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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
February 3, 2019
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19, Psalm 71; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30

Today we get the rest of the story. Last week, we heard about the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry, and today we hear bitter criticism from the townspeople because Jesus broke the conventions that put him at the center of a controversy. The initial responses of awe and admiration as he assumed a position of holiness are replaced by rejection and hostility. Today, Jesus is called to give an answer for his newly exalted role, and the people do not buy it. His answer does not satisfy: A prophet is without honor in his hometown. Then he shows examples that his townspeople are no different from the historical hard-hearted Jews. Those who can hear God’s message and be healed are foreigners. This response inflames their anger.

Many of us do not like to see another person get an elevated status, position, or salary without merit or without going through the regular process. It upsets the balance of power and the status quo. The immigration debate in our country is an aspect of this situation and it causes many volatile reactions. We think like this: “I rose up the ladder the hard way; she should too. I entered through the legal way; he should also.” We want fairness and impartiality and we want to know which rules to follow. It is entirely understandable that Jesus would be rejected by those closest to him because God’s presence in his life upsets the natural order. We do not like holier-than-thou people; it is easy to attack the righteous one, and we want to know that other people will slog it out with us.

Jesus presents a dilemma for the people. God’s breaking into our lives disrupts life as we know it, and we are not prepared for it because we are not comfortable with our own holiness. Sometimes, we hold onto our ordinariness, and even worse, our sinfulness and limitations, and we create for ourselves a poor self-image, which leads to a poor image of God. When we cannot see the honor and beauty within ourselves, we cannot honor the gifts, achievements, or good fortune of others. Many townspeople in Nazareth could not honor this new image of Jesus and they tried to throw him off the hill’s cliff. They could not recognize they were being specially visited by God, and they turned away.

We need to explore our own sense of belonging to God. Jeremiah writes, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I dedicated you.” Until we see ourselves as beloved by God, we will miss the miracles, we will miss the messages of the prophets and saints. We need to see ourselves connected to the wide vision and great spirit of Jesus. We need to love ourselves and to see that his love is patient and kind and rejoices in the good fortune of others. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes, all things, and endures all things.

As a priest and friend, I want you to be gentle with yourselves. I want you to see that you are lovable, especially if you hold a poor self-image, despite what you consider your poor choices, limitations, and failures. Please be good to yourself. I want to help you develop your prayer so that you can know fully how much God honors you and wants to waste time hanging out with you. I want to help expand your prayer styles and practices so you can experience God’s warm, loving gaze upon your face so that you know God holds you in awe, wonder, and admiration. That is the gift I most want to give you as a priest. I want to show you God’s love so that you can rejoice in all the good things God holds out for you. I want you to stand face to face before God so that you can hear God say, “I’m so very proud of you. You are perfect just as you are. You are mine and I honor you profoundly. Nothing will ever separate us because I want you so much. My love never fails.”

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Hebrews 11) Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Tuesday: (Hebrews 12) Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.

Wednesday: (Hebrews 12) Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled.

Thursday: (Hebrews 12) You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them.

Friday (Hebrews 13) Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.

Saturday (Hebrews 13) Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Monday: (Mark 5) Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.

Tuesday: (Mark 5) When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, "My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live."

Wednesday (Mark 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! 

Thursday (Mark 6) 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.

Friday (Mark 6) 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."

Saturday (Mark 6) 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.

Saints of the Week

February 3: Blase, bishop and martyr (d. 316), was an Armenian martyr of the persecution of Licinius. Legends hold that a boy, choking to death on a fishbone, was miraculously cured. Blase's intercession has been invoked for cures for throat afflictions. The candles presented at Candlemas the day earlier are used in the rite of the blessings of throats.

February 3: Angsar, bishop (815-865), became a monk to preach to pagans. He lived at the French Benedictine monastery of New Corbie and was sent to preach in Denmark and Sweden. He was made abbot and then became archbishop of Hamburg. He is known as the Apostle of the North because he restored Denmark to the faith and helped bolster the faith of other Scandinavians.

February 4: John de Brito, S.J., priest, religious, and martyr (1647-1693), was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary who served in India and was named “The Portuguese Francis Xavier” to the Indians. De Brito was martyred because he counseled a Maravan prince during his conversion to give up all but one of his wives. One of the wives was a niece to the neighboring king, who set up a round of persecutions against priests and catechists.

February 5: Agatha, martyr, (d. 251), died in Sicily during the Diocletian persecution after she refused to give up her faith when sent to a brothel for punishment. She was subsequently tortured. Sicilians believe her intercession stopped Mount Etna from erupting the year after her burial. She has been sought as a protector against fire and in mentioned in the First Eucharistic prayer.

February 6: Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs (d. 1597), were martyred in Nagasaki, Japan for being Christians. Miki was a Jesuit brother and a native Japanese who was killed alongside 25 clergy, religious, and laypeople. They were suspended on crosses and killed by spears thrust into their hearts. Remnants of the Christian community continued through baptism without any priestly leadership. It was discovered when Japan was reopened in 1865.

February 8: Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537), was a Venetian soldier who experienced a call to be a priest during this imprisonment as a captor. He devoted his work to the education of orphans, abandoned children, the poor and hungry. He founded an order to help in his work, but he died during a plague while caring for the sick.

February 8: Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) was a Sudanese who was sold as a slave to the Italian Consul, who treated her with kindness. She was baptized in Italy and took the name Josephine. Bakhita means fortunate. She was granted freedom according to Italian law and joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity where she lived simply as a cook, seamstress, and doorkeeper. She was known for her gentleness and compassion.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Feb 3, 1571. In Florida, the martyrdom of Fr. Louis Quiros and two novices, shot with arrows by an apostate Indian.
·      Feb 4, 1617. An imperial edict banished all missionaries from China.
·      Feb 5, 1833. The first provincial of Maryland, Fr. William McSherry, was appointed.
·      Feb 6, 1612. The death of Christopher Clavius, one of the greatest mathematicians and scientists of the Society.
·      Feb 7, 1878. At Rome, Pius IX died. He was sincerely devoted to the Society; when one of the cardinals expressed surprise that he could be so attached to an order against which even high ecclesiastics brought serious charges, his reply was: "You have to be pope to know the worth of the Society."
·      Feb 8, 1885. In Chicago, Fr. Isidore Bourdreaux, master of novices at Florissant, Missouri, from 1857 to 1870, died. He was the first scholastic novice to enter the Society from any of the colleges in Missouri.
·      Feb 9, 1621. Cardinal Ludovisi was elected Pope Gregory XV. He was responsible for the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier.

El cuarto domingo del tiempo ordinario

El cuarto domingo del tiempo ordinario
3 de febrero de 2019
Jeremías 1: 4-5, 17-19, Salmo 71; 1 Corintios 12: 31-13: 13; Lucas 4: 21-30

Hoy tenemos el resto de la historia. La semana pasada, escuchamos sobre el inicio del ministerio de predicación de Jesús, y hoy escuchamos críticas amargas de parte de la gente del pueblo porque Jesús rompió las convenciones que lo colocaron en el centro de una controversia. Las respuestas iniciales de asombro y admiración al asumir una posición de santidad son reemplazadas por el rechazo y la hostilidad. Hoy, Jesús está llamado a dar una respuesta por su nuevo papel exaltado, y la gente no lo compra. Su respuesta no satisface: Un profeta está sin honor en su ciudad natal. Luego muestra ejemplos de que la gente de su pueblo no es diferente de los judíos de corazón histórico. Los que pueden escuchar el mensaje de Dios y ser sanados son extranjeros. Esta respuesta inflama su ira.

A muchos de nosotros no nos gusta ver a otra persona obtener un estatus, cargo o salario elevado sin mérito o sin pasar por el proceso regular. Altera el equilibrio de poder y el status quo. El debate sobre la inmigración en nuestro país es un aspecto de esta situación y provoca muchas reacciones volátiles. Pensamos así: “Subí la escalera de la manera más dura; ella también debería Entré por la vía legal; él también debería ". Queremos justicia e imparcialidad y queremos saber qué reglas seguir. Es completamente comprensible que Jesús sea rechazado por aquellos más cercanos a él porque la presencia de Dios en su vida altera el orden natural. No nos gustan las personas más santas que tú; es fácil atacar al justo, y queremos saber que otras personas lo harán con nosotros.

Jesús presenta un dilema para el pueblo. El hecho de que Dios irrumpa en nuestras vidas altera la vida como la conocemos, y no estamos preparados para ello porque no nos sentimos cómodos con nuestra propia santidad. A veces, nos aferramos a nuestra normalidad y, lo que es peor, a nuestra pecaminosidad y limitaciones, y creamos para nosotros una imagen de sí mismos pobre, que conduce a una imagen pobre de Dios. Cuando no podemos ver el honor y la belleza dentro de nosotros mismos, no podemos honrar los dones, los logros o la buena fortuna de los demás. Mucha gente de la ciudad de Nazaret no pudo honrar esta nueva imagen de Jesús e intentaron tirarlo por el precipicio de la colina. No podían reconocer que estaban siendo especialmente visitados por Dios, y se dieron la vuelta.

Necesitamos explorar nuestro propio sentido de pertenencia a Dios. Jeremías escribe: “Antes de formarte en el vientre, te conocí. Antes de que nacieras, te dediqué ”. Hasta que nos veamos amados por Dios, extrañaremos los milagros, extrañaremos los mensajes de los profetas y santos. Necesitamos vernos conectados a la visión amplia y al gran espíritu de Jesús. Necesitamos amarnos a nosotros mismos y ver que su amor es paciente y amable y se regocija con la buena fortuna de los demás. Lleva todas las cosas, cree todas las cosas, esperanzas, todas las cosas, y soporta todas las cosas.

Como sacerdote y amigo, quiero que sean amables con ustedes mismos. Quiero que veas que eres amable, especialmente si tienes una mala imagen de ti mismo, a pesar de lo que consideras tus malas elecciones, limitaciones y fracasos. Por favor sé bueno contigo mismo. Quiero ayudarlo a desarrollar su oración para que pueda saber cuánto le honra Dios y quiere perder el tiempo con usted. Quiero ayudar a expandir sus estilos y prácticas de oración para que pueda experimentar la cálida y amorosa mirada de Dios en su rostro para que sepa que Dios lo sorprende, maravilla y admira. Ese es el regalo que más quiero darte como sacerdote. Quiero mostrarte el amor de Dios para que puedas regocijarte en todas las cosas buenas que Dios tiene para ti. Quiero que te encuentres cara a cara ante Dios para que puedas escuchar a Dios decir: "Estoy muy orgulloso de ti. Eres perfecto tal como eres. Eres mía y te honro profundamente. Nada nos separará nunca porque te quiero tanto. Mi amor nunca falla ".

Escritura para la misa diaria

Primera lectura:
Lunes: (Hebreos 11) Sin embargo, todos estos, aunque aprobados debido a su fe, no recibieron lo que habían prometido. Dios había previsto algo mejor para nosotros, para que sin nosotros no se hicieran perfectos.

Martes: (Hebreos 12) Ya que estamos rodeados por una gran cantidad de testigos,
Deshagámonos de cada carga y pecado que se aferra a nosotros y perseveremos en correr la carrera que tenemos ante nosotros mientras mantenemos nuestros ojos fijos en Jesús, el líder y el perfeccionador de la fe.

Miércoles: (Hebreos 12) Luchen por la paz con todos, y por esa santidad sin la cual nadie verá al Señor. Asegúrese de que nadie sea privado de la gracia de Dios, de que no surja una raíz amarga y cause problemas, a través de los cuales muchos puedan contaminarse.

Jueves: (Hebreos 12) No te has acercado a lo que podría tocarse.
y un fuego ardiente y una oscuridad tenebrosa y una tormenta, y una trompeta y una voz que pronuncia palabras tales que los que escucharon suplicaron que no se les enviara ningún mensaje.

Viernes (Marcos 6) El rey Herodes escuchó acerca de Jesús, ya que su fama se había extendido, y la gente decía: "Juan el Bautista ha resucitado de entre los muertos;
Es por eso que en él trabajan poderosos poderes. "Otros decían:" Él es Elías ";
aún otros, "Él es un profeta como cualquiera de los profetas". Pero cuando Herodes se enteró de esto, dijo: "Es a Juan a quien decapité. Él fue resucitado".

Sábado (Marcos 6) Los apóstoles se reunieron con Jesús e informaron todo lo que habían hecho y enseñado. Él les dijo: "Salgan ustedes solos a un lugar desierto y descansen un rato". La gente iba y venía en gran número, y ni siquiera tenían oportunidad de comer. Así que se fueron solos en el barco a un lugar desierto.

Santos de la semana

3 de febrero: Blase, obispo y mártir (d. 316), fue un mártir armenio de la persecución de Licinio. Las leyendas sostienen que un niño, ahogado en una espina de pez, fue curado milagrosamente. La intercesión de Blase ha sido invocada para curar las aflicciones de la garganta. Las velas presentadas en Candelaria el día anterior se usan en el rito de las bendiciones de las gargantas.

3 de febrero: Angsar, obispo (815-865), se convirtió en un monje para predicar a los paganos. Vivió en el monasterio benedictino francés de New Corbie y fue enviado a predicar en Dinamarca y Suecia. Se hizo abad y luego se convirtió en arzobispo de Hamburgo. Se le conoce como el Apóstol del Norte porque restauró la fe de Dinamarca y ayudó a reforzar la fe de otros escandinavos.

4 de febrero: John de Brito, S.J., sacerdote, religioso y mártir (1647-1693), fue un misionero jesuita portugués que sirvió en la India y fue nombrado "El portugués Francisco Xavier" a los indios. De Brito fue martirizado porque aconsejó a un príncipe Maravan durante su conversión que renunciara a todas menos a una de sus esposas. Una de las esposas era sobrina del rey vecino, quien organizó una ronda de persecuciones contra sacerdotes y catequistas.

5 de febrero: Agatha, mártir, (fallecida en 251), murió en Sicilia durante la persecución de Diocleciano después de que ella se negara a renunciar a su fe cuando la enviaran a un burdel para ser castigada. Posteriormente fue torturada. Los sicilianos creen que su intercesión evitó que el Monte Etna entrara en erupción el año después de su entierro. Ha sido buscada como protectora contra el fuego y mencionada en la Primera oración eucarística.

6 de febrero: Paul Miki y Compañeros, mártires (m. 1597), fueron martirizados en Nagasaki, Japón por ser cristianos. Miki era un hermano jesuita y un japonés nativo que fue asesinado junto a 25 clérigos, religiosos y laicos. Fueron suspendidos en cruces y asesinados por lanzas empujadas en sus corazones. Los restos de la comunidad cristiana continuaron a través del bautismo sin ningún liderazgo sacerdotal. Fue descubierto cuando Japón fue reabierto en 1865.

8 de febrero: Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537), fue un soldado veneciano que experimentó un llamado a ser sacerdote durante este encarcelamiento como captor. Dedicó su trabajo a la educación de los huérfanos, los niños abandonados, los pobres y los hambrientos. Fundó una orden para ayudar en su trabajo, pero murió durante una plaga mientras cuidaba a los enfermos.

8 de febrero: Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) fue una sudanesa que fue vendida como esclava del cónsul italiano, quien la trató con amabilidad. Fue bautizada en Italia y tomó el nombre de Josephine. Bakhita significa afortunado. Se le concedió la libertad de acuerdo con la ley italiana y se unió a las Hijas de la Caridad de Canossian, donde vivió simplemente como cocinera, costurera y portera. Ella era conocida por su gentileza y compasión.

Esta semana en la historia jesuita

• 3 de febrero de 1571. En Florida, el martirio del Padre. Louis Quiros y dos novicios, disparados con flechas por un apóstata indio.
• 4 de febrero de 1617. Un edicto imperial desterró a todos los misioneros de China.
• 5 de febrero de 1833. El primer provincial de Maryland, p. William McSherry, fue nombrado.
• 6 de febrero de 1612. La muerte de Christopher Clavius, uno de los más grandes matemáticos y científicos de la Sociedad.
• 7 de febrero de 1878. En Roma, murió Pío IX. Estaba sinceramente dedicado a la Sociedad; cuando uno de los cardenales expresó su sorpresa de que pudiera estar tan unido a una orden contra la cual incluso los eclesiásticos más importantes presentaron cargos, su respuesta fue: "Usted tiene que ser Papa para saber el valor de la Sociedad".
• 8 de febrero de 1885. En Chicago, p. Isidore Bourdreaux, maestro de novicios en Florissant, Missouri, desde 1857 hasta 1870, murió. Fue el primer novato escolar en ingresar a la Sociedad desde cualquiera de las universidades de Missouri.
• 9 de febrero de 1621. El cardenal Ludovisi fue elegido papa Gregorio XV. Fue responsable de la canonización de San Ignacio y San Francisco Javier.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Prayer: Prayer for Healing Victis of Abuse

God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
You gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.

Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt
in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear our cries as we agonize
over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
soothe restless hearts with hope,
steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds
and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
so that we may act with justice
and find peace in you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Adapted from Epiphany Roman Catholic Cathedral, Naples, Florida

Monday, January 28, 2019

Prayer: A Prayer to Keep God First This Year

Dear God,
Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day.
We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all else. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.
We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you.
We pray that you’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.
We pray for your protection over our families and friends. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways.
We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.
Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence.
We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for your refreshing over us.
Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.
We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”
Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own.
May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives – your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.
To you be glory and honor, in this New Year, and forever.
In Jesus’ name,

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Prayer: Jerome

We ought to remain in that Church which was founded by the apostles and continues to this day. If ever you hear of any that are called Christians taking their name not from the Lord Jesus Christ, but from some other—for instance, Marcionites, Valentinians, Men of the Mountain or the Plain—you may be sure that there you do not have the Church of Christ, but the synagogue of Antichrist.

For the fact that they took their rise after the foundation of the Church is proof that they are those whose coming the apostle foretold. And let them not flatter themselves if they think they have Scripture authority for their assertions; since, the devil himself quoted Scripture, and the essence of the Scriptures is not the letter, but the meaning. Otherwise, if we follow the letter, we too can concoct a new dogma and assert that such persons as wear shoes and have two coats must not be received into the Church.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Prayer: Martin Luther King, Jr

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Prayer: Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from "Loving Your Enemies")

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Spirituality: “How to Face the Storms of Life” by Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in his arms. 

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day. 

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Source: Found in Magnificat, June, 2015, pp. 420-421.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
January 27, 2019
Nehemiah 8:2-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20; Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

Jesus follows in the footsteps on Nehemiah, the governor of Judah seventy years after the Babylonian exile, and Ezra the priest, who proclaims the law of Moses after their return to Jerusalem. The actions of Jesus call to mind the historic work of these two men. Nehemiah was given permission to rebuild the Temple and the city. He took it upon himself to expand the Jewish population and to purify the race by forcing men to divorce their non-Jewish wives. He then assisted Ezra to promulgate the law of Moses and to enforce the observance of the law. As we just heard, Ezra opened the scrolls in the presence of the people, read the statutes, and declared a Holy Day.

Jesus likewise goes into his hometown’s synagogue, rolls open the scroll, and reads from the major prophet of the Exile: Isaiah. His actions are preceded by miracles and teachings across Galilee and the people begin to understand that God was doing something remarkable through him. With anticipation, people are hungering for God’s word. They want to hear from someone who has direct contact from God because far too many people speak in God’s name and get it wrong. Jesus offers them something fresh and credible.

Nehemiah and Ezra enforced the old law and rebuilt an old concept; Jesus declared something new, and it wasn’t a law at all. Jesus revealed to us God’s heart. Jesus was able to say that the old law was not mediating God’s spirit the way God intended and, over the years, the law-givers did not hear God’s commands properly. Above all other matters, a servant of God, a priest of God has to bring hope and good news to the people, has to set a culture of reconciliation so that people live in freedom, has to instruct people properly so that one’s heart is always becoming more loving and understanding. Is this what your church is doing for you? If not, demand more.

Each year we read this passage, we have to see that Jesus is doing something new with us. He does not want us to go backwards and hold onto the familiarity of the past. Laws evolve, traditions are updated, and progress is measured by the extent of God’s mercy that we bring to others. Jesus always returns us, not to the teachings of the church, but to our care for one another, a care that is not always natural or comfortable to us, but one that expands our understanding of another person’s suffering. Caring for another person is seldom convenient; trying to understand the troubles of another person means that we are going to risk upsetting our understanding of our worldview. It means we are going to have to throw away our absolute judgments in favor of uncertainty, in favor of doubting our long-held positions. Sometimes our ideas have to be deconstructed before they can be reconstructed, but it is important that it be done gently in the context of God’s mercy.

We can see this as a day of rejoicing because we have more chances to make the right choices. We have a chance to ease someone’s pain and to have our pain understood and treated with compassion. We can reconcile estranged relationships because no broken friendship is beyond repair. We can forgive someone else’s sins while ours are dismissed from memory. We can liberate loved ones from all those matters than hold them back. Yes, this is a day of newness, a day of hope and promise. It is a day greater than the one when Nehemiah and Ezra restored the Temple and gave the law. In this new day, Jesus proclaims a new Temple, the temple of compassion where God’s mercy is brought about through our informed hearts. This Temple will endure and will give hope for many.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Hebrews 9) Christ is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Tuesday: (Hebrews 10) Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.

Wednesday: (Hebrews 10) Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.

Thursday: (Hebrews 10) Since through the Blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have "a great priest over the house of God," let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust.

Friday (Hebrews 10) Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

Saturday (Malachi 3) Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.

Monday: (Mark 3) The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."

Tuesday: (Mark 3) The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you."

Wednesday (Mark 4) And he taught them at length in parables, "Hear this!  A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.

Thursday (Mark 4) Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.

Friday (Mark 4) This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

Saturday (Luke 2) When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord.

Saints of the Week

January 27: Angela Merici (1474-1540), was the founder of the Ursuline nuns. Relatives raised her when her parents died when she was 10. As an adult, she tended to the needs of the poor and with some friends, she taught young girls at their home. These friends joined an association that later became a religious order. Ursula was the patron of medieval universities.

January 28: Thomas Aquinas, priest and Doctor (1225-1274), studied in a Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino as a boy. He joined the newly formed Dominicans where he studied in France and Italy. He is a giant scholar. He wrote much on Scripture and theology, including his summation of theology (Summa Theologiae). He wrote several songs for liturgy, such as the Tantum Ergo, Pange Lingua, and Adoro Te Devote.

January 31: John Bosco, priest (1815-1888), formed his Society to aid children who were imprisoned. He used Francis de Sales as his inspiration. He taught poor and working class boys in the evenings wherever it was possible to meet them - in fields, factories, or homes. A sister community was set up to assist young girls who were sent to work.

February 2: The Presentation of the Lord is the rite by which the firstborn male is presented in the Temple as an offering to God. It occurs 40 days after the birth while the new mother is considered ritually unclean. Two church elders, Simeon and Anna, who represent the old covenant, praise Jesus and warn his mother that her heart will be pierced as her son will bring the salvation of many.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jan 27, 1870. The Austrian government endeavored to suppress the annual grant of 8,000 florins to the theological faculty of Innsbruck and to drive the Jesuit professors from the university, because of their support of the Papal Syllabus.
·      Jan 28, 1853. Fr. General John Roothaan, wishing to resign his office, summoned a General Congregation, but died on May 8, before it assembled.
·      Jan 29, 1923. Woodstock scholastics kept a fire vigil for several months to prevent the Ku Klux Klan from setting the college on fire.
·      Jan 30, 1633. At Avignon, Fr. John Pujol, a famous master of novices, died. He ordered one of them to water a dry stick, which miraculously sprouted.
·      Jan 31, 1774. Fr. General Laurence Ricci, a prisoner in Castel S Angelo, claimed his liberty, since his innocence had been fully vindicated. He received from the Papal Congregation the reply that they would think about it. Pope Clement XIV was said at this time to be mentally afflicted.
·      Feb 1, 1549. The first Jesuit missionaries to go to Brazil set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, under Fr. Emmanuel de Nobrega.
·      Feb 2, 1528. Ignatius arrived in Paris to begin his program of studies at the University of Paris.