Friday of the Third Week of Easter

+John 6:52-59

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

 

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Take this and eat it, all of you”: communion

1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea” (“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”). And in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas’ kiss. But like the good thief I cry, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion when they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council says: “That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion, receive the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended.”

1389 The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.

1390 Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But “the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly.” This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.


Psalm 116

I love the LORD, who listened to my voice in supplication,

Who turned an ear to me on the day I called.

I was caught by the cords of death; the snares of Sheol had seized me; I felt agony and dread.

Then I called on the name of the LORD, “O LORD, save my life!”

Gracious is the LORD and just; yes, our God is merciful.

The LORD protects the simple; I was helpless, but God saved me.

Return, my soul, to your rest; the LORD has been good to you.

For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

I shall walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

I kept faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted!”

I said in my alarm, “No one can be trusted!”

How can I repay the LORD for all the good done for me?

I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

Too costly in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful.

LORD, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds.

I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,

In the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible

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Martin I, Po & M

+John 6:1-15

The feeding of the five thousand

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The signs of the kingdom of God

547 Jesus accompanies his words with many “mighty works and wonders and signs”, which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah.

548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. But his miracles can also be occasions for “offence”; they are not intended to satisfy people’s curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.

549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.

550 The coming of God’s kingdom means the defeat of Satan’s: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus’ exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus’ great victory over “the ruler of this world”. The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ’s cross: “God reigned from the wood.


 Pope Martin I (Latin: Martinus I; born between 590 and 600, died 16 September 655) reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655.[1] He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Source: Wikipedia


Psalm 26

Of David.  Grant me justice, LORD! I have walked without blame. In the LORD I have trusted; I have not faltered.

Test me, LORD, and try me; search my heart and mind.

Your love is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness.

I do not sit with deceivers, nor with hypocrites do I mingle.

I hate the company of evildoers; with the wicked I do not sit.

I will wash my hands in innocence and walk round your altar, LORD,

Lifting my voice in thanks, recounting all your wondrous deeds.

LORD, I love the house where you dwell, the tenting-place of your glory.

Do not take me away with sinners, nor my life with the violent.

Their hands carry out their schemes; their right hands are full of bribes.

But I walk without blame; redeem me, be gracious to me!

Source: The New American Bible

Friday in the Octave of Easter

+John 21:1-14

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The condition of Christ’s risen humanity

645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion. Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm. For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.

646 Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ’s Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus’ Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is “the man of heaven”.


Psalm 117

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Let the house of Israel say: God’s love endures forever.

Let the house of Aaron say, God’s love endures forever.

Let those who fear the LORD say, God’s love endures forever.

In danger I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?

The LORD is with me as my helper; I shall look in triumph on my foes.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in mortals.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me on every side; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me like bees; they blazed like fire among thorns; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

I was hard pressed and falling, but the LORD came to my help.

The LORD, my strength and might, came to me as savior.

The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: “The LORD’S right hand strikes with power;

the LORD’S right hand is raised; the LORD’S right hand strikes with power.”

I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the LORD.

The LORD chastised me harshly, but did not hand me over to death.

Open the gates of victory; I will enter and thank the LORD.

This is the LORD’S own gate, where the victors enter.

I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

By the LOD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD’S house.

The LORD is God and has given us light. Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Good Friday

John 18:1-19:42
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ
Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.
N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,
✠ Who are you looking for?
N. They answered,
C. Jesus the Nazarene.
N. He said,
✠ I am he.
N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,
✠ Who are you looking for?
N. They said,
C. Jesus the Nazarene.
N. Jesus replied,
✠ I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.
N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’
Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,
✠ Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?
N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’
Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,
O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?
N. He answered,
O. I am not.
N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.
The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,
✠ I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.
N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,
O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?
N. Jesus replied,
✠ If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?
N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,
O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?
N. He denied it, saying,
O. I am not.
N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?
N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.
They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,
O. What charge do you bring against this man?
N. They replied,
C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.
N. Pilate said,
O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.
N. The Jews answered,
C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.
N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.
So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,
O. Are you the king of the Jews?
N. Jesus replied,
✠ Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?
N. Pilate answered,
O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?
N. Jesus replied,
✠ Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.
N. Pilate said,
O. So you are a king, then?
N. Jesus answered,
✠ It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.
N. Pilate said,
O. Truth? What is that?
N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,
O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?
N. At this they shouted:
C. Not this man, but Barabbas.
N. Barabbas was a brigand.
Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,
C. Hail, king of the Jews!
N. and they slapped him in the face.
Pilate came outside again and said to them,
O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.
N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,
O. Here is the man.
N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,
C. Crucify him! Crucify him!
N. Pilate said,
O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.
N. The Jews replied,
C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.
N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus
O. Where do you come from?
N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,
O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?
N. Jesus replied,
✠ You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.
N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,
C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.
N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,
O. Here is your king.
N. They said,
C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!
N. Pilate said,
O. Do you want me to crucify your king?
N. The chief priests answered,
C. We have no king except Caesar.
N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,
C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’
N. Pilate answered,
O. What I have written, I have written.
N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,
C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.
N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:
They shared out my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my clothes.
This is exactly what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother,
✠ Woman, this is your son.
N. Then to the disciple he said,
✠ This is your mother.
N. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said:
✠ I am thirsty.
N. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said,
✠ It is accomplished;
N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
Here all kneel and pause for a short time.
It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:
Not one bone of his will be broken;
and again, in another place scripture says:
They will look on the one whom they have pierced.
After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church

To Bear Witness to the Truth

2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.” In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.

All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. the martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.”

2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:

Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me.

It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs…. You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.


Psalm 30
A psalm. A song for the dedication of the temple. Of David.
I praise you, LORD, for you raised me up and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, my God, I cried out to you and you healed me.
LORD, you brought me up from Sheol; you kept me from going down to the pit.
Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to God’s holy name.
For divine anger lasts but a moment; divine favor lasts a lifetime. At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
Complacent, I once said, “I shall never be shaken.”
LORD, when you showed me favor I stood like the mighty mountains. But when you hid your face I was struck with terror.
To you, LORD, I cried out; with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:
“What gain is there from my lifeblood, from my going down to the grave? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
With my whole being I sing endless praise to you. O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
Source: The New American Bible

Turibius de Mogrovejo, B

+John 10:31-42

They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:

I said, you are gods?

So the Law uses the word gods

of those to whom the word of God was addressed,

and scripture cannot be rejected.

Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world,

“You are blaspheming,”

because he says, “I am the son of God.”

If I am not doing my Father’s work,

there is no need to believe me;

but if I am doing it,

then even if you refuse to believe in me,

at least believe in the work I do;

then you will know for sure

that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.

He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The signs of the kingdom of God

547 Jesus accompanies his words with many “mighty works and wonders and signs”, which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah.

548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. But his miracles can also be occasions for “offence”; they are not intended to satisfy people’s curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.

549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death,Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.

550 The coming of God’s kingdom means the defeat of Satan’s: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus’ exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus’ great victory over “the ruler of this world”. The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ’s cross: “God reigned from the wood.”


Psalm 17

A prayer of David. 1 Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer spoken without guile.

From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right.

You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me. My mouth has not transgressed

as humans often do. As your lips have instructed me, I have kept the way of the law.

My steps have kept to your paths; my feet have not faltered.

I call upon you; answer me, O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my prayer.

Show your wonderful love, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

from the violence of the wicked.

My ravenous enemies press upon me; they close their hearts, they fill their mouths with proud roaring.

Their steps even now encircle me; they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,

Like lions eager for prey, like young lions lurking in ambush.

Rise, O LORD, confront and cast them down; rescue me so from the wicked.

Slay them with your sword; with your hand, LORD, slay them; snatch them from the world in their prime. Their bellies are being filled with your friends; their children are satisfied too, for they share what is left with their young.

I am just – let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.


Saint Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo (16 November 1538 – 23 March 1606) was a Spanish Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Lima from 1579 until his death. He first studied in the humanities and law before serving as a professor and later as the Grand Inquisitor at the behest of King Philip II. His piousness and learning had reached the ears of the king who appointed him to that position which was considered unusual since he had no previous government or judicial experience. His noted work for the Inquisition earned him praise from the king who nominated him for the vacant Lima archdiocese. The pope confirmed this despite his protests.

Mogrovejo was ordained to the priesthood in 1578 and was later consecrated as an archbishop in 1580 before setting off for Peru to begin his mission. He was a noted and charismatic preacher who set about baptizing and catechizing to the natives while confirming almost half a million people; those included Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Martin de Porres. The archbishop was a staunch advocate for archdiocesan reform and set to work reforming the diocesan priests from impurities and scandals while instituting new educational procedures for seminaries.

He predicted the exact date and hour he would die which would come to pass. His reputation for holiness and learning was never forgotten for it led to calls for his canonization. Pope Innocent XI beatified the late archbishop but Pope Benedict XIII was the one to canonize him as a saint on 10 December 1726. Mogrovejo is also honored as a saint in the United States Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Life

Education

Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo was born on 16 November 1538 in the Valladolid province in Habsburg Spain to the nobles Luis Alfonso de Mogrovejo (1510–1568) and Ana de Roblès i Morán (1515–???); his sister was Grimanese de Mogrovejo i Robledo (1545–1635). He was named in honor of Saint Toribio.

He was noted as a pious child with a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin who fasted once a week in her honor and recited rosaries often. He received an education befitting for a noble at the time; he entered the college at Valladolid in 1550 where he studied humanities.

He became a professor teaching law to students at the reputed college in Salamanca. His uncle Juan de Mogrovejo served as a professor there as well as at the San Salvador High School in Oviedo before King Juan III invited him to teach at the college in Coimbra. Toribio accompanied his uncle there and studied at the college in Coimbra before returning to Salamanca sometime later. His uncle died not long after he returned to Salamanca for his studies. His learning and virtuous reputation led to King Philip II appointing him as the Grand Inquisitor on the Inquisition Court stationed at Granada in February 1571. He remained in that position until 1576 but not without impressing the king with his work.

Episcopate

During this time Philip II nominated him for the vacant Lima archbishopric despite his strong protests. He used his knowledge of canon law to remind him and the pope that priests alone could be designated with ecclesial dignities but the pope overruled him. Preparations were made for him to be ordained before the formal announcement could be made. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1578 in Granada (after four consecutive weeks of receiving the minor orders) and Pope Gregory XIII named him on 16 May 1579 as the Archbishop of Lima; he received his episcopal consecration in August 1580 from the Archbishop of Seville Cristóbal Rojas Sandoval. In September 1580 he departed for Peru alongside his sister and her husband.

The new archbishop first arrived in Paita on 12 May 1581 which was 600 miles – or 970 kilometers – from Lima. He began his new mission travelling to Lima on foot while he baptized and taught the natives. He was enthroned in his new see a week later. His favorite topic was: “Time is not our own and we must give a strict account of it”. He traversed his entire archdiocese three times on foot and alone; exposed to tempests and torrents as well as the wild beasts and tropical heat. He also had to deal with fevers and often threats from hostile tribes. He countered these all the while baptizing and confirming almost one half million people which included the future Saint Rose and Saint Martin de Porres and also Saint Francis Solano (who later became a close friend) and Blessed Juan Masías.

He built roads and schoolhouses as well as chapels and hospitals; he never forgot about the religious and established convents for them to live in. In 1591 founded seminary in the western hemisphere and mandated that learning indigenous languages was a prerequisite in their formation.He inaugurated the first part of the third Lima Cathedral on 2 February 1604. He also assembled thirteen diocesan synods and three provincial councils during his tenure. He was seen as a champion of the rights of the natives against the Spanish masters. He learnt the local dialects for better communication with the native people and his own flock and was seen as a champion for rights and liberties despite Peruvian governors voicing opposition to him since he challenged their power and control.

Mogrovejo sought the reformation of diocesan priests and found that some of their behavior had grown too scandalous to be continued. There were those priests who came to resent him for this though Francisco de Toledo supported his reform efforts and rendered assistance to the archbishop in that regard. He also oversaw the Third Provincial Council from 1582 to 1583 which Philip II had requested he oversee. He served as the council’s president but guided it rather than lead it; he involved himself in drafting important conciliar documents. Mogrovejo also worked to implement the decrees from the Council of Trent and made evangelization a core theme in his episcopal career. He produced a trilingual catechism in Spanish as well as in the native languages Quechua and Aymara in 1584 while the council mandated confessional manuals to aid confessors while calling for preaching in indigenous languages. The council issued a decree from the council – one he endorsed – that proscribed excommunication to those clerics who engaged in business ventures since it was known that there were some clerics who exploited the natives for work and profit.

The council ended and Pope Sixtus V confirmed its decrees in 1588. He held two more provincial councils in 1591 and in 1601. Mogrovejo made three pastoral visitations that were all extensive in time. He visited each parish and would first inspect all objects for divine worship (he expected them to be in good condition) before talking to the parish priest about the life of the parish. He would then check the parish registers and then checked to see if the priest had the missal that Pope Pius V had mandated over a decade prior.

Death

He predicted at some stage the exact date and hour of his death. It was in Pacasmayo during a pastoral visit that he contracted a fever but continued labouring to the last and arrived at Saña in a critical condition. He dragged himself to receive the Viaticum and died not long after this on 23 March 1606 (Holy Thursday) at 3:30pm at the Saint Augustine convent. His final words were those of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit”. His remains are interred in the archdiocesan cathedral.

Sainthood

His beatification was celebrated under Pope Innocent XI in 1679 (ratified in the papal bull “Laudeamus”) and Pope Benedict XIII later canonized him as a saint on 10 December 1726 through the papal bull “Quoniam Spiritus”. His liturgical feast was once celebrated on 27 April but is now celebrated on 23 March. His cult was once confined for the most part to South America but is now more widespread because of his pioneering reforms. He became the patron saint for the Latin American episcopate after Pope John Paul II proclaimed him as such in 1983.

He is honored together with Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Rose of Lima with a liturgical feast on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on 23 August. He is also venerated in the Anglican Communion.

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne spoke on Mogrovejo as a tireless pastor who never tired “being close to God” whose “love for the poor manifested itself in the innumerable gestures” that marked his episcopal life. Thorne further elaborated that “in Saint Toribio we reinforce our conviction that the time devoted to God is a guarantee of a faithful dedication to the fulfillment of our duties and to the service of our brothers”.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

+John 7:1-2,10,25-30

They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’

Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me

and you know where I came from.

Yet I have not come of myself:

no, there is one who sent me

and I really come from him,

and you do not know him,

but I know him because I have come from him

and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

JESUS AND THE TEMPLE

583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth. At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father’s business. He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover. His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.

584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce. He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.'” After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain “one stone upon another”. By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover. But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest’s house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church. He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s definitive dwelling-place among men. Therefore his being put to bodily death presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”


Psalm 33

Rejoice, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting.

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.

Sing to God a new song; skillfully play with joyful chant.

For the LORD’S word is true; all his works are trustworthy.

The LORD loves justice and right and fills the earth with goodness.

By the LORD’S word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.

The waters of the sea were gathered as in a bowl; in cellars the deep was confined.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all who dwell in the world show reverence.

For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded, and it stood in place.

The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.

But the plan of the LORD stands forever, wise designs through all generations.

Happy the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his very own.

From heaven the LORD looks down and observes the whole human race,

Surveying from the royal throne all who dwell on earth.

The one who fashioned the hearts of them all knows all their works.

A king is not saved by a mighty army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength.

Useless is the horse for safety; its great strength, no sure escape.

But the LORD’S eyes are upon the reverent, upon those who hope for his gracious help,

Delivering them from death, keeping them alive in times of famine.

Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and shield.

For in God our hearts rejoice; in your holy name we trust.

May your kindness, LORD, be upon us; we have put our hope in you.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Frances of Rome, Rel

+Mark 12:28-34

‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

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 neighbor.

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.


Psalm 80

For the leader; according to “Lilies.” Eduth. A psalm of Asaph.

Shepherd of Israel, listen, guide of the flock of Joseph! From your throne upon the cherubim reveal yourself

to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Stir up your power, come to save us.

O LORD of hosts, restore us; Let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

LORD of hosts, how long will you burn with anger while your people pray?

You have fed them the bread of tears, made them drink tears in abundance.

You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors; our enemies deride us.

O LORD of hosts, restore us; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove away the nations and planted it.

You cleared the ground; it took root and filled the land.

The mountains were covered by its shadow, the cedars of God by its branches.

It sent out boughs as far as the sea, shoots as far as the river.

Why have you broken down the walls, so that all who pass by pluck its fruit?

The boar from the forest strips the vine; the beast of the field feeds upon it.

Turn again, LORD of hosts; look down from heaven and see; Attend to this vine,

the shoot your right hand has planted.

Those who would burn or cut it down –  may they perish at your rebuke.

May your help be with the man at your right hand, with the one whom you once made strong.

Then we will not withdraw from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.

LORD of hosts, restore us; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

Source: The New American Bible


Frances of Rome, Obl.S.B., (Italian: Santa Francesca Romana) (1384 – March 9, 1440) is an Italian saint who was a wife, mother, mystic, organizer of charitable services and a Benedictine oblate who founded a religious community of oblates, who share a common life without religious vows.

Life

Frances was born in 1384 in Rome to a wealthy and aristocratic couple, Paolo Bussa and Iacobella dei Roffredeschi, in the up-and-coming district of Parione and christened in the nearby Church of St. Agnes on the famed Piazza Navona. When she was eleven years old, she wanted to be a nun, but, at about the age of twelve, her parents forced her to marry Lorenzo Ponziani, commander of the papal troops of Rome and member of an extremely wealthy family. Although the marriage had been arranged, it was a happy one, lasting for forty years, partly because Lorenzo admired his wife, and partly because he was frequently away at war.

With her sister-in-law Vannozza, Frances visited the poor and took care of the sick, inspiring other wealthy women of the city to do the same. Soon after her marriage, Frances fell seriously ill. Her husband called a man in who dabbled in magic, but Frances drove him away, and later recounted to Vannozza that St. Alexis had appeared to her and cured her.

When her mother-in-law died, Frances became mistress of the household. During a time of flood and famine, she turned part of the family’s country estate into a hospital and distributed food and clothing to the poor. According to one account, her father-in-law was so angry that he took away from her the keys to the supply rooms; but gave them back when he saw that the corn bin and wine barrel were replenished after Frances finished praying.

During the wars between the pope in Rome and various anti-popes in the Western Schism of the Catholic Church, Lorenzo served the former. According to one story, their son Battista was to be delivered as a hostage to the commander of the Neapolitan troops. Obeying this order on the command of her spiritual director, Frances took her son to the Campidoglio. On the way, she stopped in the Church of the Aracoeli located there and entrusted her son’s life to the Blessed Mother. When they arrived at the appointed site, the soldiers tried to put her son on a horse to transport him to captivity. However, the horse refused to move despite heavy whipping. The superstitious soldiers saw the hand of God in this and returned the boy to his mother.

During a period of forced exile, much of Lorenzo’s property and possessions were destroyed. In the course of one occupation of Rome by Neapolitan forces in the early part of the century, he was wounded so severely that he never fully recovered. Frances nursed him throughout the rest of his life.

Frances experienced other sorrows during her marriage to Lorenzo. They lost two children to the plague. Chaos ruled the city in that period of neglect by the pope and the ongoing warfare between him and the various forces competing for power on the Italian peninsula devastated the city. The city of Rome was largely in ruins, and wolves were known to enter the streets. Frances again opened her home as a hospital and drove her wagon through the countryside to collect wood for fire and herbs for medicine. It is said she had the gift of healing, and over 60 cases were attested to during the canonization proceedings.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “With her husband’s consent St. Frances practiced continence, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, as well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning Purgatory and Hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience”.

On August 15, 1425, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, she founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, a confraternity of pious women, under the authority of the Olivetan monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria Nova in Rome, but neither cloistered nor bound by formal vows, so they could follow her pattern of combining a life of prayer with answering the needs of their society.

In March 1433 she founded a monastery at Tor de’ Specchi, near the Campidoglio, in order to allow for a common life by those members of the confraternity who felt so called] This monastery remains the only house of the Institute. That July 4, they received the approval of Pope Eugene IV as a religious congregation of oblates with private religious vows. The community later became known simply as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome.

Frances herself remained in her own home, nursing her husband for the last seven years of his life from wounds he had received in battle. When he died in 1436, she moved into the monastery and became the superior. She died in 1440 and was buried in Santa Maria Nova.

Veneration

On May 9, 1608, she was canonized by Pope Paul V,[2] and in the following decades a diligent search was made for her remains, which had been hidden due to the troubled times in which she lived. Her body was found incorrupt some months after her death. Her grave was identified on April 2, 1638, (but this time only the bones remained), and her remains were reburied in the Church of Santa Maria Nova on March 9, 1649, which since then has been her feast day. Again, in 1869, her body was exhumed and has since then been displayed in a glass coffin for the veneration of the faithful. The Church of Santa Maria Nova is now usually referred to as the Church of St. Frances.

Source: Wikipedia


 

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

+Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

This is the landlord’s heir: come, let us kill him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Symbols of the Church

753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. Around this center are grouped images taken “from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage.”

754 “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.

755 “The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.

756 “Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the corner-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

757 “The Church, further, which is called ‘that Jerusalem which is above’ and ‘our mother’, is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ ‘loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.’ It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly ‘nourishes and cherishes.'”


Psalm 104

Bless the LORD, my soul! LORD, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory,

robed in light as with a cloak. You spread out the heavens like a tent;

you raised your palace upon the waters. You make the clouds your chariot; you travel on the wings of the wind.

You make the winds your messengers; flaming fire, your ministers.

You fixed the earth on its foundation, never to be moved.

The ocean covered it like a garment; above the mountains stood the waters.

At your roar they took flight; at the sound of your thunder they fled.

They rushed up the mountains, down the valleys to the place you had fixed for them.

You set a limit they cannot pass; never again will they cover the earth.

You made springs flow into channels that wind among the mountains.

They give drink to every beast of the field; here wild asses quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of heaven nest; among the branches they sing.

You water the mountains from your palace; by your labor the earth abounds.

You raise grass for the cattle and plants for our beasts of burden. You bring bread from the earth,

and wine to gladden our hearts, Oil to make our faces gleam, food to build our strength.

The trees of the LORD drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, which you planted.

There the birds build their nests; junipers are the home of the stork.

The high mountains are for wild goats; the rocky cliffs, a refuge for badgers.

You made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun that knows the hour of its setting.

You bring darkness and night falls, then all the beasts of the forest roam abroad.

Young lions roar for prey; they seek their food from God.

When the sun rises, they steal away and rest in their dens.

People go forth to their work, to their labor till evening falls.

How varied are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Look at the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small.

Here ships ply their course; here Leviathan, your creature, plays.

All of these look to you to give them food in due time.

When you give to them, they gather; when you open your hand, they are well filled.

When you hide your face, they are lost. When you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust from which they came.

When you send forth your breath, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in these works!

If God glares at the earth, it trembles; if God touches the mountains, they smoke!

I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.

May my theme be pleasing to God; I will rejoice in the LORD.

May sinners vanish from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, my soul! Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


 

Polycarp, B & M

+Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Decalogue in Sacred Scripture

2056 The word “Decalogue” means literally “ten words.” God revealed these “ten words” to his people on the holy mountain. They were written “with the finger of God,” unlike the other commandments written by Moses. They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the books of Exodus  and Deuteronomy  Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the “ten words,” but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.

2057 The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God’s great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as: “Honor your father and mother,” the “ten words” point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path of life:

If you love the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply.

This liberating power of the Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest, directed also to foreigners and slaves:

You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

2058 The “ten words” sum up and proclaim God’s law: “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to me.” For this reason these two tables are called “the Testimony.” In fact, they contain the terms of the covenant concluded between God and his people. These “tables of the Testimony” were to be deposited in “the ark.”

2059 The “ten words” are pronounced by God in the midst of a theophany (“The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire.”). They belong to God’s revelation of himself and his glory. The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In making his will known, God reveals himself to his people.

2060 The gift of the commandments and of the Law is part of the covenant God sealed with his own. In Exodus, the revelation of the “ten words” is granted between the proposal of the covenant and its conclusion – after the people had committed themselves to “do” all that the Lord had said, and to “obey” it. The Decalogue is never handed on without first recalling the covenant (“The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.”).

2061 The Commandments take on their full meaning within the covenant. According to Scripture, man’s moral life has all its meaning in and through the covenant. The first of the “ten words” recalls that God loved his people first:

Since there was a passing from the paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God’s commandments, bears on freedom “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

2062 The Commandments properly so-called come in the second place: they express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the Lord’s loving initiative. It is the acknowledgement and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation with the plan God pursues in history.

2063 The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person (“I am the Lord.”) and addressed by God to another personal subject (“you”). In all God’s commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will known to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people:

The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor. . . . The words of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh.

The Decalogue in the Church’s Tradition

2064 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with the example of Jesus, the tradition of the Church has acknowledged the primordial importance and significance of the Decalogue.

2065 Ever since St. Augustine, the Ten Commandments have occupied a predominant place in the catechesis of baptismal candidates and the faithful. In the fifteenth century, the custom arose of expressing the commandments of the Decalogue in rhymed formulae, easy to memorize and in positive form. They are still in use today. The catechisms of the Church have often expounded Christian morality by following the order of the Ten Commandments.

2066 The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine, which has become traditional in the Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confessions. The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities.

2067 The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.

As charity comprises the two commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets . . . so the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other.

2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them;the Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.”


Psalm 129

A song of ascents. 1 Much have they oppressed me from my youth, now let Israel say.

Much have they oppressed me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed.

Upon my back the plowers plowed, as they traced their long furrows.

But the just LORD cut me free from the ropes of the yoke of the wicked.

May they be scattered in disgrace, all who hate Zion.

May they be like grass on the rooftops withered in early growth,

Never to fill the reaper’s hands, nor the arms of the binders of sheaves,

With none passing by to call out: “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

Source: The New American Bible


 

 

 

Gospel Acclamation        cf.Amos5:14

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,

and that the Lord God of hosts may really be with you.

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

 

Polycarp (Greek: Πολύκαρπος, Polýkarpos; Latin: Polycarpus; AD 69 – 155) was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.Polycarp is regarded as a saint and Church Father in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name ‘Polycarp’ means ‘much fruit’ in Greek.

It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle. Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

The early tradition that expanded upon the Martyrdom to link Polycarp in competition and contrast with John the Apostle who, though many people had tried to kill him, was not martyred but died of old age after being exiled to the island of Patmos, is embodied in the Coptic language fragmentary papyri (the “Harris fragments”) dating to the 3rd to 6th centuries. Frederick Weidmann, their editor, interprets the “Harris fragments” as Smyrnan hagiography addressing Smyrna–Ephesus church rivalries, which “develops the association of Polycarp and John to a degree unwitnessed, so far as we know, either before or since”. The fragments echo the Martyrology, and diverge from it.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians; it is first recorded by Irenaeus of Lyons.

Polycarp is the patron saint of İzmir.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday after Ash Wednesday

+Matthew 9:14-15

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.

The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.

The third precept (“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.

2043 The fourth precept (“You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.


Psalm 50

A psalm of Asaph. 1 The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

From Zion God shines forth. perfect in beauty.

Our God comes and will not be silent! Devouring fire precedes, storming fiercely round about.

God summons the heavens above and the earth to the judgment of his people:

“Gather my faithful ones before me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

The heavens proclaim divine justice, for God alone is the judge. Selah

“Listen, my people, I will speak; Israel, I will testify against you; God, your God, am I.

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, nor for your holocausts, set before me daily.

I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold.

For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands on my mountains.

I know every bird of the heavens; the creatures of the field belong to me.

Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all that fills it.

Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High.

Then call on me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.”

But to the wicked God says: “Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips?

You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!

When you see thieves, you befriend them; with adulterers you throw in your lot.

You give your mouth free rein for evil; you harness your tongue to deceit.

You sit maligning your own kin, slandering the child of your own mother.

When you do these things should I be silent? Or do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay the charge before you.

“Understand this, you who forget God, lest I attack you with no one to rescue.

Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; to the obedient I will show the salvation of God.”