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Friday, February 12th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 9:14-15.


Friday after Ash Wednesday

12 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,

but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus with authority stdas0149

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 9:14-15.

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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DAILY MASS – Friday 12 January 2016

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

12 February 2016

Saints of the day

Martyrs of Abitene

 A translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave during the closing Mass of the 24th Italian National Eucharistic Congress, in the esplanade of Marisabella

This Eucharistic congress, which comes to a close today, intended to present Sunday again as a “weekly Easter,” expression of the identity of the Christian community and center of its life and mission. The theme chosen, “We Cannot Live without Sunday,” takes us back to the year 304, when Emperor Diocletian prohibited Christians, under pain of death, to possess the Scriptures, to meet on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist and to build premises for their assemblies. In Abitene, a small village in what today is Tunis, 49 Christians, meeting in the home of Octavius Felix, were taken by surprise on a Sunday while celebrating the Eucharist, defying the imperial prohibitions. Arrested, they were taken to Carthage to be interrogated by the proconsul Anulinus.

Significant, in particular, was the response given to the proconsul by Emeritus, after being asked why he had violated the emperor’s order. He said: “Sine dominico non possumus,” we cannot live without meeting on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would not have the strength to face the daily difficulties and not succumb. After atrocious tortures, the 49 martyrs of Abitene were killed. Thus, they confirmed their faith with the shedding of blood. They died but they were victorious; we now remember them in the glory of the risen Christ.

The Vatican, VA Pope Benedict XVI – Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

12 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. Benedict of Anian,

Abbot (c.750 – 821)

San_Benedetto_dAniane

SAINT BENEDICT OF ANIAN
(c. 750-821)

        Benedict was the son of Aigulf, Governor of Languedoc, and was born about 750. In his early youth he served as cup-bearer to King Pepin and his son Charlemagne, enjoying under them great honors and possessions.

        Grace entered his soul at the age of twenty, and he resolved to seek the kingdom of God with his whole heart. Without relinquishing his place at court, he lived there a most mortified life for three years; then a narrow escape from drowning made him vow to quit the world, and he entered the cloister of St. Seine.

In reward for his heroic austerities in the monastic state, God bestowed upon him the gift of tears, and inspired him with knowledge of spiritual things. As procurator, he was most careful of the wants of the brethren, and most hospitable to the poor and to guests.

        Declining to accept the abbacy, he built himself a little hermitage on the brook Anian, and lived some years in great solitude and poverty; but the fame of his sanctity drawing many souls around him, he was obliged to build a large abbey, and within a short time governed three hundred monks.

He became the great restorer of monastic discipline throughout France and Germany. First, he drew up with immense labor a code of the rules of St. Benedict, his great namesake, which he collated with those of the chief monastic founders, showing the uniformity of the exercises in each, and enforced by his “Penitential” their exact observance; secondly, he minutely regulated all matters regarding food, clothing, and every detail of life; and thirdly, by prescribing the same for all, he excluded jealousies and insured perfect charity.

        In a Provincial Council held in 813, under Charlemagne, at which he was present, it was declared that all monks of the West should adopt the rule of St. Benedict.

He died in 821.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

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Matthew 28:20.

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Thursday, February 11th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 9:22-25.


Thursday after Ash Wednesday

11 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ  

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny

himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

take up the cross lwjas0204

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9:22-25. 

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Biblehub

DAILY MASS – Thursday 11 January 2016 

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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

11 February 2016

Commentary of the day 

Theodore of Mopsuestia

 Theodore of Mopsuestia (?-428),

Bishop and theologian
Commentary on Saint John’s Gospel; CSCO 116

Way of the cross, way of glory

“The hour has come for the Son of the Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23)… When he had made known his amazing glorification, incompatible with his Passion as it seemed, Jesus added: “Amen, amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (v.24). “Therefore, do not let my death trouble you. The grain of wheat is alone before it falls to the earth but, once it has fallen and died, it springs up for abundant glory and bears a double quantity of fruit, it displays its abundance before all and shows off its stunning beauty. Imagine it to be the same with me. For now I am alone and without glory, unknown amongst the featureless crowd of others. But when I have undergone the sufferings of the cross I shall rise up with great glory. Then I will bear much fruit”…

After these predictions about himself Jesus exhorts his disciples to imitate him: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” (v.25). “Therefore, not only must my Passion not scandalize you…, but you must be ready to undergo the same sufferings, too, so as to bear the same fruit.” Then he says very simply: “Whoever serves me must follow me.” “Whoever wishes to be my servant, let him show by his deeds that he wants to follow me.” “Where I am there also will my servant be. If anyone serves me my Father will honor him” (v.26). “Whoever shares in my suffering will share equally in my glory; he will remain with me eternally in the world to come and will share my joy in the heavenly Kingdom. That is how my Father will honor those who have served me faithfully.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: n/a

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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

11 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Severinus of Agaunum,

Abbot (+ 507)

SAINT SEVERINUS
Abbot of Agaunum
(+ 507)

        St. Severinus, of a noble family in Burgundy, was educated in the Catholic faith, at a time when the Arian heresy reigned in that country. He forsook the world in his youth, and dedicated himself to God in the monastery of Agaunum, which then only consisted of scattered cells, till the Catholic King Sigismund built there the great abbey of St. Maurice.

         St. Severinus was the holy abbot of that place, and had governed his community many years in the exercise of penance and charity, when, in 504, Clovis, the first Christian king of France, lying ill of a fever, which his physicians had for two years ineffectually endeavored to remove, sent his chamberlain to conduct the Saint to court; for it was said that the sick from all parts recovered their health by his prayers. St. Severinus took leave of his monks, telling them he should never see them more in this world. On his journey he healed Eulalius, Bishop of Nevers, who had been for some time deaf and dumb; also a leper, at the gates of Paris; and coming to the palace he immediately restored the king to perfect health, by putting on him his own cloak. The king, in gratitude, distributed large alms to the poor and released all his prisoners.

        St. Severinus, returning toward Agaunum, stopped at Château-Landon in Gatinois, where two priests served God in a solitary chapel, among whom he was admitted, at his request, as a stranger, and was soon greatly admired by them for his sanctity. He foresaw his death, which happened shortly after, in 507.

        The place is now an abbey of reformed canons regular of St. Austin. The Huguenots scattered the greater part of his relics when they plundered this church.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Mark 16:15-20

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“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

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Wednesday, February 10th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 6:1-6.16-18.


Ash Wednesday

10 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“When you pray, go to your inner room,

close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”

PRAYER IN SECRETstdas0058

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6:1-6.16-18. 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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DAILY MASS – Wednesday 10 February 2016

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Ash Wednesday

10 February 2016

Ash Wednesday

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Released)

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Released)

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. It occurs exactly 46 days before Easter  (40 fasting days not counting Sundays). It is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.

Ash Wednesday is named after the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of faithful as a reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Ash Wednesday is being observed by most Christian, including Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and Methodists. In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer also designates Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting.

The custom of sprinkling ashes as a sign of mourning and repentance, celebrated on Ash Wednesday, is known in many cultures and traditions, including in ancient Egypt, Arabs and Greece. In the liturgy, it appeared in the eighth century — the first testimony of the practice comes from the tenth century. In 1091, Pope Urban II launched the custom as binding the whole Church. At the same time, it has been established that the ash has to come from the palm trees dedicated on Palm Sunday of the previous year.

© Calendar-12.com 2011 — 2016

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Ash Wednesday

10 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint John-Paul II,

Ioannes_Paulus_II_in_Germany_(1980)

During a visit to Germany, 1980

Saint John-Paul II,

Pope from 1978 to 2005
Homily for Ash Wednesday 1983 – Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

In the secret of the heart

Lent is the time to come back to our self. It is a time of particular intimacy with God, in the secret of the heart and of the conscience. It is in this private intimacy with God that the essential work of Lent is accomplished: the work of conversion.

And in this inner secret, in this intimacy with God in the full truth of the heart and of the conscience, words like those of the psalms of today’s liturgy resound as one of the most profound confessions that man has ever done to God: “Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me. For I know my offense; my sin is always before me. Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn” (Ps 50,1-6).

These are words that purify, words that transform. They transform man from the inside. Let us recite them often during Lent. And above all, let us strive to renovate the spirit that leads them, the inspiration that has rightly so given these words a force of conversion. For Lent is essentially an invitation to conversion. The works of alms of which the Gospel speaks about today open the way to this conversion. Let us practice them as much as we can. But first of all, let us try to meet God interiorly in our whole life, in all it is made of, so as to reach this conversion in deepness, of which the penitential psalm of today’s liturgy is filled.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Ash Wednesday

10 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Scholastica, Abbess (+ c. 543)

Santa_Scolastica_Y

SAINT SCHOLASTICA
Abbess
(+ c. 543)

        Of this Saint but little is known on earth, save that she was the sister of the great patriarch St. Benedict, and that, under his direction, she founded and governed a numerous community near Monte Casino.

        St. Gregory sums up her life by saying that she devoted herself to God from her childhood, and that her pure soul went to God in the likeness of a dove, as if to show that her life had been enriched with the fullest gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Her brother was accustomed to visit her every year, for “she could not be sated or wearied with the words of grace which flowed from his lips.” On his last visit, after a day passed in spiritual converse, the Saint, knowing that her end was near, said, “My brother, leave me not, I pray you, this night, but discourse with me till dawn on the bliss of those who see God in heaven.” St. Benedict would not, break his rule at the bidding of natural affection; and then the Saint bowed her head on her hands and prayed; and there arose a storm so violent that St. Benedict could not return to his monastery, and they passed the night in heavenly conversation.

Three days later St. Benedict saw in a vision the soul of his sister going up in the likeness of a dove into heaven. Then he gave thanks to God for the graces He had given her, and for the glory which had crowned them. When she died, St. Benedict, her spiritual daughters, and the monks sent by St. Benedict mingled their tears and prayed, “Alas! alas! dearest mother, to whom dost thou leave us now? Pray for us to Jesus, to Whom thou art gone.” They then devoutly celebrated holy Mass, “commending her soul to God;” and her body was borne to Monte Casino, and laid by her brother in the tomb he had prepared for himself.” And they bewailed her many days;” and St. Benedict said, “Weep not, sisters and brothers; for assuredly Jesus has taken her before us to be our aid and defence against all our enemies, that we may stand in the evil day and be in all things perfect.”

        She died about the year 543.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

*********************************************

“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************


Tuesday, February 9th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 7:1-13.


Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

9 February 2016
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me”

hypocrites stdas0075

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 7:1-13.

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’
Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘ (meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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DAILY MASS – Tuesday 9 February 2016

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

9 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997),

330px-MotherTeresa_094

Mother Teresa at a pro-life meeting in 1986 in Bonn, West Germany 

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997),

founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity
Prayer: Seeking the Heart of God, with Bro. Roger

“Their hearts are far from me”

Let God’s love take entire possession of a heart; let this become like second nature to that heart; let that heart not allow anything opposed to it to enter in; let it constantly strive to nurture this love of God by seeking to please Him in everything and not refusing Him anything He asks; let it accept everything that happens to it as coming from God’s hand.

Knowledge of God produces love and knowledge of self produces humility. Humility is nothing other than the truth. “What have we that we have not received?” asks Saint Paul (1Cor 4:7). But if I have received everything then what good have I of myself? If we are convinced of this we won’t ever lift up our heads in pride. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor blame, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you won’t be discouraged. If they call you a saint you won’t set yourself on a pedestal. Self-knowledge sends us to our knees.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

9 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Apollonia,

Virgin and Martyr (+ 249)

Zurbaran_Francisco_De_St_Apollonia

SAINT APOLLONIA
Virgin and martyr
and the Martyrs of Alexandria
(+ 249)

        At Alexandria, in 249, the mob rose in savage fury against the Christians. Metras, an old man, perished first. His eyes were pierced with reeds, and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was the next victim. She was led to a heathen temple and bidden worship. She replied by cursing the false god again and again, and she too was stoned to death. After this the houses of the Christians were sacked and plundered. They took the spoiling of their goods with all joy.

        St. Apollonia, an aged virgin, was the most famous among the martyrs. Her teeth were beaten out; she was led outside the city, a huge fire was kindled, and she was told she must deny Christ, or else be burned alive. She was silent for a while, and then, moved by a special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, she leaped into the fire and died in its flames.

     The same courage showed itself the next year, when Decius became emperor, and the persecution grew till it seemed as if the very elect must fall away. The story of Dioscorus illustrates the courage of the Alexandrian Christians, and the esteem they had for martyrdom. He was a boy of fifteen. To the arguments of the judge he returned wise answers: he was proof against torture. His older companions were executed, but Dioscorus was spared on account of his tender years; yet the Christians could not bear to think that he had been deprived of the martyr’s crown, except to receive it afterwards more gloriously. “Dioscorus,” writes Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria at this time, “remains with us, reserved for some longer and greater combat.”

There were indeed many Christians who came, pale and trembling, to offer the heathen sacrifices. But the judges themselves were struck with horror at the multitudes who rushed to martyrdom. Women triumphed over torture, till at last the judges were glad to execute them at once and put an end to the ignominy of their own defeat.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

*********************************************

“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************


Monday, February 8th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:53-56.


Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

8 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

They scurried about the surrounding country and began to

bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.

1 OUR FATHER 375px-Bloch-SermonOnTheMount

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:53-56. 

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Biblehub

DAILY MASS – Monday 8 February 2016

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

8 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582),

Church window at the Convent of St Teresa.

Church window at the Convent of St Teresa.

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582),

Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
Exclamation 16 (©Institute of Carmelite Studies)

“As many as touched the tassel on his cloak were healed”

     O true God and my Lord! It is a great consolation for the soul wearied by the loneliness of being separated from you to see that you are everywhere. But when the vehemence of love and the great impulses of this pain increase, there’s no remedy, my God. For the intellect is disturbed and the reason is so kept from knowing the truth of Your omnipresence that it can neither understand nor know. It only knows it is separated from You and it accepts no remedy. For the heart that greatly loves receives no counsel or consolation except from the very one who wounded it, because from that one it hopes its pain will be cured.

When You desire, Lord, You quickly heal the wound You have caused; prior to this there is no hope for healing or joy, except for the joy of such worthwhile suffering. O true Lover, with how much compassion, with how much gentleness, with how much delight, with how much favor and with what extraordinary signs of love You cure these wounds, which with the darts of this same love You have caused! 0 my God and my rest from all pains, how entranced I am! How could there be human means to cure what the divine fire has made sick? Who is there who knows how deep this wound goes, or how it came about, or how so painful and delightful a torment can be mitigated?… How right the bride of the Canticles is in saying: “My Beloved is for me and I for my Beloved” (Sg 11,6) for it is impossible that a love like this begin with something so lowly as is my love. And yet, if it is lowly, my Spouse, how is it that it is not so lowly in rising from the creature to its Creator?

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

8 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)

BAKHITA

JOSEPHINE BAKHITA
(1869-1947)

        Mother Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Vicenza)  in 1947.

This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, with the Daughters of Charity.

Mother “Moretta”

    In Schio (Vicenza), where she spent many years of her life, everyone still calls her “our Black Mother”. The process for the cause of Canonization began 12 years after her death and on December 1st, 1978 the Church proclaimed the Decree of the heroic practice ofall virtues.

        Divine Providence which “cares for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air”, guided the Sudanese slave through innumerable and unspeakable sufferings to human freedom and to the freedom of faith and finally to the consecration of her whole life to God for the coming of his Kingdom.

In Slavery

Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experiences she went through made her forget the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers.

        Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and sufferings of slavery, both physical and moral.

Towards freedom

        In the Capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought by an Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani . For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realized with pleasant surprise, that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated in a loving and cordial way. In the Consul’s residence, Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled by nostalgia for her own family, whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.

        Political situations forced the Consul to leave for Italy. Bakhita asked and obtained permission to go with him and with a friend of his, a certain Mr. Augusto Michieli.

In Italy

On arrival in Genoa, Mr. Legnani, pressured by the request of Mr. Michieli’s wife, consented to leave Bakhita with them. She followed the new “family”, which settled in Zianigo (near Mirano Veneto). When their daughter Mimmina was born, Bakhita became her babysitter and friend.

        The acquisition and management of a big hotel in Suakin, on the Red Sea, forced Mrs. Michieli to move to Suakin to help her husband. Meanwhile, on the advice of their administrator, Illuminato Checchini, Mimmina and Bakhita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…”

Daughter of God

        After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and was given the new name, Josephine. It was January 9, 1890. She did not know how to express her joy that day. Her big and expressive eyes sparkled, revealing deep emotions. From then on, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”

        With each new day, she became more aware of who this God was, whom she now knew and loved, who had led her to Him through mysterious ways, holding her by the hand.

When Mrs. Michieli returned from Africa to take back her daughter and Bakhita, the latter, with unusual firmness and courage, expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian Sisters and to serve that God who had shown her so many proofs of His love.

        The young African, who by then had come of age, enjoyed the freedom of choice which the Italian law ensured.

Daughter of St. Magdalene

        Bakhita remained in the catechumenate where she experienced the call to be a religious, and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa.

On December 8, 1896 Josephine Bakhita was consecrated forever to God whom she called with the sweet expression “the Master!”

        For another 50 years, this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness of the love of God, lived in the community in Schio, engaged in various services: cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door.

         When she was on duty at the door, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who daily attended the Canossian schools and caress them. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection and rhythm of the music of her country, was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering and encouraging for those who knocked at the door of the Institute.

Witness of love

        Her humility, her simplicity and her constant smile won the hearts of all the citizens. Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her inalterable sweet nature, her exquisite goodness and her deep desire to make the Lord known.

        “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”

        As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness. Mother Bakhita continued to witness to faith, goodness and Christian hope. To those who visited her and asked how she was, she would respond with a smile: “As the Master desires.”

Final test

        During her agony, she re-lived the terrible days of her slavery and more then once she begged the nurse who assisted her: “Please, loosen the chains… they are heavy!”

        It was Mary Most Holy who freed her from all pain. Her last words were: “Our Lady! Our Lady!”, and her final smile testifiedto her encounter with the Mother of the Lord.

        Mother Bakhita breathed her last on February 8, 1947 at the Canossian Convent, Schio, surrounded by the Sisters. A crowd quickly gathered at the Convent to have a last look at their «Mother Moretta» and to ask for her protection from heaven.  The fame of her sanctity has spread to all the continents and many are those who receive graces through her intercession.

        She was canonized by Pope John-Paul II on October 1, 2000.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

8 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537)

San_Girolamo_Emiliani-Miani

SAINT JEROME EMILIANI
(1486-1537)

        St. Jerome Emiliani was a member of one of the patrician families of Venice, and, like many other Saints, in early life a soldier. He was appointed governor of a fortress among the mountains of Treviso, and whilst bravely defending his post, was made prisoner by the enemy. In the misery of his dungeon he invoked the great Mother of God, and promised, if she would set him free, to lead a new and a better life. Our Lady appeared, broke his fetters, and led him forth through the midst of his enemies. At Treviso he hung up his chains at her altar, dedicated himself to her service, and on reaching his home at Venice devoted himself to a life of active charity.

His special love was for the deserted orphan children whom, in the times of the plague and famine, he found wandering in the streets. He took them home, clothed and fed them, and taught them the Christian truths. From Venice he passed to Padua and Verona, and in a few years had founded orphanages through Northern Italy. Some pious clerics and laymen, who had been his fellow-workers, fixed their abode in one of these establishments, and devoted themselves to the cause of education. The Saint drew up for them a rule of life and thus was founded the Congregation, which still exists, of the Clerks Regular of Somascha.

St. Jerome died February 8, 1537, of the plague which he had caught in visiting the sick.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

8 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. John of Matha,

Priest (1169-1213)

San_Giovanni_de_Matha_H

SAINT JOHN OF MATHA
Priest and Founder of the Order of the Holy Trinity
(1169-1213)

        The life of St. John of Matha was one long course of self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. As a child, his chief delight was serving the poor; and he often told them he had come into the world for no other end but to wash their feet. He studied at Paris with such distinction that his professors advised him to become a priest, in order that his talents might render greater service to others; and, for this end, John gladly sacrificed his high rank and other worldly advantages.

   At his first Mass an angel appeared, clad in white, with a red and blue cross on his breast, and his hands reposing on the heads of a Christian and a Moorish captive. To ascertain what this signified, John repaired to St. Felix of Valois, a holy hermit living near Meaux, under whose direction he led a life of extreme penance.

        The angel again appeared, and they then set out for Rome, to learn the will of God from the lips of the Sovereign Pontiff, who told them to devote themselves to the redemption of captives. For this purpose they founded the Order of the Holy Trinity. The religious fasted every day, and gathering alms throughout Europe took them to Barbary, to redeem the Christian slaves. They devoted themselves also to the sick and prisoners in all countries.

    The charity of St. John in devoting his life to the redemption of captives was visibly blessed by God. On his second return from Tunis he brought back one hundred and twenty liberated slaves. But the Moors attacked him at sea, over- i powered his vessel, and doomed it to destruction, with all on board, by taking away the rudder and sails, and leaving it to the mercy of the winds. St. John tied his cloak to the mast, and prayed, saying, “Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered. O Lord, Thou wilt save the humble, and wilt bring down the eyes of the proud.” Suddenly the wind filled the small sail, and, without guidance, carried the ship safely in a few days to Ostia, the port of Rome, three hundred leagues from Tunis.

        Worn out by his heroic labors, John died in 1213, at the age of fifty-three.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Matthew 28:20.

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Sunday, February 7th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 5:1-11.


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

7 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

When they had done this, they caught a great number

of fish and their nets were tearing.

1 lower the net pppas0120

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 5:1-11. 

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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SUNDAY MASS – Catholic Mass – February 7, 2016 

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

7 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Augustine (354-430),

Saint_Augustine_by_Philippe_de_Champaigne

 Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 43, 5-6 ; CCL 41, 510-511 (©Friends of Henry Ashworth)

“Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch”

How great was Christ’s courtesy! This Peter who spoke these words was once a fisherman and in our day a public speaker deserves high praise if he is able to converse with a fisherman! Addressing the first Christians the apostle Paul says: “Brothers and sisters, remember what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise according to human standards; not many of you were influential or of noble birth. But God chose what the world regards as weak in order to disconcert the strong; God chose what the world regards as foolish in order to abash the wise; God chose what the world regards as common and contemptible, of no account whatever, in order to overthrow the existing order” (1Cor 1:26-28).

If Christ had first chosen a man skilled in public speaking, such a man might well have said: “I have been chosen on account of my eloquence.” If he had chosen a senator, the senator might have said: “I have been chosen because of my rank” If his first choice had been an emperor, the emperor surely might have said: “I have been chosen for the sake of the power I have at my disposal.” Let these worthies keep quiet and defer to others; let them hold their peace for a while. I am not saying they should be passed over or despised; I am simply asking all those who can find any grounds for pride in what they are to give way to others just a little.

Christ says: Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him; once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him. Although I mean to include senators, orators, and emperors among my recruits… I shall still be surer of the fisherman. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so can the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

7 February 2016

Saint of the day

Bl. Rosalie Rendu, (1786-1856)

1 Beata_Rosalia_Rendu

Blessed Rosalie Rendu
Daughter of Charity
(1786-1856)

        Jeanne Marie Rendu was born 9 September 1786 at Confort, a district of Gex in the Jura Mountains. She was the eldest of four girls. Her parents, simple living mountain people and small property owners, enjoyed a certain affluence and true respect throughout the area. Jeanne Marie was baptized the day she was born in the parish church of Lancrans. Her Godfather by proxy was Jacques Emery, a family friend and future Superior General of the Sulpicians in Paris. 

Jeanne Marie Rendu was three years old when the Revolution broke out in France. From 1790 it was compulsory for the clergy to take an oath of support for the civil Constitution. Numerous priests, faithful to the Church, refused to take this oath. They were chased from their parishes, some were put to death and others had to hide to escape their pursuers. 

        The Rendu family home became a refuge for these priests. The Bishop of Annecy found asylum under the assumed name of Pierre. Jeanne Marie was fascinated by this hired hand who was treated better than the others. One night, she discovered that he was celebrating Mass. She was offended that she had not been told the truth. 

      Later, in a discussion with her mother, she blurted out: “Be careful or I will tell that Pierre is not really Pierre.” In order to avoid any indiscretion on the part of her daughter, Madame Rendu told her the truth of the situation. 

        It was in this atmosphere of solid faith, always exposed to the dangers of denunciation, that Jeanne Marie was educated. She would make her first communion one night by candlelight in the basement of her home. This exceptional environment forged her character. 

       The death of her father, 12 May 1796, and that of her youngest sister, at four months of age, on 19 July of the same year, shook the entire family. Jeanne Marie, aware of her responsibility as the eldest, helped her mother, especially in caring for her younger sisters. 

        In the days following the Terror, people calmed down little by little and life resumed its normality. Madame Rendu, concerned about the education of her eldest daughter, sent her to the Ursuline Sisters in Gex. Jeanne Marie stayed two years in this boarding school. During her walks in town, she discovered the hospital where the Daughters of Charity cared for the sick. She had only one desire, to go and join them. Her mother gave her consent that Jeanne Marie, in spite of her young age, might spend some time at this hospital. God’s call, which she had sensed for many years, made itself clear: she would become a Daughter of Charity. 

        In 1802, Armande Jacquinot, from the village of Lancrans, confided to her friend that she was preparing to leave for Paris to enter the Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Jeanne Marie leaped at the opportunity and begged her mother to allow her to leave. Having consulted with Fr. de Varicourt, the senior priest at Gex, Madame Rendu, happy, but very emotional at her daughter’s vocation, consented to her request. 

        On 25 May 1802, Jeanne Marie arrived at the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity, rue du Vieux Colombier in Paris. She was nearly 17 years old! The reopening of the Seminary, (novitiate suppressed by the Revolutionaries) took place in December 1800. On their arrival, the travelers were welcomed by 50 young women in formation. 

        Jeanne Marie was very anxious to give her very best in this new life. Her health was weakened by the sustained mental effort this demanded and by a lack of physical exercise. On the advice of her physician and that of her Godfather, Fr. Emery, Jeanne Marie was sent to the house of the Daughters of Charity in the Mouffetard District for the service of the poor. She would remain there 54 years! 

        The thirst for action, devotion and service that burned within Jeanne Marie could not have found a better place to be quenched than this district of Paris. At the time, it was the most impoverished district of the quickly expanding capital: poverty in all its forms, psychological and spiritual. There disease, unhealthy slums, and destitution were the daily lot of the people who were trying to survive. 

        Jeanne Marie, who received the name Sr. Rosalie, made her “apprenticeship” accompanying Sisters visiting the sick and the poor. Between times, she taught catechism and reading to little girls accepted at the free school. In 1807, Sr. Rosalie, surrounded by the Sisters of her Community, made vows for the first time to serve God and the poor. She made these vows with great emotion and joy. 

In 1815 Sr. Rosalie became Superior of the Community at rue des Francs Bourgeois. Two years later the Community would move to rue de l’Epée de Bois for reasons of space and convenience. All her qualities of devotedness, natural authority, humility, compassion and her organizational abilities would be revealed. “Her poor,” as she would call them, became more and more numerous during this troubled time. The ravages of a triumphant economic liberalism accentuated the destitution of those most rejected. She sent her Sisters into all the hidden recesses of St. Médard Parish in order to bring supplies, clothing, care and a comforting word. 

        To assist all the suffering, Sr. Rosalie opened a free clinic, a pharmacy, a school, an orphanage, a child‑care center, a youth club for young workers and a home for the elderly without resources. Soon a whole network of charitable services would be established to counter poverty. 

        Her example encouraged her Sisters. She often told them: “Be a milestone where all those who are tired have the right to lay down their load.” She was so simple, and lived so poorly, as to let the presence of God shine through her. 

        Her faith, solid as a rock and clear as a spring, revealed Jesus Christ in all circumstances. She daily experienced this conviction of St. Vincent: “You will go and visit the poor ten times a day, and ten times a day you will find God there … you go into their poor homes, but you find God there.” Her prayer life was intense, as a Sister affirmed, “… she continually lived in the presence of God. Even if she had a difficult mission to fulfill, we were always assured of seeing her go to the chapel or finding her on her knees in her office.” 

        She was attentive to assuring that her companions had time for prayer, but sometimes there was a need to “leave God for God” as Vincent de Paul taught his Daughters. Once, while accompanying a Sister on a charitable visit, she said to her: “Sister, let’s begin our meditation!” She suggested the plan, the outline, in a few simple, clear words and entered into prayer. 

Like a monk in the cloister, Sr. Rosalie walked with her God. She would speak to God of this family in distress as the father no longer had any work, of this elderly person who risked dying alone in an attic: “Never have I prayed so well as in the streets,” she would say. 

        One of her companions remarked that, “the poor themselves noted her way of praying and acting.” “Humble in her authority, Sr. Rosalie would correct us with great sensitivity and had the gift of consoling. Her advice, spoken justly and given with all her affection, penetrated souls.” 

She was very attentive to the manner of receiving the poor. Her spirit of faith saw in them our “lords and masters.” “The poor will insult you. The ruder they are; the more dignified you must be,” she said. “Remember, Our Lord hides behind those rags.” 

        Superiors sent her postulants and young Sisters to be formed. They put in her house, for a period of time, Sisters who were somewhat difficult or fragile. To one of her Sisters in crisis, she gave this advice one day, which is the secret of her life: “If you want someone to love you, you must be the first to love; and if you have nothing to give, give yourself.” As the number of Sisters increased, the charity office became a house of charity, with a clinic and a school. She saw in that the Providence of God. 

        Her reputation quickly grew in all the districts of the capital and also beyond to the towns in the region. Sr. Rosalie knew how to surround herself with many efficient and dedicated collaborators. The donations flowed in quickly as the rich were unable to resist this persuasive woman. Even the former royalty did not forget her in their generosity: The Ladies of Charity helped in the home visits. Bishops, priests, the Ambassador of Spain (Donoso Cortéz), Carlo X, General Cavaignac, and the most distinguished men of state and culture, even the Emperor Napoleon III with his wife, were often seen in her parlor. Students of law, medicine, science, technology, engineering, teacher‑training, and all the other important schools came seeking from Sr. Rosalie information and recommendations. Or, before performing a good work, they asked her at which door they should knock. Among these, Blessed Frederick Ozanam, co‑founder of the “Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul,” and the Venerable Jean Léon Le Prevost, future founder of the Religious of St. Vincent de Paul, knew well the road to her office. They came, with their other friends, to Sr. Rosalie seeking advice for undertaking their projects. She was the center of a charitable movement that characterized Paris and France in the first half of the 19th century. Sr. Rosalie’s experience was priceless for these young people. She directed their apostolate, guided their coming and going in the suburbs, and gave them addresses of families in need, choosing them with care. 

        She also formed a relationship with the Superioress of Bon Saveur in Caen and requested that she too welcome those in need. She was particularly attentive to priests and religious suffering from psychiatric difficulties. Her correspondence is short but touching, considerate, patient and respectful towards all. 

        Hardships were not lacking in the Mouffetard District. Epidemics of cholera followed one after another. Lack of hygiene and poverty fostered its virulence. Most particularly in 1832 and 1846, the dedication shown and risks taken by Sr. Rosalie and her Sisters were beyond imagination. She herself was seen picking up dead bodies in the streets. During the uprisings of July 1830 and February 1848, barricades and bloody battles were the marks of the opposition of the working class stirred up against the powerful. Archbishop Affre, Archbishop of Paris, was killed trying to intervene between the fighting factions. Sr. Rosalie was deeply grieved. She herself climbed the barricades to try and help the wounded fighters irrespective of the side they were fighting on. 

        Without any fear, she risked her life in these confrontations. Her courage and sense of freedom commanded the admiration of all. 

        When order was reestablished, she tried to save a number of these people she knew and who were victims of fierce repression. She was helped a great deal by the mayor of the district, Dr. Ulysse Trélat, a true republican, who was also very popular. 

        In 1852, Napoleon III decided to give her the Cross of the Legion of Honor. She was ready to refuse this individual honor but Fr. Etienne, Superior General of the Priests of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, made her accept it. 

        Always in fragile health, Sr. Rosalie never took a moment of rest, always managing to overcome fatigue and fevers. However, age, increasing infirmity, and the amount of work needing to be done eventually broke her strong resistance and equally strong will. During the last two years of her life she became progressively blind. She died on 7 February 1856 after a brief acute illness. 

        Emotions ran high in the district and at all levels of society in both Paris and the countryside. After the funeral rite at St. Médard Church, her parish, a large and emotional crowd followed her remains to the Montparnasse Cemetery. They came to show their respect for the works she had accomplished and show their affection for this “out of the ordinary” Sister. 

        Numerous newspaper articles witnessed to the admiration and even veneration that Sr. Rosalie received. Newspapers from all sides echoed the sentiments of the people. 

L’Univers,the principal Catholic newspaper of the time, edited by Louis Veuillot, wrote as early as 8 February: “Our readers understand the significance of the sadness that has come upon the poor of Paris. They join their sufferings with the tears and prayers of the unfortunate.” 

        Il Consitutionnel,the newspaper of the anticlerical left, did not hesitate to announce the death of this Daughter of Charity: “The unfortunate people of the 12th district have just experienced a regrettable loss. Sr. Rosalie, Superior of the Community at rue de l’Epée de Bois died yesterday after a long illness. For many years this respectable woman was the salvation of the numerous needy in this district.” 

        The official newspaper of the Empire, le Moniteur, praised the kindly actions of this Sister: “Funeral honors were given to Sr. Rosalie with unusual splendor. For more than fifty years this holy woman was a friend to others in a district where there are many unfortunate people to care for and all these grateful people accompanied her remains to the church and to the cemetery. A guard of honor was part of the cortege.” 

        Numerous visitors flocked to the Montparnasse Cemetery. They went to meditate at the tomb of the one who was their salvation. But it was difficult to find the gravesite reserved for the Daughters of Charity. The body was then moved to a more accessible site, close to the entrance of the cemetery. On the simple tomb surmounted by a large Cross are engraved these words: “To Sister Rosalie, from her grateful friends, the rich and the poor.” Anonymous hands brought flowers and continue to bring flowers to this gravesite: a lasting yet discreet homage to this humble Daughter of St. Vincent de Paul.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

*********************************************

“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************

 


Saturday, February 6th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:30-34.


Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

 

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them

1 fishermen lwjas0358

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:30-34. 

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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DAILY MASS – Saturday 6 February 2016 

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Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Zeno of Verona

330px-Verona_Italy_San_Zeno_DSC07766

Statue of Saint Zeno from the Basilica of San Zeno

Saint Zeno of Verona (? – c.380), Bishop
Sermon ‘De spe, fide et caritate’, 9; PL 11, 278

“His heart was moved with pity for them”

O charity, how good, how bountiful you are! They possess nothing who do not possess you. You it was who could make of God a man. You caused him to humble himself and forsake, for a while, his great majesty. You held him captive for nine months in the Virgin’s womb. You healed Eve in Mary, renewed Adam in Christ. For the salvation of this fallen world you prepared the cross…

O love, to clothe that which was naked you were pleased to become naked. Hunger is as a lavish feast for you if some poor, starving person should eat your bread. Your fortune consists in bequeathing all you possess to works of mercy. You alone have no cause to be besought. You hasten to give succor to the oppressed even at your own expense, whatever the distress into which they have been cast. You are eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a trusty shield for widows and orphans… You so love your enemies that none can perceive in you any distinction between these and your friends.

O love, it is you who unite the mysteries of heaven with the things of this world and the mysteries of this world with the things of heaven. You are the guardian of what is of God. It is you who, in the Father, govern and ordain all things; who are the obedience of the Son; who rejoice in the Holy Spirit. Because you are one in each of the three Persons, you cannot be divided… Flowing from the spring of the Father, you pour out yourself wholly in the Son without leaving the Father. With good reason it is said that “God is love” (1Jn 4,16) since you alone are the one who directs the power of the Trinity.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. Paul Miki & his companions,

Martyrs (+ 1597) – Memorial

San_Paolo_Miki_e_compagni_M

SAINTS PAUL MIKI & HIS COMPANIONS
Martyrs
(+ 1597)

        The initial growth of Christianity after Francis Xavier’s 1549 arrival in Japan led to opposition from Japanese leaders who feared that the introduction of Christianity was the first step in Spain’s effort to conquer their country, just as the Spanish had already conquered the Philippines. The Taiko Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan, banished all foreign ministers in 1587, but about fifteen Franciscans come to Japan from the Philippines in 1593. So, in 1596 Hideyoshi ordered the arrest of all missionaries. Police arrested six Franciscans, three Jesuits, fifteen Japanese tertiaries and two Japanese converts. They were condemned to be executed by crucifixion. They were tortured and crucified on 5 February 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), Nagasaki.

Among the Jesuits was Paul Miki, still a Jesuit scholastic [Jesuit in training]. He was born about 1565 in Japan. He entered the Society of Jesus and was a successful preacher. From the cross he preached to the people inviting them to conversion. Miki was also the first Japanese religious to be martyred.

        Finally soldiers pierced each prisoner’s chest with a lance. The hill on which they died became known as “Martyrs’ Hill.”

        They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.

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“The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ.
I thank God it is for this reason that I die.
I believe that I am telling the truth before I die.
I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again:
Ask Christ to help you become happy. I obey Christ.
After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them.
I ask God to have pity on all,
and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2016

Saints of the day

St. Dorothy,

Virgin and Martyr (+ 304)

Santa_Dorotea_e_Teofilo_E

SAINTE DOROTHY
Virgin and Martyr
(+ 304)

        St. Dorothy was a young virgin, celebrated at Cæsarea, where she lived, for her angelic virtue. Her parents seem to have been martyred before her in the Diocletian persecution, and when the Governor Sapricius came to Cæsarea he called her before him, and sent this child of martyrs to the home where they were waiting for her.

        She was stretched upon the rack, and offered marriage if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused. But she replied that “Christ was her only Spouse, and death her desire.” She was then placed in charge of two women who had fallen away from the faith, in the hope that they might pervert her; but the fire of her own heart rekindled the flame in theirs, and led them back to Christ. When she was set once more on the rack, Sapricius himself was amazed at the heavenly look she wore, and asked her the cause of her joy. “Because,” she said, “I have brought back two souls to Christ, and because I shall soon be in heaven rejoicing with the angels.” Her joy grew as she was buffeted in the face and her sides burned with plates of red-hot iron. “Blessed be Thou,” she cried, when she was sentenced to be beheaded,-“blessed be Thou, O Thou Lover of souls! Who dost call me to Paradise, and invitest me to Thy nuptial chamber.”

        St. Dorothy suffered in the dead of winter, and it is said that on the road to her passion a lawyer called Theophilus, who had been used to calumniate and persecute the Christians, asked her, in mockery, to send him “apples or roses from the garden of her Spouse.” The Saint promised to grant his request, and, just before she died, a little child stood by her side bearing three apples and three roses. She bade him take them to Theophilus and tell him this was the present which he sought from the garden of her Spouse. St. Dorothy had gone to heaven, and Theophilus was still making merry over his challenge to the Saint when the child entered his room. He saw that the child was an angel in disguise, and the fruit and flowers of no earthly growth. He was converted to the faith, and then shared in the martyrdom of St. Dorothy.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

______________________________

Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2016

Saints of the day

Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco, (1839-1910)

1 Beato_Alfonso_Maria_Fusco

Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco
Priest
(1839-1910)

        Alfonso Maria Fusco, the oldest of five childre, was born on March 23, 1839, in Angri, in the province of Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno. His parents, Aniello Fusco and Josephine Schiavone, were both of peasant stock but were raised from their infancy with strong Christian principles and with a holy fear of God.

        They were married in the Collegiata of St. John the Baptist on January 31, 1834, and for four long years the cradle they had lovingly prepared remained painfully empty. In Pagani, only a short distance from Angri, the relics of St. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori were preserved. It was to his tomb that Aniello and Josephine went in 1838 to pray. While they were there, the Redemptorist Francesco Saverio Pecorelli told them: “You will have a son; you will name him Alfonso; he will become a priest and will live the life of Blessed Alfonso”.

  The little boy quickly revealed a mild, gentle, lovable character, responsive to prayer and to the poor. His teachers in his father’s house were learned and holy priests who instructed him and prepared him for his first meeting with Jesus. When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

        He told his parents when he was eleven that he wanted to become a priest, and on November 5, 1850, “freely and with the sole desire to serve God and the Church”, as he himself declared many years later, he entered the episcopal Seminary of Nocera dei Pagani. On May 29, 1863, he was ordained by the Archbishop of Salerno, Monsignor Anthony Salomone, amid the joy of his family and the enthusiasm of the people.

   Quickly he distinguished himself among the clergy of the Collegiata of St. John the Baptist in Angri for his zeal, his regular attendance at liturgical services and for his diligence in the administration of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation where he revealed his paternal understanding of his penitents. He devoted himself to the evangelization of the people through his simple and incisive style of preaching.

        The daily life of Father Alfonso was that of a zealous priest, but he carried in his heart an old dream. In his last years at the seminary, one night he had dreamt that Jesus the Nazarene was calling him to found an institute of Sisters and an orphanage for boys and girls as soon as he was ordained.

  It was a meeting with Maddalena Caputo of Angri, a strong-willed woman aspiring to enter religious life, which impelled Father Alfonso to move more quickly in the foundation of the Institute. On September 25, 1878, Miss Caputo and three other young women met at night in the dilapidated Scarcella house in the Ardinghi district of Angri. The young women wanted to dedicate themselves to their own sanctification through a life of poverty, of union with God, and of charity in the care and instruction of poor orphans.

        The Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene was thus begun; the seed had fallen into the good earth of the hearts of these four zealous and generous women. Privations, struggles, opposition, and trials were their lot, and the Lord made that seed grow abundantly. The Scarcella House was quickly named the Little House of Providence.

Other postulants and the first orphans began to arrive, and with them the first problems. The Lord, who allows those whom He loves much to suffer much, did not spare the Founder and his daughters. Father Alfonso accepted these trials, at times very difficult ones, demonstrating an absolute conformity to the will of God, an heroic obedience to his superiors, and an unbounded trust in Divine Providence.

        The unjustified attempt by the Diocesan Bishop Saverio Vitagliano to remove Father Alfonso as director of the Institute based on false accusations; the refusal by his own daughters to open the door for him of the house on Via Germanico in Rome because of their desire for a division; the words of Cardinal Respighi, the Vicar of Rome: “You have founded this community of good sisters who are doing their best. Now withdraw!” were for him moments of great suffering. He was seen praying in anguish, like Jesus in the Garden, in the small chapel in the Mother House in Angri and in the church of St. Joachim in Rome.

        Father Alfonso did not leave many writings. He loved to speak with the witness of his life. The short statements, rich in evangelical wisdom, which we find in his writings, and the testimony of those who knew him are flashes which illuminate his simple life, his great love for the Eucharist and for the Passion of Jesus and his filial devotion to the Sorrowful Mother. He would often repeat to his Sisters: “Let us become saints, following Jesus closely… Daughters, if you live in poverty, in chastity and in obedience, you will shine like the stars up in the heavens”.

He directed the Institute wisely and prudently. Like a loving father, he watched over the Sisters and the orphans. He showed an almost maternal tenderness for all, especially for the most needy of the orphans. For them there was always space in the Little House of Providence, even when there was a scarcity of food or absolutely nothing. Then Father Alfonso would reassure his worried daughters saying: “Don’t worry, my daughters. I am going to Jesus now and He will worry about us!” And Jesus answered quickly and with great generosity. To him who believes, everything is possible!

        At a time when an education was the privilege of the few, denied to the poor and to women, Father Alfonso did not mind sacrificing to give the children a peaceful life, an education and a trade for the older ones so that once they were grown up, they could live as honest citizens and as committed Christians. He wanted the Sisters to begin their studies as soon as possible so that they could teach the poor and, through their instruction and evangelization, prepare the way for Jesus especially in the hearts of the children and of youth.

        His tenacious will, totally anchored in Divine Providence, the wise and prudent collaboration of Maddalena Caputo, known as Sr. Crocifissa, who was the first superior of the growing Institute, the ongoing spur of the love of God and neighbor, contributed to the extraordinary development of the work in a very short time. The growing requests for assistance for an ever greater number of orphans and children urged Fr. Alfonso to open new houses, first in Campania, and then in other regions of Italy.

        During the night of February 5, 1910, he felt unwell. He requested and then received the sacraments on the morning of February 6; after having blessed with trembling hands his own daughters weeping around his bed, he exclaimed: “Lord, I thank you, I have been a useless servant”. Then, turning to the Sisters: “From heaven I will not forget you. I will pray for you always”. And he then slept peacefully in the Lord.

        News of his death spread quickly and for that entire Sunday, there was a procession of people crying and saying: “The father of the poor is dead; the saint is dead!”

        His witness has been an inspiration of life and a means of grace, especially for his Sisters spread today throughout four continents. On February 12, 1976, Pope Paul VI recognized his heroic virtues; on October 7, 2001, Pope John Paul II, proclaiming him blessed, offers him as an example to priests, and a model for everyone of an educator and protector especially to the poor and the needy.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Friday, February 5th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:14-29.


Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

5 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“The head of John the Baptist.”

DANCING lwjas0169

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:14-29.

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, «John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; That is why mighty powers are at work in him.»
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore (many things) to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Biblehub

DAILY MASS – Friday 5 February 2016   

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Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

5 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Origen (c.185-253),

1 Origen3

 Origen (c.185-253), priest and theologian
Homily 27 on St. Luke, 2-4

Christ’s precursor in his birth and in his death

      Let us admire John the Baptist above all because of the following testimony: “There is no man born of woman greater than John.” (Lk 7:28) Because of his merit, he was renowned for his virtue that many people thought he was the Christ (Lk 3:15). But there is still something that is far more admirable: Herod the tetrarch enjoyed royal power and was able to cause his death whenever he wanted. Now Herod had committed an unjust act that was contrary to the law of Moses by taking his brother’s wife. John was not afraid of him and did not look on the person, nor was he worried about his royal power or afraid of death… Without covering over all these dangers from himself, he reprimanded Herod with the freedom of the prophets and reproached him for his marriage. For this audacity, he was thrown into prison, but he was not worried about death or about a trial with an uncertain outcome; rather, in chains, his thoughts went to Christ, whom he had announced.

Since John couldn’t go to Jesus himself, he sent his disciples to get information: “Are you ‘He who is to come’ or are we to expect someone else?” (Lk 7:19) Note that even in prison, John taught. Even in that place, he had disciples. Even in prison, John fulfilled his task as master and taught his disciples through conversations about God. Under these circumstances, the question concerning Jesus came up, and so John sent him some disciples…

The disciples came back and told their master what the Savior had told them to proclaim. For John, this answer was a weapon in facing the combat. He died with assurance and let himself be beheaded with a big heart, assured by the word of the Lord himself that he in whom he believed really was the Son of God. John the Baptist’s freedom was so great, Herod’s madness was so great that to his many crimes he first added that of imprisoning John the Baptist and then he murdered him.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

______________________

Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

5 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Agatha,

Virgin & Martyr (+ 251) – Memorial

Sant_Agata_Z

SAINT AGATHA
Virgin and Martyr
(+ 251)

        St. Agatha was born in Sicily, of rich and noble parents-a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for the love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. “O Jesus Christ!” she cried, as she set out on this dreaded journey, “all that I am is Thine; preserve me against the tyrant.”

And Our Lord did indeed preserve one who had given herself so utterly to Him. He kept her pure and undefiled while she was imprisoned for a whole month under charge of an evil woman. He gave her strength to reply to the offer of her life and safety, if she would but consent to sin, “Christ alone is my life and my salvation.” When Quintanus turned from passion to cruelty, and cut off her breasts, Our Lord sent the Prince of His apostles to heal her. And when, after she had been rolled naked upon potsherds, she asked that her torments might be ended, her Spouse heard her prayer and took her to Himself.

    St. Agatha gave herself without reserve to Jesus Christ; she followed Him in virginal purity, and then looked to Him for protection. And down to this day Christ has shown His tender regard for the very body of St. Agatha. Again and again, during the eruptions of Mount Etna, the people of Catania have exposed her veil for public veneration, and found safety by this means; and in modern times, on opening the tomb in which her body lies waiting for the resurrection, they beheld the skin still entire, and felt the sweet fragrance which issued from this temple of the Holy Spirit.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Mark 16:15-20

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“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

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Thursday, February 4th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:7-13.


Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

4 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out

two by two

and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

mission stdas0095

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:7-13. 

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Biblehub

DAILY MASS – Thursday 4 February 2016

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Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

4 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

de Foucauld around 1907

de Foucauld around 1907

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

hermit and missionary in the Sahara
Letter to Joseph Hours, 3 May 1912

“He began to send them out”

To be an apostle? How? Through those whom God makes available. Priests have their superiors who tell them what they are to do. Laypeople should be apostles towards all those they reach: relations and friends but not them alone; charity is not restricted, it embraces all those embraced by the Heart of Jesus.

By what means? By the best possible, taking into account those to whom they address themselves. But with all those with whom they are in relation, without exception with goodness, kindness, brotherly love, the example of virtue, and with the humility and gentleness that is always so attractive and so Christian. With some people without ever saying a word to them about God or religion, being patient as God is patient, good as God is good, by being a tender, prayerful brother. With yet others, speaking to them about God in the degree they are able to bear it. As soon as they have started thinking about seeking out the truth then through the study of religion, putting them into contact with a carefully chosen priest who is able to do them good. Above all, see a brother in every person.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

____________________________

Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

4 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Jane of Valois,

Queen and Religious (+ 1505)

Santa_Giovanna_di_Valois

SAINT JANE OF VALOIS
Queen and Religious
(+ 1505)

        Born of the blood royal of France, herself a queen, Jane of Valois led a life remarkable for its humiliations even in the annals of the Saints. Her father, Louis XI., who had hoped for a son to succeed him, banished Jane from his palace, and, it is said, even attempted her life. At the age of five the neglected child offered her whole heart to God, and yearned to do some special service in honor of His blessed Mother.

At the king’s wish, though against her own inclination, she was married to the Duke of Orleans. Towards an indifferent and unworthy husband her conduct was ever most patient and dutiful. Her prayers and tears saved him from a traitor’s death and shortened the captivity which his rebellion had merited. Still nothing could win a heart which was already given to another. When her husband ascended the throne as Louis XII., his first act was to repudiate by false representations one who through twenty-two years of cruel neglect had been his true and loyal wife.

        At the final sentence of separation, the saintly queen exclaimed, “God be praised Who has allowed this, that I may serve Him better . than I have heretofore done.” Retiring to Bourges, she there realized her long-formed desire of founding the Order of the Annunciation, in honor of the Mother of God.

Under the guidance of St. Francis of Paula, the director of her childhood, St. Jane was enabled to overcome the serious obstacles which even good people raised against the foundation of her new Order. In 1501 the rule of the Annunciation was finally approved by Alexander VI. The chief aim of the institute was to imitate the ten virtues practised by Our Lady in the mystery of the Incarnation, the superioress being called “Ancelle,” handmaid, in honor of Mary’s humility. St. Jane built and endowed the first convent of the Order in 1502.

        She died in heroic sanctity, 1505, and was buried in the royal crown and purple, beneath which lay the habit of her Order.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

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“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************


Wednesday, February 3rd. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:1-6.


Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus with authority stdas0149

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:1-6.

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,  accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Biblehub

DAILY MASS – Wednesday 3 February 2016

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Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Bonaventure

ST BONA th

Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274),

Franciscan, Doctor of the Church
Meditations on the Life of Christ; Opera omnia, vol.12, p.530f.

“Where did this man get all this?… Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?”

When the Lord Jesus had returned to Nazareth with his parents from the Temple at Jerusalem, he remained with them until his thirtieth year “and he was subject to them” (Lk 2,51). There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that he accomplished anything during that time, surprising though it seems… But pay attention and you will see clearly that, in doing nothing, he worked wonders. Indeed, each one of his deeds reveals his mystery. And just as what he did was with power, so also he was silent with power and dwelt in hiddenness and obscurity with power. The sovereign Lord, who was to teach us the way of life, began to do works of power even from his youth, but in a way that was surprising, unrecognized and unobtrusive, by appearing to be useless and ignorant in men’s eyes and by living in lowliness…

He gave himself more and more to this way of life that all might judge him to be base and insignificant. This had been foretold by the prophet, speaking in his name: “I am a worm and no man” (Ps 22[21],7). Thus you see what he did by doing nothing. He made himself despised. Do you think that to be a small thing? For indeed, it was not he who stood in need of it, but us. I know of nothing more difficult, nor of anything greater. They seem to me to have reached the highest degree who, unfeignedly and with all their heart, are sufficiently possessed of themselves as to seek nothing other than to be despised, counted for nothing, and living in the deepest abasement. This is a greater victory than to take a town.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

_____________________________

Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2016

Saint of the day

St. Blase,

Bishop & Martyr (+ 316)

San_Biagio_F

SAINT BLASE
Bishop and Martyr
(+ 316)

        St. Blase devoted the earlier years of his life to the study of philosophy, and afterwards became a physician. In the practice of his profession he saw so much of the miseries of life and the hollowness of worldly pleasures, that he resolved to spend the rest of his days in the service of God, and from being a healer of bodily ailments to be- come a physician of souls.

        The Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, having died, our Saint, much to the gratification of the inhabitants of that city, was appointed to succeed him. St. Blase at once began to instruct his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of this servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills.

Agricolaus, Governor of Cappadocia and the Lesser Armenia, having begun a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius, our Saint was seized and hurried off to prison. While on his way there, a distracted mother, whose only child was dying of a throat disease, threw herself at the feet of St. Blase and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, the Saint offered up his prayers, and the child was cured; and since that time his aid has often been effectually solicited in cases of a similar disease.

        Refusing to worship the false gods of the heathens, St. Blase was first scourged; his body was then torn with hooks, and finally he was beheaded in the year 316.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15-20

*********************************************

“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************


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