolves, and often get lost and bewildered without a guide. That is why shepherds literally live with their sheep out in the open field and mountain sides. The shepherd guards his sheep from the dangers of storms, floods, and beasts of prey. The shepherd leads his sheep to the best places for feeding and the best streams for drinking. He finds the best place for their rest and safety at night. The sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and heed his call when he leads them to safe pasture and rest.

Listen to the Good Shepherd and you will not go astray
We are very much like sheep who stray, we become easy prey to forces which can destroy us – sin, Satan, and a world in opposition to God and his people. The Lord Jesus came not only to free us from Satan’s snares and the grip of sin, he came to personally lead us to the best of places where we can feed on his “word of life” and drink from the “living waters” of his Holy Spirit. The sheep who heed the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd, have no fear. He leads them to the best of places – everlasting peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.

In this present life we will encounter trials, difficulties, and persecution. We can face them alone or we can follow Jesus, the true shepherd, who will bring us safely through every difficulty to the place of peace and security with God. Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and heed his commands?

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for us. I place all my hope and trust in you. Open my ears to hear your voice today and to follow your commands.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr24.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622)
Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, Germany, in 1577. A practicing lawyer, he traveled across Europe as a tutor to aristocrats but then started defending the poor. In 1612, he became a Franciscan Capuchin monk, taking the name of Fidelis. A missionary to Grisons, Switzerland, Fidelis was so successful that local Protestants claimed that he was a spy for the Austrian Emperor. Fidelis was stabbed to death in a church id Seewis. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV. Fidelis served also as the head of the Congregation for the Spreading of the Faith.  https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3355

More Saints of the Day:
St. Benedetto Menni
St. Deodatus
St. Diarmaid
St. Dyfnan
St. Egbert
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
St. Honorius of Brescia
St. Mary Clopas
St. Mellitus of Canterbury
St. Sabas Stratelates
St. William Firmatus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 279

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3-4 Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042318.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks 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 says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

The Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
What can shepherding teach us about God and our relationship with him? At the end of each day the shepherd brought his sheep into shelter. They knew the voice of their shepherd and came at his beckoning. So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. In the winter the sheep were usually brought to a communal village shelter which was locked and kept secure by a guardian. In the summer months the sheep were usually kept out in the fields and then gathered into a fold at night which was guarded by a shepherd throughout the night. He was literally the door through which the sheep had to pass.

The Scriptures describe God as a shepherd who brings security and peace to his people. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore (Psalm 120:8). Even the leaders of God’s people are called shepherds: they shall lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd (Numbers 27:17). Just as a shepherd kept watch over his sheep and protected them from danger, so Jesus stands watch over his people as the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to God?

Jesus willingly laid down his life for us – the sheep he ransomed with his own blood  
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) writes: “He has accomplished what he taught us: He has shown us what He commanded us to do. He laid down his own life for his sheep, that within our mystery he might change his body and blood into food, and nourish the sheep he had redeemed with the food of his own flesh. He has shown us the way we must follow, despite fear of death. He has laid down the pattern to which we must conform ourselves. The first duty laid on us is to use our material goods in mercy for the needs of his sheep, and then, if necessary, give even our lives for them. He that will not give of his substance for his sheep, how shall he lay down his life for them?” (Tr. 46 in John). Do you look to Jesus the Good Shepherd, to receive the strength and courage you need to live and serve as his disciple?

“Lord Jesus, you always lead me in the way of true peace and safety. May I never doubt your care nor stray from your ways. Keep me safe in the shelter of your presence.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr23.htm

Saint of the Day: St. George (d. 303)
It is uncertain when Saint George was born and historians continue to debate to this day. However, his death date is estimated to be April 23 303 A.D.

The first piece of evidence of George’s existance appeared within the works of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen’s Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. George was one of several names listed in the historical text, and Pope Gelasius claimed George was one of the saints “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.”

George was born to a Gerontios and Polychronia, a Roman officer and a Greek native of Lydda. Both were Christians from noble families of the Anici and George, Georgios in the original Greek, was raised to follow their faith.

When George was old enough, he was welcomed into Diocletian’s army. by his late 20’s, George became a Tribunus and served as an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia.

On February 24, 303 A.D., Diocletian, who hated Christians, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods.

George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George’s father.

When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself.

In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods, and made several other offers that George refused.

Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George’s execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions. He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times, but still George did not turn from God.

On April 23, 303 A.D., George was decapitated before Nicomedia’s outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial, and other Christians went to honor George as a martyr.

https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=280

More Saints of the Day:
St. Adalbert of Prague
St. Felix
Sts. Felix, Fortunatus, & Achilleus
St. Fortunatus
St. George
St. Giles of Assisi
St. Ibar of Beggerin
St. Adalbert of Prague

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

Posted by: RAM | April 21, 2018

Sunday (April 22): “I Am the Good Shepherd.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 50

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12
Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel: John 10:11-18
Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042218.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks 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 says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Jesus made three promises to his followers. He promised them everlasting life. If they accept him and follow him, they will have the life of God in them. Jesus also promised them a life that would know no end. Death would not be the end but the beginning; they would know the glory of indestructible life. Jesus promised a life that was secure. Jesus said that nothing would snatch them out of his hand, not even sorrow and death, since he is everlasting life itself. Our lives are safe in his hands.

Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls you to himself?
The words which Jesus spoke upset many of the Jewish leaders. How could he speak with the same authority which God spoke and claim to be equal with God? He must either be insane or divine. Unfortunately some thought he was mad even though he cured a man who was blind from birth. We are faced with the same choice. Either Jesus is who he claims to be – the Son of God and Savior of the world – or the world’s greatest deluder! We cannot be indifferent to his claim. For those who accept him as Lord and Savior he offers the peace and security of unending life and joy with God. Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to Christ?

Cyril of Alexander, a 5th century church father comments on Jesus as our Good Shepherd:

“He shows in what manner a shepherd may be proved good; and He teaches that he must be prepared to give up his life fighting in defense of his sheep, which was fulfilled in Christ.  For man has departed from the love of God, and fallen into sin, and because of this was, I say, excluded from the divine abode of paradise, and when he was weakened by that disaster, he yielded to the devil tempting him to sin, and death following that sin he became the prey of fierce and ravenous wolves.  But after Christ was announced as the True Shepherd of all men, He laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16), fighting for us against that pack of inhuman beasts.

“He bore the Cross for us, that by His own death he might destroy death.  He was condemned for us, that He might deliver all of us from the sentence of punishment: the tyranny of sin being overthrown by our faith: fastening to the Cross the decree that stood against us, as it is written (Colossians 2:14). Therefore as the father of sin had as it were shut up the sheep in hell, giving them to death to feed on, as it is written in the psalms (Ps. Xlviii.16), He died for us as truly Good, and truly our Shepherd, so that the dark shadow of death driven away He might join us to the company of the blessed in heaven; and in exchange for abodes that lie far in the depths of the pit, and in the hidden places of the sea, grant us mansions in His Father’s House above.  Because of this he says to us in another place: Fear not, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom (Luke 12:32).”

Do you listen attentively to the voice of the Good Shepherd and obey his word?

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who keeps watch over our lives. May I be ever attentive to your voice and submit fully to your wise rule for my life.  Draw me near to you that I may always find peace and joy in your presence.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr22.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Abdiesus (d. 342)
Also called Hebed Jesus, a deacon in the Christian community of Persia who was caught up in the persecutions conducted by King Shapur II. Records indicate that Abdiesus was accompanied in his martyrdom by Abrosimus, Acepsimus, Azadanes, Azades, Bicor, Mareas, Milles, and a women named Tarbula. Some were Persian courtiers, others priests and bishops. Tarbula was the sister of St. Simeon, and suffered a particularly cruel death by sawing. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1070

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abdiesus
St. Acepsimas
St. Alexander
St. Apelles
St. Arwald
St. Authaire
St. Bicor
St. Epiphanius and Alexander
St. Joseph of Persia
St. Leonides of Alexandria
St. Leo of Sens
St. Mareas
Bl. Maria Gabriella Sagheddu
St. Milles
St. Opportuna
St. Parmenius, Chrysoteins, and Helimenas
St. Senorina
St. Tarbula
St. Theodore of Sykeon

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278

First Reading: Acts 9:31-42
Psalms 116:12-17
How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
Gospel: John 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042118.cfm

Reflection: 
Why do some find it easier while others find it harder to accept the claims which Jesus made? Many were attracted to Jesus because he offered them something irresistible – a visible sign of God’s mercy and favor which Jesus demonstrated in his wonderful works of healing, deliverance, and miraculous signs, including the multiplication of the loaves and fish when he feed the five thousand who had gathered to hear him speak. Many stumbled, however, when Jesus made claims which only God can make. Jesus’ discourse on “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” (see John 6:51-59) which pointed to the Last Supper, caused offence to many of his followers.

The blessing of full union with God through Christ
Jesus claimed to be the bread of heaven, the very life of God given to us as spiritual food to sustain us on our journey to our promised homeland with the Father in heaven. Jesus did not leave any middle ground for his hearers. They must either accept his word as divine or reject it as the claim of an imposter. Even the apostles admitted that this was a “hard saying”. This expression meant that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept. Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty to him as the Holy One sent from the Father in heaven. Jesus promised his disciples nothing less than the full blessing of eternal life and union with God. Jesus assures his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who gives the invitation and the grace to believe and follow even in the “hard sayings”. Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so with violence fueled by hatred, envy, and even betrayal by one of his own disciples.

“My words are spirit and life”
Jesus told his disciples that his words were “spirit and life” (John 6:63) – his words came from the heavenly Father who is the Author of life and the One who breathes his Spirit into those who believe in him. Through the gift of faith Peter was able to receive spiritual revelation of who Jesus truly is – the Holy One of God, the eternal Son sent from the Father in heaven to redeem a fallen human race and reconcile them with God.

Faith is a gift and a personal response to God’s revelation of himself
How does God help us grow in faith and trust in his word, even the hard sayings which are difficult to understand? Faith is a gift which God freely gives to those who listen to his word and who put their trust in him. Faith is a personal response to God’s revelation of himself. Faith is neither blind nor ignorant. It is based on the truth and reliability of God’s word. True faith seeks understanding. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, “I believe in order to understand, and I understand the better to believe.” The Lord Jesus offers all of his followers his life-giving word and Spirit to help us grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.

We can know God personally through his word
Paul the Apostle tells us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit who enlightens the eyes of our heart and mind to understand the truth and wisdom which comes from God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God’s action and work in our personal lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). We can know God personally, and we grow in recognizing his voice as we listen to his word and obey his instruction. Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus has the words of everlasting life and the power to change and transform your life? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith that you may grow in knowing, loving, and serving him as your Lord and Redeemer, Teacher and Healer, Master and Savior.

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside all doubt and fear so that I may freely embrace your word with complete trust and joy. I surrender all to you. Be the Lord of my life and the Ruler of my heart. May there be nothing which hinders me from trusting in your love and following your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr21.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Anastasius XI
Patriarch of Antioch, distinguished for his learning and holiness. Anastasius opposed Emperor Justinian, who was issuing imperial documents about the faith. Justinian commanded that Anastasius be exiled but died before the sentence could be carried out by the court. Justin II, who succeeded his uncle Justinian, exiled Anastasius five years later. In 593 Anastasius was restored to his see by Pope St. Gregory the Great. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1357

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anastasius XI
St. Anastasius the Sinaite
St. Anselm
St. Apollo and Companions
St. Arator
St. Beuno
St. Conrad of Parzham
St. Froduiphus
Bl. John Saziari
St. Maximian of Constantinople

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277

First Reading: Acts 9:1-20
Psalms 117:1-2
Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Gospel: John 6:52-59
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042018.cfm

Reflection: 
Why did Jesus offer himself as “food and drink”? The Jews were scandalized and the disciples were divided when Jesus said “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” What a hard saying, unless you understand who Jesus is and why he calls himself the bread of life. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6:3-13), when Jesus said the blessing, broke and distributed the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, is a sign that prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper. The Gospel of John has no account of the Last Supper meal (just the foot washing ceremony and Jesus’ farewell discourse). Instead, John quotes extensively from Jesus’ teaching on the bread of life.

In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator as the giver and sustainer of life. Melchizedek, who was both a priest and king (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1-4), offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. His offering prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king (Hebrews 7:26; 9:11; 10:12). The remembrance of the manna in the wilderness recalled to the people of Israel that they live – not by earthly bread alone – but by the bread of the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Jesus made himself a perfect offering and sacrifice to God on our behalf
At the last supper when Jesus blessed the cup of wine, he gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Jesus was pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make on the cross, when he would shed his blood for us – thus pouring himself out and giving himself to us – as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal (passover) lamb whose blood spared the Israelites from death in Egypt.

Paul the Apostle tells us that “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Paul echoes the words of John the Baptist who called Jesus the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He “offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14) and “gave himself as a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).

The Lord Jesus sustains us with the life-giving bread of heaven
Jesus chose the time of the Jewish Feast of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood as the true bread of heaven. Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and resurrection – the new passover – is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the church in the glory of God’s kingdom. When the Lord Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the very center of our being. That life which he offers is the very life of God himself. Do you hunger for the bread of life?

“Lord Jesus, you nourish and sustain us with your very own presence and life-giving word. You are the bread of life – the heavenly food that sustains us now and that produces everlasting life within us. May I always hunger for you and be satisfied in you alone.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr20.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Marian
When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by the Visigoths. St. Mamertinus gave him the habit, and the novice edified all his piety and obedience. The Abbot, wishing to test him, gave him the lowest possible post – that of cowman and shepherd in the Abbey farm at Merille. Marcian accepted the work cheerfully, and it was noticed that the beast under his charge throve and multified astonishingly. He seemed to have a strange power over all animals. The birds flocked to eat out of his hands: bears and wolves departed at his command; and when a hunted wild boar fled to him for protection, he defended it from its assailants and set it free. After his death, the Abbey took the name of the humble monk. His feast day is April 20th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=730

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agnes of Montepulciano
St. Francis Page
St. Hugh of Anzy le Duc
Bl. John Finch
St. Marcian of Auxerre
St. Marian
Bl. Robert Watkinson
St. Theodore Trichinas
St. Theotimus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 276

First Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Psalms 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Gospel: John 6:44-51
Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041918.cfm

Reflection: 
God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. What is the bread of life which Jesus offers? It is first of all the life of God himself – life which sustains us not only now in this age but also in the age to come. The Rabbis said that the generation in the wilderness have no part in the life to come. In the Book of Numbers it is recorded that the people who refused to brave the dangers of the promised land were condemned to wander in the wilderness until they died. The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.

Jesus is the “bread of life”
Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna from heaven prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.

The food that makes us live forever
When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.), an early church father and martyr, calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.

Do you hunger for the “bread of life”? 
Jesus offers us the abundant supernatural life of heaven itself – but we can miss it or even refuse it. To refuse Jesus is to refuse eternal life, unending life with the Heavenly Father. To accept Jesus as the bread of heaven is not only life and spiritual nourishment for this world but glory in the world to come. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the “bread of life”?

“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr19.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Alphege, Patron of Greenwich; Solihull; kidnap victims (954-1012)
Archbishop and “the First Martyr of Canterbury.” He was born in 953 and became a monk in the Deerhurst Monastery in Gloucester, England, asking after a few years to become a hermit. He received permission for this vocation and retired to a small hut near Somerset, England. In 984 Alphege assumed the role of abbot of the abbey of Bath, founded by St. Dunstan and by his own efforts. Many of his disciples from Somerset joined him at Bath. In that same year, Alphege succeeded Ethelwold as bishop of Winchester. He served there for two decades, famed for his care of the poor and for his own austere life. King Aethelred the Unready used his abilities in 994, sending him to mediate with invading Danes. The Danish chieftain Anlaf converted to Christianity as a result of his meetings with Alphege, although he and the other chief, Swein, demanded tribute from the Anglo-Saxons of the region. Anlaf vowed never to lead his troops against Britain again. In 1005 Alphege became the successor to Aleric as the archbishop of Canterbury, receiving the pallium in Rome from Pope John XVIII. He returned to England in time to be captured by the Danes pillaging the southern regions. The Danes besieged Canterbury and took Alphege captive. The ransom for his release was about three thousand pounds and went unpaid. Alphege refused to give the Danes that much, an act which infuriated them. He was hit with an ax and then beaten to death. Revered as a martyr, Alphege’s remains were placed in St. Paul’s Church in London. The body, moved to Canterbury in 1023, was discovered to be incorrupt in 1105. Relics of St. Alphege are also in Bath, Glastonbury, Ramsey, Reading, Durham, Yorkminster and in Westminster Abbey. His emblem is an ax, and he is depicted in his pontifical vestments or as a shepherd defending his flock. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1278

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alphege of Canterbury
St. Alphege
St. Crescentius
St. Expeditus
St. Gerold
St. Hermogenes
Bl. James Duckett
St. Paphnutius
St. Anthony Pavoni
St. Timon
St. Ursmar
St. Vincent of Collioure

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 275

First Reading: Acts 8:1-8
Psalms 66:1-7
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Gospel: John 6:35-40
Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041818.cfm

Reflection: 
Why did Jesus call himself the bread of life? The Jews understood that God promised them manna from heaven to sustain them on their journey to the promised land. Bread is the very staple of life. We could not live without food for very long. Bread sustains us. But what is life? Jesus clearly meant something more than mere physical existence. The life Jesus refers to is connected with God, the author of life. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy. This is what Jesus makes possible for us – a loving relationship with God who created us for love with him. Apart from Jesus no one can enter that kind of life and relationship. Are you satisfied with mere physical existence or do you hunger for the abundant life which Jesus offers?

Jesus makes three claims here. First he offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us. Second, he promises unbroken friendship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from God. Third, he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection. Jesus rose physically never to die again. Those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will be bodily raised up to immortal life with Jesus when he comes again on the last day. Do you know the joy and hope of the resurrection?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unwavering faith and obedience in doing the will of our Father in heaven.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr18.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Apollonius the Apologist (d. 185)
Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered one of the most priceless documents of the early Church. Apollonius was a Roman senator who was denounced as a Christian by one of his slaves. The Praetorian Prefect, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, arrested him, also putting the slave to death as an informer. Perennis demanded that Apollonius denounce the faith, and when he refused, the case was remanded to the Roman senate. There a debate took place between Perennis and Apollonius that clearly outlines the beauty and the value of Christianity. Despite his eloquent defense, Apollonius was condemned and beheaded. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1499

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agia
St. Apollonius the Apologist
St. Athanasia of Aegina
St. Calocerus
St. Cogitosus
St. Corebus
St. Eleutherius & Anthia
St. Galdinus
St. Gebuinus
St. Laserian
Bl. Marie-Anne Blondin
St. Pedro de San Jose Betancur
St. Perfectus
St. Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur
St. Wicterp

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

Posted by: RAM | April 16, 2018

Tuesday (April 17): “I am the bread of life”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 274

First Reading: Acts 7:51–8:1
Psalms 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Gospel: John 6:30-35
The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041718.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you hunger for the bread of life? The Jews had always regarded the manna in the wilderness as the bread of God (Psalm 78:24, Exodus 16:15). There was a strong Rabbinic belief that when the Messiah came he would give manna from heaven. This was the supreme work of Moses. Now the Jewish leaders were demanding that Jesus produce manna from heaven as proof to his claim to be the Messiah. Jesus responds by telling them that it was not Moses who gave the manna, but God. And the manna given to Moses and the people was not the real bread from heaven, but only a symbol of the bread to come.

Jesus offers us the bread of heaven which produces spiritual life in us
Jesus then makes the claim which only God can make: I am the bread of life. The bread which Jesus offers is none else than the very life of God. This is the true bread which can truly satisfy the hunger in our hearts. The manna from heaven prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites.

Jesus is the true bread of life that sustains us now and forever
The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us both now and for all eternity. When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward. Do you hunger for God and for the food which produces everlasting life?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bread of life. You alone can satisfy the hunger in my heart. May I always find in you, the true bread from heaven, the source of life and nourishment I need to sustain me on my journey to the promised land of heaven.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr17.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Anicetus
Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and actively opposed Marcionism and Gnosticism. His pontificate saw the appearance of the controversy between East and West over the date of Easter. St. Polycarp, a disciple of John, is reported to have visited him in Rome about the dispute, which was to accelerate and grow more heated over the following centuries.   https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=874

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anicetus
St. Donan
St. Elias
St. Fortunatus & Marcian
St. Landericus
St. Mappalicus
St. Peter and Hermogenes
St. Robert of Chaise Dieu
St. Stephen Harding
St. Villicus
Bl. Wando

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

St. Bernadette, Patron of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France
(1844-1879)
Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 273

First Reading: Acts 6:8-15
Psalms 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Gospel: John 6:22-29
[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041618.cfm

Reflection: 
What do you most hunger for – wealth, peace, health, love, the good life? Jesus addressed this issue with those who sought him after he performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-15). Were they simply hungry for things which satisfy the body or for that which satisfies the heart and soul?

Only God can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience
Jesus echoes the question posed by the prophet Isaiah: “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy” (Isaiah 55:2)? There are two kinds of hunger – physical and spiritual. Only God can satisfy the hunger in our heart and soul – the hunger for truth, for life, and for love.

Believe in Jesus Christ who alone can satisfy us now and forever
Jesus also spoke about the works of God and what we must do to be doing the works of God, namely to believe in God’ Son whom he has sent into the world. Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: A life of love and service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God’s mercy and kindness; a life of holiness and purity which corresponds to God’s holiness; and a life of submission and trust which corresponds to the wisdom of God. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you hunger for the bread which comes down from heaven and thirst for the words of everlasting life?

“Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the deepest longing and hunger in our hearts. May I always hunger for the imperishable bread, that I may be satisfied in you alone as the True Bread of Heaven. Nourish and strengthen me that I may serve you with great joy, generosity, and zeal all the days of my life”. http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr16.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Bernadette, Patron of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France
Birth: January 7, 1844
Death: April 16, 1879
Beatified By: 1925
Canonized By: by Pope Pius XI on December 1933

St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre’s, the local parish church, on January 9. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, she lived the rest of her life in poor health.

On Thursday, February 11, 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, when a very beautiful lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha).

The woman wore blue and white and smiled at Bernadette before making the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell to her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray. Bernadette later described the woman as “uo petito damizelo,” meaning “a small young lady. Though her sister and friend claimed they were unable to see her, Bernadette knew what she saw was real.

Three days later, Bernadette, her sister Marie, and other girls returned to the grotto, where Bernadette immediately knelt, saying she could see “aquero” again. She fell into a trance and one girl threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock that shattered on the ground. It was then that the apparition disappeared.

On February 18, Bernadette said “the vision” asked her to return to the grotto each day for a fortnight. With each visit, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary and the period of daily visions became known as “la Quinzaine sacrée,” meaning “holy fortnight.”

When Bernadette began to visit the grotto, her parents were embarrassed and attempted to stop her, but were unable to do so. On February 25, Bernadette claimed to have had a life-changing vision.

The vision had told her “to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there” as an act of penance. The next day, the grotto’s muddy waters had been cleared and fresh clear water flowed.

On March 2, at the thirteenth of the apparitions, Bernadette told her family the lady sad “a chapel should be built and a procession formed.”

During her sixteenth vision, which Bernadette claims to have experienced for over an hour, was on March 25. Bernadette claimed she had asked the woman her name, but her question was only met with a smile. Bernadette asked again, three more times, and finally the woman said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Though many townspeople believed she had indeed been seeing the Holy Virgin, Bernadette’s story created a division in her town. Many believed she was telling the truth, while others believed she had a mental illness and demanded she be put in a mental asylum. Some believed Bernadette’s visions meant she needed to pray for penance.

Church authorities and the French government rigorously interviewed the girl, and by 1862 they confirmed she spoke truth. Since Bernadette first caused the spring to produce clean water, 69 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau, and after what the Church claimed were “extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations,” no one was able to explain what caused the cures.

The Lourdes Commission that initially examined Bernadette, ran an analysis on the water but were only able to determine it contained a high mineral content. Bernadette believed it was faith and prayer that was responsible for curing the sick.

Bernadette asked the local priest to build a chapel at the site of her visions and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is now one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Many other chapels and churches has been built around it, including the Basilica of St. Pius X, which can accommodate 25,000 people and was dedicated by the future Pope John XXIII when he was the Papal Nuncio to France.

Following the miracles and constructions, Bernadette decided she did not like the attention she was getting and went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, where she was taught to read and write. Though she considered joining the Carmelites, her health was too fragile.

On July 29, 1866, Bernadette took the religious habit of a postulant and joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers. Her Mistress of Novices was Sister Marie Therese Vauzou and the Mother Superior at the time named her Marie-Bernarde, in honor of her grandmother.

Bernadette spent the rest of her life there working as an infirmary assistant, and later a sacristan. People admired her humility and spirit of sacrifice. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. “How can I?” she answered quickly. “The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant.”

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee and was unable to take part in convent life. She died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard at the age of 35 on April 16, 1879, while praying the holy rosary.

Even on her deathbed Bernadette suffered severe pain and, keeping with the Virgin Mary’s admonition of “Penance, Penance, Penance,” she proclaimed “all this is good for Heaven!” Bernadette’s last words were, “Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me. A poor sinner, a poor sinner.”

The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette’s body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph, which was within the confines of the convent. Permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette’s coffin was transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph, where a very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

Thirty years layer, on September 22, two doctors and a sister of the community exhumed her body. They claimed the crucifix and rosary she carried had been oxidized but her body remained incorrupt. The incorruption was cited as one of the miracles supporting her canonization.

The group washed and redressed Bernadette’s body then buried it in a new double casket. The Church exhumed her body again on April 3, 1919, and the doctor who examined her said, “The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts … The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body.”

In 1925, Bernadette’s body was exhumed yet again. This time relics were sent to Rome and an imprint of her face was molded, which was used to create a wax mask to be placed on her body. There were also imprints of her hands to be used for the presentation of her body, which was placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the mother house in Nevers.

In 1928, Doctor Comte published a report on Bernadette’s exhumation in the second issue of the Bulletin de I’Association medicale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes, where he wrote:

“I would have liked to open the left side of the thorax to take the ribs as relics and then remove the heart which I am certain must have survived. However, as the trunk was slightly supported on the left arm, it would have been rather difficult to try and get at the heart without doing too much noticeable damage.

“As the Mother Superior had expressed a desire for the Saint’s heart to be kept together with the whole body, and as Monsignor the Bishop did not insist, I gave up the idea of opening the left-hand side of the thorax and contented myself with removing the two right ribs which were more accessible.

“What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon.”

Saint Bernadette is often depicted in prayer with a rosary or appealing to the Holy Virgin. She was beatified in 1925 and canonized by Pope Piuis XI in December 1933. Saint Bernadette is the patroness of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France.  https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=147

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Anne Maugrain
St. Benedict Joseph Labré
St. Bernadette
St. Bernadette Soubirous
St. Callistus & Charisius
St. Contardo
St. Drogo
St. Encratia
Bl. Francoise Micheneau Gillot
Bl. Francoise Suhard Menard
St. Fructuosus of Braga
St. Herve
St. Lambert of Saragossa
St. Paternus
Bl. Pierre Delepine
St. Turibius of Astorga
St. Turibius the Monk

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

Posted by: RAM | April 14, 2018

Sunday (April 15): “Peace be with you.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 47

First Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-9
Lord, let your face shine on us.
Second Reading: 1 John 2:1-5

Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041518.cfm

Reflection: 
Aren’t we like the apostles? We wont believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The Gospel accounts attest to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Jesus goes to great lengths to assure his disciples that he is no mere ghost or illusion. He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and he explains how the Scriptures foretold his death and rising.

Jerome (347-420 AD), an early church bible scholar, comments:

“As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them… Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs.” (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34)

The door to heaven and key to paradise is through the cross
The centrality of the Gospel message is the cross – but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies – death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise. The way to glory is through the cross. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory? Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth. Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, so, we, too, are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all who live on the face of the earth. Do you witness the joy of the Gospel to those around you?

“Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr15.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Paternus (482-565)
St. Paternus.The first 5th century saint. He followed his father’s path by becoming a hermit in Wales. He founded the monastery at the great church of Paternus, and became a bishop of that region. He was known for his preaching, charity and mortifications. Scholars believe his story is an amalgam. His feast day is April 16. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=476

More Saints of the Day:
St. Bebnuda (Paphnutius) 
St. Eutychius
St. Hunna
St. Maro
St. Maximus & Olympiades
St. Mundus
St. Paternus
St. Ruadan

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 272

First Reading: Acts 6:1-7
Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Gospel: John 6:16-21
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041418.cfm

Reflection: 
Does the Lord Jesus ever seem distant to you? When John recounted the scene of the apostles being alone at sea in a storm he described the situation as “dark” (John 6:17). It was dark not only physically but spiritually as well. Although they were experienced fishermen, they were fearful for their lives. The Lord’s sudden presence – and his supernatural ability to walk towards them on top of the rough waves of the sea – only made them more fearful! John says they were frightened. And Jesus had to calm them with a reassuring command: “Do not be afraid because I am here with you!”

The Lord Jesus is a very present help in trouble
Aren’t we like the apostles when we experience moments of darkness, fear, and trials? While the Lord may at times seem absent or very distant to us, he, nonetheless, is always present and close-by. The Scriptures remind us that the Lord is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Whatever storms may beset us, he promises to “bring us to our desired haven” and place of calm rest and safety (Psalm 107:29-30). The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help?

Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we put our trust in him and in his great love and care for us. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With faith and hope in God’s love, personal care, and presence with you?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your watchful presence in my life, especially in times of trouble. Fortify my faith with courage and give me enduring hope that I may never waver in my trust in you.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr14.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Lydwine, Patron of sickness; chronically ill, ice skaters (1380-1433)
St. Lydwine is the patroness of sickness Lydwine of Schiedam was born at Schiedam, Holland, one of nine children of a working man. After an injury in her youth, she became bedridden and suffered the rest of her life from various illnesses and diseases. She experienced mystical gifts, including supernatural visions of heaven, hell, purgatory, apparitions of Christ, and the stigmata. Thomas a Kempis wrote a biography of her. She was canonized Pope Leo XIII in 1890. Lydwine suffered a fall while ice skating in 1396, when a friend collided with her and caused her to break a rib on the right side. From this injury, she never recovered. An abscess formed inside her body which later burst and caused Lydwine extreme suffering. Eventually, she was to suffer a series of mysterious illnesses which in retrospect seemed to be from the hands of God. Lydwine heroically accepted her plight as the will of God and offered up her sufferings for the sins of humanity. Some of the illnesses which affected Lydwine were headaches, vomiting, fever, thirst, bedsores, toothaches, spasms of the muscles, blindness, neuritis and the stigmata. Her feast day is April 14. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=232

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abundius
St. Ardalion
St. Benezet
St. Domnina of Terni
St. Lambert of Lyon
St. Lydwine
St. Peter Gonzalez
St. Tassach
St. Thomais
St. Tiburtius

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

Posted by: RAM | April 12, 2018

Friday (April 13): The miraculous sign of Jesus

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Friday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 271

First Reading: Acts 5:34-42
Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14
One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
Gospel: John 6:1-15
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041318.cfm

Reflection: 
Can anything on this earth truly satisfy the deepest longing and hunger we experience for God? A great multitude had gathered to hear Jesus, no doubt because they were hungry for the word of life. Jesus’ disciples wanted to send them 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, the Bread of Life, took the little they had – five loaves and two fish – and giving thanks to his heavenly Father, distributed to all until they were satisfied of their hunger.

Jesus is the true bread from heaven that gives us abundant life
The people of Israel had been waiting for the prophet whom Moses had promised: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren – him shall you heed (Deuteronomy 18:15). The signs which Jesus did, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand signified that God has indeed sent him as the anointed Prophet and King. Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle that is repeated in all four Gospel accounts. What is the significance of this particular 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 (Exodus 16). This daily provision of food in the barren wilderness foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.

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

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

The Lord alone can satisfy the deepest longing of our heart 
The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something to share with others, 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 you and do you share freely with others, especially those who are in need?

“Lord Jesus, you satisfy the deepest longing of our heart and you feed us with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:16). Fill me with gratitude and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr13.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Pope Martin I (d. 655)
Martin I lay too sick to fight on a couch in front of the altar when the soldiers burst into the Lateran basilica. He had come to the church when he heard the soldiers had landed. But the thought of kidnapping a sick pope from the house of God didn’t stop the soldiers from grabbing him and hustling him down to their ship.

Elected pope in 649, Martin I had gotten in trouble for refusing to condone silence in the face of wrong. At that time there existed a popular heresy that held that Christ didn’t have a human will, only a divine will. The emperor had issued an edict that didn’t support Monothelism (as it was known) directly, but simply commanded that no one could discuss Jesus’ will at all.

Monothelism was condemned at a council convened by Martin I. The council affirmed, once again, that since Jesus had two natures, human and divine, he had two wills, human and divine. The council then went further and condemned Constans edict to avoid discussion stating, “The Lord commanded us to shun evil and do good, but not to reject the good with the evil.”

In his anger at this slap in the face, the emperor sent his soldiers to Rome to bring the pope to him. When Martin I arrived in Constantinople after a long voyage he was immediately put into prison. There he spent three months in a filthy, freezing cell while he suffered from dysentery. He was not allowed to wash and given the most disgusting food. After he was condemned for treason without being allowed to speak in his defense he was imprisoned for another three months.

From there he was exiled to the Crimea where he suffered from the famine of the land as well as the roughness of the land and its people. But hardest to take was the fact that the pope found himself friendless. His letters tell how his own church had deserted him and his friends had forgotten him. They wouldn’t even send him oil or corn to live off of.

He died two years later in exile in the year 656, a martyr who stood up for the right of the Church to establish doctrine even in the face of imperial power. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=80

More Saints of the Day:
St. Caradoc
St. Carpus
Bl. Edward Catheriek
St. Gunioc
St. Hermengild
Bl. John Lockwood
Pope Saint Martin I
St. Martius
St. Maximus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 270

First Reading: Acts 5:27-33
Psalms 34:2, 9, 17-20: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Gospel: John 3:31-36
The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041218.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you hunger for the true and abundant life which God offers through the gift of his Holy Spirit? The Jews understood that God gave a certain portion of his Spirit to his prophets. When Elijah was about to depart for heaven, his servant Elisha asked for a double portion of the Spirit which Elijah had received from God (2 Kings 2:9).

The Holy Spirit opens our minds to understand God’s word of truth 
Jesus tells his disciples that they can believe the words he speaks because God the Father has anointed him by pouring out his Spirit on him in full measure, without keeping anything back. The function of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s truth to us. Jesus declared that “when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). When we receive the Holy Spirit he opens our hearts and minds to recognize and understand God’s word of truth.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, “I believe in order to understand; and I understand the better to believe.” Faith opens our minds and hearts to receive God’s word of truth and to obey it willingly. Do you believe God’s word and receive it as if your life depended on it?

God gives us the freedom to accept or reject what he says is true. But with that freedom also comes a responsibility to recognize the consequences of the choice we make – either to believe what he has spoken to us through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, or to ignore, reject, and chose our own way apart from God. Our choices will either lead us on the path of abundant life and union with God, or the path that leads to spiritual death and separation from God.

Love the Lord, cling to him, and you will have life
God issued a choice and a challenge to the people of the Old Covenant: “See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. …I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). And God issues the same challenge to the people of the New Covenant today. Do you weigh the consequences of your choices? Do the choices you make lead you towards life or death – blessing or cursing?

If you choose to obey God’s voice and to do his will, then you will know and experience that abundant life which comes from God himself. If you choose to follow your own way apart from God and his will, then you choose for death – a spiritual death which poisons and kills the heart and soul until there is nothing left but an empty person devoid of love, truth, goodness, purity, peace, and joy. Do your choices lead you towards God or away from God?

“Lord Jesus Christ, let your Holy Spirit fill me and transform my heart and mind that I may choose life – the abundant life you offer to those who trust in you. Give me courage to always choose what is good, true, and just and to reject whatever is false, foolish, and contrary to your holy will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr12.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Julius
Julius was the son of a Roman named Rusticus. He was elected Pope to succeed Pope St. Mark on February 6, 337. Julius was soon involved in the Arian controversy when Eusebius of Nicomedia opposed the return of Athanasius to the See of Alexandria in 338. Eusebius and his followers elected George, whereupon the Arians elected Pistus. Julius convened a synod in Rome in 340 or 341 that neither group attended, and in a letter to the Eusebian bishops, Julius declared that Athanasius was the rightful bishop of Alexandria and reinstated him. The matter was not finally settled until the Council of Sardica (Sofia), summoned by emperors Constans and Constantius in 342 or 343, declared Julius’ action correct and that any deposed bishop had the right of appeal to the Pope in Rome. Julius built several basilicas and churches in Rome and died there on April 12. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=821

More Saints of the Day:
St. Allerius
Bl. Angelo of Chivasso
St. Damian
St. Erkemboden
St. Julius
St. Sabas the Goth
St. Tetricus
St. Victor
St. Vissia
St. Wigbert
St. Zeno of Verona

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 269

First Reading: Acts 5:17-26
Psalms 34:2-9: 
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Gospel: John 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041118.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the love which surpasses the greatest joy and happiness which one could ever hope to find in this life? Greater love is manifested in the cost and sacrifice of the giver. True lovers hold nothing back but give the best that can be offered to their beloved, including all they possess, even their very lives. God proved his love for each and every one of us by giving us the best he had to offer – his only begotten Son who freely offered up his life for our sake as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sin of the world.

God loves each of us uniquely and personally  
Abraham’s willing sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, prefigures the perfect offering and sacrifice of God’s beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This passage in the Gospel of John tells us of the great breadth and width of God’s love. Not an excluding love for just a few or for a single nation, but a redemptive love that embraces the whole world, and a personal love for each and every individual whom God has created in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). God is the eternal Father of Love who cannot rest until his wandering children have returned home to him. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love. God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love.

Truth, goodness, and beauty are made perfect in the love of Christ
Jesus shows us the paradox of love and judgment. We can love the darkness of sin and unbelief or we can love the light of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. If our love is guided by what is true, and good, and beautiful then we will choose for God and love him above all else. What we love shows what we prefer and value most. Do you love God above all else? Does he take first place in your life, in your thoughts, affections, and actions?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your love is better than life itself. May your love consume and transform my heart with all of its yearnings, aspirations, fears, hurts, and concerns, that I may freely desire you above all else and love all others generously for your sake and for your glory. Make me to love what you love, desire what you desire, and give generously as you have been so generous towards me”. http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr11.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Stanislaus (d. 1079)
Stanislaus was born of noble parents on July 26th at Szczepanow near Cracow, Poland. He was educated at Gnesen and was ordained there. He was given a canonry by Bishop Lampert Zula of Cracow, who made him his preacher, and soon he became noted for his preaching. He became a much sought after spiritual adviser. He was successful in his reforming efforts, and in 1072 was named Bishop of Cracow. He incurred the enmity of King Boleslaus the Bold when he denounced the King’s cruelties and injustices and especially his kidnapping of the beautiful wife of a nobleman. When Stanislaus excommunicated the King and stopped services at the Cathedral when Boleslaus entered, Boleslaus himself killed Stanislaus while the Bishop was saying Mass in a chapel outside the city on April 11. Stanislaus has long been the symbol of Polish nationhood. He was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253 and is the principle patron of Cracow. His feast dayis April 11th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=207  

St. Marguerite D’Youville (d. 1771)
Beatified by Pope John XXIII in 1959
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II in 1990

Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Canada. St. Marguerite D’Youville was born at Varennes, Quebec, on October 15, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de La Jemmerais. She studied under the Ursulines, married Francois D’Youville in 1722, and became a widow in 1730. She worked to support herself and her three children, devoted much of her time to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in charitable activities.

In 1737, with three companions, she founded the Grey Nuns when they took their initial vows; a formal declaration took place in 1745. Two years later she was appointed Directress of the General Hospital in Montreal, which was taken over by the Grey Nuns, and had the rule of the Grey Nuns, with Marguerite as Superior, confirmed by Bishop of Pontbriand of Quebec in 1755.

She died in Montreal on December 23, and since her death, the Grey Nuns have established schools, hospitals, and orphanages throughout Canada, the United States, Africa, and South America, and are especially known for their work among the Eskimos. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII in 1959 and canonized in 1990 by Pope John Paul II. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=200

More Saints of the Day:
St. Antipas
St. Barsanuphius
St. Domnio
St. Gemma Galgani
St. Godebertha
St. Machai
St. Maedhog
St. Marguerite d’Youville
St. Philip of Gortyna
St. Stanislaus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
St. Michael de Sanctis, Patron of cancer patients (1591-1625)
Lectionary: 268

First Reading: Acts 4:32-37
Psalms 93:1-2, 5
The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Gospel: John 3:7-15
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041018.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the healing power and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ? Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a “new birth in the Spirit” which would come about through the victory he would accomplish through his death and rising. The Hebrew word for “spirit” means both “wind” and “breath”. Jesus explained to Nicodemus: You can hear, feel, and see the effects of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from. In like manner, you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those whom the Spirit touches with the peace, joy, and signs of God’s power and love at work in them.

The “lifting up” of the Son of Man
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the “Son of Man” must be “lifted up” to bring the power and authority of God’s kingdom to bear on the earth. The title, “Son of Man,” came from the prophet Daniel who describes a vision he received of the Anointed Messiah King who was sent from heaven to rule over the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). Traditionally when kings began to reign they were literally “lifted up” and enthroned above the people. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that he will be recognized as the Messiah King when he is “lifted up” on the cross at Calvary. Jesus died for his claim to be the Messiah King sent by the Father to redeem, heal, and reconcile his people with God.

Jesus points to a key prophetic sign which Moses performed in the wilderness right after the people of Israel were afflicted with poisonous serpents. Scripture tells us that many people died in the wilderness because of their sin of rebellion towards Moses and God. Through Moses’ intervention, God showed mercy to the people and instructed Moses to “make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live”(Numbers 21:8). This miraculous sign was meant to foreshadow and point to the saving work which Jesus would perform to bring healing and salvation to the world.

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the spiritual meaning of the bronze serpent and how it points to the saving work of Jesus Christ:

“This story is a type of the whole mystery of the incarnation. For the serpent signifies bitter and deadly sin, which was devouring the whole race on the earth… biting the Soul of man and infusing it with the venom of wickedness. And there is no way that we could have escaped being conquered by it, except by the relief that comes only from heaven. The Word of God then was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, ‘that he might condemn sin in the flesh’ [Romans 8:3], as it is written. In this way, he becomes the Giver of unending salvation to those who comprehend the divine doctrines and gaze on him with steadfast faith. But the serpent, being fixed upon a lofty base, signifies that Christ was clearly manifested by his passion on the cross, so that none could fail to see him.” (COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.1)

Our new birth in the Holy Spirit
The bronze serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross” and his rising from the dead, and his exaltation and ascension to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only frees us from our sins and pardons us, he also fills us with his own divine life through the gift and working of his Spirit who dwells within us.

The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual power and gifts, especially the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God’s presence (see Isaiah 11), to enable us to live in his strength as sons and daughters of God. Do you thirst for the new life which God offers you through the transforming power of his Holy Spirit?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in freedom and joy in the knowledge of your great victory over sin and death.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr10.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Michael de Sanctis, Patron of cancer patients (1591-1625)
Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591. At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained. After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant. However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert’s monastery in Saragosa in 1607. Shortly thereafter, Michael expressed a desire to join the reformed group of Trinitarians and was given permission to do so. He went to the Novitiate at Madrid and, after studies at Seville and Salamanca, he was ordained a priest and twice served as Superior of the house in Valladolid. His confreres considered him to be a saint, especially because of his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and his ecstacies during Mass. After his death at the age of thirty-five on April 10, 1625 many miracles were attributed to him. He was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX. St. Michael de Sanctis is noted in the Roman Martyrology as being “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God.” He seemed from his earliest years to have been selected for a life of great holiness, and he never wavered in his great love of God or his vocation. As our young people look for direction in a world that seems not to care, St. Michael stands out as worthy of imitation as well as of the prayers of both young and old alike. His feast day is April 10.
https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=766

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Anthony Neyrot
St. Apollonius
St. Apollonius
St. Beocca
St. Fulbert of Chartres
St. Macarius the Ghent
St. Malchus
St. Michael de Sanctis
St. Michael of the Saints
St. Palladius
St. Paternus
St. Terence

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Lectionary: 545

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalms 40:7-11
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040918.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified ‘yes’ to your will and plan for my life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr9.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Waldetrudis (d. 688)
Also known as Waltrude or Waudru, she was the daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia and sister of St. Aldegunus of Maubeuge. Marrying St. Vincent Madelgarius, she became the mother of saints Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelin. When her husband chose to become a  monk about 643 in the monastery of Hautrnont, France, he had founded, she established a convent at Chateaulieu, around which grew up the town of Mons, Belgium. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2025

More Saints of the Day:
St. Acacius
St. Casilda of Toledo
St. Demetrius
St. Dotto
St. Eupsychius
St. Gaucherius
St. Hedda
St. Hugh of Rouen
Martyrs of Croyland
Martyrs of Pannonia
St. Materiana
Bl. Thomas of Tolentino
St. Waldetrudis

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist

Second Sunday of Easter
(or Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Lectionary: 44

First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24: 
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
Second Reading: 1 John 5:1-6
Gospel: John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040818.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you know the joy of the resurrection? The Risen Lord Jesus revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time. Even after the apostles saw the empty tomb and heard the reports of Jesus’ appearance to the women, they were still weak in faith and fearful of being arrested by the Jewish authorities. When Jesus appeared to them he offered proofs of his resurrection by showing them the wounds of his passion, his pierced hands and side. He calmed their fears and brought them peace, the peace which reconciles sinners and makes us friends of God.

Live and proclaim the Gospel of mercy in the power of the Holy Spirit
Jesus did something which only love and trust can do. He commissioned his weak and timid apostles to bring the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This sending out of the disciples is parallel to the sending out of Jesus by his heavenly Father. Jesus fulfilled his mission through his perfect love and obedience to the will of his Father. He called his first disciples and he now calls each one of  us to do the same. Just as he gave his first disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, so he breathes on each of us the same Holy Spirit who equips us with new life, power, joy, and courage to live each day as followers of the Risen Lord.

The last apostle to meet the resurrected Lord was the first to go with him to Jerusalem at Passover time. The apostle Thomas was a natural pessimist. When Jesus proposed that they visit Lazarus after receiving news of his illness, Thomas said to the disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). While Thomas deeply loved the Lord, he lacked the courage to stand with Jesus in his passion and crucifixion. After Jesus’ death, Thomas made the mistake of withdrawing from the other apostles. He sought loneliness rather than fellowship in his time of trial and adversity. He doubted the women who saw the resurrected Jesus and he doubted his own fellow apostles.

Through the gift of faith we recognize the Risen Lord and receive new life
When Thomas finally had the courage to rejoin the other apostles, the Lord Jesus made his presence known to him and reassured him that he had indeed overcome death and risen again. When Thomas recognized his Master, he believed and exclaimed that Jesus was truly Lord and truly God! Through the gift of faith we, too, proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and our God. He died and rose that we, too, might have new life in him. The Lord offers each of us new life in his Holy Spirit that we may know him personally and walk in this new way of life through the power of his resurrection. Do you believe in the good news of the Gospel and in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring you new life, hope, and joy?

“Lord Jesus Christ, through your victory over sin and death you have overcome all the powers of sin and darkness. Help me to draw near to you and to trust in your life-giving word. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen my faith in your promises and my hope in the power of your resurrection.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr8.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Julie Billiart (1751-1816)
St. Julie (Julia) Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. As a child, playing “school” was Julie’s favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach “for real”. She sat on a haystack during the noon recess and told the biblical parables to the workers. Julie carried on this mission of teaching throughout her life, and the Congregation she founded continues her work.

Julie was the fifth of seven children. She attended a little one room school in Cuvilly. She enjoyed all of her studies, but she was particularly attracted to the religion lessons taught by the parish priest. Recognizing something “special” in Julie, the priest secretly allowed her to make her First Communion at the age of nine, when the normal age at that time, was thirteen. She learned to make short mental prayers and to develop a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

A murder attempt on her father shocked her nervous system badly. A period of extremely poor heath for Julie began, and was to last for thirty years. For twenty-two of these years she was completely paralyzed. All of her sufferings and pain she offered up to God.

When the French Revolution broke out, Julie offered her home as a hiding place for loyal priests. Because of this, Julie became a hunted prey. Five times in three years she was forced to flee in secret to avoid compromising her friends who were hiding her.

At this time she was privileged to receive a vision. She saw her crucified Lord surrounded by a large group of religious women dressed in a habit she had never seen before. An inner voice told her that these would be her daughters and that she would begin an institute for the Christian education of young girls. She and a rich young woman founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

At Amiens, the two women and a few companions began living a religious life in 1803. In 1804, Julie was miraculously cured of her illness and walked for the first time in twenty-two years. In 1805, Julie and three companions made their profession and took their final vows. She was elected as Mother General of the young Congregation.

In 1815, Mother taxed her ever poor health by nursing the wounded and feeding the starving left from the battle of Waterloo. For the last three months of her life, she again suffered much. She died peacefully on April 8, 1816 at 64 years of age. Julie was beatified on May 13, 1906, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Her feast day is April 8th. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=297

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aedesius
St. Aedesius
St. Amantius of Como
St. Concessa
St. Dionysius of Corinth
St. Januarius, Maxima, and Macaria
St. Julia Billiart
St. Julie Billiart
St. Perpetuus
St. Redemptus
St. Walter of Pontoise

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Saturday in the Octave of Easter

St. John Baptist de la Salle, Patron of Teacher (1651-1719)
Lectionary: 266

First Reading: Acts 4:13-21
Psalms 118:1, 14-21
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
Gospel: Mark 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040718.cfm

Reflection: 
Do you believe the Lord Jesus is truly alive and ready to make his presence known to everyone who believes in him? The first to see the risen Lord was not Peter or one of the apostles, but a woman noted for her demonized living! She had been forgiven much, and loved her Master greatly. She was first at the tomb to pay her respects. Unfortunately for the disciples, they would not believe her account of the Risen Master. Jesus had to scold his apostles because of their unbelief and stubborn hearts.

The Holy Spirit makes our faith in Jesus Christ come alive
Are you like the apostles or like Mary – slow to believe or quick to run to Jesus? Do you doubt because you do not see? The Lord makes his presence known to us through the work and power of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the gift of faith to know him personally and to understand the mystery of his death and rising. Do you believe his word and do you listen to his voice?

We are Christ’s ambassadors and witnesses of his victory over sin and death 
After his appearance to his beloved apostles, Jesus commissions them to go and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel but to all the nations. 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. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“Lord Jesus Christ, increase my faith and hope in the power of your resurrection. And give me joy and courage to be your witness to others and to boldly speak of what you have done to save us from sin and death.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr7.htm

Saint of the Day: St. John Baptist de la Salle, Patron of Teachers (1651-1719)
John Baptist de La Salle was born into a world very different from our own. He was the first son of wealthy parents living in France over 300 years ago. Born at Reims, John Baptist de La Salle received the tonsure at age eleven and was named Canon of the Reims Cathedral at sixteen. Though he had to assume the administration of family affairs after his parents died, he completed his theological studies and was ordained a priest on April 9, 1678.Two years later he received a doctorate in theology. Meanwhile he became tentatively involved with a group of rough and barely literate young men in order to establish schools for poor boys.

At that time a few people lived in luxury, but most of the people were extremely poor: peasants in the country, and slum dwellers in the towns. Only, a few could send their children to school; most children had little hope for the future. Moved by the plight of the poor who seemed so “far from salvation” either in this world or the next, he determined to put his own talents and advanced education at the service of the children “often left to themselves and badly brought up.” To be more effective, he abandoned his family home, moved in with the teachers, renounced his position as Canon and his wealth, and so formed the community that became known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

His enterprise met opposition from the ecclesiastical authorities who resisted the creation of a new form of religious life, a community of consecrated laymen to conduct gratuitous schools “together and by association.” The educational establishment resented his innovative methods and his insistence on gratuity for all, regardless of whether they could afford to pay. Nevertheless De La Salle and his Brothers succeeded in creating a network of quality schools throughout France that featured instruction in the vernacular, students grouped according to ability and achievement, integration of religious instruction with secular subjects, well-prepared teachers with a sense of vocation and mission, and the involvement of parents.

In addition, De La Salle pioneered in programs for training lay teachers, Sunday courses for working young men, and one of the first institutions in France for the care of delinquents. Worn out by austerities and exhausting labours, he died at Saint Yon near Rouen early in 1719 on Good Friday, only weeks before his sixty-eighth birthday.

John Baptist de La Salle was a pioneer in founding training colleges for teachers, reform schools for delinquents, technical schools, and secondary schools for modern languages, arts, and sciences. His work quickly spread through France and, after his death, continued to spread across the globe. In 1900 John Baptist de La Salle was declared a Saint. In 1950, because of his life and inspirational writings, he was made Patron Saint of all those who work in the field of education. John Baptist de La Salle inspired others how to teach and care for young people, how to meet failure and frailty with compassion, how to affirm, strengthen and heal. At the present time there are De La Salle schools in 80 different countries around the globe.

Born at Reims, France April 30, 1651
Ordained priest April 9, 1678
Died April 7, 1719
Beatified February 19, 1888
Canonized May 24, 1900
Proclaimed Patron of Christian Teachers May 15, 1950
http://www.lasalle.org/en/who-are-we/st-john-baptist-de-la-salle/

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aibert
Bl. Alexander Rawlins
St. Aphraates
St. Brynach
St. Calliopus
St. Celsus
St. Cyriaca & Companions
Bl. Domingo Iturrate Zubero
Bl. Edward Oldcorne
St. Epiphanius
St. Finan
St. Gibardus
St. Goran
St. Hegesippus
St. Henry Walpole
St. Herman Joseph
St. John Baptist de la Salle
St. Pelagius
St. Peleusius
St. Saturninus
Bl. Ursulina of Parma

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Friday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 265

First Reading: Acts 4:1-12
Psalms 118:1-2, 4, 22-27
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Gospel: John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040618.cfm

Reflection: 
Why didn’t the apostles immediately recognize the Lord when he greeted them at the Sea of Tiberias? John gives us a clue. He states that Peter had decided to return to his home district of Galilee, very likely so he could resume his fishing career. Peter was discouraged and didn’t know what to do after the tragedy of Jesus’ death! He went back to his previous career out of despair and uncertainty. The other apostles followed him back to Galilee.

The gift of faith opens our eyes to recognize the risen Lord Jesus in our midst
When was the last time Peter was commanded to let down his net after a futile night of fishing? It was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee when the Lord dramatically approached Peter in his fishing boat after a futile night of fishing and commanded him to lower his nets (see Luke 5:4-11). After the miraculous catch, Jesus told Peter that he would be ‘catching people” for the kingdom of God. Now Jesus repeats the same miracle. John, the beloved disciple, is the first to recognize the Lord. Peter impulsively leaps from the boat and runs to the Lord. Do you run to the Lord when you meet setbacks, disappointments, or trials? The Lord is ever ready to renew us in faith and to give us fresh hope in his promises.

Do you recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in your life?
Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus. The Gospel accounts, however, give us a vivid picture of the reality of the resurrection. Jesus went out of his way to offer his disciples various proofs of his resurrection – that he is real and true flesh, not just a spirit or ghost. In his third appearance to the apostles, after Jesus performed the miraculous catch of fish, he prepared a breakfast and ate with them. John’s prompt recognition of the Master – It is the Lord! and Peter’s immediate response to run to the Lord – stands in sharp contrast to Peter’s previous denial of his Master during the night of Jesus’ arrest. The Lord Jesus reveals himself to each of  us as we open our hearts to hear his word. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you accept his word with faith and trust?

“Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Increase my faith in the power of your resurrection and in the truth that you are truly alive! May I never doubt your life-giving word nor stray from your presence.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr6.htm

Saint of the Day: St. William of Eskilsoe (d. 1203)
Missionary. Born at Saint-Germain, France, circa 1125, he served as a canon at the church of St. Genevieve, Paris, under the great Abbot Suger until about 1170, when he was sent to Denmark with the mission of reforming the canons at Eskilsoe at the request of the bishop of Roskilde. He became abbot there and, during his three decades among the Danes, he also reformed many other communities. He also founded the abbey of St. Thomas, in Zeeland. He died in Denmark. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2132.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Berthane
St. Brychan
St. Celestine I
St. Elstan
St. Florentius
St. Paul Tinh
Bl. Pierino Morosini
St. Platonides
St. Rufina
St. Sixtus I
St. Timothy & Diogenes
St. Ulehad
St. William of Eskilsoe
St. Winebald

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Thursday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 264

First Reading: Acts 3:11-26
Psalms 8:2, 5-9
O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
anThe disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040518.cfm

Reflection: 
Aren’t we like the apostles? We wont believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The Gospel accounts attest to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Jesus goes to great lengths to assure his disciples that he is no mere ghost or illusion. He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and he explains how the Scriptures foretold his death and rising.

Jerome (347-420 AD), an early church bible scholar, comments:

“As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them… Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs.” (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34)

The door to heaven and key to paradise is through the cross
The centrality of the Gospel message is the cross – but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies – death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise. The way to glory is through the cross. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory? Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth. Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, so, we, too, are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all who live on the face of the earth. Do you witness the joy of the Gospel to those around you?

“Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr5.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Vincent Ferrer
St. Vincent Ferrer is the patron saint of builders because of his fame for “building up” and strengthening the Church: through his preaching, missionary work, in his teachings, as confessor and adviser.  At Valencia in Spain, this illustrious son of St. Dominic came into the world on January 23, 1357. In the year 1374, he entered the Order of St. Dominic in a monastery near his native city. Soon after his profession he was commissioned to deliver lectures on philosophy. On being sent to Barcelona, he continued his scholastic duties and at the same time devoted himself to preaching. At Lerida, the famous university city of Catalonia, he received his doctorate. After this he labored six years in Valencia, during which time he perfected himself in the Christian life. In 1390, he was obliged to accompany Cardinal Pedro de Luna to France, but he soon returned home. When, in 1394, de Luna himself had become Pope at Avignon he summoned St. Vincent and made him Master of the sacred palace. In this capacity St. Vincent made unsuccessful efforts to put an end to the great schism. He refused all ecclesiastical dignities, even the cardinal’s hat, and only craved to be appointed apostolical missionary. Now began those labors that made him the famous missionary of the fourteenth century. He evangelized nearly every province of Spain, and preached in France, Italy, Germany, Flanders, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Numerous conversions followed his preaching, which God Himself assisted by the gift of miracles. Though the Church was then divided by the great schism, the saint was honorably received in the districts subject to the two claimants to the Papacy. He was even invited to Mohammedan Granada, where he preached the gospel with much success. He lived to behold the end of the great schism and the election of Pope Martin V. Finally, crowned with labors, he died April 5, 1419. His feast dayis April 5. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=723.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Albert of Montecorvino
St. Becan
St. Derferl-Gadarn
St. Ethelburga
St. Gerald of Sauve-Majeure
St. Maria Crescentia Hoss
Martyrs of Lesbos
Martyrs of London
St. Theodore and Pausilippus
St. Vincent Ferrer
St. Zeno

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 263

First Reading: Acts 3:1-10
Psalms 105:1-4, 6-9: 
Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040418.cfm

Reflection: 
Why was it difficult for the disciples to recognize the risen Lord? Jesus’ death scattered his disciples and shattered their hopes and dreams. They had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. They saw the cross as defeat and could not comprehend the empty tomb until the Lord Jesus appeared to them and gave them understanding.

Do you doubt the good news that Jesus rose to give you new life?
Jesus chided the disciples on the road to Emmaus for their slowness of heart to believe what the Scriptures had said concerning the Messiah. They did not recognize the risen Jesus until he had broken bread with them. Do you recognize the Lord in his word and in the breaking of the bread?

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) reflects on the dimness of their perception:

“They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind” (Sermon 235.1).

“Their eyes were obstructed, that they should not recognize him until the breaking of the bread. And thus, in accordance with the state of their minds, which was still ignorant of the truth – that the Christ would die and rise again, their eyes were similarly hindered. It was not that the truth himself was misleading them, but rather that they were themselves unable to perceive the truth.” (From The Harmony of the Gospels, 3.25.72)

How often do we fail to recognize the Lord when he speaks to our hearts and opens his mind to us? The Risen Lord is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us understanding of his ways. Do you listen attentively to the Word of God and allow his word to change and transform you?

“Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart to recognize your presence with me and to understand the truth of your saving word. Nourish me with your life-giving word and with the bread of life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr4.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636)
Isidore was literally born into a family of saints in sixth century Spain. Two of his brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, and one of his sisters, Florentina, are revered as saints in Spain. It was also a family of leaders and strong minds with Leander and Fulgentius serving as bishops and Florentina as abbess.

This didn’t make life easier for Isidore. To the contrary, Leander may have been holy in many ways, but his treatment of his little brother shocked many even at the time. Leander, who was much older than Isidore, took over Isidore’s education and his pedagogical theory involved force and punishment. We know from Isidore’s later accomplishments that he was intelligent and hard-working so it is hard to understand why Leander thought abuse would work instead of patience.

One day, the young boy couldn’t take any more. Frustrated by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted and hurt by his brother’s treatment, Isidore ran away. But though he could escape his brother’s hand and words, he couldn’t escape his own feeling of failure and rejection. When he finally let the outside world catch his attention, he noticed water dripping on the rock near where he sat. The drops of water that fell repeatedly carried no force and seemed to have no effect on the solid stone. And yet he saw that over time, the water drops had worn holes in the rock.

Isidore realized that if he kept working at his studies, his seemingly small efforts would eventually pay off in great learning. He also may have hoped that his efforts would also wear down the rock of his brother’s heart.

When he returned home, however, his brother in exasperation confined him to a cell (probably in a monastery) to complete his studies, not believing that he wouldn’t run away again.

Either there must have been a loving side to this relationship or Isidore was remarkably forgiving even for a saint, because later he would work side by side with his brother and after Leander’s death, Isidore would complete many of the projects he began including a missal and breviary.

In a time where it’s fashionable to blame the past for our present and future problems, Isidore was able to separate the abusive way he was taught from the joy of learning. He didn’t run from learning after he left his brother but embraced education and made it his life’s work. Isidore rose above his past to become known as the greatest teacher in Spain.

His love of learning made him promote the establishment of a seminary in every diocese of Spain. He didn’t limit his own studies and didn’t want others to as well. In a unique move, he made sure that all branches of knowledge including the arts and medicine were taught in the seminaries.

His encyclopedia of knowledge, the Etymologies, was a popular textbook for nine centuries. He also wrote books on grammar, astronomy, geography, history, and biography as well as theology. When the Arabs brought study of Aristotle back to Europe, this was nothing new to Spain because Isidore’s open mind had already reintroduced the philosopher to students there.

As bishop of Seville for 37 years, succeeding Leander, he set a model for representative government in Europe. Under his direction, and perhaps remembering the tyrannies of his brother, he rejected autocratic decision- making and organized synods to discuss government of the Spanish Church.

Still trying to wear away rock with water, he helped convert the barbarian Visigoths from Arianism to Christianity.

He lived until almost 80. As he was dying his house was filled with crowds of poor he was giving aid and alms to. One of his last acts was to give all his possessions to the poor.

When he died in 636, this Doctor of the Church had done more than his brother had ever hoped; the light of his learning caught fire in Spanish minds and held back the Dark Ages of barbarism from Spain. But even greater than his outstanding mind must have been the genius of his heart that allowed him to see beyond rejection and discouragement to joy and possibility. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=58.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agathopus
St. Ageranus
St. Benedict the Black
St. Benedict the Moor
St. Gaetano Catanoso
St. Guier
St. Gwerir
St. Hildebert
St. Isidore of Seville
Bl. Peter of Poitiers
St. Plato
St. Theonas of Egypt
St. Tigernach
St. Zosimas of Palestine

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

Posted by: RAM | April 2, 2018

Tuesday (April 3): “I have seen the Lord!”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 262

First Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Psalms 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040318.cfm

Reflection: Do you recognize the Lord’s presence when you hear his word? How easy it is to miss the Lord Jesus when our focus is on ourselves! Mary did not at first recognize the Lord because her focus was on the empty tomb and on her own grief. It took only one word from the Master, when he called her by name, for Mary to recognize him.

The Risen Lord Jesus reveals himself to us as we listen to his word
Mary’s message to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, is the very essence of Christianity. It is not enough that a Christian know about the Lord, but that we know him personally. It is not enough to argue about him, but to meet him. In the resurrection we encounter the living Lord Jesus who loves us personally and shares his glory with us. The Lord Jesus gives us “eyes of faith” to see the truth of his resurrection and his victory over sin and death (Ephesians 1:18). And he opens our ears to recognize his voice as we listen to the “good news” proclaimed in the Gospel message today.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the foundation of our hope – the hope that we, too, who believe in him will see the living God face to face and share in his everlasting glory and joy. “Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.  As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, in his word, in the “breaking of the bread,” and in his church, the body of Christ?

“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your voice nor lose sight of your presence as you open the Scriptures for me and speak your life-giving word.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr3.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Richard of Wyche, Patron of Coachmen (1197-1253)
Richard of Wyche, also known as Richard of Chichester, was born at Wyche (Droitwich), Worcestershire, England. He was orphaned when he was quite young. He retrieved the fortunes of the mismanaged estate he inherited when he took it over, and then turned it over to his brother Robert. Richard refused marriage and went to Oxford, where he studied under Grosseteste and met and began a lifelong friendship with Edmund Rich. Richard pursued his studies at Paris, received his M.A. from Oxford, and then continued his studies at Bologna, where he received his doctorate in Canon Law. After seven years at Bologna, he returned to Oxford, was appointed chancellor of the university in 1235, and then became chancellor to Edmund Rich, now archbishop of Canterbury, whom he accompanied to the Cistercian monastery at Pontigny when the archbishop retired there. After Rich died at Pontigny, Richard taught at the Dominican House of Studies at Orleans and was ordained there in 1243. After a time as a parish priest at Deal, he became chancellor of Boniface of Savoy, the new archbishop of Canterbury, and when King Henry III named Ralph Neville bishop of Chichester in 1244, Boniface declared his selection invalid and named Richard to the See. Eventually, the matter was brought to Rome and in 1245, Pope Innocent IV declared in Richard’s favor and consecrated him. When he returned to England, he was still opposed by Henry and was refused admittance to the bishop’s palace; eventually Henry gave in when threatened with excommunication by the Pope. The remaining eight years of Richard’s life were spend in ministering to his flock. He denounced nepotism, insisted on strict clerical discipline, and was ever generous to the poor and the needy. He died at a house for poor priests in Dover, England, while preaching a crusade, and was canonized in 1262. His feast day is April 3. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7681.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agape
St. Attala
St. Evagrius & Benignus
St. Fara
St. Irene
St. Nicetas
St. Richard of Chichester
St. Richard of Wyche
St. Vulpian

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

Posted by: RAM | April 1, 2018

Monday (April 2): “Do not be afraid.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of of the Holy Eucahrist
Monday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 261

First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040218.cfm

Reflection: Are you prepared to meet the Risen Lord? The disciples of Jesus were as unprepared for his resurrection as they were for his death. The empty tomb made them fearful and joyful at the same time. “Where did they put the body or did he really rise just as he predicted?”  Even though Jesus had spoken to them before of his death and rising, they could not believe until they saw the empty tomb and met the risen Lord. Aren’t we the same? We want to see with our own eyes before we believe! The guards brought their testimony to the chief priests and elders who met the news with denial. They were resolved to not believe that Jesus had risen and they bribed the guards in the hope of keeping others from believing.

We live in the joy and hope of the resurrection to new life with Chrisrt
What is the basis of our faith in the resurrection? The Scriptures tell us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”(Hebrews 11:1). Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Our faith is a free assent to the whole truth which God reveals to us through his word. Faith is certain because it is based on the very word of God who cannot lie. Faith also seeks understanding. That is why God enlightens the “eyes of our hearts” that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us (Ephesians 1:18). Peter the Apostle says we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Through the gift of faith, the Lord reveals himself to those who believe in his word and he fills them with “new life in his Holy Spirit”. Do you live in the joy and hope of the resurrection? And do you recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in his word, in the “breaking of the bread”, and in his church, the body of Christ?

“Lord Jesus, may we always live in the joy and hope of the resurrection and never lose sight of its truth for our lives.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2018/apr2.htm

Saint of the Day: St. Pedro Calungsod, Patron of Filipino youth, altar boys, the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, Guam, Cebuanos. (1654-1672)
Beatified By: 5 March 2000, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: On 10/21/2012 by Pope Benedict XVI

Saint Pedro Calungsod (c. 1654 – April 2, 1672) is a Filipino Roman Catholic martyr who was killed while doing missionary work in Guam in 1672. He was beatified on March 5, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. As a skilled sacristan and teacher of cathecism, he was a companion of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands. Through their efforts, many receive the sacraments especially that of baptism. A plot to kill Pedro and San Vitores started when a certain Choco, a Chinese who gained influence over the Macanas of Marianas Island, circulated false accusations that the missionaries were spreading poison through the ritual of the pouring of water (i.e. baptism), and through the ritual of Catholic Masses. Calungsod and Diego San Vitores were both murdered after baptizing an infant and mother who converted to the Roman Catholic faith.

Calungsod is the second Filipino saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz if approved by the Pope and the Holy See. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7681.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Abundius
St. Amphianus
St. Appian
St. Bronach
St. Dominic Tuoc
St. Ebba the Younger
St. Francis of Paola
St. Longis & Agnofleda
St. Mary of Egypt
St. Musa of Rome
St. Nicetius of Lyons
Bl. Olha Bida
St. Pedro Calungsod
Bl. Peter Verhun
St. Polycarp of Alexandria
Bl. Roman Lysko
Bl. Severian Baranyk
Bl. Simeon Lukach
Bl. Tarsykia Matskiv
St. Theodosia
St. Urban of Langres
Bl. Vilmos Apor
Bl. Vitalij Bajrak
Bl. Volodymyr Pryjma

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

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: