Posted by: RAM | May 9, 2017

Wednesday (May 10): “Whoever believes in me believes also in the one who sent me.”

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

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