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Friday, January 31, 2020

Prayer: Catherine of Siena

To the servant of God, every place is the right place and every time is the right time.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Prayer: Cyprian of Carthage

Divide your returns with your God. Share your gains with Christ. Make Christ a partner in your earthly possessions so that he will also make you coheir of his heavenly kingdom.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Letting go of the Past: The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020

    Letting go of the Past:
The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020
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February 2, 2020
Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 24; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40

The Feast of the Presentation gives us much to consider for our religious imagination: the sacrifice of the two-turtle doves, the lighting of the new candles, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the passing of Simeon and Anna into the history books, and then it is linked to Groundhog Day with tomorrow being the blessing of throats through the intercession of St. Blasé. We get excited about our rituals, and we look forward to expressing their meaning for us. Rituals are good and necessary, and yet sometimes they are the actions that prevent us from accepting new change. Simeon and Anna are models for gracefully exiting the stage, and they both had a lifetime of wisdom that led to their ability to adjust. Jesus represented the beginnings of change that we needed.

We might be okay with change, but do not like change to be imposed upon us because it knocks us out of control, and we don’t like that. We like to be the ones to steer the course and to get others to agree with the directions we want to take, and we might like to be in charge, but most of us are not. Most of our experiences are from one point of view and we then shut out the various perspectives that might have some unexpected value. How do we move forward then, especially when our authority and experience are challenged? Why don’t we simply go along with the propose change? If we fight, we agitate, if we go with the flow, we are at greater peace, and in most instances, the goal will get achieved no matter what path we take.

Joseph and Mary, because of who they were, could have resisted the directive to present Jesus at the Temple. Simeon and Anna did not doubt, and once they saw the future, they could easily let everything they worked for in life move to the side. It is not up to us to earn salvation or to alone achieve a desired goal. We have to do our part, realize that we are only one small part of the enterprise, and keep the systems running as smoothly as possible. Resisting change throws us off balance; learning to be a part of the change, with its many uncertainties and lack of clarity will actually be a much smoother road.

As we come to church and present ourselves to the Lord, in the obedience of faith that we learned from Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, let’s ask how we can simplify our lives, give up control, and to embrace an uncertain future that is not entirely ours. Let’s just ask for the grace to move forward – onwards and upwards – knowing that, in the final analysis, everything is going to be okay. Take the smoother route. You’ll enjoy it more and it is good for your soul.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (2 Samuel 15) “The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.” At this, David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem: “Up!  Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom.

Tuesday: (2 Samuel 18) Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants. He was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth, his hair caught fast in the tree. He hung between heaven and earth while the mule he had been riding ran off.

Wednesday: (2 Samuel 24) King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him, “Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the people, that I may know their number.” Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered: in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service; in Judah, five hundred thousand.

Thursday: (1 Kings 2) David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. The length of David’s reign over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Friday (Sirach 47) Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings, so was David in Israel. He made sport of lions as though they were kids, and of bears, like lambs of the flock.

Saturday (1 Kings 3) I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

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) 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) 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 Joseph and Judas and Simon?

Thursday (Mark 6) 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.”

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.”

Saturday (Mark 6) “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.

Saints of the Week

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.

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 2, 1528. Ignatius arrived in Paris to begin his program of studies at the University of Paris.
·      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.