Saint Leo the Great, Pope, Doctor

Luke 17:7-10

You are merely servants

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’


Titus 2:1-8,11-14

You must preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine

It is for you to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine. The older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and constancy. Similarly, the older women should behave as though they were religious, with no scandal-mongering and no habitual wine-drinking – they are to be the teachers of the right behaviour and show the younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they are to be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and do as their husbands tell them, so that the message of God is never disgraced. In the same way, you have got to persuade the younger men to be moderate and in everything you do make yourself an example to them of working for good: when you are teaching, be an example to them in your sincerity and earnestness and in keeping all that you say so wholesome that nobody can make objections to it; and then any opponent will be at a loss, with no accusation to make against us. You see, God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.


Psalm 36(37):3-4,18,23,27,29

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,

  then you will live in the land and be secure.

If you find your delight in the Lord,

  he will grant your heart’s desire.

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

He protects the lives of the upright,

  their heritage will last for ever.

The Lord guides the steps of a man

  and makes safe the path of one he loves.

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Then turn away from evil and do good

  and you shall have a home for ever;

The just shall inherit the land;

  there they shall live for ever.

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The integrity of the person

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.”

2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. “Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.”

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.

2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. “Man . . . day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth.”

2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.” Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.

2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort. The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.


Pope Saint Leo I (c. 400 – 10 November 461), also known as Saint Leo the Great, was Pope from 29 September 440 to his death in 461. Pope Benedict XVI said that Leo’s papacy “…was undoubtedly one of the most important in the Church’s history.”

He was a Roman aristocrat, and was the first pope to have been called “the Great”. He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a Doctor of the Church, most remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was a major foundation to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. The Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, dealt primarily with Christology, and elucidated the orthodox definition of Christ’s being as the hypostatic union of two natures, divine and human, united in one person, “with neither confusion nor division”. It was followed by a major schism associated with Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Dyophysitism.

Source: Wikipedia

Conversion of St. Paul

Mark 16:15-18
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’


Acts 22:3-16
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’

Paul said to the people, ‘I am a Jew and was born at Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up here in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was taught the exact observance of the Law of our ancestors. In fact, I was as full of duty towards God as you are today. I even persecuted this Way to the death, and sent women as well as men to prison in chains as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify, since they even sent me with letters to their brothers in Damascus. When I set off it was with the intention of bringing prisoners back from there to Jerusalem for punishment.

‘I was on that journey and nearly at Damascus when about midday a bright light from heaven suddenly shone round me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” I answered: Who are you, Lord? and he said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, and you are persecuting me.” The people with me saw the light but did not hear his voice as he spoke to me. I said: What am I to do, Lord? The Lord answered, “Stand up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told what you have been appointed to do.” The light had been so dazzling that I was blind and my companions had to take me by the hand; and so I came to Damascus.

‘Someone called Ananias, a devout follower of the Law and highly thought of by all the Jews living there, came to see me; he stood beside me and said, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.” Instantly my sight came back and I was able to see him. Then he said, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Just One and hear his own voice speaking, because you are to be his witness before all mankind, testifying to what you have seen and heard. And now why delay? It is time you were baptised and had your sins washed away while invoking his name.”’

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.
O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.
Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever.
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.

Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Christ’s Baptism

1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.20 The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.”

1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized. The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.

Saint Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 4:18-22

‘I will make you fishers of men’

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

Romans 10:9-18 

Faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ

If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

  But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound. Not everyone, of course, listens to the Good News. As Isaiah says: Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed? So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ. Let me put the question: is it possible that they did not hear? Indeed they did; in the words of the psalm, their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their message to the ends of the world.

Psalm 18(19):2-5

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God,

  and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.

Day unto day takes up the story

  and night unto night makes known the message.

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard

  yet their span extends through all the earth,

  their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Why the ecclesial ministry?

874 Christ is himself the source of ministry in the Church. He instituted the Church. He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal:

In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body. the holders of office, who are invested with a sacred power, are, in fact, dedicated to promoting the interests of their brethren, so that all who belong to the People of God . . . may attain to salvation.

875 “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? and how are they to hear without a preacher? and how can men preach unless they are sent?” No one – no individual and no community – can proclaim the Gospel to himself: “Faith comes from what is heard.” No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel. the one sent by the Lord does not speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue of Christ’s authority; not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in the name of Christ. No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ. From him, they receive the mission and faculty (“the sacred power”) to act in persona Christi Capitis. the ministry in which Christ’s emissaries do and give by God’s grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church’s tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.

876 Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly “slaves of Christ,” in the image of him who freely took “the form of a slave” for us. Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all.

877 Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a collegial character. In fact, from the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as “the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.” Chosen together, they were also sent out together, and their fraternal unity would be at the service of the fraternal communion of all the faithful: they would reflect and witness to the communion of the divine persons. For this reason every bishop exercises his ministry from within the episcopal college, in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter and head of the college. So also priests exercise their ministry from within the presbyterium of the diocese, under the direction of their bishop.

878 Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character. Although Christ’s ministers act in communion with one another, they also always act in a personal way. Each one is called personally: “You, follow me” in order to be a personal witness within the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the mission, acting “in his person” and for other persons: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”; “I absolve you….”

879 Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is at once a collegial and a personal service, exercised in the name of Christ. This is evidenced by the bonds between the episcopal college and its head, the successor of St. Peter, and in the relationship between the bishop’s pastoral responsibility for his particular church and the common solicitude of the episcopal college for the universal Church.



Andrew the Apostle (Greek: Ἀνδρέας Andreas; Aramaic: ܐܢܕܪܐܘܣ[3] ), also called Saint Andrew, was an apostle of Jesus according to the New Testament. He is the brother of Saint Peter. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called (Greek: Πρωτόκλητος, Prōtoklētos).

According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Life

The name “Andrew” (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, “manhood, valour”), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews and other Hellenized people of Judea. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.

Andrew the Apostle was born between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, in Galilee. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and likewise a son of John, or Jonah. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. “The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present.”

Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them “fishers of men” (Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieis anthrōpōn).At the beginning of Jesus’ public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.

In the Gospel of Matthew[Matt 4:18–22] and in the Gospel of Mark[Mark 1:16–20] Simon Peter and Andrew were both called together to become disciples of Jesus and “fishers of men”. These narratives record that Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, observed Simon and Andrew fishing, and called them to discipleship.

In the parallel incident in the Gospel of Luke[Luke 5:1–11] Andrew is not named, nor is reference made to Simon having a brother. In this narrative, Jesus initially used a boat, solely described as being Simon’s, as a platform for preaching to the multitudes on the shore and then as a means to achieving a huge trawl of fish on a night which had hitherto proved fruitless. The narrative indicates that Simon was not the only fisherman in the boat (they signalled to their partners in the other boat …[Luke 5:7]) but it is not until the next chapter[Luke 6:14] that Andrew is named as Simon’s brother. However, it is generally understood that Andrew was fishing with Simon on the night in question. Matthew Poole, in his Annotations on the Holy Bible, stressed that ‘Luke denies not that Andrew was there’.

In contrast, the Gospel of John[John 1:35–42] states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist, to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother. The Byzantine Church honours him with the name Protokletos, which means “the first called”. Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus.

Subsequently, in the gospels, Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus.Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes,[John 6:8] and when Philip wanted to tell Jesus about certain Greeks seeking Him, he told Andrew first.[John 12:20–22] Andrew was present at the Last Supper. Andrew was one of the four disciples who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about the signs of Jesus’ return at the “end of the age”.[Mark 13:3]

Eusebius in his Church History 3.1 quoted Origen as saying that Andrew preached in Scythia. The Chronicle of Nestor adds that he preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, and from there he travelled to Novgorod. Hence, he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew, along with Saint Stachys, is recognized as the patron saint of the Patriarchate. Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew’s missions in Thrace, Scythia and Achaea.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea, in AD 60. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or “saltire”), now commonly known as a “Saint Andrew’s Cross” — supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. The iconography of the martyrdom of Andrew — showing him bound to an X-shaped cross — does not appear to have been standardized until the later Middle Ages.

Source: Wikipedia

1st Sunday of Advent

Mark 13:33-37 

If he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8 

O that you would tear the heavens open and come down

You, Lord, yourself are our Father,

‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.

Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways

and harden our hearts against fearing you?

Return, for the sake of your servants,

the tribes of your inheritance.

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!

– at your Presence the mountains would melt.

No ear has heard,

no eye has seen

any god but you act like this

for those who trust him.

You guide those who act with integrity

and keep your ways in mind.

You were angry when we were sinners;

we had long been rebels against you.

We were all like men unclean,

all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.

We have all withered like leaves

and our sins blew us away like the wind.

No one invoked your name

or roused himself to catch hold of you.

For you hid your face from us

and gave us up to the power of our sins.

And yet, Lord, you are our Father;

we the clay, you the potter,

we are all the work of your hand.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 

We are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.

  I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

  shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

  O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

  the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God’s power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.” Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled.

669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body. Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. the redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. “The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”.

670 Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at “the last hour”. “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.” Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church. 

. . . until all things are subjected to him

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him: Maranatha! “Our Lord, come!”

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.

Saturday of week 34 in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:34-36 

That day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap

Jesus said to his disciples:

  ‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’

Apocalypse 22:1-7 

The Lord God will shine on them; it will never be night again

The angel showed me, John, the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear down the middle of the city street. On either side of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the pagans.

  The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever.

  The angel said to me, ‘All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who gives the spirit to the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. Very soon now, I shall be with you again.’ Happy are those who treasure the prophetic message of this book.

Psalm 94(95):1-7 

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;

  hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks,

  with songs let us hail the Lord.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

A mighty God is the Lord,

  a great king above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

  the heights of the mountains are his.

To him belongs the sea, for he made it

  and the dry land shaped by his hands.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Come in; let us bow and bend low;

  let us kneel before the God who made us:

for he is our God and we

  the people who belong to his pasture,

  the flock that is led by his hand.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus teaches us how to pray

2607 When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theological path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus’ explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.

2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

2609 Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he himself is the door and the way.

2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus is as saddened by the “lack of faith” of his own neighbors and the “little faith” of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord, Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father. Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.

2612 In Jesus “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory. In communion with their Master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.

2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke: 

– the first, “the importunate friend,” invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts. 

– the second, “the importunate widow,” is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. “and yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” 

  • the third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,” concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” the Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!

2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to “ask in his name.” Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the word and the commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with him in the Father who, in him, so loves us that he abides with us. In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.

2615 Even more, what the Father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus is “another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” This new dimension of prayer and of its circumstances is displayed throughout the farewell discourse. In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him: “Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Friday of week 34 in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:29-33 

My words will never pass away

Jesus told his disciples a parable: ‘Think of the fig tree and indeed every tree. As soon as you see them bud, you know that summer is now near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’

Apocalypse 20:1-4,11-21:2 

The book of life was opened, and the dead were judged

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain. He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not deceive the nations again until the thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.

  Then I saw some thrones, and I saw those who are given the power to be judges take their seats on them. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not have the brand-mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of life was opened, and other books opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged.

  The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake.

  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband.

Psalm 83(84):3-6,8 

Here God lives among men.

My soul is longing and yearning,

  is yearning for the courts of the Lord.

My heart and my soul ring out their joy

  to God, the living God.

Here God lives among men.

The sparrow herself finds a home

  and the swallow a nest for her brood;

she lays her young by your altars,

  Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

Here God lives among men.

They are happy, who dwell in your house,

  for ever singing your praise.

They are happy, whose strength is in you:

  they walk with ever-growing strength.

Here God lives among men.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God’s power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.” Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled.

669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body. Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. the redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. “The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”.

670 Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at “the last hour”. “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.” Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.

. . . until all things are subjected to him

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him: Maranatha! “Our Lord, come!

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.

The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel

673 Since the Ascension Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent, even though “it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.” This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are “delayed”.

674 The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”, will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”.

Thursday of week 34 in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:20-28 

There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!

  ‘For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over.

  ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’

Apocalypse 18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9 

Babylon the Great has fallen

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth was lit up with his glory. At the top of his voice he shouted, ‘Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.’ Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, ‘That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.

Never again in you, Babylon,

will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels,

the music of flute and trumpet;

never again will craftsmen of every skill be found

or the sound of the mill be heard;

never again will shine the light of the lamp,

never again will be heard

the voices of bridegroom and bride.

Your traders were the princes of the earth,

all the nations were under your spell.

After this I seemed to hear the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, ‘Alleluia! Victory and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication; he has avenged his servants that she killed.’ They sang again, ‘Alleluia! The smoke of her will go up for ever and ever.’ The angel said, ‘Write this: Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb’, and he added, ‘All the things you have written are true messages from God.’

Psalm 99(100):2-5 

Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.

Serve the Lord with gladness.

  Come before him, singing for joy.

Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.

  He made us, we belong to him,

  we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.

Go within his gates, giving thanks.

  Enter his courts with songs of praise.

  Give thanks to him and bless his name.

Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,

  eternal his merciful love.

  He is faithful from age to age.

Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Stages of Revelation

In the beginning God makes himself known

54 “God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. and furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation – he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning.” He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.

55 This revelation was not broken off by our first parents’ sin. “After the fall, (God) buoyed them up with the hope of salvation, by promising redemption; and he has never ceased to show his solicitude for the human race. For he wishes to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in well-doing.”

Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death. . . Again and again you offered a covenant to man.

The covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. the covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with (its) own language, by their families, in their nations”.

57 This state of division into many nations, each entrusted by divine providence to the guardianship of angels, is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel. But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel. The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”. Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”.

God chooses Abraham

59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father’s house, and makes him Abraham, that is, “the father of a multitude of nations”. “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”

60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church. They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.

61 The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.

God forms his people Israel

62 After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Saviour.

63 Israel is the priestly people of God, “called by the name of the LORD”, and “the first to hear the word of God”, The people of “elder brethren” in the faith of Abraham.

64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts. The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations. Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation. the purest figure among them is Mary.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin, Martyr

Luke 21:12-19 

Your endurance will win you your lives

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’

Apocalypse 15:1-4 

The victors sang the hymn of Moses and of the Lamb

What I, John, saw in heaven was a great and wonderful sign: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God. I seemed to see a glass lake suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God, and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb:

‘How great and wonderful are all your works,

Lord God Almighty;

just and true are all your ways,

King of nations.

Who would not revere and praise your name, O Lord?

You alone are holy,

and all the pagans will come and adore you

for the many acts of justice you have shown.’

Psalm 97(98):1-3,7-9 

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Sing a new song to the Lord

  for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm

  have brought salvation.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

The Lord has made known his salvation;

  has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love

  for the house of Israel.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;

  the world, and all its peoples.

Let the rivers clap their hands

  and the hills ring out their joy

  at the presence of the Lord.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

For the Lord comes,

  he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule the world with justice

  and the peoples with fairness.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Catherine of Alexandria, or Katharine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Coptic: Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲕⲁⲧⲧⲣⲓⲛ; Greek: ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνη ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς “Holy Catherine the Great Martyr”; Latin: Catharina Alexandrina), is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar who became a Christian around the age of 14, converted hundreds of people to Christianity and was martyred around the age of 18. More than 1,100 years after Catherine’s martyrdom, Joan of Arc identified her as one of the saints who appeared to and counselled her.

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as a Great Martyr and celebrates her feast day on 24 or 25 November, depending on the regional tradition. In Catholicism, Catherine is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and she is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 25 November. Her feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, but restored in 2002 as an optional memorial.

Some modern scholars consider that the legend of Catherine was probably based on the life and murder of the Greek philosopher Hypatia, with reversed roles of Christians and pagans.

Legend

According to the traditional narrative, Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandria during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286–305). From a young age she devoted herself to study. A vision of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus persuaded her to become a Christian. When the persecutions began under Maxentius, she went to the emperor and rebuked him for his cruelty. The emperor summoned 50 of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine won the debate. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death.

Torture and martyrdom

Catherine was then scourged and imprisoned. She was scourged so cruelly and for so long that her whole body was covered with wounds, from which the blood flowed in streams. The spectators wept with pity, but Catherine stood with her eyes raised to heaven, without giving a sign of suffering or fear. Maxentius ordered her to be imprisoned without food, so she would starve to death. During the confinement, angels tended her wounds with salve. Catherine was fed daily by a dove from Heaven and Christ also visited her, encouraging her to fight bravely, and promised her the crown of everlasting glory.

During her imprisonment more than 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius’ wife, Valeria Maximilla; all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. Twelve days later, when the dungeon was opened, a bright light and fragrant perfume filled it and Catherine came forth even more radiant and beautiful.

Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage. Catherine refused, declaring that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity.

The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but, at her touch, it shattered. Maxentius ordered her to be beheaded. Catherine herself ordered the execution to commence. A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck.

Veneration

In the 6th century, the Eastern Emperor Justinian had established what is now Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt (which is in fact dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ). Countless people make the pilgrimage to the Monastery to receive miracle healing from Catherine.

Source: Wikipedia

Saints Andrew Dũng-Lạc and his Companions, Martyrs

Luke 21:5-11 

The destruction of the Temple foretold

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

  ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.’

Apocalypse 14:14-19 

The harvest and the vintage of the earth are ripe

In my vision I, John, saw a white cloud and, sitting on it, one like a son of man with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the sanctuary, and shouted aloud to the one sitting on the cloud, ‘Put your sickle in and reap: harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ Then the one sitting on the cloud set his sickle to work on the earth, and the earth’s harvest was reaped.

  Another angel, who also carried a sharp sickle, came out of the temple in heaven, and the angel in charge of the fire left the altar and shouted aloud to the one with the sharp sickle, ‘Put your sickle in and cut all the bunches off the vine of the earth; all its grapes are ripe.’ So the angel set his sickle to work on the earth and harvested the whole vintage of the earth and put it into a huge winepress, the winepress of God’s anger.

Psalm 95(96):10-13 

The Lord comes to rule the earth.

Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’

  The world he made firm in its place;

  he will judge the peoples in fairness.

The Lord comes to rule the earth.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,

  let the sea and all within it thunder praise,

let the land and all it bears rejoice,

  all the trees of the wood shout for joy

at the presence of the Lord for he comes,

  he comes to rule the earth.

The Lord comes to rule the earth.

With justice he will rule the world,

  he will judge the peoples with his truth.

The Lord comes to rule the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Saint Andrew Dũng-Lạc (Vietnamese: Anrê Trần An Dũng Lạc, Vietnamese pronunciation: [aːn˧re˧ tɕən˨˩ aːn˧ zuŋ˧˥ lak˧˨]), French: André Dũng-Lạc) (1795 – 21 December 1839) was a Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest. He was executed by beheading in the reign of Minh Mạng. He is a saint and martyr of the Catholic Church.

Source: Wikipedia

Saint Clement I, Pope, Martyr or Saint Columbanus, Abbot and Missionary

Luke 21:1-4

The widow’s mite

As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on.’

Apocalypse 14:1-5 

The redeemed have Christ and his Father’s name written on their foreheads

In my vision I, John, saw Mount Zion, and standing on it a Lamb who had with him a hundred and forty-four thousand people, all with his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound coming out of the sky like the sound of the ocean or the roar of thunder; it seemed to be the sound of harpists playing their harps. There in front of the throne they were singing a new hymn in the presence of the four animals and the elders, a hymn that could only be learnt by the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the world; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been redeemed from amongst men to be the first-fruits for God and for the Lamb. They never allowed a lie to pass their lips and no fault can be found in them.

Psalm 23(24):1-6 

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,

  the world and all its peoples.

It is he who set it on the seas;

  on the waters he made it firm.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?

  Who shall stand in his holy place?

The man with clean hands and pure heart,

  who desires not worthless things.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord

  and reward from the God who saves him.

Such are the men who seek him,

  seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Poverty of Heart

2544 Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them “renounce all that [they have]” for his sake and that of the Gospel. Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.

2545 All Christ’s faithful are to “direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty.”

2546 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs:

The Word speaks of voluntary humility as “poverty in spirit”; the Apostle gives an example of God’s poverty when he says: “For your sakes he became poor.”

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. “Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.


Pope Clement I (Latin: Clemens Romanus; Greek: Κλήμης Ῥώμης; died 99), also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99.He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.

Few details are known about Clement’s life. Clement was said to have been consecrated by Peter, and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Peter. The Liber Pontificalis states that Clement died in Greece in the third year of Emperor Trajan’s reign, or 101 AD.

Clement’s only genuine extant writing is his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Clement) in response to a dispute in which certain presbyters of the Corinthian church had been deposed. He asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such. His letter, which is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside the New Testament, was read in church, along with other epistles, some of which later became part of the Christian canon. These works were the first to affirm the apostolic authority of the clergy. A second epistle, 2 Clement, was attributed to Clement, although recent scholarship suggests it to be a homily by another author. In the legendary Clementine Literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the church.

According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan; during this time he is recorded to have led a ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches and is considered a patron saint of mariners. He is commemorated on 23 November in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Church.In Eastern Orthodox Christianity his feast is kept on 24 or 25 November.


Biography

Early life

Columbanus (the Latinised form of Columbán, meaning the white dove) was born near Mount Leinster in the Kingdom of Leinster, now part of Leinster, in Ireland in 540, the year Benedict of Nursia died at Monte Cassino. Prior to his birth, his mother was said to have had visions of bearing a child who, in the judgment of those interpreting the visions, would become a “remarkable genius”. Columbanus was well-educated in the areas of grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures.

Columbanus left home to study under Sinell, Abbot of Cleenish in Lough Erne.Under Sinell’s instruction, Columbanus composed a commentary on the Psalms. He then moved to Bangor Abbey on the coast of Down, where Comgall was serving as the abbot. He stayed at Bangor until his fortieth year, when he received Comgall’s permission to travel to the continent.

Columbanus in Frankish Gaul

Columbanus gathered twelve companions for his journey—Attala, Columbanus the Younger, Cummain, Domgal (Deicolus), Eogain, Eunan, Gallus, Gurgano, Libran, Lua, Sigisbert, and Waldoleno—and together they set sail for the continent. After a brief stop in Britain, most likely on the Scottish coast, they crossed the channel and landed in Brittany in 585.

At Saint-Malo in Brittany, there is a granite cross bearing Columbanus’s name to which people once came to pray for rain in times of drought. The nearby village of Saint-Coulomb commemorates him in name.

Columbanus and his companions were received with favour by King Gontram of Burgundy, and soon they made their way to Annegray, where they founded a monastery in an abandoned Roman fortress. Despite its remote location in the Vosges Mountains, the community became a popular pilgrimage site that attracted so many monastic vocations that two new monasteries had to be formed to accommodate them.

In 590, Columbanus obtained from King Gontram the Gallo-Roman castle called Luxovium in present-day Luxeuil-les-Bains, some eight miles from Annegray. The castle, soon transformed into a monastery, was located in a wild region, thickly covered with pine forests and brushwood. Columbanus erected a third monastery called Ad-fontanas at present-day Fontaine-lès-Luxeuil, named for its numerous springs. These monastic communities remained under Columbanus’ authority, and their rules of life reflected the Irish tradition in which he had been formed.

As these communities expanded and drew more pilgrims, Columbanus sought greater solitude, spending periods of time in a hermitage and communicating with the monks through an intermediary. Often he would withdraw to a cave seven miles away, with a single companion who acted as messenger between himself and his companions.

During his twenty years in Gaul (in present-day France), Columbanus became involved in a dispute with the Frankish bishops who may have feared his growing influence. During the first half of the sixth century, the councils of Gaul had given to bishops absolute authority over religious communities. As heirs to the Irish monastic tradition, Columbanus and his monks used the Irish Easter calculation, a version of Bishop Augustalis’s 84-year computus for determining the date of Easter (Quartodecimanism), whereas the Franks had adopted the Victorian cycle of 532 years. The bishops objected to the newcomers’ continued observance of their own dating, which — among other issues — caused the end of Lent to differ. They also complained about the distinct Irish tonsure.

In 602, the bishops assembled to judge Columbanus, but he did not appear before them as requested. Instead, he sent a letter to the prelates — a strange mixture of freedom, reverence, and charity — admonishing them to hold synods more frequently, and advising them to pay more attention to matters of equal importance to that of the date of Easter. In defence of his following his traditional paschal cycle, he wrote:

I am not the author of this divergence. I came as a poor stranger into these parts for the cause of Christ, Our Saviour. One thing alone I ask of you, holy Fathers, permit me to live in silence in these forests, near the bones of seventeen of my brethren now dead.

When the bishops refused to abandon the matter, Columbanus, following St Patrick’s canon,[citation needed] appealed directly to Pope Gregory I. In the third and only surviving letter, he asks “the holy Pope, his Father” to provide “the strong support of his authority” and to render a “verdict of his favour”, apologising for “presuming to argue as it were, with him who sits in the chair of Peter, Apostle and Bearer of the Keys”. None of the letters were answered, most likely due to the pope’s death in 604.

Columbanus then sent a letter to Gregory’s successor, Pope Boniface IV, asking him to confirm the tradition of his elders — if it is not contrary to the Faith — so that he and his monks could follow the rites of their ancestors. Before Boniface responded, Columbanus moved outside the jurisdiction of the Frankish bishops. As the Easter issue appears to end around that time, Columbanus may have stopped celebrating Irish date of Easter after moving to Italy.

Columbanus was also involved in a dispute with members of the Frankish royal family. Upon the death of King Gontram of Burgundy, the succession passed to his nephew, Childebert II, the son of his brother Sigebert and Sigebert’s wife Brunhilda of Austrasia. When Childebert II died, he left two sons, Theuderic II who inherited the Kingdom of Burgundy, and Theudebert II who inherited the Kingdom of Austrasia. As both were minors, Brunhilda, their grandmother, declared herself their guardian and controlled the governments of the two kingdoms.

Theuderic II venerated Columbanus and often visited him, but Columbanus admonished and rebuked him for his behaviour. When Theuderic began living with a mistress, Columbanus objected, earning the displeasure of Brunhilda, who thought a royal marriage would threaten her own power. Columbanus did not spare the demoralised court, and Brunhilda became his bitterest foe. Angered by Columbanus’s stance, Brunhilda stirred up the bishops and nobles to find fault with his monastic rules. When Theuderic II finally confronted Columbanus at Luxeuil, ordering him to conform to the country’s conventions, Columbanus refused and was then taken prisoner to Besançon.

Columbanus managed to escape his captors and returned to his monastery at Luxeuil. When the king and his grandmother found out, they sent soldiers to drive him back to Ireland by force, separating him from his monks by insisting that only those from Ireland could accompany him into exile.

Columbanus was taken to Nevers, then travelled by boat down the Loire river to the coast. At Tours he visited the tomb of Martin of Tours, and sent a message to Theuderic II indicating that within three years he and his children would perish. When he arrived at Nantes, he wrote a letter before embarkation to his fellow monks at Luxeuil monastery.

The letter urged his brethren to obey Attala, who stayed behind as abbot of the monastic community.

The letter concludes:

They come to tell me the ship is ready. The end of my parchment compels me to finish my letter. Love is not orderly; it is this which has made it confused. Farewell, dear hearts of mine; pray for me that I may live in God.

Soon after the ship set sail from Nantes, a severe storm drove the vessel back ashore. Convinced that his holy passenger caused the tempest, the captain refused further attempts to transport the monk. Columbanus made his way across Gaul to visit King Chlothar II of Neustria at Soissons where he was gladly received. Despite the king’s offers to stay in his kingdom, Columbanus left Neustria in 611 for the court of King Theudebert II of Austrasia in the northeastern part of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks.

The Alps

Columbanus travelled to Metz, where he received an honourable welcome, and then proceeding to Mainz, where he sailed upwards the Rhine river to the lands of the Suebi and Alemanni in the northern Alps, intending to preach the Gospel to these people. He followed the Rhine river and its tributaries, the Aar and the Limmat, and then on to Lake Zurich. Columbanus chose the village of Tuggen as his initial community, but the work was not successful. He continued north-east by way of Arbon to Bregenz on Lake Constance. Here he found an oratory dedicated to Aurelia of Strasbourg containing three brass images of their tutelary deities. Columbanus commanded Gallus, who knew the local language, to preach to the inhabitants, and many were converted. The three brass images were destroyed, and Columbanus blessed the little church, placing the relics of Aurelia beneath the altar. A monastery was erected, Mehrerau Abbey, and the brethren observed their regular life. Columbanus stayed in Bregenz for about one year. Following an uprising against the community, possibly related to that region being taken over by his old enemy King Theuderic II, Columbanus resolved to cross the Alps into Italy. Gallus remained in this area and died there 646. About seventy years later at the place of Gallus’ cell the Monastery of Saint Gall was founded, which in itself was the origin of the city of St. Gallen again about another three hundred years later.

Columbanus arrived in Milan in 612 and was warmly greeted by King Agilulf and Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards. He immediately began refuting the teachings of Arianism, which had enjoyed a degree of acceptance in Italy. He wrote a treatise against Arianism, which has since been lost. Queen Theodelinda, the devout daughter of Duke Garibald I of Bavaria, played an important role in restoring Nicene Christianity to a position of primacy against Arianism, and was largely responsible for the king’s conversion to Christianity.

At the king’s request, Columbanus wrote a letter to Pope Boniface IV on the controversy over the Three Chapters—writings by Syrian bishops suspected of Nestorianism, which had been condemned in the fifth century as heresy. Pope Gregory I had tolerated in Lombardy those persons who defended the Three Letters, among them King Agilulf. Columbanus agreed to take up the issue on behalf of the king. The letter begins with an apology that a “foolish Scot (Scottus, Irishman)” would be writing for a Lombard king. After acquainting the pope with the imputations brought against him, he entreats the pontiff to prove his orthodoxy and assemble a council. He writes that his freedom of speech is consistent with the custom of his country. Some of the language used in the letter might now be regarded as disrespectful, but in that time, faith and austerity could be more indulgent. At the same time, the letter expresses the most affectionate and impassioned devotion to the Holy See.

We Irish, though dwelling at the far ends of the earth, are all disciples of Saint Peter and Saint Paul … we are bound to the Chair of Peter, and although Rome is great and renowned, through that Chair alone is she looked on as great and illustrious among us … On account of the two Apostles of Christ, you are almost celestial, and Rome is the head of the whole world, and of the Churches.

If Columbanus’ zeal for orthodoxy caused him to overstep the limits of discretion, his real attitude towards Rome is sufficiently clear, calling the pope “his Lord and Father in Christ”, the “Chosen Watchman”, and the “First Pastor, set higher than all mortals”.

King Agilulf gave Columbanus a tract of land called Bobbio between Milan and Genoa near the Trebbia river, situated in a defile of the Apennine Mountains, to be used as a base for the conversion of the Lombard people. The area contained a ruined church and wastelands known as Ebovium, which had formed part of the lands of the papacy prior to the Lombard invasion. Columbanus wanted this secluded place, for while enthusiastic in the instruction of the Lombards he preferred solitude for his monks and himself. Next to the little church, which was dedicated to Peter the Apostle, Columbanus erected a monastery in 614. Bobbio Abbey at its foundation followed the Rule of Saint Columbanus, based on the monastic practices of Celtic Christianity. For centuries it remained the stronghold of orthodoxy in northern Italy.

Death

Stone bridge over the Trebbia river leading to Bobbio Abbey in northern Italy

During the last year of his life, Columbanus received messenges from King Chlothar II, inviting him to return to Burgundy, now that his enemies were dead. Columbanus did not return, but requested that the king should always protect his monks at Luxeuil Abbey. He prepared for death by retiring to his cave on the mountainside overlooking the Trebbia river, where, according to a tradition, he had dedicated an oratory to Our Lady. Columbanus died at Bobbio on 21 November 615.

Rule of Saint Columbanus

The Rule of Saint Columbanus embodied the customs of Bangor Abbey and other Irish monasteries. Much shorter than the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Rule of Saint Columbanus consists of ten chapters, on the subjects of obedience, silence, food, poverty, humility, chastity, choir offices, discretion, mortification, and perfection.

In the first chapter, Columbanus introduces the great principle of his Rule: obedience, absolute and unreserved. The words of seniors should always be obeyed, just as “Christ obeyed the Father up to death for us.” One manifestation of this obedience was constant hard labour designed to subdue the flesh, exercise the will in daily self-denial, and set an example of industry in cultivation of the soil. The least deviation from the Rule entailed corporal punishment, or a severe form of fasting. In the second chapter, Columbanus instructs that the rule of silence be “carefully observed”, since it is written: “But the nurture of righteousness is silence and peace”. He also warns, “Justly will they be damned who would not say just things when they could, but preferred to say with garrulous loquacity what is evil …” In the third chapter, Columbanus instructs, “Let the monks’ food be poor and taken in the evening, such as to avoid repletion, and their drink such as to avoid intoxication, so that it may both maintain life and not harm …” Columbanus continues:

For indeed those who desire eternal rewards must only consider usefulness and use. Use of life must be moderated just as toil must be moderated, since this is true discretion, that the possibility of spiritual progress may be kept with a temperance that punishes the flesh. For if temperance exceeds measure, it will be a vice and not a virtue; for virtue maintains and retains many goods. Therefore we must fast daily, just as we must feed daily; and while we must eat daily, we must gratify the body more poorly and sparingly …”

In the fourth chapter, Columbanus presents the virtue of poverty and of overcoming greed, and that monks should be satisfied with “small possessions of utter need, knowing that greed is a leprosy for monks”. Columbanus also instructs that “nakedness and disdain of riches are the first perfection of monks, but the second is the purging of vices, the third the most perfect and perpetual love of God and unceasing affection for things divine, which follows on the forgetfulness of earthly things. Since this is so, we have need of few things, according to the word of the Lord, or even of one.” In the fifth chapter, Columbanus warns against vanity, reminding the monks of Jesus’ warning in Luke 16:15: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” In the sixth chapter, Columbanus instructs that “a monk’s chastity is indeed judged in his thoughts” and warns, “What profit is it if he be virgin in body, if he be not virgin in mind? For God, being Spirit.”

In the seventh chapter, Columbanus instituted a service of perpetual prayer, known as laus perennis, by which choir succeeded choir, both day and night. In the eighth chapter, Columbanus stresses the importance of discretion in the lives of monks to avoid “the downfall of some, who beginning without discretion and passing their time without a sobering knowledge, have been unable to complete a praiseworthy life.” Monks are instructed to pray to God for to “illumine this way, surrounded on every side by the world’s thickest darkness”. Columbanus continues:

So discretion has got its name from discerning, for the reason that it discerns in us between good and evil, and also between the moderate and the complete. For from the beginning either class has been divided like light and darkness, that is, good and evil, after evil began through the devil’s agency to exist by the corruption of good, but through God’s agency Who first illumines and then divides. Thus righteous Abel chose the good, but unrighteous Cain fell upon evil.”

In the ninth chapter, Columbanus presents mortification as an essential element in the lives of monks, who are instructed, “Do nothing without counsel.” Monks are warned to “beware of a proud independence, and learn true lowliness as they obey without murmuring and hesitation.” According to the Rule, there are three components to mortification: “not to disagree in mind, not to speak as one pleases with the tongue, not to go anywhere with complete freedom.” This mirrors the words of Jesus, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) In the tenth and final chapter, Columbanus regulates forms of penance (often corporal) for offences, and it is here that the Rule of Saint Columbanus differs significantly from that of Saint Benedict.

The Communal Rule of Columbanus required monks to fast every day until None or 3 p.m., this was later relaxed and observed on designated days.Columbanus’ Rule regarding diet was very strict. Monks were to eat a limited diet of beans, vegetables, flour mixed with water and small bread of a loaf, taken in the evenings.

The habit of the monks consisted of a tunic of undyed wool, over which was worn the cuculla, or cowl, of the same material. A great deal of time was devoted to various kinds of manual labour, not unlike the life in monasteries of other rules. The Rule of Saint Columbanus was approved of by the Fourth Council of Mâcon in 627, but it was superseded at the close of the century by the Rule of Saint Benedict. For several centuries in some of the greater monasteries the two rules were observed conjointly.

Character

Columbanus did not lead a perfect life. According to Jonas and other sources, he could be impetuous and even headstrong, for by nature he was eager, passionate, and dauntless. These qualities were both the source of his power and the cause of his mistakes. His virtues, however, were quite remarkable. Like many saints, he had a great love for God’s creatures. Stories claim that as he walked in the woods, it was not uncommon for birds to land on his shoulders to be caressed, or for squirrels to run down from the trees and nestle in the folds of his cowl. Although a strong defender of Irish traditions, he never wavered in showing deep respect for the Holy See as the supreme authority. His influence in Europe was due to the conversions he effected and to the rule that he composed. It may be that the example and success of Columba in Caledonia inspired him to similar exertions. The life of Columbanus stands as the prototype of missionary activity in Europe, followed by such men as Kilian, Vergilius of Salzburg, Donatus of Fiesole, Wilfrid, Willibrord, Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt, Boniface, and Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne.

Source: Wikipedia

Christ the King

Matthew 25:31-46 

I was naked and you clothed me; sick, and you visited me

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

  ‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

  ‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

  ‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17 

The Lord will judge between sheep and sheep

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

  As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28

Christ will hand over the kingdom to God the Father; so that God may be all in all

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

Psalm 22(23):1-3a,5-6 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 20:27-40 

In God all men are alive

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’

  Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’

  Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.

Apocalypse 11:4-12 

The prophets will die who have been a plague to the world

I, John, heard a voice saying: ‘These, my two witnesses, are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world. Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they like. When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for three-and-a-half days, not letting them be buried, and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.’

  After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here’, and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud.

Psalm 143(144):1-2,9-10 

Blessed be the Lord, my rock.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,

  who trains my arms for battle,

  who prepares my hands for war.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock.

He is my love, my fortress;

  he is my stronghold, my saviour

my shield, my place of refuge.

  He brings peoples under my rule.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock.

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;

  I will play on the ten-stringed lute

to you who give kings their victory,

  who set David your servant free.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

JESUS AND ISRAEL

574 From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him. Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners–some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession. He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.

575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”, but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”, than for the ordinary People of God. To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting; Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes. Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead, certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), The custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour.

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People: – submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition; – the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God’s presence dwells in a special way; – faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.