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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time


The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

February 11, 2018
Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39

In biblical times, the priest served not only religious functions, but was equivalent to a medical doctor who protected both the health of the individual and the community. They were the modern-day Center for Disease Control. Leviticus clinically described the times when a person needed to see the doctor. Most of the biblical cleanliness and dietary rituals were established to keep the community free from contagion.

A leper asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus can no longer minister publicly because he is ritually unclean, which, at the very beginning of his ministry, puts his mission at risk. Jesus is now an outcast, but throngs of people keep coming to him. Mercy and hope take precedence over the law.

Jesus reveals to us the mind and heart of God, and in this scenario, he answers the question raised by the leper, “Do you want to heal me?” Jesus responds like this: “Yes, of course I do. More than you can know.” Jesus risks everything to heal the leper; Jesus will risk everything to help the one who is hurting.

The healing ministry can be a significant mission of the church today. The church asks priests to pray and to administer the sacraments of Christ, but the church needs to take greater risks to heal a broken world. The church can be a place where differences are reconciled, and it needs to take risks by getting immersed in the messy chaos of people’s lives. It means touching scabs and wounds gently. It means helping people expand their worldview to see common points of agreement. It needs to convert hearts, so people can see the fundamental goodwill and hope at the root of meaningful relationships. It can advance the pursuit of the common good and raise levels of conduct within communities because we imitate the behavior of Jesus. The church and its priests can challenge values contrary to the Gospel, and it can help poor, the marginalized, and our weaker brothers and sisters speak for their needs.

Christ’s mercy is at the heart of the healing ministry. Mercy takes us to messy places, but we have no choice as Christians because our hearts are always informed by compassion for the one in need. Does God will us to be healed? Yes. God does not want us to hurt any more. Call upon the Christ’s church to hear the cries of those in need. Teach it to hear these cries once again. Christ will give us the mercy we need to care for one another.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (James 1) Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Tuesday: (James 1) Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.
Wednesday: (Joel 2) Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children.
Thursday: (1 Kings 11) When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David had been.
Friday (1 Kings 11) Jeroboam left Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road. ‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp and will give you ten of the tribes. One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant, and of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’” Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.
Saturday (1 Kings 12) Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this, but again made priests for the high places from among the common people. Whoever desired it was consecrated and became a priest of the high places. This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.

Monday: (Mark 8) The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? 
Tuesday: (Mark 8)  The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 
Wednesday (Matthew 6) Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
Thursday (Mark 7) The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
Friday (Mark 7) people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He put his finger into the man's ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!") And immediately the man's ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. 
Saturday (Mark 8) Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.

Saints of the Week

February 11: Our Lady of Lourdes is remembered because between February 11 and July 16, 1858, Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave near Lourdes, France eighteen times. The site remains one of the largest pilgrim destinations. Many find healing in the waters of the grotto during the spring.

February 13: Mardi Gras is your last chance to eat meat before Lent. This is the last day of Carnival (Carne- meat, Goodbye – vale). Say goodbye to meat as we begin the fasting practices tomorrow.

February 14: Ash Wednesday is the customary beginning to the season of Lent. A penitential time marked by increased fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we begin our 40-day tradition of sacrifice as we walk the way of Jesus that ends at the Cross during Holy Week. Lent is a time of conversion, a time to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, for all roads lead to his Cross of Suffering and Glory.

February 14: Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop (Ninth Century), were brothers who were born in Thessalonica, Greece. They became missionaries after they ended careers in teaching and government work. They moved to Ukraine and Moravia, a place between the Byzantium and Germanic peoples. Cyril (Constantine) created Slavonic alphabet so the liturgy and scriptures could be available to them. Cyril died during a visit to Rome and Methodius became a bishop and returned to Moravia.

February 15: Claude La Colombiere, S.J., religious (1641-1682), was a Jesuit missionary, ascetical writer, and confessor to Margaret Mary Alocoque at the Visitation Convent at Paray La Monial. As a Jesuit, he vowed to live strictly according to the Jesuit Constitutions to achieve utmost perfection. Together, they began a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

February 17: The Seven Founders of the Servites (Thirteenth Century) were from Florence and they joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, who were also known as Praisers. They devoted their apostolate to prayer and service and withdrew to a deserted mountain to build a church and hermitage. After adopting a rule and gaining recruits, they changed their name to the Servants of Mary.

This Week in Jesuit History

·       Feb 11, 1563. At the Council of Trent, Fr. James Laynez, the Pope's theologian, made such an impression on the cardinal president by his learning and eloquence, that cardinal decided at once to open a Jesuit College in Mantua, his Episcopal see.
·       Feb 12, 1564. Francis Borgia was appointed assistant for Spain and Portugal.
·       Feb 13, 1787. In Milan, Fr. Rudjer Boskovic, an illustrious mathematician, scientist, and astronomer, died. At Paris he was appointed "Directeur de la Marine."
·       Feb 14, 1769. At Cadiz, 241 Jesuits from Chile were put on board a Swedish vessel to be deported to Italy as exiles.
·       Feb 15, 1732. Fr. Chamillard SJ, who had been reported by the Jansenists as having died a Jansenist and working miracles, suddenly appeared alive and well!
·       Feb 16, 1776. At Rome, the Jesuit prisoners in Castel S Angelo were restored to liberty. Fr. Romberg, the German assistant, aged 80, expressed a wish to remain in prison.
·       Feb 17, 1775. The French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Neapolitan Ambassadors in Rome intimate to the newly elected Pope Pius VI the will of their respective sovereigns that the Jesuits imprisoned in Castel S Angelo should not be released.

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