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/050416.cfm

Reflection: Are you hungry for truth? Jesus proclaimed 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 act, think, and judge 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 is utterly true, righteousness, just, and good. Since he is the author and source of all that is true, 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 provision 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 in a stronger and fuller understanding of how to live according his word in their daily lives.

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).

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 will 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 rebellion. May I love you with all of my mind, strength, and will and seek to please you in all things.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may4.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Florian, Patron of Firefighters
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. http://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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

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/050316.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may3.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saints of the Day: Saints Philip and James
James, Son of Alphaeus: We know nothing of this man except his name, and of course the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Clopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater.

Philip: Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him directly, whereupon he sought out Nathanael and told him of the “one about whom Moses wrote” (John 1:45).

Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. St. John comments, “[Jesus] said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (John 6:7).

John’s story is not a put-down of Philip. It was simply necessary for these men who were to be the foundation stones of the Church to see the clear distinction between humanity’s total helplessness apart from God and the human ability to be a bearer of divine power by God’s gift.

On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way…If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6a, 7). Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Enough! Jesus answered, “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” (John 14:9a).

Possibly because Philip bore a Greek name or because he was thought to be close to Jesus, some Gentile proselytes came to him and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip went to Andrew, and Andrew went to Jesus. Jesus’ reply in John’s Gospel is indirect; Jesus says that now his “hour” has come, that in a short time he will give his life for Jew and Gentile alike. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1372

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 291

First Reading: Acts 16:11-15
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/050216.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may2.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Athanasius (295?-373)
Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church.

Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism.

When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul.

After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters.

Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism.

Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1371

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

Posted by: RAM | April 30, 2016

Sunday (May 1): “My peace I give to you.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 57

First Reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Psalms 67:2-3, 5-6, 8: O God, let all the nations praise you!
Second Reading: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
Gospel: John 14:23-29
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
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.”
href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050116.cfm”>http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050116.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.

God unites us to himself in a bond of love and peace
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.

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 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.

The true nature of peace
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.

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)

“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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may1.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph the Worker
Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.

In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1370

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/043016.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 rebellion and spiritual blindness would end up calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr30.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1786-1842)
In some ways Joseph exemplified St. Francis’ advice, “Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress” (1 Celano,#103).

Joseph was the eldest of 12 children. Born in Piedmont, he was ordained for the Diocese of Turin in 1811. Frail health and difficulty in school were obstacles he overcame to reach ordination.

During Joseph’s lifetime Italy was torn by civil war while the poor and the sick suffered from neglect. Inspired by reading the life of St. Vincent de Paul and moved by the human suffering all around him, Joseph rented some rooms to nurse the sick of his parish and recruited local young women to serve as staff.

In 1832 at Voldocco, Joseph founded the House of Providence which served many different groups (the sick, the elderly, students, the mentally ill, the blind). All of this was financed by contributions. Popularly called “the University of Charity,” this testimonial to God’s goodness was serving 8,000 people by the time of Joseph’s beatification in 1917.

To carry on his work, Joseph organized two religious communities, the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Joseph, who had joined the Secular Franciscans as a young man, was canonized in 1934. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1365

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
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/042916.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 love
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).

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 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 wholeheartedly and unconditionally. He wants us to love one another just as he loves us, wholeheartedly 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr29.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
The value Catherine makes central in her short life and which sounds clearly and consistently through her experience is complete surrender to Christ. What is most impressive about her is that she learns to view her surrender to her Lord as a goal to be reached through time.

She was the 23rd child of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa and grew up as an intelligent, cheerful and intensely religious person. Catherine disappointed her mother by cutting off her hair as a protest against being overly encouraged to improve her appearance in order to attract a husband. Her father ordered her to be left in peace, and she was given a room of her own for prayer and meditation.

She entered the Dominican Third Order at 18 and spent the next three years in seclusion, prayer and austerity. Gradually a group of followers gathered around her—men and women, priests and religious. An active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life. Her letters, mostly for spiritual instruction and encouragement of her followers, began to take more and more note of public affairs. Opposition and slander resulted from her mixing fearlessly with the world and speaking with the candor and authority of one completely committed to Christ. She was cleared of all charges at the Dominican General Chapter of 1374.

Her public influence reached great heights because of her evident holiness, her membership in the Dominican Third Order, and the deep impression she made on the pope. She worked tirelessly for the crusade against the Turks and for peace between Florence and the pope

In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her “children” and was canonized in 1461.

Catherine ranks high among the mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. In 1939, she and Francis of Assisi were declared co-patrons of Italy. Paul VI named her and Teresa of Avila doctors of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament is found in The Dialogue. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1368

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

Posted by: RAM | April 27, 2016

Thursday (April 28): “Remain in my love.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Thursday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 288

First Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Psalms 96:1-3, 10: Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Gospel: John 15:9-11
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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042816.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the love that no earthly power nor death itself can destroy? The love of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ is a creative, life-giving love that produces immeasurable joy and lasting friendship for all who accept it. God loves the world so much because he created it to reflect his glory. And he created each one of us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). He wants us to be united with himself in an inseparable bond of unity, peace, and joy that endures for all eternity. That is why the Father sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, into the world, not to condemn it, but to redeem it from the curse of sin and death (John 3:16-17). Paul the Apostle tells us that we can abound in joy and hope because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God offers pardon for all of our sins and failings, and he calls us to lay aside everything that might hold us back from loving him above all else. We owe him a debt of gratitude and love in return. We can never outmatch God because he has loved us first and has given himself to us without measure. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding mercy and kindness towards us. In God’s love alone can we find the fulness of abundant life, peace, and joy.

A new commandment of love
The Lord Jesus gives his disciples 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 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.

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?

“Lord Jesus, may I always grow in the joy and hope which your promises give me. Inflame my heart with love for you and your ways and with charity and compassion for my neighbor. May there be nothing in my life which keeps me from your love.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr28.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna (d.1260)

Luchesio and his wife Buonadonna wanted to follow St. Francis as a married couple. Thus they set in motion the Secular Franciscan Order.

Luchesio and Buonadonna lived in Poggibonzi where he was a greedy merchant. Meeting Francis—probably in 1213—changed his life. He began to perform many works of charity.

At first Buonadonna was not as enthusiastic about giving so much away as Luchesio was. One day after complaining that he was giving everything to strangers, Buonadonna answered the door only to find someone else needing help. Luchesio asked her to give the poor man some bread. She frowned but went to the pantry anyway. There she discovered more bread than had been there the last time she looked. She soon became as zealous for a poor and simple life as Luchesio was. They sold the business, farmed enough land to provide for their needs and distributed the rest to the poor.

In the 13th century some couples, by mutual consent and with the Church’s permission, separated so that the husband could join a monastery (or a group such as Francis began) and his wife could go to a cloister. Conrad of Piacenza and his wife did just that. This choice existed for childless couples or for those whose children had already grown up. Luchesio and Buonadonna wanted another alternative, a way of sharing in religious life, but outside the cloister.

To meet this desire, Francis set up the Secular Franciscan Order. Francis wrote a simple Rule for the Third Order (Secular Franciscans) at first; Pope Honorius III approved a more formally worded Rule in 1221.

The charity of Luchesio drew the poor to him, and, like many other saints, he and Buonadonna seemed never to lack the resources to help these people.

One day Luchesio was carrying a crippled man he had found on the road. A frivolous young man came up and asked, “What poor devil is that you are carrying there on your back?” “I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ,” responded Luchesio. The young man immediately begged Luchesio’s pardon.

Luchesio and Buonadonna both died on April 28, 1260. He was beatified in 1273. Local tradition referred to Buonadonna as “blessed” though the title was not given officially. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1358

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of Fifth Week of Easter
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/042716.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. 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). When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can claim their spiritual inheritance through association with a particular people or bloodline. Rather, it is only through Jesus Christ that one can become grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.

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 abiding presence with you?

“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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr27.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Zita of Lucca, Patroness of Domestic Workers (1218-1278)
Zita is a good saint for those of us who sometimes lose a chance to do some good by waiting to do something better.

St. Francis of Assisi was still living when Zita was born to poor, devout Italian parents. From the age of 12 until her death, she worked as a servant for the Fatinelli family in Lucca. She was a hard worker, pious and generous. Although that dedication provoked jealousy on the part of some other servants, Zita won them over by her patience.

As the years passed, she became famous for helping the sick, the poor and the imprisoned. She was regarded locally as a saint soon after her death; that title was officially given to her in 1696. Zita is the patroness of domestic workers. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1366

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

First Reading: Acts 14:19-28
Psalms 145:10-13, 21: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your 
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/042616.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr26.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Pedro de San José Betancur (1626-1667)
Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the “St. Francis of the Americas,” Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala.

Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change.

“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy.

Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established.

Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent.

Other men came to share in Pedro’s work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro’s death. A Bethlehemite sisters’ community, similarly founded after Pedro’s death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion.

He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve posadas procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night’s lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries.

Pedro was canonized in 2002. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1357

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/042516.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, mission, and teaching. 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 Peter and likely wrote his gospel in Rome where Peter was based. Mark wrote it in Greek. It was likely written for Gentile 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, 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).

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

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

This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission 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 resurrection.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr25.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Mark
Most of what we know about Mark comes directly from the New Testament. He is usually identified with the Mark of Acts 12:12. (When Peter escaped from prison, he went to the home of Mark’s mother.)

Paul and Barnabas took him along on the first missionary journey, but for some reason Mark returned alone to Jerusalem. It is evident, from Paul’s refusal to let Mark accompany him on the second journey despite Barnabas’s insistence, that Mark had displeased Paul. Because Paul later asks Mark to visit him in prison, we may assume the trouble did not last long.

The oldest and the shortest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus’ rejection by humanity while being God’s triumphant envoy. Probably written for Gentile converts in Rome—after the death of Peter and Paul sometime between A.D. 60 and 70—Mark’s Gospel is the gradual manifestation of a “scandal”: a crucified Messiah.

Evidently a friend of Mark (Peter called him “my son”), Peter is only one of the Gospel sources, others being the Church in Jerusalem (Jewish roots) and the Church at Antioch (largely Gentile).

Like one other Gospel writer, Luke, Mark was not one of the 12 apostles. We cannot be certain whether he knew Jesus personally. Some scholars feel that the evangelist is speaking of himself when describing the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane: “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).

Others hold Mark to be the first bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. Venice, famous for the Piazza San Marco, claims Mark as its patron saint; the large basilica there is believed to contain his remains.

A winged lion is Mark’s symbol. The lion derives from Mark’s description of John the Baptist as a “voice of one crying out in the desert” (Mark 1:3), which artists compared to a roaring lion. The wings come from the application of Ezekiel’s vision of four winged creatures (Ezekiel, chapter one) to the evangelists. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1364

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 54

First Reading: Acts 14:21-27
Psalms 145:8-13: I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5
Gospel: John 13:31-33, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042416.cfm

Reflection: How does God reveal his glory to us?  During his last supper with his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father. What is this glory? It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here. The cross of Jesus reveals the tremendous love and mercy of God the Father and his beloved Son for the human race. John the Evangelist writes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The true nature of love
There is no greater glory and honor that one can offer than the willing sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. This is the true nature of love – the total self-giving and free offering of one’s life for the good of another. A mother who loves her child will do everything in her power to nurture, protect, and save the life of the child. A soldier devoted to his country’s welfare, will endure any hardship and suffering and willingly sacrifice his own life to defend his people. God the Father showed the unfathomable depth of his love and mercy by willingly offering his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. To ransom a slave God gave his only Son. That slave is you and me and the whole human race which is bound in sin and death and separation from God.

The cancer of sin is healed by Christ’s merciful love
Paul the Apostle tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The Lord Jesus died for our sins to bring us abundant new life in his Spirit and to restore our nature in the true image and likeness of God. The cancer of sin shows us the ugliness of greed, hatred, and envy which destroy the very core of our being and rob us of life and love. That is why evil infects the world which God created out of his boundless love and goodness. God did not create evil and suffering, but through suffering he conquers evil with goodness, truth, and mercy and righteousness.

That is why Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment and way of love – not a commandment that replaces the Old Covenant commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself. This new commandment transforms the old commandment with the love and mercy which the Lord Jesus poured out for us on the Cross of Calvary. There death was defeated, and sin was covered with merciful love and forgiveness, and Satan’s power was crushed through Godly meekness and obedience. Jesus proved that love is stronger than death. That is how we overcome the world and conquer our enemies – Satan, who is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, the world which stands in opposition to God, and our own sinful pride and fear of death.

The love of Christ conquers all
The Father has glorified his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by raising him from the dead. And the Lord shares his glory with us and with all who believe in him as their Lord and Savior. Augustine of Hippo wrote, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love. God’s love is direct, personal, and wholly oriented to our good welfare and happiness. What can hold us back from loving the One who suffered and died for us and who offers us abundant joy and happiness with him forever? Nothing can separate us from that love except our own stubborn pride, envy, and self-deception. Satan rebelled out of pride and envy – he wanted to be God’s rival. Adam disobeyed because he listened to Satan’s lie and deceptive promise to glory apart from God. We sin because we love ourselves more than we love God and our neighbor. Only the cross can break the curse of sin and bring full restoration of body, mind, and soul.

We are called to love as Christ loves us
We were made for glory – the glory which comes from God and which lasts forever. That glory can only be obtained in the cross of Jesus Christ. And the price for that glory is the total offering of our lives for the One who loved us first and who died on the cross to save us from everlasting death and destruction. God offers us the free gift of faith which enables us to believe in his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who frees us from slavery to sin so we can live as sons and daughters of God. The distinctive mark of the followers of Jesus is love – a love not bound by fear, greed, or selfishness – but a love full of compassion, mercy, kindness, and goodness.

God’s love has been poured into our hearts
How can we love one another as Christ has loved us? 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). Jesus poured out his Holy Spirit on his disciples at Pentecost and he pours out his Spirit today on all who believe in him. If we yield our hearts to Jesus and submit to his will for us, then the Holy Spirit will purify all that is unloving, unkind, and unforgiving in us. The Lord wants to transform our minds so we can understand his word of truth and life which has power to set us free from ignorance, unbelief, deception, and prejudice.

This is the power that overcomes the world – the triumphant cross of Christ which breaks the destructive forces of sin, hatred, and division. And we share in the  power of Christ’s victory by embracing the cross which the Lord Jesus sets before each one of us. What is the cross that I must take up daily in order to follow the Lord Jesus? When my will crosses with God’s will, then his will must be done. The cross of Christ sets us free to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ and his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (moral goodness). Our calling and privilege is to serve as Christ has served and to love and he has loved. That is the way we share in the glory of our heavenly Father who gave us his beloved Son who laid down his life for each one of us.

The distinctive mark of every disciple and follower of Jesus Christ is love – a love that is ready to forgive and forget past injuries, to heal and restore rather than inflict revenge and injury. The cross of Jesus is the only way to pardon, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Every other way will fail or fall short of the glory and victory which Jesus Christ has won for us through his death and resurrection. If we embrace his love and truth and allow his Holy Spirit to purify and transform our hearts and minds, then we will find the inner freedom, joy, and strength we need to love without measure, to forgive without limit, and to serve without reward – save that of knowing we are serving the One who wants to be united with us in an unbreakable bond of peace and joy forever.

“Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds and surpasses everything I could desire and long for. Fill me with the fire of your love and with the joy of your Holy Spirit that I may freely serve my neighbor with loving-kindness, tenderhearted mercy, and generous care for their well-being.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr24.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622)
If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint’s life.

Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed “the poor man’s lawyer,” Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor.

As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers.

He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions.

He was accused of opposing the peasants’ national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God’s hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed.

He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1363

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284

First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-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/042316.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr23.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. George (d. c. 303)
If Mary Magdalene was the victim of misunderstanding, George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life.

That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.

The story of George’s slaying the dragon, rescuing the king’s daughter and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa and Venice. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1362

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy 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/042216.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 theLife” (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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr22.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Adalbert of Prague (956-997)
Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honor in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Germany.

Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from St. Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27 he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later.

In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.

After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert’s body was immediately ransomed and buried in Gniezno cathedral (Poland). In the mid-11th century his relics were moved to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1910

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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, 27For 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/042116.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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr21.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Anselm (1033-1109)
Indifferent toward religion as a young man, Anselm became one of the Church’s greatest theologians and leaders. He received the title “Father of Scholasticism” for his attempt to analyze and illumine the truths of faith through the aid of reason.

At 15, Anselm wanted to enter a monastery, but was refused acceptance because of his father’s opposition. Twelve years later, after careless disinterest in religion and years of worldly living, he finally fulfilled his desire to be a monk. He entered the monastery of Bec in Normandy, three years later was elected prior and 15 years later was unanimously chosen abbot.

Considered an original and independent thinker, Anselm was admired for his patience, gentleness and teaching skill. Under his leadership, the abbey of Bec became a monastic school, influential in philosophical and theological studies.

During these years, at the community’s request, Anselm began publishing his theological works, comparable to those of St. Augustine (August 28). His best-known work is the book Cur Deus Homo (“Why God Became Man”).

At 60, against his will, Anselm was appointed archbishop of Canterbury in 1093. His appointment was opposed at first by England’s King William Rufus and later accepted. Rufus persistently refused to cooperate with efforts to reform the Church.

Anselm finally went into voluntary exile until Rufus died in 1100. He was then recalled to England by Rufus’s brother and successor, Henry I. Disagreeing fearlessly with Henry over the king’s insistence on investing England’s bishops, Anselm spent another three years in exile in Rome.

His care and concern extended to the very poorest people; he opposed the slave trade. Anselm obtained from the national council at Westminster the passage of a resolution prohibiting the sale of human beings. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1360

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 281

First Reading: Acts 12:24–13:5
Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8: O God, let all the nations praise you!
Gospel: John 12:44-50
Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041916.cfm

Reflection: What kind of darkness does Jesus warn us to avoid? It is the darkness of unbelief and rejection – not only of the Son who came into the world to save it – but rejection of the Father who offers us healing and reconciliation through his Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ last public discourse before his death and resurrection (according to John’s Gospel), Jesus speaks of himself as the light of the world. In the scriptures light is associated with God’s truth and life. Psalm 27 exclaims, The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Just as natural light exposes the darkness and reveals what is hidden, so God’s word enables those with eyes of faith to perceive the hidden truths of God’s kingdom. Our universe could not exist without light – and no living thing could be sustained without it. Just as natural light produces warmth and energy – enabling seed to sprout and living things to grow – in like manner, God’s light and truth enables us to grow in the abundant life which only he can offer us. Jesus’ words produce life – the very life of God – within those who receive it with faith.

To see Jesus, the Word of God who became flesh for our sake (John 1), is to see God in visible form. To hear the words of Jesus is to hear the voice of God. He is the very light of God that has power to overcome the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief. God’s light and truth brings healing, pardon, and transformation. This light is not only for the chosen people of Israel, but for the whole world as well. Jesus warns that if we refuse to listen to his word, if we choose to ignore it or to take it very lightly, then we choose to remain in spiritual darkness.

Jesus made it clear that he did not come to condemn us, but rather to bring abundant life and freedom from the oppression of sin, Satan, and a world in opposition to God’s truth and goodness. We condemn ourselves when we reject God’s word of truth, life, and wisdom. It is one thing to live in ignorance due to lack of knowledge and understanding, but another thing to disdain the very source of truth who is Christ Jesus, the Word of God sent from the Father. Jesus says that his word – which comes from the Father and which produces eternal life in us – will be our judge. Do you believe that God’s word has power to set you free from sin and ignorance and to transform your life in his way of holiness?

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) summed up our need for God’s help in the following prayer he wrote: “God our Father, we find it difficult to come to you, because our knowledge of you is imperfect. In our ignorance we have imagined you to be our enemy; we have wrongly thought that you take pleasure in punishing our sins; and we have foolishly conceived you to be a tyrant over human life. But since Jesus came among us, he has shown that you are loving, and that our resentment against you was groundless.”

God does not wish to leave us in spiritual darkness – in our ignorance and unbelief. He is always ready to give his light, wisdom, and truth to all who seek him and who hunger for his word. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he helps us to grow each and every day in faith, knowledge, and understanding of his life-giving word. Do you want to know more of God and grow in his transforming love? Look to Jesus, the Light of God, and in his truth you will find joy, freedom, and wholeness of body, mind, heart, and soul.

“Lord Jesus, in your word I find life, truth, and freedom. May I never doubt your word nor forget your commandments. Increase my love for your truth that I may embrace it fully and live according to it.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr20.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Conrad of Parzham (1818-1894)
Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives.

His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man, Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city’s shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years.

At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad’s patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers.

Conrad’s helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the belltower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent.

Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children.

Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1359

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

Posted by: RAM | April 18, 2016

Tuesday (April 19) “My sheep hear my voice”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280

First Reading: Acts 11:19-26
Psalms 87:1-7: 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/041916.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.

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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr19.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)
In less than 40 years, Gianna Beretta Molla became a pediatric physician, a wife, a mother and a saint!

She was born in Magenta (near Milano) as the 10th of Alberto and Maria Beretta’s 13 children. An active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia and eventually opened a clinic in Mesero. Gianna also enjoyed skiing and mountain climbing.

Shortly before her 1955 marriage to Pietro Molla, Gianna wrote to him: “Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.” She and Pietro had three children, Pierluigi, Maria Zita, and Laura.

Early in the pregnancy for her fourth child, doctors discovered that Gianna had both a child and a tumor in her uterus. She allowed the surgeons to remove the tumor but not to perform the complete hysterectomy that they recommended, which would have killed the child. Seven months later, Gianna Emanuela Molla was born. The following week, her mother Gianna died in Monza of complications from childbirth. She is buried in Mesero.

Gianna Emanuela went on to become a physician herself. Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified in 1994 and canonized 10 years later. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1987

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041816.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).

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?

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 worldly 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr18.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed James Oldo (1364-1404)
You’ve heard rags-to-riches stories. Today, we celebrate the reverse.

James of Oldo was born into a well-to-do family near Milan in 1364. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth.

He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients.

James Oldo was beatified in 1933. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1349

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

Posted by: RAM | April 16, 2016

Sunday (April 17) “My sheep hear my voice.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday
Lectionary: 51

First Reading: Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5: We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Second Reading: Revelation 7:9, 14-17
Gospel: John 10:27-30
Jesus said:
“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/041716.cfm

Reflection: How secure is your faith and trust in God? 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). What is the significance of Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd? Shepherds were very common in the land of Jesus’ time. A shepherd could have hundreds or thousands of sheep under his care. Sheep without a shepherd were vulnerable prey for predators, such as wolves and thieves. If a sheep strayed from the fold it could easily get lost, fall into a ravine, or become injured. Shepherds had to keep a constant watch over their folds by day and by night. That is why shepherds had to literally live with their sheep so they could lead them out to good pasture for grazing during the day and bring them to a safe place at night for rest and shelter. Shepherds got to know their sheep well and kept a careful count each evening. They also called their sheep by name so the sheep could recognize the shepherd’s voice when he called them to follow him.

The Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
God used the image of a shepherd to describe his covenant relationship and care for his chosen people who were called by his name (Psalm 80:1 and 100:3). God called David, who shepherded his father’s flock in his youth, to be the anointed king and shepherd for his people Israel (Ezekiel 37:24). Jesus, God’s anointed Messiah and King, born from the tribe of David, called himself the Good Shepherd of the people whom his Father had entrusted to his care (John 10:29).

Peter the Apostle tells us that the Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). He keeps a close and personal watch over every one of his sheep – his followers (disciples) who belong to him. He calls each of us personally by name to follow him. And he promises to be our guardian and protector from the snares of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). The Lord leads us each day to good pastures – places where we can feed on his word and drink from the well-springs of living water which is his Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39, John 4:14). If we feed on his word and drink from the living water of the Holy Spirit, we will find the nourishment and strength we need to live each day for his glory and honor. Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd and Guardian who calls to you each day?

“My sheep follow me”
Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father and theologian, contrasts those who listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd, and those who close their ears to his call.

The mark of Christ’s sheep is their willingness to hear and obey, just as disobedience is the mark of those who are not his. We take the word hear to imply obedience to what has been said. People who hear God are known by him. No one is entirely unknown by God, but to be known in this way is to become part of his family. Therefore, when Christ says, ‘I know mine,’ he means I will receive them and give them a permanent mystical relationship with myself. It might be said that inasmuch as he has become man, he has made all human beings his relatives, since all are members of the same race. We are all united to Christ in a mystical relationship because of his incarnation. Yet those who do not preserve the likeness of his holiness are alienated from him… ‘My sheep follow me,’ says Christ. By a certain God-given grace, believers follow in the footsteps of Christ. No longer subject to the shadows of the law, they obey the commands of Christ and guided by his words rise through grace to his own dignity, for they are called ‘children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). When Christ ascends into heaven, they also follow him.” (excerpt from the COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 7.1)

The Lord opens our ears to hear his word
The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, but especially through his word in the Sacred Scriptures. He will open the Scriptures for us if we approach his word with reverence and faith (Luke 24:32). How can we grow in listening to the voice of our Lord and Shepherd? If we ask he will open our ears to hear him speak to our hearts and minds.
“Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward” (Isaiah 50:4-5).

And if we hunger for his word, he will give us understanding, wisdom, and guidance for our lives.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path… I rejoice at your word like one who finds great treasure” (Psalm 119:105, 162).

The Lord Jesus wants to draw each of us close to himself. He wants us to be united with him and the Father. That is why he teaches us to pray to our Father in heaven and to ask for his kingdom to reign in our lives (Matthew 6:9-10). The Lord Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts and homes (Revelation 2:20) and waits for our response. Will you answer his call and welcome his presence with you?

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. Open my ears to hear your voice and to follow your ways. Give me understanding that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and wisdom for my life.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr17.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Benedict Joseph Labre (d. 1783)
Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God’s special little ones. Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest. Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life. Then, at 16 years of age, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives.

He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms. He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor. Filled with the love of God and neighbor, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament. In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called “the poor man of the Forty Hours Devotion” and “the beggar of Rome.” The people accepted his ragged appearance better than he did. His excuse to himself was that “our comfort is not in this world.”

On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint.

He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1881. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1356

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041616.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.

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.

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.

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.

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 thewords 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr16.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)
Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11,1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age.

There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette’s initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of “the Lady” brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig.

According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was.

Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862.

During her life Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35.

She was canonized in 1933. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1355

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041516.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).

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 Corinthians5:7). 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).

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr15.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Caesar de Bus (1544-1607)
Like so many of us, Caesar de Bus struggled with the decision about what to do with his life. After completing his Jesuit education he had difficulty settling between a military and a literary career. He wrote some plays but ultimately settled for life in the army and at court.

For a time life was going rather smoothly for the engaging, well-to-do young Frenchman. He was confident he had made the right choice. That was until he saw firsthand the realities of battle, including the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacres of French Protestants in 1572.

He fell seriously ill and found himself reviewing his priorities, including his spiritual life. By the time he had recovered, Caesar had resolved to become a priest. Following his ordination in 1582, he undertook special pastoral work: teaching the catechism to ordinary people living in neglected, rural, out-of-the-way places. His efforts were badly needed and well received.

Working with his cousin, Caesar developed a program of family catechesis. The goal—to ward off heresy among the people—met the approval of local bishops. Out of these efforts grew a new religious congregation: the Fathers of Christian Doctrine.

One of Caesar’s works, Instructions for the Family on the Four Parts of the Roman Catechism, was published 60 years after his death.

He was beatified in 1975. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1354

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041416.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 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.

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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr14.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Peter Gonzalez (d. 1246)
St. Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Many years later, the same proved true for Peter Gonzalez, who triumphantly rode his horse into the Spanish city of Astorga in the 13th century to take up an important post at the cathedral. The animal stumbled and fell, leaving Peter in the mud and onlookers amused.

Humbled, Peter reevaluated his motivations (his bishop-uncle had secured the cathedral post for him) and started down a new path. He became a Dominican priest and proved to be a most effective preacher. He spent much of his time as court chaplain, and attempted to exert positive influence on the behavior of members of the court. After King Ferdinand III and his troops defeated the Moors at Cordoba, Peter was successful in restraining the soldiers from pillaging and persuaded the king to treat the defeated Moors with compassion.

After retiring from the court, Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. He developed a special mission to Spanish and Portuguese seamen. He is the patron of sailors.

Peter Gonzalez died in 1246 and was beatified in 1741. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1901

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041316.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr13.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Martin I (d. 655)

When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.

A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Twice emperors had officially favored this position, Heraclius by publishing a formula of faith and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.

Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy (which he did without first being confirmed by the emperor), Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his predecessors were condemned. Constans II, in response, tried first to turn bishops and people against the pope.

Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople. Already in poor health, Martin offered no resistance, returned with the exarch Calliopas and was then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death and with some of the torture imposed already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.

Martin died shortly thereafter, tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1352

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

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Posted by: RAM | April 11, 2016

Tuesday (April 12): “I am the bread of life.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month 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/041216.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 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. 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr12.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Teresa of Los Andes (1900-1920)
One needn’t live a long life to leave a deep imprint. Teresa of Los Andes is proof of that.

As a young girl growing up in Santiago, Chile, in the early 1900s, she read an autobiography of a French-born saint—Thérèse, popularly known as the Little Flower. The experience deepened her desire to serve God and clarified the path she would follow. At age 19 she became a Carmelite nun, taking the name of Teresa.

The convent offered the simple lifestyle Teresa desired and the joy of living in a community of women completely devoted to God. She focused her days on prayer and sacrifice. “I am God’s,” she wrote in her diary. “He created me and is my beginning and my end.”

Toward the end of her short life, Teresa began an apostolate of letter-writing, sharing her thoughts on the spiritual life with many people. At age 20 she contracted typhus and quickly took her final vows. She died a short time later, during Holy Week.

Teresa remains popular with the estimated 100,000 pilgrims who visit her shrine in Los Andes each year. She is Chile’s first saint. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1900

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
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/041116.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 the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Were they simply hungry for things which satisfy the body or for that which satisfies the heart and soul? 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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr11.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Stanislaus (1030-1079)
Anyone who reads the history of Eastern Europe cannot help but chance on the name of Stanislaus, the saintly but tragic bishop of Kraków, patron of Poland. He is remembered with Saints Thomas More (June 22) and Thomas Becket (December 29) for vigorous opposition to the evils of an unjust government.

Born in Szczepanow near Kraków on July 26, 1030, he was ordained a priest after being educated in the cathedral schools of Gniezno, then capital of Poland, and at Paris. He was appointed preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Kraków, where his eloquence and example brought about real conversion in many of his penitents, both clergy and laity. He became bishop of Kraków in 1072.

During an expedition against the Grand Duchy of Kiev, Stanislaus became involved in the political situation of Poland. Known for his outspokenness, he aimed his attacks at the evils of the peasantry and the king, especially the unjust wars and immoral acts of King Boleslaus II.

The king first excused himself, then made a show of penance, then relapsed into his old ways. Stanislaus continued his open opposition in spite of charges of treason and threats of death, finally excommunicating the king. The latter, enraged, ordered soldiers to kill the bishop. When they refused, the king killed him with his own hands.

Forced to flee to Hungary, Boleslaus supposedly spent the rest of his life as a penitent in the Benedictine abbey in Osiak. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1350

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

Posted by: RAM | April 9, 2016

Sunday (April 10): “Follow Me.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 48

First Reading: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41
Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13: I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Second Reading: Revelation 5:11-14
Gospel: John 21:1-19
At that time, 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.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus 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.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus 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/041016.cfm

Reflection: Why didn’t the apostles immediately recognize the Risen Lord Jesus when he greeted them at the Sea of Tiberias (also called the lake of Gennesaret or Galilee)? 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 job as a fisherman out of uncertainty for his future. Six of the other apostles followed him back to Galilee.

The Lord Jesus renews Peter’s faith and calling – and ours as well
Why did Jesus choose to reveal himself to the apostles at the Sea of Galilee – and right after they had spent a whole night of futile fishing? The Risen Lord was waiting on the shore for Peter and the other apostles. When their boat drew near the shore, Jesus questioned them and then gave a command to lower their nets into the sea. When their nets began to burst at the great haul of fish, John, the beloved disciple, recognized that it was the Lord who was speaking to them. Peter then immediately leaped from the boat and ran to the Lord. Do you run to the Lord Jesus when you meet setbacks and disappointments, and when you faith is being put to the test? The Lord Jesus is always ready to renew us in faith and to give each of us fresh hope in his promises for us.

Why did Jesus perform this miraculous catch of fish after his third resurrection appearance to the apostles? By looking back to the first miracle of the great catch of fish, we can recognize the significance of Jesus repeating this miracle again for his apostles. The first miracle took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee when the Lord called Peter to leave all and follow him. After Peter had fished all night and caught nothing, Jesus commanded him to lower his nets (see Luke 5:4-11). When his nets began to break under the weight of the great haul, Jesus then spoke to Peter and gave him a new calling and mission – from now on he would be “catching people” for the kingdom of God (Luke 5:10). Jesus repeats this miracle for Peter to remind him that he must continue his mission of “catching people” and “making disciples” for the kingdom of Christ.

Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection accounts say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus. The Gospels, however, give us a vivid picture of the reality of the resurrected and glorified body of the Lord Jesus. Jesus went out of his way to offer his disciples various proofs of his physical resurrection – that he is real and true flesh, not just a spirit or imaginary ghost.

Do you love me more than anything else?
In his third appearance to the apostles, Jesus prepared a breakfast for them and ate with them. Peter’s prompt response to draw near to the Lord and eat breakfast with him stands in sharp contrast to his previous denial and distancing himself from his Master during the night of Jesus’ arrest and trial. Why did Jesus question Peter’s love and loyalty three times in front of the other disciples? It must have caused Peter pain and sorrow since he had publicly denied Jesus three times previously. Now Peter, full of remorse and humility, unequivocally stated that he loved his Lord and Master and was willing to serve him whatever it might cost.

When Jesus asked Peter “do you love me more than these?” he may have pointed to the boats, nets and other fishing companions. He may have challenged Peter to let go of his career as a fisherman for the task of shepherding the people whom Christ would call to be his disciples. Jesus may have also pointed to the other apostles 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 I love you.”

The Lord wants to renew our minds and rekindle our hearts with his transforming love

The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, even in our personal struggles, weakness, and sin, to draw near to him as our merciful Healer and Savior. He invites us to choose him as our Lord and to love him above all else. What can hold us back from giving him our undivided love and unqualified loyalty (Romans 8:38-39)? Nothing but our own sinful pride and stubborn will, and blind fear can hold us back from receiving his gracious forgiveness, loving-kindness, and faithful love. God’s abundant grace (favor and blessing) is a free and unmerited gift, far beyond what we deserve or could possibly hope to obtain through our own means. We can never outmatch God in generosity and goodness. He loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace (unmerited favor) and mercy.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) wrote in his famous confession a remarkable prayer of thanksgiving and love: 

“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. “ (Confessions 10:27)

The Lord Jesus wants to personally draw near to each one of us and he knocks every day on the door of our hearts and he waits for our response (Revelation 3:20). Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you and do you listen for his voice as he speaks to you in your heart and through the word of God in the Sacred Scriptures? The Lord is ever ready to help us grow in the knowledge of his great love for us and in the exceeding richness of his mercies and goodness towards us. Ask the Lord Jesus to rekindle your love for him and to transform your life through the power and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.

“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your merciful love and remove everything that is unkind, ungrateful, unloving and unholy, and that is not in accord with your will. May I always seek to love you above all else and follow you wherever you wish to lead me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr10.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Magdalen of Canossa (1774-1835)
Wealth and privilege did nothing to prevent today’s saint from following her calling to serve Christ in the poor. Nor did the protests of her relatives, concerned that such work was beneath her.

Born in northern Italy in 1774, Magdalen knew her mind—and spoke it. At age 15 she announced she wished to become a nun. After trying out her vocation with the cloistered Carmelites, she realized her desire was to serve the needy without restriction. For years she worked among the poor and sick in hospitals and in their homes, and also among delinquent and abandoned girls.

In her mid-twenties Magdalen began offering lodging to poor girls in her own home. In time she opened a school, which offered practical training and religious instruction. As other women joined her in the work, the new Congregation of the Daughters of Charity emerged. Over time, houses were opened throughout Italy.

Members of the new religious congregation focused on the educational and spiritual needs of women. Magdalen also founded a smaller congregation for priests and brothers. Both groups continue to this day.

She died in 1835. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1988. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1899

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/040916.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!”

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr9.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Casilda (11th century)
Some saints’ names are far more familiar to us than others, but even the lives of obscure holy persons teach us something.

And so it is with St. Casilda, the daughter of a Muslim leader in Toledo, Spain, in the 10th century. Casilda was herself raised as a Muslim and showed special kindness to Christian prisoners. She became ill as a young woman but was not convinced that any of the local Arab doctors could cure her. So, she made a pilgrimage to the shrine of San Vicenzo in northern Spain. Like so many other people who made their way there—many of them suffering from hemorrhages—Casilda sought the healing waters of the shrine. We’re uncertain what brought her to the shrine, but we do know that she left it relieved of illness.

In response, she became a Christian and lived a life of solitude and penance not far from the miraculous spring. It’s said that she lived to be 100 years old. Her death likely occurred around the year 1050.

Tensions between Muslims and Christians have often existed throughout history, sometimes resulting in bloody conflict. Through her quiet, simple life Casilda served her Creator—first in one faith, then another. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1898

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/040816.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.

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.

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 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”?

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr8.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Julie Billiart (1751-1816)
Born in Cuvilly, France, into a family of well-to-do farmers, young Marie Rose Julie Billiart showed an early interest in religion and in helping the sick and poor. Though the first years of her life were relatively peaceful and uncomplicated, Julie had to take up manual work as a young teen when her family lost its money. However, she spent her spare time teaching catechism to young people and to the farm laborers.

A mysterious illness overtook her when she was about 30. Witnessing an attempt to wound or even kill her father, Julie was paralyzed and became a complete invalid. For the next two decades she continued to teach catechism lessons from her bed, offered spiritual advice and attracted visitors who had heard of her holiness.

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, revolutionary forces became aware of her allegiance to fugitive priests. With the help of friends she was smuggled out of Cuvilly in a haycart; she spent several years hiding in Compiegne, being moved from house to house despite her growing physical pain. She even lost the power of speech for a time.

But this period also proved to be a fruitful spiritual time for Julie. It was at this time she had a vision in which she saw Calvary surrounded by women in religious habits and heard a voice saying, “Behold these spiritual daughters whom I give you in an Institute marked by the cross.” As time passed and Julie continued her mobile life, she made the acquaintance of an aristocratic woman, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, who shared Julie’s interest in teaching the faith. In 1803 the two women began the Institute of Notre Dame, which was dedicated to the education of the poor as well as young Christian girls and the training of catechists. The following year the first Sisters of Notre Dame made their vows. That was the same year that Julie recovered from the illness: She was able to walk for the first time in 22 years.

Though Julie had always been attentive to the special needs of the poor and that always remained her priority, she also became aware that other classes in society needed Christian instruction. From the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame until her death, Julie was on the road, opening a variety of schools in France and Belgium that served the poor and the wealthy, vocational groups, teachers. Ultimately, Julie and Françoise moved the motherhouse to Namur, Belgium.

Julie died there in 1816. She was canonized in 1969. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1347

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest, Patron of Schoolteachers
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/040716.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). 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. 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr7.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719)
Complete dedication to what he saw as God’s will for him dominated the life of John Baptist de la Salle. In 1950, Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers for his efforts in upgrading school instruction. As a young 17th-century Frenchman, John had everything going for him: scholarly bent, good looks, noble family background, money, refined upbringing. At the early age of 11, he received the tonsure and started preparation for the priesthood, to which he was ordained at 27. He seemed assured then of a life of dignified ease and a high position in the Church.

But God had other plans for John, which were gradually revealed to him in the next several years. During a chance meeting with M. Nyel of Raven, he became interested in the creation of schools for poor boys in Raven, where he was stationed. Though the work was extremely distasteful to him at first, he became more involved in working with the deprived youths.

Once convinced that this was his divinely appointed mission, John threw himself wholeheartedly into the work, left home and family, abandoned his position as canon at Rheims, gave away his fortune and reduced himself to the level of the poor to whom he devoted his entire life.

The remainder of his life was closely entwined with the community of religious men he founded, the Brothers of the Christian School (Christian Brothers, or De La Salle Brothers). This community grew rapidly and was successful in educating boys of poor families, using methods designed by John. It prepare teachers in the first training college for teachers and also set up homes and schools for young delinquents of wealthy families. The motivating element in all these endeavors was the desire to become a good Christian.

Yet even in his success, John did not escape experiencing many trials: heartrending disappointment and defections among his disciples, bitter opposition from the secular schoolmasters who resented his new and fruitful methods, and persistent opposition from the Jansenists of his time, whose moral rigidity and pessimism abut the human condition John resisted vehemently all his life.

Afflicted with asthma and rheumatism in his last years, he died on Good Friday at 68 and was canonized in 1900. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1346&calendar=1

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
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/040616.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the love which surpasses the greatest joy and happiness which one could ever hope to find? Great 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 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 sin and the sin of the world.

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.

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, beauty, and goodness. 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr6.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Crescentia Hoess (1682-1744)
Crescentia was born in 1682 in a little town near Augsburg, the daughter of a poor weaver. She spent play time praying in the parish church, assisted those even poorer than herself and had so mastered the truths of her religion that she was permitted to make her holy Communion at the then unusually early age of seven. In the town she was called “the little angel.”

As she grew older she desired to enter the convent of the Tertiaries of St. Francis. But the convent was poor and, because Crescentia had no dowry, the superiors refused her admission. Her case was then pleaded by the Protestant mayor of the town to whom the convent owed a favor. The community felt it was forced into receiving her, and her new life was made miserable. She was considered a burden and assigned nothing other than menial tasks. Even her cheerful spirit was misinterpreted as flattery or hypocrisy.

Conditions improved four years later when a new superior was elected who realized her virtue. Crescentia herself was appointed mistress of novices. She so won the love and respect of the sisters that, upon the death of the superior, Crescentia herself was unanimously elected to that position. Under her the financial state of the convent improved and her reputation in spiritual matters spread. She was soon being consulted by princes and princesses as well as by bishops and cardinals seeking her advice. And yet, a true daughter of Francis, she remained ever humble.

Bodily afflictions and pain were always with her. First it was headaches and toothaches. Then she lost the ability to walk, her hands and feet gradually becoming so crippled that her body curled up into a fetal position. In the spirit of Francis she cried out, “Oh, you bodily members, praise God that he has given you the capacity to suffer.” Despite her sufferings she was filled with peace and joy as she died on Easter Sunday in 1744.

She was beatified in 1900 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1345&calendar=1

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
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/040516.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)

New birth in the 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr5.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Vincent Ferrer, Patron of Builders
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 day is 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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/040416.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr4.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Lectionary: 45

First Reading: Acts 5:12-16
Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24:  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
Second Reading: Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19
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/040316.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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr3.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Agape (d. 304)
Agape and her sisters Chionia and Irene, Christians of Thessalonica, Macedonia, were convicted of possessing texts of the Scriptures despite a decree issued in 303 by Emperor Diocletian naming such possessions a crime punishable by death. When they further refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, the governor, Dulcitius, had Agape and Chionia burned alive. When Irene still refused to recant, Dulcitius ordered her sent to a house of prostitution. There she was unmolested after being exposed naked and chained, she was put to death either by burning or by an arrow through her throat. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=468

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
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/040216.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.

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?

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr2.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Francis of Paola
Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the Franciscan friary of San Marco there, and when fifteen became a hermit near Paola. In 1436, he and two companions began a community that is considered the foundation of the Minim Friars. He built a monastery where he had led his eremitical life some fifteen years later and set a Rule for his followers emphasizing penance, charity, and humility, and added to the three monastic vows, one of fasting and abstinence from meat; he also wrote a rule fortertiaries and nuns. He was credited with many miracles and had the gifts of prophesy and insight into men’s hearts. The Order was approved by Pope Sixtus IV in 1474 with the name Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi (changed to Minim Friars in 1492). Francis established foundations in southern Italy and Sicily, and his fame was such that at the request of dying King Louis XI of France, Pope Sixtus II ordered him to France, as the King felt he could be cured by Francis. He was not, but was so comforted that Louis’ son Charles VIII, became Francis’ friend and endowed several monasteries for the Minims. Francis spent the rest of his life at the monastery of Plessis, France, which Charles built for him. Francis died there on April 2nd and was canonized in 1519. His feast day is April 2. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=645

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

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/040116.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.

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.

Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus. The Gospels, 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. Peter’s prompt recognition of the Master – It is the Lord! – stands in sharp contrast to his 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 receive his word with faith?

“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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr1.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hugh of Grenoble (1053-1132)
Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He was born in the Dauphine region and became a canon of the cathedral in Valence. In 1080, while attending a synod in Avignon, Hugh was named bishop of Grenoble. He attempted a massive reform of the diocese, but, discouraged, retired to Chaise Dieu Abbey, and became a Benedictine. Pope St. Gregoiy VII ordered him back to Grenoble. Hugh gave St. Bruno the land on which the Grande Chartreuse was founded, thus starting the Carthusians. Hugh died on April 1 and was canonized by Pope Innocent II. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3809

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Anacleto González Flores
St. Caidoc & Fricor
St. Cellach
St. Dodolinus
St. Hugh of Grenoble
Bl. Ludovico Pavoni
St. Macarius the Wonder-Worker
St. Melito of Sardis
St. Melito of Sardis
St. Quintian and Irenaeus
St. Theodora
St. Venantius
St. Victor and Stephen
St. Walericus

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

Posted by: RAM | March 30, 2016

Thursday (March 31): “Peace be with you.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

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
The 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/033116.cfm

Reflection: Aren’t we like the apostles? We wont believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The Gospels attest to the reality of the resurrection. 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 centrality of the Gospel 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar31.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Stephen of Mar Saba (d. 794)
A “do not disturb” sign helped today’s saint find holiness and peace.

Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit’s life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: “Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays.”

Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.

His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: “Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things.”

Stephen died in 794. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1895&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
St. Achatius
St. Balbina
St. Benjamin
St. Daniel
St. Guy of Pomposa
St. Machabeo
St. Renovatus
St. Theodulus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

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/033016.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 appeared to them and gave them understanding. 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar30.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Peter Regalado (1390-1456)
Peter lived at a very busy time in history. The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) was settled at the Council of Constance (1414-1418). France and England were fighting the Hundred Years’ War, and in 1453 the Byzantine Empire was completely wiped out by the loss of Constantinople to the Turks. At Peter’s death the age of printing had just begun in Germany, and Columbus’s arrival in the New World was less than 40 years away.

Peter came from a wealthy and pious family in Valladolid, Spain. At the age of 13, he was allowed to enter the Conventual Franciscans. Shortly after his ordination, he was made superior of the friary in Aguilar. He became part of a group of friars who wanted to lead a life of greater poverty and penance. In 1442 he was appointed head of all the Spanish Franciscans in his reform group.

Peter led the friars by his example. A special love of the poor and the sick characterized Peter. Miraculous stories are told about his charity to the poor. For example, the bread never seemed to run out as long as Peter had hungry people to feed. Throughout most of his life, Peter went hungry; he lived only on bread and water.

Immediately after his death on March 31, 1456, his grave became a place of pilgrimage. Peter was canonized in 1746. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1338&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Amadeus IX of Savoy
St. Clinius
St. Domninus
St. Fergus
St. John Climacus
St. Leonard Muraildo
St. Mamertinus of Auxerre
St. Osburga
St. Pastor
St. Patto
St. Peter Regulatus
St. Quirinus
St. Regulus
St. Tola
St. Zosimus

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

Posted by: RAM | March 28, 2016

Tuesday (March 29): “I have seen the Lord!”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

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/032916.cfm

Reflection: Do you recognize the Lord’s presence when you hear his word? How easy it is to miss the Lord 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. 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 who loves us personally and shares his glory with us. The Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to see the truth of his resurrection and victory over sin and death (Ephesians 1:18).

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our hope – the hope that we will see 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 in your life-giving word.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar29.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Berthold (d. 1195)
Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite Order. He was born in Limoges, France, and proved a brilliant student at the University of Paris. Ordained a priest, Berthold joined his brother, Aymeric, the Latin patriarch of Antioch, in Turkey, on the Crusades. On Mount Carmel he found a group of hermits, joined them, and established a rule. Aymeric appointed Berthold the first Carmelite superior general.  Berthold tried to reform the Christian soldiers in the region, having had a vision of Christ, and headed the Carmelites for forty-five years. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1775

More Saints of the Day
St. Armogastes and Companions
St. Berthold
St. Eustace
St. Firminus
St. Gladys
St. Gwynllyw
St. Lasar
St. Ludolf of Ratzeburg
St. Ludolph
St. Mark
St. Pastor
St. Secundus

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

Posted by: RAM | March 27, 2016

Monday (March 28): “Do not be afraid.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

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/032816.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.

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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar28.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hesychius of Jerusalem (c. 450)
Not only is the name of today’s saint a bit hard to pronounce and spell. It’s also difficult to learn about such a modest and gentle man who lived in the fourth and fifth century and who is better known in the Russian Orthodox Church.

The birth date of Hesychius (pronounced HESH-us) is unclear, but we know that he was a priest and monk who wrote a history of the Church, unfortunately lost. He also wrote about many of the burning issues of his day. These included the heresy of Nestorianism, which held that there were two separate persons in Jesus—one human, one divine—and the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. Some of his commentaries on the books of the Bible as well, along with meditations on the prophets and homilies on the Blessed Virgin Mary, still survive.

It’s believed Hesychius delivered Easter homilies in the basilica in Jerusalem thought to be the place of the crucifixion.

His words on the Eucharist, written centuries ago, speak to us today: “Keep yourselves free from sin so that every day you may share in the mystic meal; by doing so our bodies become the body of Christ.”

Hesychius died around the year 450. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1894&calendar=1

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day
Lectionary: 42

First Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23:  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel: John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032716.cfm

Reflection: What was it like for the disciple who had stood at the cross of Jesus and then laid him in a tomb on Good Friday, to come back three days later and discover that the sealed tomb was now empty? John, along with Peter, was the first apostle to reach the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. Like Mary Magdalene and the other disciples, John was not ready to see an empty tomb and to hear the angel’s message, Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5)?  What did John see in the tomb that led him to believe in the resurrection of Jesus? It was certainly not a dead body. The dead body of Jesus would have disproven the resurrection and made his death a tragic conclusion to a glorious career as a great teacher and miracle worker. When John saw the empty tomb he must have recalled Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise again after three days. Through the gift of faith John realized that no tomb on earth could contain the Lord and giver of life. John saw and believed (John 20:8).

John had to first deal with the empty tomb before he could meet the risen Lord later that evening along with the other apostles who had locked themselves in the upper room out of fear of the Jewish authorities (John 20:19-23). John testified as an eye-witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the eternal word of life which existed from the beginning (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity. This “word of life” is Jesus the word incarnate, but also Jesus as the word announced by the prophets and Jesus the word now preached throughout the Christian church for all ages to come.

One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Lord and Savior. Do you accept the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection with skeptical doubt and disbelief or with trusting faith and joyful wonderment?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won for us new life and resurrection power. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love for us and your great victory over sin and death.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar27.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Francis Faà di Bruno (1825-1888)
Francis, the last of 12 children, was born in northern Italy into an aristocratic family. He lived at a particularly turbulent time in history, when anti-Catholic and anti-papal sentiments were especially strong.

After being trained as a military officer, Francis was spotted by King Victor Emmanuel II, who was impressed with the young man’s character and learning. Invited by the king to tutor his two young sons, Francis agreed and prepared himself with additional studies. But with the role of the Church in education being a sticking point for many, the king was forced to withdraw his offer to the openly Catholic Francis and, instead, find a tutor more suitable to the secular state.

Francis soon left army life behind and pursued doctoral studies in Paris in mathematics and astronomy; he also showed a special interest in religion and asceticism. Despite his commitment to the scholarly life, Francis put much of his energy into charitable activities. He founded the Society of St. Zita for maids and domestic servants, later expanding it to include unmarried mothers, among others. He helped establish hostels for the elderly and poor. He even oversaw the construction of a church in Turin that was dedicated to the memory of Italian soldiers who had lost their lives in the struggle over the unification of Italy.

Wishing to broaden and deepen his commitment to the poor, Francis, then well into adulthood, studied for the priesthood. But first he had to obtain the support of Pope Pius IX to counteract the opposition to his own archbishop’s difficulty with late vocations. Francis was ordained at the age of 51.

As a priest, he continued his good works, sharing his inheritance as well as his energy. He established yet another hostel, this time for prostitutes. He died in Turin on March 27, 1888, and was beatified 100 years later. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1335&calendar=1

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Holy Saturday
At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Lectionary: 41

First Reading: Genesis 1:1–2:2
Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35:  Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Second Reading: Genesis 22:1-18
Psalms 16:5, 8-11: You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Third Reading: Exodus 14:15–15:1
Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18: Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54:5-14
Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13:  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
Isaiah 12:2-6: You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Sixth Reading: Baruch 3:9-15, 32–4:4
Psalms 19:8-11: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-28
Psalms 42:3, 5; 43:3-4: Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.

Epistle: Romans 6:3-11
Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 24:1-12
At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032616.cfm

Reflection: What did the disciples of Jesus discover on the third day of Jesus’ death? On Sunday morning the women who had stood with Jesus when he died upon the cross on Good Friday went to the tomb to pay their last tribute to a dead body. The disciples thought that everything had finished in tragedy. None of Jesus’ followers were expecting to see an empty tomb and hear the angel’s message, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise” (Luke 24:5-7). The angel urged them to believe that Jesus had indeed risen just as he had promised. This good news was not easy for them to grasp because their hearts were still weighed down with grief and doubt. In wonder they went to share the good news with the other disciples.

Is it any small wonder that it was the women, rather than the apostles, who first witnessed the empty tomb and then the appearance of the resurrected Lord (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:9; John 20:15-18)? Isidore of Seville (560-636 AD), a great teacher and bishop, commented on the significance of the women being the first to hear the good news of the resurrection: “As a woman (Eve) was first to taste death, so a woman (Mary Magdalene) was first to taste life. As a woman was prescient in the fall, so a woman was prescient in beholding the dawning of redemption, thus reversing the curse upon Eve.” The first to testify to the risen Lord was a woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.

What is the significance of the stone being rolled away? It would have taken several people to move such a stone. And besides, the sealed tomb had been guarded by soldiers! This is clearly the first sign of the resurrection. Bede (672-735 AD), a renowned scripture commentator from England, wrote: “[The angel] rolled back the stone not to throw open a way for our Lord to come forth, but to provide evidence to people that he had already come forth. As the virgin’s womb was closed, so the sepulcher was closed, yet he entered the world through her closed womb, and so he left the world through the closed sepulcher” (from Homilies on the Gospels 2,7,24). Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), another early church father remarked: “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts.” Do you know the joy of the resurrection?

It is significant that the disciples had to first deal with the empty tomb before they could come to grips with the fact that scripture had foretold that Jesus would die for our sins and then rise triumphant. They disbelieved until they saw the empty tomb. Bede (672-735 AD) explains why the Risen Lord chose to reveal himself gradually to the disciples:

“Our Lord and redeemer revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time, undoubtedly because so great was the virtue of the miracle that the weak hearts of mortals could not grasp [the significance of] this all at once. Thus, he had regard for the frailty of those seeking him. To those who came first to the tomb, both the women who were aflame with love for him and the men, he showed the stone rolled back. Since his body had been carried away, he showed them the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped lying there alone. Then, to the women who were searching eagerly, who were confused in their minds about what they had found out about him, he showed a vision of angels who disclosed evidences of the fact that he had risen again. Thus, with the report of his resurrection already accomplished, going ahead of him, the Lord of hosts and the king of glory himself at length appeared and made clear with what great might he had overcome the death he had temporarily tasted.” (From Homilies on the Gospels 2,9,25)

One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally. Do you celebrate the feast of Easter with joy and thanksgiving for the victory which Jesus has won for you over sin and death?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar26.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

More Saints of the Day
St. Basil the Younger
St. Bathus and Companions
St. Braulio
St. Castulus
St. Eutychius of Alexandria
St. Garbhan
St. Govan
St. Ludger
Bl. Magdalena Caterina Morano
St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Mochelloc
St. Montanus & Maxima
St. Peter
St. Quadratus
St. Theodore
St. William of Norwich
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito

Posted by: RAM | March 24, 2016

Good Friday (March 25): “It is finished”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 40

First Reading: Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25:  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1–19:42
Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said,
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him,
“We do not have the right to execute anyone, “
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
“Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.
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.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

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 that 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.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032516.cfm

Reflection: The cross brings us face to face with Jesus’ suffering. He was alone – all his disciples had deserted him except for his mother and three women along with John, the beloved disciple. And his death was agonizing and humiliating. Normally a crucified man could last for several days on a cross. Jesus’ had already been scourged, beaten with rods, and a crown of thorns pressed into his skull. It is no wonder that he died mid-afternoon. Pilate publicly heralded Jesus “The King of the Jews” as he died upon the cross, no doubt to irritate and annoy the chief priests and Pharisees.

Jesus was crucified for his claim to be King. The Jews had understood that the Messiah would come as their king to establish God’s reign for them. They wanted a king who would free them from tyranny and foreign domination. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messianic king. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to have. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an imperishable kingdom, rather than to conquer perishable lands and entitlements.

We can find no greater proof of God’s love for us than the willing sacrifice of his Son on the cross. Jesus’ parting words, “It is finished!” express triumph rather than defeat. Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit knowing that the strife was now over and the battle was won. Even on the cross Jesus knew the joy of victory. What the Father sent him into the world to do has now been accomplished. Christ offered himself without blemish to God and he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (see Hebrews 9:24-26).

Augustine of Hippo (430-543 A.D) comments on those who stood at the cross of Jesus:

“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection.  He bows his head, as if to kiss you.  His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul.” (GMI 248)

In the cross of Christ we see the triumph of Jesus over his enemies – sin, Satan, and death. Christian writers down through the centuries have sung the praises of the Cross of Christ. Paul the Apostle exclaimed, “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

Hear what Gregory Nazianzen (329-389 AD), an early church father and bishop of Constantinople, wrote about the triumph of Christ’s exaltation on the cross :

“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the rennet does for the milk: joining us and binding us together. (On the Holy Pasch, Oration 45.1)

Rupert of Deutz (1075-1129), a Benedictine theologian and abbot, wrote:

“The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom.”

The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. By his cross Jesus Christ has pardoned us and set us free from the tyranny of sin. He paid the price for us when he made atonement for our sins. The way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God and the way to victory over sin and corruption, fear and defeat, despair and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Do you follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross with joy, hope, and confidence?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your death on the cross you have won pardon for us and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death. May I live in the joy and freedom of your victory over sin and death.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar25.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Lectionary: 39

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18:  Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032416.cfm

Reflection: Does your love waver when you encounter bitter disappointments and injury from others? As Jesus’ hour of humiliation draws near he reveals to his disciples the supreme humility which shaped the love he had for them. He stoops to perform a menial task reserved for servants – the washing of smelly, dirty feet. In stooping to serve his disciples Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of them and that the rest would abandon him through disloyalty. Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness or hatred. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with the greatest humility and supreme love.

Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. The Lord loves each of us unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility. Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions?

Saint Augustine of Hippo in his sermon for this day, wrote:

“He had the power of laying down his life; we by contrast cannot choose the length of our lives, and we die even if it is against our will. He, by dying, destroyed death in himself; we are freed from death only in his death. His body did not see corruption; our body will see corruption and only then be clothed through him in incorruption at the end of the world. He needed no help from us in saving us; without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot have life.

Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us. In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing. Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table. Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us.”

“Lord Jesus, your love conquers all and never fails. Help me to love others freely, with heart-felt compassion, kindness and goodness. Where there is injury, may I sow peace rather than strife.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar24.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)

Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine’s life.
When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence.

Catherine’s parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16 she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.

One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.

Julian’s spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian’s death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.

She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.

Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1332&calendar=1

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Wednesday of the Holy Week
Lectionary: 259

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9
Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34:  Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032316.cfm

Reflection: Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus, or hatred because of disillusionment? It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was.

Origen (185-254 AD), a bible scholar and early church father, comments on Judas’ betrayal:

“Let us consider what Judas said to the Jewish priests: What will you give me if I hand him over to you? He was willing to take money in exchange for handing over the Word of God. They do the same thing who accept sensual or worldly goods in exchange for handing over and casting out from their souls the Savior and Word of truth who came to dwell with them. Indeed, it would be fitting to apply Judas’s example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray him, as it were, by committing sin for the sake of money or for any selfish motive. People who behave in this way appear openly to be calling out to the powers of the enemy who offer worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God’s Word, saying, What will you give me if I hand him over to you? And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.

The number of coins they gave Judas was equivalent to the number of years the Savior had sojourned in this world. For at the age of thirty, he was baptized and began to preach the gospel, like Joseph was thirty years old when he began to gather grain for his brothers (Genesis 41:46). Just as at that time the grain was prepared by God for the sons of Israel but given also to the Egyptians, so also the gospel was prepared for the saints but preached also to the unfaithful and wicked.” (Commentary on Matthew 78.)

Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. As Jesus ate the passover meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be high-minded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13)?

“God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for Jesus Christ’s sake.”  (Prayer of Thomas a Kempis) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar23.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Claudio Granzotto (1900-1947)

Born in Santa Lucia del Piave near Venice, Claudio was the youngest of nine children and was accustomed to hard work in the fields. At the age of nine he lost his father. Six years later he was drafted into the Italian army, where he served more than three years.

His artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to studies at Venice’s Academy of Fine Arts, which awarded him a diploma with the highest marks in 1929. Even then he was especially interested in religious art. When Claudio entered the Friars Minor four years later, his parish priest wrote, “The Order is receiving not only an artist but a saint.” Prayer, charity to the poor and artistic work characterized his life, which was cut short by a brain tumor. He died on the feast of the Assumption and was beatified in 1994. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1130&calendar=1

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Tuesday of the Holy Week
Lectionary: 258

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalms 71:1-6, 15, 17 I will sing of your salvation.
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032216.cfm

Reflection: Jesus’ disciples were put to the test as Jesus prepared to make the final and ultimate sacrifice of his own life for their sake and for all the world. What was different between Peter and Judas? Judas deliberately betrayed his Master while Peter, in a moment of weakness, denied him with an oath and a curse. Judas’ act was cold and calculated. Peter, however, never meant to do what he did. He acted impulsively, out of weakness and cowardice. Jesus knew both the strength of Peter’s loyalty and the weakness of his resolution. He had a habit of speaking with his heart without thinking through the implications of what he was saying.

The treachery of Judas, however, is seen at its worst when Jesus makes his appeal by showing special affection to him at his last supper. John says that Satan entered into Judas when he rejected Jesus and left to pursue his evil course. Satan can twist love and turn it into hate. He can turn holiness into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency. We must be on our guard lest Satan turn us from the love of God and the path which God has chosen for us.

The Holy Spirit will give us grace and strength in our time of testing. If we submit to Jesus we will walk in the light of his truth and love. If we turn our backs on him we will stumble and fall in the ways of sin and darkness. Are you ready to follow Jesus in his way of the cross?

“Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  (Prayer of Thomas Aquinas) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar22.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Nicholas Owen (d. 1606
Nicholas, familiarly known as “Little John,” was small in stature but big in the esteem of his fellow Jesuits.

Born at Oxford, this humble artisan saved the lives of many priests and laypersons in England during the penal times (1559-1829), when a series of statutes punished Catholics for the practice of their faith. Over a period of about 20 years he used his skills to build secret hiding places for priests throughout the country. His work, which he did completely by himself as both architect and builder, was so good that time and time again priests in hiding were undetected by raiding parties. He was a genius at finding, and creating, places of safety: subterranean passages, small spaces between walls, impenetrable recesses. At one point he was even able to mastermind the escape of two Jesuits from the Tower of London. Whenever Nicholas set out to design such hiding places, he began by receiving the Holy Eucharist, and he would turn to God in prayer throughout the long, dangerous construction process.

After many years at his unusual task, he entered the Society of Jesus and served as a lay brother, although—for very good reasons—his connection with the Jesuits was kept secret.

After a number of narrow escapes, he himself was finally caught in 1594. Despite protracted torture, he refused to disclose the names of other Catholics. After being released following the payment of a ransom, “Little John” went back to his work. He was arrested again in 1606. This time he was subjected to horrible tortures, suffering an agonizing death. The jailers tried suggesting that he had confessed and committed suicide, but his heroism and sufferings soon were widely known.

He was canonized in 1970 as one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1321&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

St. Basil of Ancyra
St. Benvenutus Scotivoli
St. Callinica & Basilissa
St. Darerca of Ireland
St. Deogratius
St. Epaphroditus
St. Humilitas
St. Lea
St. Nicholas Owen
St. Octavian
St. Paul of Narbonne
St. Saturninus
St. Trien
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito

 

Posted by: RAM | March 20, 2016

Monday (March 21): Extravagant love for Jesus

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Monday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 257

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalms 27:1-3, 13-14: The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Gospel: John 12:1-11
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032016.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the love that knows no bounds? As Jesus dines with his beloved friends, Mary does something which only love can do. She took the most precious thing she had and spent it all on Jesus. Her love was not calculated but extravagant. Mary’s action was motivated by one thing, and one thing only, namely, her love for Jesus and her gratitude for God’s mercy. She did something, however, a Jewish woman would never do in public. She loosed her hair and anointed Jesus with her tears. It was customary for a woman on her wedding day to bound her hair. For a married woman to loosen her hair in public was a sign of grave immodesty. Mary was oblivious to all around her, except for Jesus. She took no thought for what others would think, but what would please her Lord. In humility she stooped to anoint Jesus’ feet and to dry them with her hair. How do you anoint the Lord’s feet and show him your love and gratitude?

The gospel records that the whole house was filled with the perfume of the ointment. What Mary had done brought sweetness not only in the physical sense, but the spiritual sense as well. Her lovely deed shows the extravagance of love – a love that we cannot outmatch. The Lord Jesus showed us the extravagance of his love in giving the best he had by pouring out his own blood for our sake and by anointing us with his Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). Do you allow the love of Christ to rule in all your thoughts and intentions, and in all your words and deeds?

Why was Judas critical of Mary’s lovely deed? Judas viewed her act as extravagant wastefulness because of greed. A person views things according to what it inside the heart and soul. Judas was an embittered man and had a warped sense of what was precious and valuable, especially to God. Jesus had put Judas in charge of their common purse, no doubt because he was gifted in financial matters. The greatest temptation we can face will often come in the area of our greatest strength or gifting. Judas used money entrusted to him for wrong and hurtful purposes. He allowed greed and personal gain to corrupt his heart and to warp his view of things. He was critical towards Mary because he imputed unworthy motives. Do you examine your heart correctly when you impute wrong or unworthy motives towards others?

“Give us, Lord, a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of you. Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, your tender compassion towards me. The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for: through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Sir Thomas More, 16th century) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar21.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 37 and 38

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14–23:56
When the hour came,
Jesus took his place at table with the apostles.
He said to them,
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again
until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said,
“Take this and share it among yourselves;
for I tell you that from this time on
I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine
until the kingdom of God comes.”
Then he took the bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which will be given for you;
do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you.

“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me
is with me on the table;
for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined;
but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.”
And they began to debate among themselves
who among them would do such a deed.

Then an argument broke out among them
about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
He said to them,
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them
and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’;
but among you it shall not be so.
Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest,
and the leader as the servant.
For who is greater:
the one seated at table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one seated at table?
I am among you as the one who serves.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you,
just as my Father has conferred one on me,
that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom;
and you will sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded
to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail;
and once you have turned back,
you must strengthen your brothers.”
He said to him,
“Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.”
But he replied,
“I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day,
you will deny three times that you know me.”

He said to them,
“When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals,
were you in need of anything?”
“No, nothing, “ they replied.
He said to them,
“But now one who has a money bag should take it,
and likewise a sack,
and one who does not have a sword
should sell his cloak and buy one.
For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me,
namely, He was counted among the wicked;
and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.”
Then they said,
“Lord, look, there are two swords here.”
But he replied, “It is enough!”

Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives,
and the disciples followed him.
When he arrived at the place he said to them,
“Pray that you may not undergo the test.”
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling,
he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing,
take this cup away from me;
still, not my will but yours be done.”
And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently
that his sweat became like drops of blood
falling on the ground.
When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples,
he found them sleeping from grief.
He said to them, “Why are you sleeping?
Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”

While he was still speaking, a crowd approached
and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas.
He went up to Jesus to kiss him.
Jesus said to him,
“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked,
“Lord, shall we strike with a sword?”
And one of them struck the high priest’s servant
and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said in reply,
“Stop, no more of this!”
Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him.
And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards
and elders who had come for him,
“Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
Day after day I was with you in the temple area,
and you did not seize me;
but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.”

After arresting him they led him away
and took him into the house of the high priest;
Peter was following at a distance.
They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it,
and Peter sat down with them.
When a maid saw him seated in the light,
she looked intently at him and said,
“This man too was with him.”
But he denied it saying,
“Woman, I do not know him.”
A short while later someone else saw him and said,
“You too are one of them”;
but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.”
About an hour later, still another insisted,
“Assuredly, this man too was with him,
for he also is a Galilean.”
But Peter said,
“My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.”
Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed,
and the Lord turned and looked at Peter;
and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how he had said to him,
“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.
The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him.
They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying,
“Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?”
And they reviled him in saying many other things against him.

When day came the council of elders of the people met,
both chief priests and scribes,
and they brought him before their Sanhedrin.
They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, “
but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe,
and if I question, you will not respond.
But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated
at the right hand of the power of God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied to them, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony?
We have heard it from his own mouth.”

Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate.
They brought charges against him, saying,
“We found this man misleading our people;
he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar
and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds,
“I find this man not guilty.”
But they were adamant and said,
“He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea,
from Galilee where he began even to here.”

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean;
and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction,
he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.
Herod was very glad to see Jesus;
he had been wanting to see him for a long time,
for he had heard about him
and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.
He questioned him at length,
but he gave him no answer.
The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile,
stood by accusing him harshly.
Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him,
and after clothing him in resplendent garb,
he sent him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate became friends that very day,
even though they had been enemies formerly.
Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people
and said to them, “You brought this man to me
and accused him of inciting the people to revolt.
I have conducted my investigation in your presence
and have not found this man guilty
of the charges you have brought against him,
nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us.
So no capital crime has been committed by him.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”

But all together they shouted out,
“Away with this man!
Release Barabbas to us.”
— Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion
that had taken place in the city and for murder. —
Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus,
but they continued their shouting,
“Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Pilate addressed them a third time,
“What evil has this man done?
I found him guilty of no capital crime.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
With loud shouts, however,
they persisted in calling for his crucifixion,
and their voices prevailed.
The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.
So he released the man who had been imprisoned
for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked,
and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.

As they led him away
they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian,
who was coming in from the country;
and after laying the cross on him,
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus,
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Jesus turned to them and said,
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep instead for yourselves and for your children
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green
what will happen when it is dry?”
Now two others, both criminals,
were led away with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull,
they crucified him and the criminals there,
one on his right, the other on his left.
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
They divided his garments by casting lots.
The people stood by and watched;
the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon
because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said,
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened,
they returned home beating their breasts;
but all his acquaintances stood at a distance,
including the women who had followed him from Galilee
and saw these events.
Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
though he was a member of the council,
had not consented to their plan of action.
He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea
and was awaiting the kingdom of God.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down,
he wrapped it in a linen cloth
and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
in which no one had yet been buried.
It was the day of preparation,
and the sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind,
and when they had seen the tomb
and the way in which his body was laid in it,
they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils.
Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031916.cfm

Reflection: Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him – betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this king to usher in his kingdom. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9):

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem.  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an donkey and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.

The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover.

Augustine, the great 5th century church father, comments on the significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem:

“The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even the death of the cross.  Thus he does not lose his divinity when he teaches us humility… What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity? For Christ was not the king of Israel so that he might exact a tax or equip an army with weaponry and visibly vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel in that he rules minds, in that he gives counsel for eternity, in that he leads into the kingdom of heaven for those who believe, hope, and love.  It is a condescension, not an advancement for one who is the Son of God, equal to the Father, the Word through whom all things were made, to become king of Israel.  It is an indication of pity, not an increase in power.” (Tractates on John 51.3-4)

Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of glory:

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.

Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory?

“Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory!” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar20.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed John of Parma (1209-1289)

The seventh general minister of the Franciscan Order, John was known for his attempts to bring back the earlier spirit of the Order after the death of St. Francis of Assisi.

He was born in Parma, Italy, in 1209. It was when he was a young philosophy professor known for his piety and learning that God called him to bid good-bye to the world he was used to and enter the new world of the Franciscan Order. After his profession John was sent to Paris to complete his theological studies. Ordained to the priesthood, he was appointed to teach theology at Bologna, then Naples and finally Rome.

In 1245, Pope Innocent IV called a general council in the city of Lyons, France. Crescentius, the Franciscan minister general at the time, was ailing and unable to attend. In his place he sent Father John, who made a deep impression on the Church leaders gathered there. Two years later, when the same pope presided at the election of a minister general of the Franciscans, he remembered Father John well and held him up as the man best qualified for the office.

And so, in 1247, John of Parma was elected to be minister general. The surviving disciples of St. Francis rejoiced in his election, expecting a return to the spirit of poverty and humility of the early days of the Order. And they were not disappointed. As general of the Order John traveled on foot, accompanied by one or two companions, to practically all of the Franciscan convents in existence. Sometimes he would arrive and not be recognized, remaining there for a number of days to test the true spirit of the brothers.

The pope called on John to serve as legate to Constantinople, where he was most successful in winning back the schismatic Greeks. Upon his return he asked that someone else take his place to govern the Order. St. Bonaventure, at John’s urging, was chosen to succeed him. John took up a life of prayer in the hermitage at Greccio.

Many years later, John learned that the Greeks, who had been reconciled with the Church for a time, had relapsed into schism. Though 80 years old by then, John received permission from Pope Nicholas IV to return to the East in an effort to restore unity once again. On his way, John fell sick and died.

He was beatified in 1781. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1329&calendar=1

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lazarus Saturday
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 543

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

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031916.cfm

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

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

Joseph’s faith was put to the test when he discovered that his espoused wife Mary was pregnant. Joseph, being a just and God-fearing man, did not wish to embarrass, punish, or expose Mary to harm. To all outward appearances she had broken their solemn pledge to be faithful and chaste to one another. Joseph, no doubt took this troubling matter to God in prayer. He was not hasty to judge or to react with hurt and anger. God rewarded him not only with guidance and consolation, but with the divine assurance that he had indeed called Joseph to be the husband of Mary and to assume a mission that would require the utmost faith, confidence, and trust in Almighty God. Joseph believed in the divine message to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah, who is both the only begotten Son of God and son of Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you came to free us from the power of sin, fear, and death, and to heal and restore us to wholeness of life. May I always trust in your saving help, guidance, wisdom, and plan for my life”. http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar19.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Patron Saint of: Belgium, Canada, Carpenters, China, Church, Death, Fathers, Happy death, Peru, Russia, Social justice, Travelers, Unborn children, Universal Church, Vietnam, Workers

The Bible pays Joseph the highest compliment: he was a “just” man. The quality meant a lot more than faithfulness in paying debts.

When the Bible speaks of God “justifying” someone, it means that God, the all-holy or “righteous” One, so transforms a person that the individual shares somehow in God’s own holiness, and hence it is really “right” for God to love him or her. In other words, God is not playing games, acting as if we were lovable when we are not.

By saying Joseph was “just,” the Bible means that he was one who was completely open to all that God wanted to do for him. He became holy by opening himself totally to God.

The rest we can easily surmise. Think of the kind of love with which he wooed and won Mary, and the depth of the love they shared during their marriage.

It is no contradiction of Joseph’s manly holiness that he decided to divorce Mary when she was found to be with child. The important words of the Bible are that he planned to do this “quietly” because he was “a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame” (Matthew 1:19).

The just man was simply, joyfully, wholeheartedly obedient to God—in marrying Mary, in naming Jesus, in shepherding the precious pair to Egypt, in bringing them to Nazareth, in the undetermined number of years of quiet faith and courage. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1327&calendar=1

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 255

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalms 18:2-7: In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
Gospel: John 10:31-42
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031816.cfm

Reflection: Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? They charged him with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God and he made himself equal with God. The law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such a crime: “He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him” (Leviticus 24:16).  As they were picking up stones to hurl at Jesus, he met their attack with three arguments. The many good works that he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry, demonstrated that his power and marvelous deeds obviously came from God.

Jesus then defended his right to call himself the Son of God with a quote from Psalm 82:6 (“I say, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you”). Jesus argued that if Scripture can speak like that of humans, why should he not speak of himself like that? Jesus then made two claims: He was consecrated by the Father for a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father’s mission (John 10:36). The scriptural understanding of consecration is to make holy for God – to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God.

Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation (John 10:36). Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world.  Are you a doer of God’s word, or a forgetful hearer only?

“Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word, and not a forgetful hearer only.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar18.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Salvator of Horta (1520-1567)
A reputation for holiness does have some drawbacks. Public recognition can be a nuisance at times—as the confreres of Salvator found out.

Salvator was born during Spain’s Golden Age. Art, politics and wealth were flourishing. So was religion. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.

Salvator’s parents were poor. At the age of 21 he entered the Franciscans as a brother and was soon known for his asceticism, humility and simplicity.

As cook, porter and later the official beggar for the friars in Tortosa, he became well known for his charity. He healed the sick with the Sign of the Cross. When crowds of sick people began coming to the friary to see Salvator, the friars transferred him to Horta. Again the sick flocked to ask his intercession; one person estimated that two thousand people a week came to see Salvator. He told them to examine their consciences, to go to confession and to receive Holy Communion worthily. He refused to pray for those who would not receive those sacraments.

The public attention given to Salvator was relentless. The crowds would sometimes tear off pieces of his habit as relics. Two years before his death, Salvator was moved again, this time to Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. He died at Cagliari saying, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” He was canonized in 1938. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1328&calendar=1

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

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Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Saint Joseph

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 254

First Reading: Genesis 17:3-9
Psalms 105:4-9: The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Gospel: John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031716.cfm

Reflection: Do you listen to Jesus’ words as if your life depended on it? Jesus made a claim which only God can make – “if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.” St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), explains this verse from John 8:51:

“It means nothing less than he saw another death from which he came to free us – the second death, eternal death, the death of hell, the death of the damned, which is shared with the devil and his angels! This is the real death; the other kind of death is only a passage” (Tractates on the Gospel of John 43.10-11).

When God established a relationship with Abraham, he offered him an unbreakable “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7). Jesus came to fulfill that covenant so that we could know the living God and be united with him both now and for all eternity. God made us to know him and to be united with him and he gives us the gift of faith and understanding so that we may grow in the knowledge of what he has accomplished for us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus challenged the people of Israel to accept his word as the very revelation of God himself. His claim challenged the very foundation of their belief and understanding of God. Jesus made a series of claims which are the very foundation of his life and mission. What are these claims? First, Jesus claims unique knowledge of God as the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven. Since he claims to be in direct personal communion with his Father in heaven, he knows everything about the Father. Jesus claims that the only way to full knowledge of the mind and heart of God is through himself. Jesus also claims unique obedience to God the Father. He thinks, lives and acts in the knowledge of his Father’s word. To look at his life is to “see how God wishes me to live.” In Jesus alone we see what God wants us to know and what he wants us to be.

When the Jewish authorities asked Jesus who do you claim to be? he answered, “before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus claims to be timeless and there is only one in the universe who is timeless, namely God. Scripture tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus was not just a man who came, lived, died, and then rose again. He is the immortal timeless One, who always was and always will be. In Jesus we see the eternal God in visible flesh. He is God who became a man for our sake and for our salvation. His death and resurrection make it possible for us to share in his immortality. Do you believe the words of Jesus and obey them with all your heart, mind, and strength?

“Lord Jesus, let your word be on my lips and in my heart that I may walk in the freedom of your everlasting love, truth and goodness.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar17.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Patrick (415?-493?)
Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God’s instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.

Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years, Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the Good News to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north, where the faith had never been preached, obtained the protection of local kings and made numerous converts.

Because of the island’s pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission.

In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rocklike belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused.

One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in County Down in Northern Ireland, long the scene of strife and violence. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1325&calendar=1

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady

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/050516.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’ 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 fulness, 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://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may5.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hilary of Arles (400-449)
It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint.

Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles.

The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing.

That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers.

Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1903

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

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