Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 296

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

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052717.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Heavenly Father, your love knows no bounds and your mercies are new every day. Fill me with gratitude for your countless blessings and draw me near to your throne of grace and mercy. Give me confidence and boldness to pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may27.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Augustine of Centerbury (d. 605)
At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that Augustine had found his niche in life. Looking at this respected prior of a monastery, almost anyone would have predicted he would spend his last days there, instructing, governing, and settling even further into this sedentary life.

But Pope St. Gregory the Great had lived under Augustine’s rule in that same monastery. When he decided it was time to send missionaries to Anglo-Saxon England, he didn’t choose those with restless natures or the young looking for new worlds to conquer. He chose Augustine and thirty monks to make the unexpected, and dangerous, trip to England.

Missionaries had gone to Britain years before but the Saxon conquest of England had forced these Christians into hiding. Augustine and his monks were to bring these Christians back into the fold and convince the warlike conquerors to become Christians themselves.

Every step of the way they heard the horrid stories of the cruelty and barbarity of their future hosts. By the time they had reached France the stories became so frightening that the monks turned back to Rome. Gregory had heard encouraging news that England was far more ready for Christianity than the stories would indicate, including the marriage of King Ethelbert of Kent to a Christian princess, Bertha. He sent Augustine and the monks on their way again fortified with his belief that now was the time for evangelization.

King Ethelbert himself wasn’t as sure, but he was a just king and curious. So he went to hear what the missionaries had to say after they landed in England. But he was just as afraid of them as they were of him! Fearful that they would use magic on them, he held the meeting in the open air. There he listened to what they had to say about Christianity. He did not convert then but was impressed enough to let them continue to preach — as long as they didn’t force anyone to convert.

They didn’t have to — the king was baptized in 597. Unlike other kings who forced all subjects to be baptized as soon as they were converted, Ethelbert left religious a free choice. Nonetheless the following year many of his subjects were baptized.

Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and more missionaries arrived from Rome to help with the new task. Augustine had to be very careful because, although the English had embraced the new religion they still respected the old. Under the wise orders of Gregory the Great, Augustine aided the growth from the ancient traditions to the new life by consecrating pagan temples for Christian worship and turning pagan festivals into feast days of martyrs. Canterbury was built on the site of an ancient church.

Augustine was more successful with the pagans than with the Christians. He found the ancient British Church, which had been driven into Cornwall and Wales, had strayed a little in its practices from Rome. He met with them several times to try to bring them back to the Roman Church but the old Church could not forgive their conquerors and chose isolation and bitterness over community and reconciliation.

Augustine was only in England for eight years before he died in 605. His feast day is celebrated on May 26 in England and May 28 elsewhere. He is also known as Austin,a name that many locations have adopted. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=97

More Saints of the Day:
St. Acculus
St. Augustine of Canterbury
St. Bruno
St. Frederick
St. Melangell
St. Ranulphus
St. Restituta of Sora

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 295

First Reading: Acts 18:9-18
Psalms 47:2-7God is king of all the earth.
Gospel: John 16:20-23
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052617.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, we are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may we radiate the joy of your Resurrection and live in the reality of your great victory over sin and death.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may26.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Philip Neri, Patron of Rome, US Special Forces, humor, joy
(1515-1595)

St. Philip Neri was a Christian missionary and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, a community of Catholic priests and lay brothers.

He was born in Florence on July 21, 1515 as one of four children to Francesco Neri.

From a very young age, Philip was known for being cheerful and obedient. He was affectionately referred to as “good little Phil.” He received his early teachings from friars at the Dominican monastery in Florence, San Marco.

At 18-years-old, Philip went off to live with a wealthy family member in San Germano. He was sent there to assist in – and possibly inherit – the family business. However, soon after his arrival, Philip experienced a mystical vision, which he eventually spoke of as his Christian conversion. This event was an encounter with the Lord and it dramatically changed his life.

He soon lost interest in owning property or participating in business. He felt a call from the Holy Spirit to radically live for and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

So, Philip set out for Rome.

Once in Rome, Philip was the live-in tutor for a fellow Florentine’s sons. Under Philip’s guidance, the two boys improved in all aspects of life and faith, proving Philip’s special talent with human relationships and in bringing out the best in people.

During his first two years in Rome, Philip spent his time in a solitary life. He also dedicated a lot of time to prayer. He ate very small meals of bread, water and a few vegetables, practicing an ascetical life.

In 1535, Philip began studying theology and philosophy at the Sapienza and at St. Augustine’s monastery. Although he was considered a “promising scholar,” after three years of studies, Philip gave up any thought of ordination. He set out to help the poor people of Rome and to re-evangelize the city. Sadly, Rome had lost its first love and its inhabitants were no longer really living as Christians.

He began talking to people on street corners and in public squares; he made acquaintances in places where people commonly gathered.

Philip, compared to Socrates, had a knack for starting up conversations and leading his listeners to consider a new and better way of life, the Christian Way. He easily caught others’ attention with his warm personality and incredible sense of humor. He encouraged groups of people to gather for discussions, studies, prayer and the enjoyment of music. His customary question was always, “Well, brothers, when shall we begin to do good?”

Losing no time in converting good conversation to good actions, Philip would lead his followers to hospitals to wait on the sick or to the Church, to pray to and encounter Jesus Christ.

In short, Philip was an evangelist. He loved to share the Gospel and help people to find or rediscover their faith in Jesus Christ.

His days were dedicated to helping others, but his nights were set aside for solitude spent praying in the church or in the catacombs beside the Appian Way.

In 1544, on the eve of Pentecost, Philip saw what appeared to be a globe of fire. It is said the fire entered his mouth, causing Philip to feel his heart dilate. Philip was filled with such paroxysms of divine love that caused him to scream out, “Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more.” Philip then discovered a swelling over his heart, though it caused him no pain.

In 1548, with the help of his confessor, Father Persiano Rossa, Philip founded a confraternity for poor laymen to meet for spiritual exercises and service of the poor, the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity.

Philip’s appealing nature won him over friends from all societal levels, including that of Ignatius of Loyola, Pius V and Charles Borromeo.

At 34-years-old, Philip had already accomplished so much, but his confessor was determined that his work would be more effective as a priest. Finally convinced, Philip was ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood on May 23, 1551.

From there, Philip went to live with Father Rossa and other priests at San Girolamo and carried on his mission, but mostly through the confessional.

Before sun up, until sun down, Philip spent hours sitting and listening to people of all ages. Sometimes Philip broke out informal discussions for those who desired to live a better life. He spoke to them about Jesus, the saints and the martyrs.

Influenced by St. Francis Xavier, Philip thought of going to India to join the foreign mission field, but was dissuaded by his peers because Rome still needed Philip’s ministry and influence.

A large room was built above the church of San Girolamo to tend to Philip’s growing number of pilgrims and other priests were called on to assist him. Philip and the priests were soon called the “Oratorians,” because they would ring a bell to call the faithful in their “oratory.”

The foundation of the Congregation of the Priests of the Oratory would be laid a few years later with members who encouraged others to deepen their faith. Philip’s rule for them was simple – share a common table and to perform spiritual exercises. Philip didn’t want his followers to bind themselves to the life with a vow and he did not want them to denounce their property.

Philip’s organization was officially approved by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575.

The Congregation was given an ancient church, but Philip made the quick decision to demolish it because the structure was in ruins and the size was not large enough. He had plans of rebuilding on a larger scale. People from all over, including Charles Borromeo and Pope Gregory, contributed financially toward the rebuilding.

By April 1577, the New Church was completed enough for the Congregation of the Oratory to be transferred there, but Philip stayed at San Girolamo for another seven years.

Philip was constantly in a crowd of people; he allowed his followers free access to him and continued hearing confessions and engaging in ministry and prayer.

In the words of one of his biographers, Philip was “all things to all men…. When he was called upon to be merry, he was so; if there was a demand upon his sympathy, he was equally ready…”

Philip was respected and loved throughout Rome; he became a trusted advisor to popes, kings, cardinals and equally as important to the poor.

He whole-heartedly desired the reform of the Catholic Church and worked toward that with a sense of gentleness and friendship, rather than criticism and harshness.

His efforts to reach out to the lay people of Rome and not simply associate with the clergy made him one of the great figures in the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church. Sadly, the Catholic Church had fallen into clericalism. He soon earned the title, “Apostle of Rome.”

On the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 25, 1595, Philip was told by his physician that he was not healthy. He had not looked well for ten years. Philip realized his time had come to pass on to the Lord. For the remainder of the day, he listened to confessions and saw his visitors as normal.

Before heading off to bed, Philip stated, “Last of all, we must die.”

Around midnight of May 26, 1595, Philip suffered from a hemorrhage and passed away at 80-years-old. His body lays in the New Church, where the Oratorians still serve.

St. Philip Neri was beatified by Pope Paul V on May 11, 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622.

He is the patron saint of Rome, US Special Forces, humor and joy and his feast day is celebrated on May 26. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=97

More Saints of the Day:
St. Alphaeus
St. Becan
St. Berencardus
St. Dyfan
St. Eletherius
Bl. Eva of Liege
St. Felicissimus
St. Fugatius and Damian
St. Guinizo
St. John Hoan
St. Mariana
St. Mariana de Paredes
St. Matthew Phuong
St. Oduvald
Bl. Peter Sanz
St. Philip Neri
St. Quadratus
St. Quadratus of Athens
St. Zachary

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Thursday of the 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/052517.cfm

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

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

“To you, O Jesus, do I turn my true and last end. You are the river of life which alone can satisfy my thirst. Without you all else is barren and void. Without all else you alone are enough for me. You are the Redeemer of those who are lost; the sweet Consoler of the sorrowful; the crown of glory for the victors; the recompense of the blessed. One day I hope to receive of your 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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may25.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (1566-1607)
It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God gave this saint, rather than on her life. In fact, it would be difficult to do differently, so overwhelming were those gifts from God. The temptation for many modern readers (including the author) would be to see little to identify with in these graces and walk away without seeing more. The other temptation would be to become so fascinated with these stories that one would neglect to dig deeper and learn the real lessons of her life.

But Mary Magdalene de Pazzi is not a saint because she received ecstasies and graces from God. Many have received visions, ecstasies, and miracles without becoming holy. She is a saint because of her response to those gifts — a lifelong struggle to show love and gratitude to the God who gave her those graces.

In fact Mary Magdalene saw her ecstasies as evidence of a great fault in her, not a reward for holiness. She told one fellow sister that God did not give this sister the same graces “because you don’t need them in order to serve him.” In her eyes, God gave these gifts to those who were too weak to become holy otherwise. That Mary Magdalene received these gifts proved, in her mind, how unworthy she was.

Born in Florence on April 2, 1566, Mary Magdalene (baptized Catherine) was taught mental prayer when she was nine years old at the request of her mother. Her introduction at this age to this form of prayer which involves half an hour of meditation did not seem to be unusual. And yet today we often believe children incapable of all but the simplest rote prayers.

At twelve years old she experienced her first ecstasy while looking at a sunset which left her trembling and speechless.

With this foundation in prayer and in mystical experience, it isn’t surprising that she wanted to enter a contemplative monastery of the Carmelite Order. She chose the monastery of St. Mary’s of the Angels because the nuns took daily Communion, unusual at the time.

In 1583 she had her second mystical experience when the other nuns saw her weeping before the crucifix as she said, “O Love, you are neither known nor loved.”

Mary Magdalene’s life is a contradiction of our instinctive thought that joy only comes from avoiding suffering. A month after being refused early religious profession, she was refused she fell deathly ill. Fearing for her life the convent had her professed from a stretcher at the altar. After that she experienced forty days of ecstasies that coexisted with her suffering. Joy from the graces God gave were mixed with agony as her illness grew worse. In one of her experiences Jesus took her heart and hid it in his own, telling her he “would not return it until it is wholly pure and filled with pure love.” She didn’t recover from her illness until told to ask for the intercession of Blessed Mary Bagnesi over three months later.

What her experiences and prayer had given her was a familiar, personal relationship with Jesus. Her conversations with Jesus often take on a teasing, bantering tone that shocks those who have a formal, fearful image of God. For example, at the end of her forty days of graces, Jesus offered her a crown of flowers or a crown of thorns. No matter how often she chose the crown of thorns, Jesus kept teasingly pushing the crown of flowers to her. When he accused her, “I called and you didn’t care,” she answered back, “You didn’t call loudly enough” and told him to shout his love.

She learned to regret the insistence on the crown of thorns. We might think it is easy to be holy if God is talking to you every day but few of us could remain on the path with the five year trial that followed her first ecstasies. Before this trial, Jesus told her, “I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace. Though I will seem to leave you I will be closer to you.” This was easy for her to accept in the midst of ecstasy but, as she said later, she hadn’t experienced it yet. At the age of nineteen she started five years of dryness and desolation in which she was repelled by prayer and tempted by everything. She referred to her heart as a pitch-dark room with only a feeble light shining that only made the darkness deeper. She was so depressed she was found twice close to suicide. All she could do to fight back was to hold onto prayer, penance, and serving others even when it appeared to do no good.

Her lifelong devotion to Pentecost can be easily understood because her trial ended in ecstasy in 1590. At this time she could have asked for any gifts but she wanted two in particular: to look on any neighbor as good and holy without judgment and to always have God’s presence before her.

Far from enjoying the attention her mystical experiences brought her, she was embarrassed by it. For all her days, she wanted a hidden life and tried everything she could to achieve it. When God commanded her to go barefoot as part of her penance and she could not walk with shoes, she simply cut the soles out of her shoes so no one would see her as different from the other nuns. If she felt an ecstasy coming on, she would hurry to finish her work and go back to her room. She learned to see the notoriety as part of God’s will. When teaching a novice to accept God’s will, she told her, “I wanted a hidden life but, see, God wanted something quite different for me.”

Some still might think it was easy for her to be holy with all the help from God. Yet when she was asked once why she was weeping before the cross, she answered that she had to force herself to do something right that she didn’t want to do. It’s true that when a sister criticized her for acting so different, she thanked her, “May God reward you! You have never spoken truer words!” but she told others it hurt her quite a bit to be nice to someone who insulted her.

Mary Magdalene was no pale, shrinking flower. Her wisdom and love led to her appointment to many important positions at the convent including mistress of novices. She did not hesitate to be blunt in guiding the women under her care when their spiritual life was at stake. When one of the novices asked permission to pretend to be impatient so the other novices would not respect her so much, Mary Magdalene’s answer shook this novice out of this false humility: “What you want to pretend to be, you already are in the eyes of the novices. They don’t respect you nearly as much as you like to think.”

Mary Magdalene’s life offers a great challenge to all those who think that the best penance comes from fasting and physical discomfort. Though she fasted and wore old clothes, she chose the most difficult penance of all by pretending to like the things she didn’t like. Not only is this a penance most of us would shrink from but, by her acting like she enjoyed it, no one knew she was doing this great penance!

In 1604, headaches and paralyzation confined her to bed. Her nerves were so sensitive that she could not be touched without agonizing pain. Ever humble, she took the fact that her prayers were not granted as a sure sign that God’s will was being done. For three years she suffered, before dying on May 25, 1607 at the age of forty-one. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=82

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aldhelm
Venerable Bede
Bl. David Galvan Bermudez
Bl. David Uribe-Velasco
St. Dionysius of Milan
St. Dunchadh
St. Egilhard
St. Genistus
St. Gerard de Lunel
Bl. Jose Isabel Flores Varela
St. Julius of Dorostorum
St. Leo of Troyes
Bl. Luis Batiz Sainz
St. Madeline Sophie Barat
St. Manuel Moralez
St. Maria Magdalen Dei Pazzi
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
St. Maximus & Victorinus
Bl. Miguel de la Mora
Bl. Sabas Reyes Salazar
St. Salvador Lara Puente
St. Urban
St. Urban I
St. Zenobius
St. Zenobius

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 293

First Reading: Acts 17:15, 22-18:1
Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 148: 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/052417.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 utterly true, good, and just. Since he is the author and source of all that is true and good, then the closer we draw near to him in order to listen to his word and understand his mind and will for us, the more we will grow in the knowledge of God and of his great love, wisdom, and plan for us.

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me in your way of life, truth, and goodness. Free me from ignorance of your truth, and from deception and moral blindness caused by sinful pride and the refusal to believe and obey your word of truth. May I love you with all of my heart, mind, and strength, and seek to please you in all things.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may24.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint David I of Scotland (10801153)
David, the youngest son of Scotland’s virtuous queen, (Saint) Margaret, succeeded his brother to the Scottish throne in 1124. David’s friend, (Saint) Aelred, abbot of the English monastery of Rievaulx, was later to recount David’s religious devotion and his generosity to the poor. From his riches he also endowed the founding of several dioceses and many monasteries. David was to express profound remorse for an ill-conceived and ill-fated invasion of England he had ordered on behalf of his niece. He also suffered the sorrow of the premature death of his only son. On Friday, May 22, 1153, as David was nearing death, he received the anointing of the sick and Viaticum, after which he devoted himself to reciting the Psalms with those at his bedside. The next day, the king told those urging him to take a rest from his devotions, “Let me rather think about the things of God, so that my spirit may set out strengthened on its journey from exile to home. When I stand before God’s tremendous judgment seat, you will not be able to answer for me or defend me.” He thus continued with his prayers. David died at dawn on Sunday, May 24. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5790

More Saints of the Day:
St. Afra
St. David I of Scotland
St. Donatian & Rogatian
St. Jessica
St. Joanna
St. John del Prado
Bl. Louis Moreau
St. Manaen
St. Meletius
St. Nicetas of Pereaslav
St. Patrick of Bayeux
St. Robustian
St. Vincent of Lerins
St. Vincent of Porto
St. Zoellus

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 292

First Reading: Acts 16:22-34
Psalms 138:1-3, 7-8: Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Gospel: John 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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/052317.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

“Come Holy Spirit, and let the fire of your love burn in my heart. Let me desire only what is pure, lovely, holy and good and in accord with the will of God and give me the courage to put away all that is not pleasing in your sight.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may23.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint John Baptist de Rossi (1698-1764)
St. John Baptist de Rossi, also known as Giovanni Battista de’ Rossi, was born on February 22, 1698 in Voltaggio, Italy. He was the fourth child of Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, known to be a holy and faith filled couple.

Though John’s family was not financially wealthy, they were rich in faith. Through their guidance and a wonderful education, John learned to excel in his living faith, piety and gentleness.

A pair of priests, Scipio Gaetano and Giuseppe Repetto, saw great potential within John and took his early education and faith formation as a part of their apostolate, taking him under their spiritual care.

When he was 10-years-old, John met with a wealthy, noble couple from Genoa after Mass. They, too, noted his gifts and potential. So, they took him in as a page, after receiving his father’s approval. John was taken to Genoa to attend school until 1711.

In 1710, John’s father suddenly passed away. His mother pleaded for him to return home, but John was convinced that the Lord wanted him to finish his education in Genoa.

In 1711, John was called to Rome by his cousin, the canon of St. Mary in Cosmedin, Lorenzo de Rossi. Lorenzo suggested John complete his studies there at the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits.

John continued to thrive in his studies. His natural talents, spiritual gifts, Christian virtue and willingness to apply himself to his studies made him the model student.

He studied philosophy and theology under the Dominicans at the Dominican College of Saint Thomas.

During this time, John joined the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles. Both groups were comprised of lay Christian faithful especially dedicated to Christian prayer and service. He led the members of the groups in meetings, group prayer and outreach to the poor, including visits to the hospitals.

John’s desire to grow in holiness sometimes led him to going overboard in his practices of voluntary mortification and his austerity nearly ruined his health. He also began to have fits of epilepsy. He struggled with these for the rest of his life.

John wanted dearly to become a priest. Under normal circumstances, his epileptic fits would have excluded him from the priesthood. However, he was granted a special dispensation. After ordination as a deacon, he was ordained to the priesthood on March 8, 1721. John believed he had reached his goal and was deeply grateful to the Lord for the vocation of priesthood. So, as an expression of gratitude, he vowed to not accept any ecclesiastical benefits unless commanded to do so out of obedience to his religious superiors.

He devoted himself to serving Rome’s sick, homeless and prostitutes. He would visit the sick and poor in the hospitals by day, and by night he ministered to the street people. He reached out to assist homeless women and helped to found a hospice for them near Saint Galla. He also aided prisoners and workers.

John spoke to the dying about Jesus Christ, leading them to salvation. He desperately wanted to relieve them of their suffering. None of the sick repulsed him, no matter how bad their illness or symptoms because he saw Jesus in them.

In one instance, a young man who was ill and dying from syphilis turned away from John’s attention, out of shame. However, as John showed his selfless heart and helped him with his bedpan, the man finally took the time to listen to John’s words and was able to make a good confession before his death.

Other priests were in awe of John’s holiness and manner of life. They saw that with only a few kind words he could turn people’s lives around.

During one of his sermons, John stated to his fellow priests:

“Ignorance is the leprosy of the soul. How many such lepers exist in the church here in Rome, where many people don?t even know what’s necessary for their salvation? It must be our business to try to cure this disease. The souls of our neighbors are in our hands, and yet how many are lost through our fault? The sick die without being properly prepared because we have not given time or care enough to each particular case. Yet with a little more patience, a little more perseverance, a little more love, we could have led these poor souls to heaven.”

Many of us shrink from going to the hospitals from fear of infection or from the sights and smells that await us there. Courage! We are not in the world to follow our own will and pleasure, but to imitate the Lord.

John Baptist de Rossi, himself worn out by his unselfish service, suffered a stroke in 1763 and died a year later. The poor come to church tired and distracted by their daily troubles. If you preach a long sermon they can’t follow you. Give them one idea that they can take home, not half a dozen, or one will drive out the other, and they will remember none.

In 1735, John became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. Following the death of his cousin in 1737, obedience forced John to accept the canonry. However, John refused the house belonging with the title, and used funds from selling the home toward his cause with the poor.

John’s illness continued to impact his life, as he was afraid of entering the confessional because the possibility of having a seizure during the session. He became accustom to sending the sinners he found to other priests.

In 1738, John became dangerously ill and was sent to Civita Castellana to regain his health. While there, the bishop residing in that location pushed him to hear confessions. After reviewing his moral theology, John received the special faculty of hearing confessions in any of Rome’s churches.

From then on, John spent countless hours hearing confessions from the poor and illiterate whom he sought from hospitals and their homes.

John became the “apostle of the abandoned,” and became known as a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. He preached five to six times a day in all kinds of places, including churches, hospitals and prisons. He was also known for his strong devotion to St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

In August 1762, the state of his health became worse. John became worn out and his strength began to deteriorate. His companions begged him to go to Lake Nemi to recover. While there, he started having worse epileptic fits.

Two months later, he returned to Rome. John rarely left his room, but in September 1763, he celebrated Mass at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, telling those present that he would be dying soon.

In December, he was found in his room unconscious, after suffering a violent seizure. He remained unconscious for a day. He was given Viaticum, the special prayers and reception of the Holy Eucharist given to the gravely ill and dying. He was also given the Anointing of the Sick, also called Last Rites when it is administered before death.

However, John recovered from his illness and went on to celebrate several more Masses. Soon later, his health once again declined and he was confined to his bed.

John Baptist de Rossi passed to the Lord whom he loved with such true devotion on May 23, 1764 in his bedroom in Trinita de Pellegrini.

His body was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. His remains were relocated in 1965 to a new church named in his honor.

Pope Pius VI began the cause of canonization for John Baptist de Rossi in 1781, but both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars created setbacks. Years later in 1859, Pope Pius IX resumed his cause and attributed two miracles to John’s intercession.

St. John Baptist de Rossi was beatified on May 13, 1860 by Pope Pius IX and canonized on December 8, 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.

He is the patron saint of Voltaggio and his feast day is celebrated on May 23.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=229

More Saints of the Day:
St. Crispin of Viterbo
St. Desiderius
St. Didier
St. Epiphanius and Basileus
St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk
St. Eutychius & Florentius
St. Goban
St. John Baptist Rossi
St. Julia
St. Leontius
Martyrs of Cappadocia
Martyrs of Mesopotamia
St. Mercurialis of Forli
St. Michael the Confessor
St. Michael of Synnada
St. Quintian
St. Quintian
St. William of Rochester
St. Romanus of Subiaco

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

First Reading: Acts 16:11-15
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/052217.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

“O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may22.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Rita, Patron of impossible cases, difficult marriages, and parenthood (1381-1472)
Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. The day after her baptism, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees, which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to be virtuous and devoted to God.

At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent but was instead arranged to be married to a cruel man named Paolo Mancini. Young Rita became a wife and mother at only twelve years of age and her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger, he often mistreated Rita verbally and physically. He was also known to pursue other women and he had many enemies.

Paolo had many enemies in Cascia, but Rita’s influence over him eventually led him to be a better man. He even renounced a family feud between the Mancinis and Chiquis. Unfortunately, the feud between the Mancini and Cascia family grew turbulent and one of Paolo’s allies betrayed and killed him.

Following her husband’s death, Rita gave his murderers a public pardon, but Paolo’s brother, Bernardo, was still angry and encouraged Rita’s two sons, Giovanni Antonio and Paulo Maria, to join the feud. Under their uncle’s leadership, each boy became more and more like their father had been before Rita married him, and they wanted to avenge their father’s murder.

Rita attempted to stop them, but both of her sons were determined to revenge their slain father. Rita prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.

Following the deaths of her sons, Rita attempted to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia, but she was not allowed to join. Though Rita’s character and piety were recognized, her husband’s association with the family feud was greatly feared.

When Rita persisted, the convent told her she could join if she could find a way to mend the wound between the Chiquis and Mancinis.

After asking John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, and Nicholas of Tolentino to help her in her task, she attempted to end the feud.

The bubonic plague had been spreading through Italy at that time, and when Bernardo Mancini became infected, he finally abolished the feud with the Chiqui family.

Once the conflict was resolved, Rita was allowed to enter the monastery at the age of thirty-six. It is said that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene through levitation at night by the three patron saints she appealed to.

While at the monastery, Rita performed her duties faithfully and received the sacraments frequently. Rita had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, and one day, when she was sixty-year-old, she asked, “Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour.”

After her request, a wound appeared on her forehead, as if a thorn from Christ’s crown had pierced her. It left a deep wound, which did not heal, and it caused her to suffer until the day she died.

It is said that as she neared the end of her life, Rita was bedridden from tuberculosis. It was then that she asked a cousin who had come to visit for a rose from the garden in her old home. As it was January, her cousin did not expect to find any roses, but there was a single rose in bloom, which was brought back to Rita at the convent.

She passed away four months later, on May 22, 1457.

Following her death, she was buried at the basilica of Cascia, and was later discovered to be incorrupt. Her body can be found today in the Saint Rita shrine at Cascia.

Rita was beatified by Pope Urban VIII in 1627 and canonized by Pope Leo XII on May 24, 1900.

Saint Rita is often portrayed in a black habit, which is historically inaccurate as the sisters at the Saint Magdalene monastery wore beige or brown. She is also often shown to hold a thorn, a large Crucifix, or a palm leaf with three thorns to represent her husband and two sons.

In some images, Saint Rita is shown to have a wound on her forhead, holding a rose, or to be surrounded by bees.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=205

More Saints of the Day:
St. Aigulf
St. Atto
St. Ausonius
St. Basiliscus
St. Bobo
St. Boethian
St. Castus & Emilius
St. Conall
St. Faustinus
St. Fulk
St. Helen
St. John Baptist Machado
Bl. John Forest
Bl. John of Cetina
St. Julia of Carthage
St. Marcian of Ravenna
Bl. Matthias of Arima
St. Michael Ho-Dinh-Hy
Bl. Peter of the Assumption
St. Peter Pareuzi
St. Quiteria
St. Rita
St. Rita of Cascia
St. Romanus of Subiaco

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 55

First Reading: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Psalms 66:1-7, 16, 20: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:15-18
Gospel: John 14:15-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052117.cfm

Reflection:  What makes us both fully human and truly like God? Is it not unconditional love which is unselfish, undying, and wholly directed to the good of others? The love of God unites us in an unbreakable bond of fidelity, friendship, and community with others. Jesus loved his own until the very end of his passion and death on the cross (John 13:1).

The nature of love
From the very beginning of creation God said: it is not good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). We were created in love for love – to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are inseparably united in a community of unbreakable love.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) said: We love because it is our nature to love, and it is our nature because God the Holy Spirit has made it our nature.Jesus speaks to his disciples of the inseparable bound of love between himself and the Father, and of their love for humankind. In Jesus we see the fulness of God’s love and how God’s love is directed to our well-being. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him (1 John 4:9).

Knowing God’s love
How do we know that God truly loves each one of us? In the cross we see the proof of God’s love for each of us and the incredible price God was willing to pay to redeem us from slavery to sin, death, and Satan. Jesus gave up his life that we might have life – abundant, everlasting life with God – a life of love and unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever.

Through the cross Jesus opened a new way of relationship for us as the adopted sons and daughters of God – his beloved children (Romans 8:14-17). Jesus calls his disciples to walk in his way of love through obedience to the will of the Father. True love is more than sentiment, emotion, or good intention. As important as these may be they are not the proof of sincere love. True love for God is expressed in obedience and obedience is expressed in love.

Jesus’ best gift for us
Jesus promised to give his followers the best of gifts, the Holy Spirit as their Counselor and Helper. How does the Holy Spirit help us as the counselor? Counselor is a legal term for one 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.

The Holy Spirit is also the Giver of life – the abundant life which comes from God and which sustains us forever. The Holy Spirit also guides us in the way of truth, wisdom, and goodness. We can never stop learning because the Spirit leads us more and more into the knowledge of God’s love, truth, and goodness. Jesus also promised his followers the gift of peace. Peace is more than the absence of conflict or trouble. Peace includes everything which makes for our highest good. Trust in God, faith in his promises, and obedience to his word lead us to peace and security in God’s presence. That is why a Christian need not fear or be troubled by anything. The love of Christ brings immeasurable joy and consolation even in the midst of our trials and suffering. 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).

Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the knowledge of Christ’s immense love and with his gift of peace.

“O God, you are the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings and the bestower of affection, who sends peace to those who receive it. Open to us this day the sea of your love and water us with abundant streams from the riches of your grace and from the most sweet springs of your kindness.  Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace; enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to you and to each other in our firm and indissoluble bond of unity.” (ancient prayer from Syrian Clementine liturgy) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may21.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

First Reading: Acts 16:1-10
Psalms 100:1-3, 5: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy
Gospel: 
John 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052017.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love fill my heart with an eagerness to please you in all things. May there be no rivals to my love and devotion to you who are my all.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may20.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 289

First Reading: Acts 15:22-31
Psalms 57:8-10, 12I 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/051917.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may18.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

Peter was an old monk, eighty-four years of age when he was made Pope. It came about in a very unusual way. For two years, there had been no Pope, because the Cardinals could not decide whom to choose. St. Peter sent them a message to decide quickly, for God was not pleased at the long delay. Then and there, they chose the holy old hermit himself! Poor Peter wept when he heard the news, but he sorrowfully accepted and took the name Celestine V. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=172

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 288

First Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Psalms 131:1-3Proclaim 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/051817.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may18.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Pope John I (d. 532)
St. John I, Pope and Martyr (Feast day – May 18) A native of Tuscany in Italy, John was elected Pope while he was still an archdeacon upon the death of Pope Hormisdas in 523. At that time, the ruler of Italy was Theodoric the Goth who subscribed to the Arian brand of Christianity, but had tolerated and even favored his Catholic subjects during the early part of his reign. However, about the time of St. John’s accession to the Papacy, Theodoric’s policy underwent a drastic change as a result of two events: the treasonable (in the sovereign’s view) correspondence between ranking members of the Roman Senate and Constantinople and the severe edict against heretics enacted by the emperor Justin I, who was the first Catholic on the Byzantine throne in fifty years. Spurred on by the appeals of Eastern Arians, Theodoric threatened to wage war against Justin but ultimately decided to negotiate with him through a delegation of five Bishops and four senators. At its head he named Pope John – much against the latter’s wishes. Little is known for certain about the nature of the message which the Pope bore and the manner in which he carried out his mission. What is known is that he succeeded in persuading the Emperor to mitigate his treatment of the Arians and thus avoid reprisals against the Catholics in Italy. The Pope’s visit also brought about the reconciliation of the Western and Eastern Churches which had been plagued by a schism since 482 when Zeno’s Henoticon had been published. However, Theodoric had been becoming more suspicious with each passing day. While waiting for the delegation to return, he ordered the execution of the philosopher Boethius and his father-in-law Symmachus on a charge of treason; and as he got word of the friendly relations between the Pope and the emperor, he concluded that they were plotting against him. Hence, on the delegation’s return to the capitol city of Ravenna, Pope John was imprisoned by order of Theodoric and died a short time later as a result of the treatment he experienced there. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=432

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Wednesday of the 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/051717.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may I be one with you in all that I say and do. Draw me close that I may glorify you and bear fruit for your kingdom. Inflame my heart with your love and remove from it anything that would make me ineffective or unfruitful in loving and serving you as my All.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may17.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | May 15, 2017

Tuesday (May 16): “My peace I give to you”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Tuesday of the 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 kingdom.
Gospel: John 14:27-31

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051617.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may16.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | May 15, 2017

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Tuesday of the 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 kingdom.
Gospel: John 14:27-31

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051617.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may16.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 285

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

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name—
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051517.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, in love you created me and you drew me to yourself. May I never lose sight of you nor forget your steadfast love and faithfulness. And may I daily dwell upon your word and give you praise in the sanctuary of my heart, You who are my All.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may15.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 52

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.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:4-9
Gospel: 
John 14:1-12
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.
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.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051417.cfm

Reflection:  Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God’s gift of peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we inevitably encounter challenges and trials that can shake our confidence and our trust in God. Jesus knew that his disciples would be put to the test when their Master was taken from them during his suffering and passion – his arrest, trial, and rejection by the leaders of his own people, and crucifixion by the Romans. Jesus encouraged his disciples to put their faith and hope in God the Father and also in himself.

When adversity or trouble comes your way, does it make you lose hope or give into fear and despair, or does it press you closer to the Lord Jesus and to the strength and help he offers you? When the people of Israel became discouraged and grew weary during their 40 years in the wilderness, the Lord assured them that he would personally bring them safely into the promised land.

“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).

This land of promise was a sign that prefigured and pointed to the true heavenly homeland which God offers to all who accept his gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, through his victory on the cross and his resurrection, has opened the way for each one of us to live in peace and friendship with our heavenly Father.

A place for you in my Father’s house
During Jesus’ last supper meal with his apostles, he spoke in plain words to them about his approaching departure. He tells them that he is returning to his Father to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house. Jesus not only goes to secure for his disciples a place of refuge, peace, and security, he secures for them the best the Father has to offer – intimate communion, friendship, and joy with the Father at his table (Luke 12:37, Matthew 8:11) and place of rest and refreshment.

Jesus promised his disciples – and each one of us – that he would return again to personally bring us to the Father’s house. Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he wishes to lead you now and in the future? And do you trust him to bring you safely to your home with the Father in his kingdom? Paul the Apostle reminds us that nothing in this world can compare with the glory of feasting with the Father in his house. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Is your hope securely placed in Jesus and his promise to raise you up in glory with him?

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

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

Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, “I have taught you the truth.” Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He posseses 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 distracton that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?

Knowing God personally
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 knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father, 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 completely, unconditionally, and perfectly for our good. Jesus also 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). Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?

Doing the works that Jesus did
Jesus told his disciples that they would do the same works which he had done – and even greater works! While Jesus was physically present to his disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem, he was subject to the physical limitations of time, space, and circumstances. Now as the Risen Savior who is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the Lord Jesus makes his presence and power known to every place on earth through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who lives and works through all the members of the body of Christ on earth.

Theresa of Avila (1515-1582) wrote:  “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Wherever we go the Lord Jesus wants us to bring the good news and blessings of his kingdom to as many people as we can. The Lord Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. He wants us to bring the flavor of his goodness and holiness into every area of society we are engaged in. Christ calls us the light of the world. He wants us to make him known and loved by helping people to see the radiance of his love and truth and the beauty of his kingdom. That is why Jesus continues to commission his followers throughout every age to “make disciples of all nations”(John 17:18, Matthew 28:19).

“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 know and glorify him more fully.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may14.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does one qualify to be an apostle?

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Our Lady of Fatima
Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284

First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
Psalms 98:1-4: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Gospel: 
John 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051317.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him always.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may13.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
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/051217.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 troubles and difficulties, and
sometimes more than we think we can handle!  Jesus knew his disciples would have to face adversity and trials after he left them to return to his Father. Jesus assured them that his departure is for their good, in order tosecure a place for them in God’s house – a place of refuge, peace, and everlasting happiness.  The Lord Jesus assures us of a safe passage to our true home in heaven with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

If heaven is our destination, how can we be sure we know the way without some kind of map or guide?  The scriptures speak of the way we should go.  “You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.  Youshall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).  “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein” (Isaiah).  Teach me your way, O Lord; and lead me on a level path” (Psalm 27:11).  Jesus proclaims: “I am the Way.”  The Lord Jesus does not simply give advice and direction.  He personally is the way, and we cannot miss it.  He leads and guides us personally every day.  The Lord Jesus also is the Truth.  Many can say, “I have taught you the truth.”  Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. Moral truth cannot be conveyed in words alone; it must be conveyed in example.  Jesus embodies the truth in his person.  Jesus also is the Life.  He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give — eternal life.  Is there any fear or trouble which keeps you from the perfect peace and happiness of a life surrendered to 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 know and glorify him more fully.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/john14v1.htm  copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 282

First Reading: Acts 13:13-25
Psalms 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27: For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: 
John 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051117.cfm

Reflection:   [Link not available yet.]  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may11.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
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/051017.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.

The light of Christ removes the darkness and reveals the goodness of God to us
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.

The Word of God has power to set us free from sin, doubt, and deception
Jesus made it clear that he did not come to condemn us, but rather to bring us 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.”

The Holy Spirit opens our minds to understand the truth and wisdom of God’s word
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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may10.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Damien of Molokai, Patron of people with leprosy (1840-1889)
The man who would become St. Damien of Molokai, was born in rural Belgium, on January 3, 1840. His name was Jozef De Veuster, and he was the youngest of seven children. Growing up on the farm, Jozef was prepared to take over for his family, but he did not want the responsibility. Instead, he wanted to follow his older brother and two sisters who took religious vows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | May 8, 2017

Tuesday (May 9) “My sheep hear my voice”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
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
Jesus said:
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/050917.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for us. I place all my hope and trust in you. Open my ears to hear your voice today and to follow your commands.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may9.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | May 7, 2017

Monday (May 8): “I Am the Good Shepherd”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 278

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3-4: Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Gospel: 
John 10:11-18
Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050817.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who keeps watch over our lives. May I be ever attentive to your voice and submit fully to your wise rule for my life.  Draw me near to you that I may always find peace and joy in your presence.”  http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may8.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 49

First Reading: Acts 2:14, 36-41
Psalms 23:1-6: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20-25
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 the shepherd 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,
the Pharisees 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/050717.cfm

Reflection:  Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you always lead me in the way of true peace and safety. May I never doubt your care nor stray from your ways. Keep me safe in the shelter of your presence.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may7.htm copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
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/050617.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside all doubt and fear so that I may freely embrace your word with complete trust and joy. I surrender all to you. Be the Lord of my life and the Ruler of my heart. May there be nothing which hinders me from trusting in your love and following your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may6.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Dominic Savio, Patron of choirboys, the falsely accused, and juvenile delinquents  (1842-1857)
Dominic Savio was born on April 2, 1842 in the village of Riva in northern Italy. His father was a blacksmith and his mother a seamstress. He had nine brothers and sisters. His family was poor but hardworking. They were devout and pious Catholics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
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/050517.cfm

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

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

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

Paul the Apostle tells us that “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 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).

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

“Lord Jesus, you nourish and sustain us with your very own presence and life-giving word. You are the bread of life – the heavenly food that sustains us now and that produces everlasting life within us. May I always hunger for you and be satisfied in you alone.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may5.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint 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 Saint 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.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3769

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
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/050417.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may4.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
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/050317.cfm

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him always.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may3.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | May 1, 2017

Tuesday (May 2): “I am the bread of life”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
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/050217.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may2.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was tried and proved his innocence on all accusations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His feast day is celebrated on May 2. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=303

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 273

First Reading: Acts 6:8-15
Psalm 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/050117.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may1.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 46

First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-11:  Lord, you will show us the path of life.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-21
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 bread.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/043017.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart to recognize your presence with me and to understand the truth of your saving word. Nourish me with your life-giving word and with the bread of life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr30.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Pope Pius V (504-1572)
Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses. Named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, he was so capable in the fulfillment of his office that by 1551, and at the urging of the powerful Cardinal Carafa, he was named by Pope Julius III commissary general of the Inquisition. In 1555, Carafa was elected Pope Paul IV and was responsible for Ghislieri’s swift rise as a bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, and grand inquisitor in 1558. While out of favor for a time under Pope Pius IV who disliked his reputation for excessive zeal, Ghislieri was unanimously elected a pope in succession to Pius on January 7, 1566. As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal; he also declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, and created a commission to revise the Vulgate. The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World, and the pontiff insisted on their strict adherence. In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church’s resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy. In dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks who were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean, Pius organized a formidable alliance between Venice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete and shattering triumph over the Turks. The day of the victory was declared the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory in recognition of Our Lady’s intercession in answer to the saying of the Rosary all over Catholic Europe. Pius also spurred the reforms of the Church by example. He insisted upon wearing his coarse Dominican robes, even beneath the magnificent vestments worn by the popes, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the religious life. His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I of England  in February 1570, an act which also declared her deposed and which only worsened the plight of English Catholics. These were overshadowed in the view of later generations by his contributions to the Catholic Reformation. Pope Clement beatified him on May 1, 1672, and Pope Clement XI canonized him on May 22, 1712. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5515

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
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/042917.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your watchful presence in my life, especially in times of trouble. Fortify my faith with courage and give me enduring hope that I may never waver in my trust in you.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr29.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Siena, Patron of Fire prevention (1347-1380)
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/042717.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus Christ, let your Holy Spirit fill me and transform my heart and mind that I may choose life – the abundant life you offer to those who trust in you. Give me courage to always choose what is good, true, and just and to reject whatever is false, foolish, and contrary to your holy will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr27.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of 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/042617.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus Christ, your love is better than life itself. May your love consume and transform my heart with all of its yearnings, aspirations, fears, hurts, and concerns, that I may freely desire you above all else and love all others generously for your sake and for your glory. Make me to love what you love, desire what you desire, and give generously as you have been so generous towards me”. http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr26.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
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/042517.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the Gospel and the reality of your victory over the grave and gift of everlasting life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr25.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Mark, Patron of notaries, Venice, Barristers (1BC68AD)
Much of what we know about St. Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, comes largely from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Mark the Evangelist is believed to be the ‘John Mark’ referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, the history of the early Church found in the Canon of the New Testament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Monday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 267

First Reading: Acts 4:23-31
Psalms 2:1-3, 4-7A, 7B-9:  Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
Gospel: John 3:1-8
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042417.cfm

Reflection:  Do you nourish your faith with prayerful reflection of the word of God? When Nicodemus heard about Jesus’ miracles and extraordinary teaching, he decided to meet with him privately, away from the crowds and the public spotlight. Nicodemus was no ordinary Jew. He was a religious ruler and member of the Sanhedrin, which was the supreme court of the Jews, and a teacher of Israel (John 3:10). He was a devout Pharisee who sought to perfectly follow the law of Moses, as prescribed in the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers) and further elaborated in the numerous scribal laws, recorded in the Mishnah and the Talmud.

Nicodemus decided to meet with Jesus at night, possibly for two reasons. He may have been cautious and  not ready to publicly associate himself with Jesus since many Pharisees opposed Jesus’ teaching and called him a Sabbath breaker. It is also likely that Nicodemus chose the night as the best time for seeking a private and undisturbed conversation with Jesus. The rabbis declared that the best time to study the law was at night after the day’s work was completed and the household was at rest. When Nicodemus saw Jesus he addressed him as rabbi (a teacher of God’s word and law) and acknowledged that Jesus’ teaching came from God.

How can one get right with God and enter his kingdom?
Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus went to the very heart of the Mosaic law – how can one get right with God and enter God’s kingdom? Jesus’ answer was brief and startling: “Unless one is born anew, he cannot see God.” The new birth which Jesus spoke about was not a physical birth but the beginning of a spiritual birth which is something completely new and radical, and from above, namely from God himself. Jesus said that this rebirth was necessary if one was to enter God’s kingdom. Nicodemus thought that to be born again, even spiritually, was impossible. He probably knew too well from experience that anyone who wants to be changed from within, can’t accomplish this by oneself. Jesus explained that this change could only come about through the work and action of the Holy Spirit. This rebirth in the Spirit is very real and experiential, like the wind which can be felt and heard while it is visibly unseen to the naked eye.

Rebirth to new life in the power of the Holy Spirit
What does it mean to be reborn in the Spirit? The new birth which Jesus speaks of is a spiritual birth to a life which is transformed through the power of God. This new life brings us into an experiential relationship with God as his adopted sons and daughters (Romans 6:4; 8:10-11). This new birth is made possible when one is baptized into Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. God wants to renew all of his people in the gift of new life in his Holy Spirit. This new life in the Spirit brings us into God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17).

What is the kingdom of God – which is also called the kingdom of heaven? God’s kingdom – his reign and blessing as King over us – is the abundant everlasting life and power from heaven which God shares with those who accept him as the Eternal Father and Author of Life and Ruler of All he has created. Jesus explains in the prayer he gave to his disciples, what we call the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father, that God’s kingdom is that society of men and women who acknowledge God as their Lord and Ruler and who obey his word and live according to his will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

We are sons and daughters of God and citizens of his kingdom
To be reborn in the Spirit is to enter that society in which God is honored and obeyed. Those who willingly accept God’s rule in their lives become citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom and members of God’s family – his adopted sons and daughters. And they enter into possession of the life which comes from God himself, an everlasting life of love, peace, joy, and freedom from sin, oppression, and corruption. Do you know the joy and freedom of the new birth and abundant life which Jesus Christ has won for you?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you offer us abundant new life and power to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Renew in me the gift of faith to accept and obey your life-giving word and to cooperate with the transforming power of your Holy Spirit who changes us into your likeness. May your kingdom come and your will be done in my life today, tomorrow, and always.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr24.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday
Lectionary: 43

First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24:  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
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/042317.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus Christ, through your victory over sin and death you have overcome all the powers of sin and darkness. Help me to draw near to you and to trust in your life-giving word. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen my faith in your promises and my hope in the power of your resurrection.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr23.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint George and the Dragon

There are several stories about George fighting dragons, but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Lcyrene in Libya.

The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several ocassions. It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught.

This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep. The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws. This continued until one day the princess’ straw was drawn.

The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it. She was offered to the dragon, but before she could be devoured, George appeared. He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross, and slayed the dragon.

After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=280

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the 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/042217.cfm

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

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

We are Christ’s ambassadors and witnesses of his victory over sin and death 
After his appearance to his beloved apostles, Jesus commissions them to go and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel but to all the nations. This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“Lord Jesus Christ, increase my faith and hope in the power of your resurrection. And give me joy and courage to be your witness to others and to boldly speak of what you have done to save us from sin and death.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr22.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Abdiesus (d. 599)
Also called Hebed Jesus, a deacon in the Christian community of Persia who was caught up in the persecutions conducted by King Shapur II. Records indicate that Abdiesus was accompanied in his martyrdom by Abrosimus, Acepsimus, Azadanes, Azades, Bicor, Mareas, Milles, and a women named Tarbula. Some were Persian courtiers, others priests and bishops. Tarbula was the sister of St. Simeon, and suffered a particularly cruel death by sawing. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1070

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

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

Posted by: RAM | April 20, 2017

Friday (April 21): “It is the Lord.”

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/042117.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Increase my faith in the power of your resurrection and in the truth that you are truly alive! May I never doubt your life-giving word nor stray from your presence.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr21.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Anastasius XI (d. 599)
Patriarch of Antioch, distinguished for his learning and holiness. Anastasius opposed Emperor Justinian, who was issuing imperial documents about the faith. Justinian commanded that Anastasius be exiled but died before the sentence could be carried out by the court. Justin II, who succeeded his uncle Justinian, exiled Anastasius five years later. In 593 Anastasius was restored to his see by Pope St. Gregory the Great. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1357

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/042017.cfm

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

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr20.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041917.cfm

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

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

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) reflects on the dimness of their perception:
“They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind” (Sermon 235.1).

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

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

“Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart to recognize your presence with me and to understand the truth of your saving word. Nourish me with your life-giving word and with the bread of life.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr19.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | April 17, 2017

Tuesday (April 18): “I have seen the Lord!”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041817.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your voice nor lose sight of your presence as you open the Scriptures for me and speak your life-giving word.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr18.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Apollonius the Apologist (d. 185)
Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered one of the most priceless documents of the early Church. Apollonius was a Roman senator who was denounced as a Christian by one of his slaves. The Praetorian Prefect, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, arrested him, also putting the slave to death as an informer. Perennis demanded that Apollonius denounce the faith, and when he refused, the case was remanded to the Roman senate. There a debate took place between Perennis and Apollonius that clearly outlines the beauty and the value of Christianity. Despite his eloquent defense, Apollonius was condemned and beheaded. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=874

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

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

Posted by: RAM | April 16, 2017

Monday (April 17): “Do not be afraid.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041717.cfm

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

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

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

“Lord Jesus, may we always live in the joy and hope of the resurrection and never lose sight of its truth for our lives.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr17.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041617.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr16.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Bernadette Soubirous, Patron of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France
(January 7, 1844-April 16, 1879)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Bernadette is often depicted in prayer with a rosary or appealing to the Holy Virgin. She was beatified in 1925 and canonized by Pope Piuis XI in December 1933. Saint Bernadette is the patroness of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=147

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Anne Maugrain
St. Benedict Joseph Labré
St. Bernadette
St. Bernadette Soubirous
St. Callistus & Charisius
St. Contardo
St. Drogo
St. Encratia
Bl. Francoise Micheneau Gillot

Bl. Francoise Suhard Menard
St. Fructuosus of Braga
St. Herve
St. Lambert of Saragossa
St. Paternus
Bl. Pierre Delepine
St. Turibius of Astorga
St. Turibius the Monk

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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 (When Baptism is celebrated)
Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19: Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Epistle: Romans 6:3-11
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
‘He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.’
Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this 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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041517.cfm

Reflection:  Do you receive the news of Jesus’ resurrection with skepticism and doubt or with faith and joyful wonderment? On Sunday morning the women who had witnessed Jesus death on the cross went to the tomb to pay their last tribute to a dead body. The disciples thought that everything had finished in tragedy. Neither were ready to see an empty tomb and hear the angel’s message, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:5-76). The angel urged them to believe that Jesus had indeed risen just as he had promised. In joy then 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 the resurrected Lord?  Isidore of Seville, a 7th century church father comments on this: “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, a church father from the 8th century, comments:

“[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)

Another church father remarked: “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts” (Peter Chrysologus, 5th century).  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 explains why the Risen Lord revealed 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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr15.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Posted by: RAM | April 13, 2017

Good Friday (April 14): “It is finished.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041417.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 (John 19:19).

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.

Jesus’ death on the cross defeated sin and death for us
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).

As we gaze on his wounds – we touch the scars of his resurrection
While the close company of Jesus’ disciples – his apostles – had deserted him and hid out of fear from the Jewish authorities, Jesus’ mother and some of the women who were close to Jesus stood close to him while he hung upon the cross. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D) in his sermon on John’s passion account focuses on the gaze of the women who witnessed the shedding of his blood and the offering of his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Augustine invites us to present ourselves before Jesus crucified who took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. Through the eyes of faith we, too, gaze upon the bloodied body of our Redeemer who paid the price for our sins – and we touch the scars of his resurrection who defeated death for our sake so that we may know the victory of his cross and resurrection and receive the promise of everlasting life and glory with him in his kingdom:

“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)

The miracle of my salvation
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 throne of love and sign of God’s mercy
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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr14.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Lydwine, Patron of sickness; chronically ill, ice skaters, town of Schiedam (1380-1433)

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Holy Thursday – 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/041317.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 fear and 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.

Let the love of Christ rule in your heart and actions 
Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. The Lord loves each of us freely and unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to love and serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility. Paul the Apostle tells us that Christ’s gift of love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (Romans 5:5 and 8:35-39). Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions?

The love of Christ conquers all and never fails
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) in his sermon for Holy Thursday 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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr13.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Wednesday of 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/041217.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.

The power of greed can only be overcome with the power of Christ’s love poured out for us
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.)

The Lord will test our hearts to show us where we need his love and strength to do his will
Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. As Jesus ate his last supper 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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr12.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Tuesday of Holy week
Lectionary: 257

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/041117.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.

Disordered love leads to hurtful desires and wrong deeds
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.

God never withholds his persevering grace and strength to those who cling to him
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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr11.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Marguerite D’Youville (d. 1771)
Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Canada. St. Marguerite D’Youville was born at Varennes, Quebec, on October 15, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de La Jemmerais. She studied under the Ursulines, married Francois D’Youville in 1722, and became a widow in 1730. She worked to support herself and her three children, devoted much of her time to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in charitable activities.

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

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
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/041017.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr10.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 37 and 38

At The Procession With Palms — Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
At the Mass — 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: Matthew 26:14–27:66
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.”

While they were eating,
Jesus took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and giving it to his disciples said,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink from it, all of you,
for this is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it with you new
in the kingdom of my Father.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
“This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken,
for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed;

but after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Though all may have their faith in you shaken,
mine will never be.”
Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows,
you will deny me three times.”
Peter said to him,
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them,
“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying,
“My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter,
“So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again,
“My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass
without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time,
saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
Behold, the hour is at hand
when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs,
who had come from the chief priests and the elders
of the people.
His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying,
“The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”
Immediately he went over to Jesus and said,
“Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.
Jesus answered him,
“Friend, do what you have come for.”
Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus
put his hand to his sword, drew it,
and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Put your sword back into its sheath,
for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father
and he will not provide me at this moment
with more than twelve legions of angels?
But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled
which say that it must come to pass in this way?”
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,
“Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs to seize me?
Day after day I sat teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me.
But all this has come to pass
that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away
to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Peter was following him at a distance
as far as the high priest’s courtyard,
and going inside he sat down with the servants
to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death,
but they found none,
though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward who stated,
“This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God
and within three days rebuild it.'”
The high priest rose and addressed him,
“Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But Jesus was silent.
Then the high priest said to him,
“I order you to tell us under oath before the living God
whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“You have said so.
But I tell you:
From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power’
and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.'”
Then the high priest tore his robes and said,
“He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy;
what is your opinion?”
They said in reply,
“He deserves to die!”
Then they spat in his face and struck him,
while some slapped him, saying,
“Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?”

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.
One of the maids came over to him and said,
“You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
But he denied it in front of everyone, saying,
“I do not know what you are talking about!”
As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him
and said to those who were there,
“This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”
Again he denied it with an oath,
“I do not know the man!”
A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter,
“Surely you too are one of them;
even your speech gives you away.”
At that he began to curse and to swear,
“I do not know the man.”
And immediately a cock crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken:
“Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.

When it was morning,
all the chief priests and the elders of the people
took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
They bound him, led him away,
and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned,
deeply regretted what he had done.
He returned the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, saying,
“I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.”
They said,
“What is that to us?
Look to it yourself.”
Flinging the money into the temple,
he departed and went off and hanged himself.
The chief priests gathered up the money, but said,
“It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury,
for it is the price of blood.”
After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field
as a burial place for foreigners.
That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah
the prophet,
And they took the thirty pieces of silver,
the value of a man with a price on his head,
a price set by some of the Israelites,
and they paid it out for the potter’s field
just as the Lord had commanded me.

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders,
he made no answer.
Then Pilate said to him,
“Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
But he did not answer him one word,
so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them,
“Which one do you want me to release to you,
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message,
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply,
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all,
but that a riot was breaking out instead,
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply,
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them,
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium
and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes
and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head,
and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
They spat upon him and took the reed
and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon;
this man they pressed into service
to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha
—which means Place of the Skull —,
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots;
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him:
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God,
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge;
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed,
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”
There were many women there, looking on from a distance,
who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph,
and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening,
there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph,
who was himself a disciple of Jesus.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus;
then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.
Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen
and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.
Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb
and departed.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, the one following the day of preparation,
the chief priests and the Pharisees
gathered before Pilate and said,
“Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said,
‘After three days I will be raised up.’
Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day,
lest his disciples come and steal him and say to the people,
‘He has been raised from the dead.’
This last imposture would be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them,
“The guard is yours;
go, secure it as best you can.”
So they went and secured the tomb
by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040917.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://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr9.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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

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

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

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