Thursday of the 7th week of Eastertide

John 17:20-26

Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

I pray not only for these,

but for those also

who through their words will believe in me.

May they all be one.

Father, may they be one in us,

as you are in me and I am in you,

so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

I have given them the glory you gave to me,

that they may be one as we are one.

With me in them and you in me,

may they be so completely one

that the world will realise that it was you who sent me

and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me

to be with me where I am,

so that they may always see the glory you have given me

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Father, Righteous One,

the world has not known you,

but I have known you,

and these have known that you have sent me.

I have made your name known to them

and will continue to make it known,

so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,

and so that I may be in them.’


Acts 22:30,23:6-11

‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’

Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.

Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’


Psalm 15(16):1-2,5,7-11

Preserve me, Lord, I take refuge in you.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;

it is you yourself who are my prize.’

Preserve me, Lord, I take refuge in you.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,

who even at night directs my heart.

I keep the Lord ever in my sight:

since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

Preserve me, Lord, I take refuge in you.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

even my body shall rest in safety.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead,

nor let your beloved know decay.

Preserve me, Lord, I take refuge in you.

You will show me the path of life,

the fullness of joy in your presence,

at your right hand happiness for ever.

Preserve me, Lord, I take refuge in you.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Toward unity

820 “Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.” Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: “That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me.” The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.

821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call:

– a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;

– conversion of heart as the faithful “try to live holier lives according to the Gospel”; for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ’s gift which causes divisions;

– prayer in common, because “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name ‘spiritual ecumenism;”‘

– fraternal knowledge of each other;

– ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;

– dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities;

– collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind. “Human service” is the idiomatic phrase.

822 Concern for achieving unity “involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike.” But we must realize “that this holy objective – the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ – transcends human powers and gifts.” That is why we place all our hope “in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Ascension of the Lord

Matthew 28:16-20

Go and make disciples of all nations

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’


Acts 1:1-11

Jesus was lifted up while they looked on

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’

Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’

As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’


Ephesians 1:17-23

God made him sit at his right hand in heaven

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.


Psalm 46(47):2-3,6-9

God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

All peoples, clap your hands,

cry to God with shouts of joy!

For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear,

great king over all the earth.

God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

God goes up with shouts of joy;

the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

Sing praise for God, sing praise,

sing praise to our king, sing praise.

God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

God is king of all the earth,

sing praise with all your skill.

God is king over the nations;

God reigns on his holy throne.

God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Christian Name

2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In Baptism, the Lord’s name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The “baptismal name” can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.”

2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.

2158 God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

2159 The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the mysterious and unique character of each person marked with God’s name will shine forth in splendor. “To him who conquers . . . I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.” “Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty- four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”


The Ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin Acts 1:9-11 section title: Ascensio Iesu) is the physical departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God in Heaven. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exalted Jesus after his death, raising Him as first of the dead, and taking Him to Heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God.

In Christian art, the ascending Jesus is often shown blessing an earthly group below him, signifying the entire Church. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday;the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition, and while the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, many Protestant churches have abandoned the observance.

In Islam, Jesus was neither crucified nor raised from the dead, and according to the Qur’an, he was rather saved by God and raised to Heaven.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Saint Matthias, Apostle

John 15:9-17

You are my friends if you do what I command you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment:

love one another, as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you

is to love one another.’


Acts 1:15-17,20-26

‘Let someone else take his office’

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let his camp be reduced to ruin,

Let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.


Psalm 112(113):1-8

The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.

Praise, O servants of the Lord,

praise the name of the Lord!

May the name of the Lord be blessed

both now and for evermore!

The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.

From the rising of the sun to its setting

praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord,

above the heavens his glory.

The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.

Who is like the Lord, our God,

who has risen on high to his throne

yet stoops from the heights to look down,

to look down upon heaven and earth?

The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,

from the dungheap he raises the poor

to set him in the company of princes,

yes, with the princes of his people.

The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Man’s Response To God

142 By his Revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.” The adequate response to this invitation is faith.

143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.


Matthias (Hebrew transliteration: Mattityahu; Koine Greek: Μαθθίας; Coptic: ⲙⲁⲑⲓⲁⲥ; died c. 80 AD) was, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the apostle chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent death. His calling as an apostle is unique, in that his appointment was not made personally by Jesus, who had already ascended into heaven, and it was also made before the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the early Church.

Biography

There is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples or followers of Jesus in the three synoptic gospels, but according to Acts, he had been with Jesus from his baptism by John until his Ascension. In the days following, Peter proposed that the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred-twenty, nominate two men to replace Judas. They chose Joseph called Barsabas (whose surname was Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”[Acts 1:24–25] Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

No further information about Matthias is to be found in the canonical New Testament. Even his name is variable: the Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but “Tolmai”, not to be confused with Bartholomew (which means Son of Tolmai), who was one of the twelve original Apostles; Clement of Alexandria refers once to Zacchaeus in a way which could be read as suggesting that some identified him with Matthias; the Clementine Recognitions identify him with Barnabas; Hilgenfeld thinks he is the same as Nathanael in the Gospel of John.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday of the 4th week of Eastertide

John 13:16-20

Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

no servant is greater than his master,

no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,

so that when it does happen

you may believe that I am He.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,

and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’


Acts 13:13-25

God has raised up one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’


Psalm 88(89):2-3,21,22,25,27

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;

through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.

Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,

that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I have found David my servant

and with my holy oil anointed him.

My hand shall always be with him

and my arm shall make him strong.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

My truth and my love shall be with him;

by my name his might shall be exalted.

He will say to me: ‘You are my father,

my God, the rock who saves me.’

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Charity

1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”

1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1826 “If I . . . have not charity,” says the Apostle, “I am nothing.” Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, “if I . . . have not charity, I gain nothing.” Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: “So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity.”

1827 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”; it is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.

1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who “first loved us”:

If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.

1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.

 

Saint Pius V, Pope

John 6:44-51

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me

unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,

and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is written in the prophets:

They will all be taught by God,

and to hear the teaching of the Father,

and learn from it,

is to come to me.

Not that anybody has seen the Father,

except the one who comes from God:

he has seen the Father.

I tell you most solemnly,

everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.

Your fathers ate the manna in the desert

and they are dead;

but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,

so that a man may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.

Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;

and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,

for the life of the world.’


Acts 8:26-40

Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,

like these he never opens his mouth.

He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.

Who will ever talk about his descendants,

since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.

Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.


Psalm 65(66):8-9,16-17,20

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

O peoples, bless our God,

let the voice of his praise resound,

of the God who gave life to our souls

and kept our feet from stumbling.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Come and hear, all who fear God.

I will tell what he did for my soul:

to him I cried aloud,

with high praise ready on my tongue.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Blessed be God

who did not reject my prayer

nor withhold his love from me.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Eucharist

1406 Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:51, 54, 56).

1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

1408 The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord’s body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship.

1409 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action.

1410 It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

1411 Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.

1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: “This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . .”

1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).

1414 As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God.

1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.

1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.

1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year.

1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Paul VI, MF 66).

1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.


Pope Saint Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislieri (from 1518 called Michele Ghislieri, O.P.), was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 8 January 1566 to his death in 1572. He is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman rite within the Latin Church. Pius V declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church.

As a cardinal, Ghislieri gained a reputation for putting orthodoxy before personalities, prosecuting eight French bishops for heresy. He also stood firm against nepotism, rebuking his predecessor Pope Pius IV to his face when he wanted to make a 13-year-old member of his family a cardinal and subsidize a nephew from the papal treasury.

By means of the papal bull of 1570, Regnans in Excelsis, Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign. He also arranged the formation of the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic states to combat the advancement of the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe. Although outnumbered, the Holy League famously defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory. Biographers report that as the Battle of Lepanto ended, Pius rose and went over to a window, where he stood gazing toward the East. Then, turning around, he exclaimed “The Christian fleet is victorious!” and shed tears of thanksgiving.

Biography

Early life

Antonio Ghislieri was born 17 January 1504 in Bosco in the Duchy of Milan (now Bosco Marengo in the province of Alessandria, Piedmont), Italy. At the age of fourteen he entered the Dominican Order, taking the name Michele, passing from the monastery of Voghera to that of Vigevano, and thence to Bologna. Ordained priest at Genoa in 1528, he was sent by his order to Pavia, where he lectured for sixteen years. At Parma he advanced thirty propositions in support of the papal chair and against the Protestant Reformation.

He became master of novices and was on several occasions elected prior of more than one Dominican priory. During a time of great moral laxity, he insisted on discipline, and strove to develop the practice of the monastic virtues. He fasted, did penance, passed long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, traveled on foot without a cloak in deep silence, or only speaking to his companions of the things of God. As his reformist zeal provoked resentment, he was compelled to return to Rome in 1550, where, after having been employed in several inquisitorial missions, he was elected to the commissariat of the Holy Office.

In 1556 he was made Bishop of Sutri by Pope Paul IV and was selected as inquisitor of the faith in Milan and Lombardy. In 1557 he was made a cardinal and named inquisitor general for all Christendom. His defense of Bartolomé Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo, who had been suspected of heresy by the Spanish Inquisition, earned him a rebuff from the Pope.

Under Pope Pius IV (1559–65) he became bishop of Mondovi in Piedmont. Frequently called to Rome, he displayed his unflinching zeal in all the affairs on which he was consulted. Thus he offered an insurmountable opposition to Pius IV when the latter wished to admit Ferdinand de’ Medici, then only thirteen years old, into the Sacred College. His opposition to the pontiff procured his dismissal from the palace and the abridgment of his authority as inquisitor.

Papal election

Before Michele Ghislieri could return to his episcopate, Pope Pius IV died. On 8 January 1566, Ghislieri, with the influential backing of Charles Borromeo, was elected to the papal throne, taking the name Pope Pius V. He was crowned ten days later, on his 62nd birthday by the protodeacon.

His pontificate saw him dealing with internal reform of the Church, the spread of Protestant doctrines in the West, and Turkish armies advancing from the East.

Church discipline

Aware of the necessity of restoring discipline and morality at Rome to ensure success without, he at once proceeded to reduce the cost of the papal court after the manner of the Dominican Order to which he belonged, compel residence among the clergy, regulate inns, and assert the importance of the ceremonial in general and the liturgy of the Mass in particular.

Three national synods were held during his pontificate at Naples under Alfonso Cardinal Caraffa (whose family had, after inquiry, been reinstated by Pius V), at Milan under Saint Charles Borromeo, and at Machim. In his wider policy, which was characterised throughout by an effective stringency, the maintenance and increase of the efficacy of the Inquisition and the enforcement of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent had precedence over other considerations.

Liturgy

Accordingly, in order to implement a decision of that council, he standardised the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. Pius V made this Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass liturgy dating from before 1370 AD was in use. This form of the Mass remained essentially unchanged for 400 years until Pope Paul VI’s revision of the Roman Missal in 1969–70, after which it has become widely known as the Tridentine Mass; use of the last pre-1969 edition of the Missal, that by Pope John XXIII in 1962, is permitted without limitation for private celebration of the Mass and, since July 2007, is allowed also for public use, as laid down in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI. Some continue to use even earlier editions, but without authorisation.

Thomism

Pius V, who had declared Thomas Aquinas the fifth Latin Doctor of the Church in 1567, commissioned the first edition of Aquinas’ opera omnia, often called the editio Piana in honor of the Pope. This work was produced in 1570 at the studium generale of the Dominican Order at Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which would be transformed into the College of Saint Thomas in 1577, and again into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in the 20th century.

Holy League

Saint Pius V arranged the forming of the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire, as the result of which the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) was won by the combined fleet under Don John of Austria. It is attested in his canonisation that he miraculously knew when the battle was over, himself being in Rome at the time. Pius V also helped financially in the construction of Valletta, Malta’s capital city, by sending his military engineer Francesco Laparelli to design the fortification walls. (A bronze bust of Pius V was installed at the Gate of Valletta in 1892.) To commemorate the victory, he instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

The Reformation

By the time Pius V ascended the throne, Protestantism had swept over all of England and Scotland, as well as half of Germany, the Netherlands, and parts of France; only Spain remained unswervingly Catholic. Pius V was thus determined to prevent its insurgency into Italy—which he believed would come via the Alps and Milan.

Huguenots

Pius V recognized attacks on papal supremacy in the Catholic Church and was desirous of limiting their advancement. In France, where his influence was stronger, he took several measures to oppose the Protestant Huguenots. He directed the dismissal of Cardinal Odet de Coligny and seven bishops, nullified the royal edict tolerating the extramural services of the Reformers, introduced the Roman catechism, restored papal discipline, and strenuously opposed all compromise with the Huguenot nobility.

Elizabeth I

His response to the Queen Elizabeth I of England assuming governance of the Church of England included support of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots and her supporters in their attempts to take over England “ex turpissima muliebris libidinis servitute” “from a most sordid slavery to a woman’s voracity”. A brief English Catholic uprising, the Rising of the North, had just failed. Pius then issued a Papal bull, Regnans in Excelsis (“Reigning on High”), dated 27 April 1570, that declared Elizabeth I a heretic and released her subjects from their allegiance to her. It was the official decree of excommunication on her and it also declared an ipso facto excommunication on anyone who did not deny allegiance to her. In response, Elizabeth, who had thus far tolerated Catholic worship in private, now actively started persecuting them for treason.

Character and policy

As a young man, Michele Ghislieri was eager to join the inquisition. Under Paul IV, whom popular historian John Julius Norwich calls the most hated pope of the 16th century, he rose to inquisitor general, and from there ascended to the papacy. As Pius V, he personally attended all sessions of the Roman inquisition. According to Norwich, Ghislieri often stayed to watch as supposed lawbreakers and heretics were tortured.

Upon assuming the papacy, Ghislieri immediately started to get rid of many of the extravagant luxuries then prevalent in the court. One of his first acts was to dismiss the papal court jester, and no pope after had one. He forbade horse racing in St. Peter’s Square. Severe sanctions were imposed against blasphemy, adultery, and sodomy. These laws quickly made Pius V the subject of Roman hatred; he was accused of trying to turn the city into a vast monastery. It should be noted, however, that he was not a hypocrite: in day-to-day life Pius V was highly ascetic. He wore a hair shirt beneath the simple habit of a Dominican friar and was often seen in bare feet.

In the time of a great famine in Rome he imported corn at his own expense from Sicily and France; a considerable part of which he distributed among the poor, gratis, and sold the rest to the public below cost.

Papal bulls

Katherine Rinne writes in Waters of Rome that Pius V ordered the construction of public works to improve the water supply and sewer system of the city—a welcome step, particularly in low-lying areas, where typhoid and malaria were inevitable summer visitors.

In 1567 he issued Super prohibitione agitationis Taurorum & Ferarum prohibiting bull-fighting.

Besides “In Coena Domini” (1568) there are several others of note, including his prohibition of quaestuary (February 1567 and January 1570); condemnation of Michael Baius, the heretical Professor of Leuven (1567); reform of the Roman Breviary (July 1568); formal condemnation of homosexual behaviour by the clergy (August 1568); the banishment of the Jews from all ecclesiastical dominions except Rome and Ancona (1569); an injunction against use of the reformed missal (July 1570); the confirmation of the privileges of the Society of Crusaders for the protection of the Inquisition (October 1570); the suppression of the Fratres Humiliati (February 1571); the approbation of the new office of the Blessed Virgin (March 1571); and the enforcement of the daily recitation of the Canonical Hours (September 1571).

Papal garments

Pius V is often credited with the origin of the Pope’s white garments, supposedly because after his election Pius continued to wear his white Dominican habit. However, many of his predecessors also wore white with a red mozzetta, as can be seen on many paintings where neither they nor Pius is wearing a cassock, but thin, wide, white garments.

An article by Agostino Paravicini Bagliani on L’Osservatore Romano of 31 August 2013 states that the earliest document that speaks explicitly of the Pope wearing white is the Ordo XIII, a book of ceremonies compiled in about 1274 under Pope Gregory X. From that date on, the books of ceremonies speak ever more explicitly of the Pope as wearing a red mantle, mozzetta, camauro and shoes, and a white cassock and stockings.

Death and canonization

Pius V died on 1 May 1572 of what is believed to be cancer. He was buried in the chapel of S. Andrea which was close to the tomb of Pope Pius III, in the Vatican. Although his will requested he be buried in Bosco, Pope Sixtus V built a monument in the chapel of SS. Sacramento in the Liberian basilica. His remains were transferred there on 9 January 1588.

In 1696, the process of Pius V’s canonisation was started through the efforts of the Master of the Order of Preachers, Antonin Cloche. He also immediately commissioned a representative tomb from the sculptor Pierre Le Gros the Younger to be erected in the Sistine Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The pope’s body was placed in it in 1698. Pope Pius V was beatified by Pope Clement X in the year 1672, and was later canonized by Pope Clement XI (1700–21) on 22 May 1712.

In the following year, 1713, his feast day was inserted in the General Roman Calendar, for celebration on 5 May, with the rank of “Double”, the equivalent of “Third-Class Feast” in the General Roman Calendar of 1960, and of its present rank of “Memorial”. In 1969 the celebration was moved to 30 April, the day before the anniversary of his death (1 May).

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman declared that “St. Pius V was stern and severe, as far as a heart burning and melted with divine love could be so … Yet such energy and vigour as his were necessary for the times. He was a soldier of Christ in a time of insurrection and rebellion, when in a spiritual sense, martial law was proclaimed.”

The front of his tomb has a lid of gilded bronze which shows a likeness of the dead pope. Most of the time this is left open to allow the veneration of the saint’s remains.

Source: Wikipedia

Saint George, Martyr

John 3:31-36

The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him

John the Baptist said to his disciples:

‘He who comes from above is above all others;

he who is born of the earth is earthly himself

and speaks in an earthly way.

He who comes from heaven

bears witness to the things he has seen and heard,

even if his testimony is not accepted;

though all who do accept his testimony

are attesting the truthfulness of God,

since he whom God has sent

speaks God’s own words:

God gives him the Spirit without reserve.

The Father loves the Son

and has entrusted everything to him.

Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,

but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life:

the anger of God stays on him.’


Acts 5:27-33

We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’

This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.


Psalm 33(34):2,9,17-20

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise always on my lips;

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

The Lord turns his eyes to the just

and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears

and rescues them in all their distress.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;

those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of the just man

but from them all the Lord will rescue him.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Only Son Of God

441 In the Old Testament, “son of God” is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings. It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called “son of God”, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God”, as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.

442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. . .” “And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.'” From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.

443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers’ question before the Sanhedrin, “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am.” Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as “the Son” who knows the Father, as distinct from the “servants” God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels. He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father'”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father”.

444 The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”. Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence. He asks for faith in “the name of the only Son of God”. In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, “Truly this man was the Son of God”, that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.

445 After his Resurrection, Jesus’ divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”. The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


Saint George (Greek: Γεώργιος, Geṓrgios; Latin: Georgius; Coptic: Ⲡⲓⲇⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲅⲉⲟⲣⲅⲓⲟⲥ; between AD 256–285 to 23 April 303), according to legend, was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity, and was especially venerated by the Crusaders. George’s parents were Christians of Greek background, his father Gerontius (Greek: Γερόντιος, Gerontios meaning “old man” in Greek) was a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and his mother Polychronia (Greek name, meaning she who lives many years) was a Christian and a Greek native from Lydda in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina.

In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon. His memorial, Saint George’s Day, is traditionally celebrated on 23 April. Numerous countries, cities, professions and organisations claim Saint George as their patron.

Source: Wikipedia

Easter Thursday

Luke 24:35-48 

It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

Acts 3:11-26

You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead

Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.

‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.

‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Psalm 8:2,5-9

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

How great is your name, O Lord our God,

through all the earth!

What is man that you should keep him in mind,

mortal man that you care for him?

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

Yet you have made him little less than a god;

with glory and honour you crowned him,

gave him power over the works of your hand,

put all things under his feet.

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

All of them, sheep and cattle,

yes, even the savage beasts,

birds of the air, and fish

that make their way through the waters.

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

How do the dead rise?

997 What is “rising”? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.

998 Who will rise? All the dead will rise, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”; but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. and what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel ….What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable…. the dead will be raised imperishable…. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

1000 This “how” exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ’s transfiguration of our bodies:

Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God’s blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.

1001 When? Definitively “at the last day,” “at the end of the world.” Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ’s Parousia:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Risen with Christ

1002 Christ will raise us up “on the last day”; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. For, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ:

And you were buried with him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead …. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

1003 United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains “hidden with Christ in God.” The Father has already “raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we “also will appear with him in glory.”

1004 In expectation of that day, the believer’s body and soul already participate in the dignity of belonging to Christ. This dignity entails the demand that he should treat with respect his own body, but also the body of every other person, especially the suffering:

The body [is meant] for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. and God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? …. You are not your own; …. So glorify God in your body.

Maundy Thursday

Luke 4:16-21

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me

Jesus came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’


Isaiah 61:1-3,6,8-9

The Lord has anointed me

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for the Lord has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,

to bind up hearts that are broken;

to proclaim liberty to captives,

freedom to those in prison;

to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord,

a day of vengeance for our God,

to comfort all those who mourn and to give them

for ashes a garland;

for mourning robe the oil of gladness,

for despondency, praise.

But you, you will be named ‘priests of the Lord’,

they will call you ‘ministers of our God.’

I reward them faithfully

and make an everlasting covenant with them.

Their race will be famous throughout the nations,

their descendants throughout the peoples.

All who see them will admit

that they are a race whom the Lord has blessed.


Apocalypse 1:5-8

Jesus Christ has made us a line of kings and priests

Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First-Born from the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father; to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. It is he who is coming on the clouds; everyone will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the races of the earth will mourn over him. This is the truth. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.


Psalm 88(89):21-22,25,27

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I have found David my servant

and with my holy oil anointed him.

My hand shall always be with him

and my arm shall make him strong.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

My truth and my love shall be with him;

by my name his might shall be exalted.

He will say to me: ‘You are my father,

my God, the rock who saves me.’

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ

436 The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”. It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets. This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively.30 It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet. Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.

437 To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” From the beginning he was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world”, conceived as “holy” in Mary’s virginal womb. God called Joseph to “take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, so that Jesus, “who is called Christ”, should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David.

438 Jesus’ messianic consecration reveals his divine mission, “for the name ‘Christ’ implies ‘he who anointed’, ‘he who was anointed’ and ‘the very anointing with which he was anointed’. The one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Spirit who is the anointing.'” His eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”, “that he might be revealed to Israel”as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as “the Holy One of God”.

439 Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic “Son of David”, promised by God to Israel. Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political.

440 Jesus accepted Peter’s profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man. He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man “who came down from heaven”, and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross. Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus’ messianic kingship to the People of God: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Saint Francis of Paola, hermit

John 8:51-59

Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

whoever keeps my word

will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory

that would be no glory at all;

my glory is conferred by the Father,

by the one of whom you say, “He is our God”

although you do not know him.

But I know him,

and if I were to say: I do not know him,

I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.

But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word.

Your father Abraham rejoiced

to think that he would see my Day;

he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

before Abraham ever was,

I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.


Genesis 17:3-9

Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’


Psalm 104(105):4-9

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Consider the Lord and his strength;

constantly seek his face.

Remember the wonders he has done,

his miracles, the judgements he spoke.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

O children of Abraham, his servant,

O sons of the Jacob he chose.

He, the Lord, is our God:

his judgements prevail in all the earth.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

He remembers his covenant for ever,

his promise for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

the oath he swore to Isaac.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Hope

1817 Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” “The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”

1818 The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.

1819 Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham, who was blessed abundantly by the promises of God fulfilled in Isaac, and who was purified by the test of the sacrifice. “Hoping against hope, he believed, and thus became the father of many nations.”

1820 Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus’ preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the “hope that does not disappoint.” Hope is the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . . that enters . . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: “Let us . . . put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” It affords us joy even under trial: “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.” Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire.

1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.


Saint Francis of Paola, O.M. (or: Francesco di Paola or Saint Francis the Fire Handler; 27 March 1416 – 2 April 1507) was an Italian mendicant friar and the founder of the Roman Catholic Order of Minims. Unlike the majority of founders of men’s religious orders, and like his patron saint, Francis was never ordained a priest.

Francis was born in the town of Paola, which lies in the southern Italian Province of Cosenza, Calabria. In his youth he was educated by the Franciscan friars in Paola. His parents, having remained childless for some years after their marriage, had recourse to prayer and especially commended themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, after whom they named their first-born son. Two other children were eventually born to them.

When still in the cradle, Francis suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again had recourse to Francis of Assisi and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year wearing the “little habit” of St Francis in one of the friaries of his Order, a not-uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. The child subsequently recovered. At the age of 13, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a friary of the Franciscan Order to fulfill the vow made by his parents. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paola, he selected a secluded cave on his father’s estate and there lived in solitude; but later on he found an even-more secluded cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years, giving himself to prayer and mortification.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday of the 4th week of Lent

John 5:31-47

You place your hopes on Moses but Moses will be your accuser

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,

my testimony would not be valid;

but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,

and I know that his testimony is valid.

You sent messengers to John,

and he gave his testimony to the truth:

not that I depend on human testimony;

no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.

John was a lamp alight and shining

and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.

But my testimony is greater than John’s:

the works my Father has given me to carry out,

these same works of mine testify

that the Father has sent me.

Besides, the Father who sent me

bears witness to me himself.

You have never heard his voice,

you have never seen his shape,

and his word finds no home in you

because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,

believing that in them you have eternal life;

now these same scriptures testify to me,

and yet you refuse to come to me for life!

As for human approval, this means nothing to me.

Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.

I have come in the name of my Father

and you refuse to accept me;

if someone else comes in his own name

you will accept him.

How can you believe,

since you look to one another for approval

and are not concerned

with the approval that comes from the one God?

Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:

you place your hopes on Moses,

and Moses will be your accuser.

If you really believed him

you would believe me too,

since it was I that he was writing about;

but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,

how can you believe what I say?’


Exodus 32:7-14

Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’

But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’

So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.


Psalm 105(106):19-23

O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.

They fashioned a calf at Horeb

and worshipped an image of metal,

exchanging the God who was their glory

for the image of a bull that eats grass.

O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.

They forgot the God who was their saviour,

who had done such great things in Egypt,

such portents in the land of Ham,

such marvels at the Red Sea.

O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.

For this he said he would destroy them,

but Moses, the man he had chosen,

stood in the breach before him,

to turn back his anger from destruction.

O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

God’s Spirit And Word In The Time Of The Promises

702 From the beginning until “the fullness of time,” the joint mission of the Father’s Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. God’s Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation. So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, “who has spoken through the prophets,” wants to tell us about Christ.

By “prophets” the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in living proclamation and the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms).