Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, P & Mm, and companions, Mm

+Luke 11:47-54

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.

‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.

‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’

When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Faith and understanding

156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.” Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.

157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but “the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives.” “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”

158 “Faith seeks understanding”: it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens “the eyes of your hearts” to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God’s plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. “The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood.” In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.”

159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”


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


St. Isaac Jogues, S.J. (10 January 1607 – 18 October 1646) was a Jesuit priest, missionary and martyr who traveled and worked among the Iroquois, Huron, and other Native populations in North America. He was the first European to name Lake George, calling it Lac du Saint Sacrement (Lake of the Blessed Sacrament). In 1646, Jogues was martyred by the Mohawk at their village of Ossernenon, south of the Mohawk River.

Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and six other martyred missionaries, all Jesuit priests or laymen associated with them, were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1930; they are known as “The North American Martyrs.” A shrine was built in their honor at Auriesville, New York, at a site formerly believed to be that of the Mohawk village. Their feast day is celebrated on 26 September in Canada, and on 19 October in the United States of America.

Early life and education

Isaac Jogues was born on 10 January 1607, in Orléans, France, into a bourgeois family, where he was the fifth of nine children. He was educated at home until the age of ten, at which point he began attending Jesuit schools. In 1624, at the age of seventeen, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Rouen in Northern France. Here, his Master of Novices was Louis Lallemant. The master, Louis Lallement, already had two brothers and a nephew serving as missionaries in the colony of New France.

Jogues professed simple vows in 1626, and went to study philosophy at the royal college of La Flèche. In 1629, he went to teach humanities to young boys in Rouen.

The Jesuit community had a strong missionary spirit, beginning in 1625 with their first mission to New France; its teachers included missionary pioneers, Énemond Massé, and later, Jean de Brébeuf.

These Jesuit missionaries inspired Jogues, and he aspired to follow in their footsteps. In 1633, Jogues was sent to the Collège de Clermont in Paris to pursue his studies in Theology. By 1636, he was ordained as a priest at Clermont.

Early Missions

Jogues was inspired by the missionaries that had returned to France in 1636: Father Brebeuf, Father Charles Lalement and Father Masse to venture to New France. These missionaries told Jogues of their hardships, treacheries and tortures which ordinarily awaited them by the native population, as missionaries in New France. Their accounts however, increased Jogues’ desire to “devote himself to labor there for the conversion and welfare of the natives”. Soon after Jogues was ordained a priest in January 1636, he accepted service in the missions and embarked to New France with several other missionaries. Jogues was assigned as a missionary to the Huron and Algonquian peoples; both were allies of the French in Quebec.

Jogues sailed from France on 8 April 1636, and eight weeks later his ship dropped anchor in the Baie des Chaleurs. Jogues arrived in Quebec only several weeks later on 2 July. On arrival, Jogues wrote to his mother: “I do not know it is to enter Heaven, but this I know– that it would be difficult to experience in this world a joy more excessive and more overflowing than I felt in setting foot in the New World, and celebrating my first Mass on the day of Visitation”.

Jogues joined Jean de Brebeuf, the Superior of the Jesuit Mission, at their settlement on Lake Huron, the village of St. Joseph (Ihonatiria), on 11 September. Upon his arrival, Jogues was stricken by fever. Soon thereafter, a similar epidemic broke out among other Jesuits and the native people of the village. Due to recurring epidemics, the Huron blamed the Black Coats, as they called the Jesuits, threatening to kill them all. Father Brebeuf conciliated them and by the following year relations had improved as evidenced by one of his reports: “We are gladly heard, and there is scarcely a village that has not invited us to go to it… And at last it is understood from our whole conduct that we have not come to buy skins or to carry on any traffic, but solely to teach them, and to procure them their souls’ health.”

For years, Jogues lived in the village of St. Joseph (Ihonatiria) and learned the ways and language of the Hurons. The missionaries “accommodated themselves to the customs and food of the savages” as much as possible to show the Indians that they intended to share their life. Gradually, the native people began to accept Jogues. This did not last long however, as there were some Indians who had been “among the English and Dutch settlers to the south” who spread reports that the missionaries brought “calamity wherever they went and that they had in consequence been driven out of Europe”.

Jogues traveled with Garnier to Petun, a historical first nations band government located in modern-day southern Ontario, also known as the Tobacco Nation for their chief commodity crop. The natives of the village were so uninviting to the missionaries that the Fathers thought it would be impossible to do any missionary work among them. The rumours that had encircled them spread to the village and quickly discovered that their cause was just as hopeless as in the former place. They travelled from village to village, until after a couple of months they decided that they could not continue to do their missionary work. Their luck changed however, when in 1639, the new superior of the Jesuit Mission, Father Jerome Lalement, entrusted the building of Fort Sainte-Marie to Jogues.

In September 1641, Jogues and Charles Raymbaut went into the territory of the Sauteurs (Oijbwe). They were welcomed by some two thousand Indians upon their arrival. Jogues settled down to the duties of a resident missioner at St. Mary’s for some time.

Capture by the Iroquois

On 3 August 1642, Jogues, Guillaume Couture, René Goupil, and a group of Christian Hurons were heading back from Trois-Rivières to Quebec City when they were waylaid by a war party of the Mohawk Nation, part of Iroquois Confederacy. Jogues allegedly hid in reeds and bushes, but decided to leave his hiding place to join the prisoners so that he could comfort them and ensure that their faith in Christianity remained strong. Shortly thereafter, and in retaliation for comforting a tortured Frenchman, the Mohawk beat Jogues with sticks, tore out his fingernails, then gnawed the ends of his fingers until finger bones were visible. The war party then took their captives on a treacherous journey to a Mohawk village, during which worms began to fester in Jogues’ wounds. There, the villagers turned out en masse and tortured the prisoners by marching them through a gauntlet, which consisted of rows of Iroquois armed with rods and sticks beating the prisoners walking in single-file. Afterwards, the Iroquois forced Jogues and the prisoners onto an elevated platform where they were mocked. A captive Algonquin woman then cut off Jogues’ thumb. At night, the prisoners were tied spread-eagled in a cabin. Children threw burning coals onto their bodies. Three days later, Jogues and the prisoners were marched from one village to another, where the Iroquois flogged them in gauntlets, and jabbed sticks into their wounds and sores. At the third village, Jogues was hung from a wooden plank made of intersecting pieces of wood, and nearly lost consciousness, until an Iroquois had pity on him and cut him free. Throughout his captivity, Jogues comforted, baptized, heard confession from, and absolved the other prisoners.

Instead of being put to death or integrated into a Mohawk family, Jogues remained a captive at large. Perpetually malnourished and inadequately dressed for the harsh winters, he spent his days gathering wood, praying, and proselytizing his captors. His enslavement was likely seen as even more humiliating due to the fact that gathering wood was, for the most part, the task of Iroquois women. Seeking solace in his faith, Jogues prayed so intensely that he had visions: in one, he suddenly appeared in a bookstore covered in crosses, and bought a book that reminded him that, to enter into Heaven, it was necessary to experience many tribulations. His captivity dragged on, lasting between eight and ten months, during which he was kept in a state of severe malnourishment and exposure to the cold. Some noteworthy incidents that occurred during this period were when he saved the life of a pregnant woman that had fallen into a deep, fast-flowing creek during the winter, and when he baptized the Iroquois man who had freed him from the wooden torture device.

A party of Dutch traders from Fort Orange (now Albany, New York), including the Reformed minister Johannes Megapolensis, ransomed him and gave him money for passage down the Hudson River to New Amsterdam (New York) and a return to France. Jogues was the first Catholic priest to visit Manhattan Island. From there, he sailed back to France, where he was greeted with surprise and joy.

Return to France

Pope Urban VIII considered Jogue a “living martyr,” and gave him dispensation to say Mass with his mutilated hand. Under Church law of the time, the Blessed Sacrament could not be touched with any fingers but the thumb and forefinger. Jogues was unable to follow this law after the loss of two fingers while in Iroquois captivity, resulting in the requirement for dispensation by the Pope. Jogues visited his mother in Orléans, but was eager to return to the missions. Jogue experienced regret over his time in captivity, and a longing for martyrdom that motivated his return to New France in 1644 after only a year and a half in France, first to Quebec, followed by a trip to Wendake.

Return to New France and Death

In the spring of 1646, Jogues returned to Iroquois territory, along with Jean de Lalande, to act as the French ambassador to the Mohawk. His ambassadorship was intended to maintain the tentative peace reached in 1645 between the Iroquois, and the French, the Huron and the Algonquin. This was done to ensure a safe passage for trade and travel along the east-west corridor.

Jogues and Lalande were met with hesitation upon their arrival, as some Mohawk regarded missionaries as evil practitioners of foreign magic. The Europeans transmitted European diseases, such as smallpox and measles, that spread among Native Americans. These diseases resulted in high fatality rates among the Mohawk, who lacked immunity to the new diseases. When the Mohawk suffered yet another outbreak of infectious disease, and crop failure at Ossernenon, they blamed these unfortunate events on Catholic paraphernalia left behind by the Jesuits, which the Mohawks perceived as magically harmful. Additionally, as a result of his previous experience on the territory, Jogues demonstrated an uncanny knowledge of the territory, which the Mohawks perceived as threatening.

On 18 October 1646, the Iroquois killed Jogues with a tomahawk, an axe held with one hand; they killed LaLande the next day. The Mohawk threw the missionaries’ bodies into the Mohawk River. The killing seems to have been the work of an anti-French faction within the Mohawk community.

The story holds a curious double martyrdom of Jogues. Aboriginal allies of the French captured Jogues’ killer in 1647 and condemned him to death. While awaiting his execution, this man was baptized and renamed with the Christian name of Father Isaac Jogues. His death represented a secondary martyring of Isaac Jogues.

Veneration and Legacy

Jogues was canonized on 29 June 1930 by Pope Pius XI along with seven other Canadian Martyrs. His feast day is celebrated on 26 September in Canada, and on 19 October in the United States.

Jogues’ actions have a large impact on how he is remembered by the Jesuit and Catholic communities alike. There are a multitude of buildings and monuments dedicated to Jogues. The largest of these monuments is the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, built in Auriesville, New York in 1930. It honors Jogues, René Goupil, and Louis Lalande. It was completed in 1930. The shrine also honors Jean de Brébeuf and five of his companions, who were killed in Canada in 1648 and 1649.

There is also the Martryr’s Shrine located in Midland, Ontario, Canada, which honors the Canadian Martyrs (another term for North American Martyrs).

A seasonal chapel on the east shore of Saratoga Lake, New York is named after Jogues. A statue of Jogues stands in front of the main entrance to the chapel that faces the lake. While he was being taken into captivity, Jogues is said to have been the first European to see this lake.

Fordham University, a Jesuit University in New York, has a dormitory building at it’s Rose Hill Campus names Martyrs’ Court. The three wings of the building are named after Jogues, René Goupil, S.J., and Jean de Lalande, S.J.

Another statue of Jogues was erected in 1939, in the village of Lake George, in the Battlefield Park by the lake.

Camp Ondessonk, a Roman Catholic youth camp located in Ozark, Illinois, is named after Jogues’ Mohawk name. The living quarters for campers are each named for one of the North American Martyrs, including Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Jean de Brébeuf, S.J.; Noël Chabanel, S.J.; Antoine Daniel, S.J.; Charles Garnier, S.J.; René Goupil, S.J.; Jean de Lalande, S.J., and Gabriel Lalemant, S.J.

Source: Wikipedia


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Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.

‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus teaches us how to pray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Psalm 1:1-4,6

Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.

Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God’s law they study day and night.

They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.

But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.

Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.

The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Source: The New American Bible


Thursday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 10:1-12

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Irreligion

2118 God’s first commandment condemns the main sins of irreligion: tempting God, in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony.

2119 Tempting God consists in putting his goodness and almighty power to the test by word or deed. Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act. Jesus opposed Satan with the word of God: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.” The challenge contained in such tempting of God wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord. It always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power.

2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.

2121 Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. To Simon the magician, who wanted to buy the spiritual power he saw at work in the apostles, St. Peter responded: “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money!” Peter thus held to the words of Jesus: “You received without pay, give without pay.” It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God. One can receive them only from him, without payment.

2122 The minister should ask nothing for the administration of the sacraments beyond the offerings defined by the competent authority, always being careful that the needy are not deprived of the help of the sacraments because of their poverty.” The competent authority determines these “offerings” in accordance with the principle that the Christian people ought to contribute to the support of the Church’s ministers. “The laborer deserves his food.”


Psalm 18(19):8-11

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

The breakers of death surged round about me; the menacing floods terrified me.

The cords of Sheol tightened; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook as his wrath flared up.

Smoke rose in his nostrils, a devouring fire poured from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.

Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resound.

Source: The New American Bible


Wenceslaus, M; Lawrence Ruiz and companions,

+Luke 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch had heard about all that was being done by Jesus; and he was puzzled, because some people were saying that John had risen from the dead, others that Elijah had reappeared, still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?’ And he was anxious to see Jesus.

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. 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”36 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.40 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.”


Psalm 149

Hallelujah! Sing to the LORD a new song, a hymn in the assembly of the faithful.

Let Israel be glad in their maker, the people of Zion rejoice in their king.

Let them praise his name in festive dance, make music with tambourine and lyre.

For the LORD takes delight in his people, honors the poor with victory.

Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, cry out for joy at their banquet,

With the praise of God in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands,

To bring retribution on the nations, punishment on the peoples,

To bind their kings with chains, shackle their nobles with irons,

To execute the judgments decreed for them –  such is the glory of all God’s faithful. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


Wenceslaus I (Czech: Václav [ˈvaːtslaf] (About this sound listen); c. 907 – September 28, 935), Wenceslas I, Václav the Good or Saint Wenceslaus was the duke (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935. His younger brother, Boleslaus the Cruel, was complicit in the murder.

His martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies gave rise to a reputation for heroic goodness that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and came to be seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is the subject of the well-known “Good King Wenceslas”, a carol for Saint Stephen’s Day.

Biography

Wenceslaus was the son of Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia from the Přemyslid dynasty. His grandfather, Bořivoj I of Bohemia, was converted to Christianity by Saints Cyril and Methodius. His mother, Drahomíra, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief of the Havelli, but was baptized at the time of her marriage. His paternal grandmother, Ludmila of Bohemia, oversaw his education, and at an early age, Wenceslas was sent to the college at Budweis.

In 921, when Wenceslas was about thirteen, his father died and his grandmother became regent. Jealous of the influence that Ludmila wielded over Wenceslas, Drahomíra arranged to have her killed. Ludmila was at Tetín Castle near Beroun when assassins murdered her on September 15, 921. She is said to have been strangled by them with her veil. She was at first buried in the church of St. Michael at Tetín, but her remains were later removed, probably by Wenceslas, to the church of St. George in Prague, which had been built by his father.

Drahomíra then assumed the role of regent and immediately initiated measures against the Christians. When Wenceslas came of age, he took control of the government. He placed the duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. To prevent disputes between him and his younger brother Boleslav, they divided the country between them,[clarification needed] assigning to the latter a considerable territory.

Reign

After the fall of Great Moravia, the rulers of the Bohemian duchy had to deal both with continuous raids by the Magyars and the forces of the Saxon duke and East Frankish king Henry the Fowler, who had started several eastern campaigns into the adjacent lands of the Polabian Slavs, homeland of Wenceslas’s mother. To withstand Saxon overlordship, Wenceslas’s father Vratislaus had forged an alliance with the Bavarian duke Arnulf, a fierce opponent of King Henry at that time. The alliance became worthless, however, when Arnulf and Henry reconciled at Regensburg in 921.

In 924 or 925, at about the age of 18, Wenceslas assumed leadership of the government and had his mother Drahomíra exiled.He then defeated a rebellious duke of Kouřim named Radslav. He also founded a rotunda consecrated to St. Vitus at Prague Castle in Prague, which exists as present-day St. Vitus Cathedral.

Early in 929, the joint forces of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria and King Henry I the Fowler reached Prague in a sudden attack that forced Wenceslas to resume the payment of a tribute first imposed by the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia in 895. Henry had been forced to pay a huge tribute to the Magyars in 926 and needed the Bohemian tribute, which Wenceslas probably refused to pay after the reconciliation between Arnulf and Henry. Another possible reason for the attack was the formation of the anti-Saxon alliance between Bohemia, the Polabian Slavs, and the Magyars.

Murder

In September 935, a group of nobles allied with Wenceslas’s younger brother Boleslav plotted to kill him. After Boleslav invited Wenceslas to the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Stará Boleslav, three of Boleslav’s companions, Tira, Česta, and Hněvsa, fell on the duke and stabbed him to death. As the duke fell, Boleslav ran him through with a lance.

According to Cosmas of Prague, in his Chronica Boëmorum of the early 12th century, one of Boleslav’s sons was born on the day of Wenceslas’s death. Because of the ominous circumstance of his birth, the infant was named Strachkvas, which means “a dreadful feast”.

There is also a tradition that Saint Wenceslas’s loyal servant Podevin avenged his death by killing one of the chief conspirators, but was executed by Boleslav.

Veneration

Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades of Wenceslas’ death, four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualization of the rex justus, or “righteous king”, that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigor.

Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, the chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:

But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.

Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II.

Although Wenceslas was, during his lifetime, only a duke, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously “conferred on [Wenceslas] the regal dignity and title” and that is why, in the legend and song, he is referred to as a “king”.

The hymn “Svatý Václave” (Saint Wenceslas) or “Saint Wenceslas Chorale” is one of the oldest known Czech songs in history. Its roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem.

His feast day is celebrated on September 28, while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on March 4.

Since 2000, the feast day of Saint Wenceslas (September 28) is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated as the Czech Statehood Day.


Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (Filipino: San Lorenzo Ruiz ng Maynila, Spanish: San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Latin: Laurentius Ruiz Manilensis ; ca. 1600 – 28 September 1637) is a Filipino saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became the country’s protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.

Saint Lorenzo is patron saint of, among others, the Philippines and the Filipino people.

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila, to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother who were both Catholic. His father taught him Chinese while his mother taught him Tagalog.

Ruiz served as an altar boy at the Binondo Church. After being educated by the Dominican friars for a few years, Ruiz earned the title of escribano (calligrapher) because of his skillful penmanship. He became a member of the Cofradia del Santísimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary). He married Rosario, a native, and they had two sons and a daughter. The Ruiz family led a generally peaceful, religious and content life.

In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for the Binondo Church, Ruiz was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Ruiz sought asylum on board a ship with three Dominican priests: Saint Antonio Gonzalez, Saint Guillermo Courtet, and Saint Miguel de Aozaraza; a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz; and a lay leper Saint Lázaro of Kyoto. Ruiz and his companions left for Okinawa on 10 June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers.

Martyrdom

The Tokugawa Shogunate was persecuting Christians by the time Ruiz had arrived in Japan. The missionaries were arrested and thrown into prison, and after two years, they were transferred to Nagasaki to face trial by torture. He and his companions faced lots of torture.

On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside down over a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi (釣殺し) in Japanese or horca y hoya (“gallows and pit”) in Spanish. The method was supposed to be extremely painful: though the victim was bound, one hand was always left free so that victims may signal their desire to recant, leading to their release. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated, with the ashes thrown into the sea.[

According to Latin missionary accounts sent back to Manila, Ruiz declared these words upon his death:

“              ”Ego Catholicus sum et animo prompto paratoque pro Deo mortem obibo.

Si mille vitas haberem, cunctas ei offerrem.”

(“I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God;

Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer.”)

Source: Wikipedia


Matthew, Ap & Evangelist

+Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking on, he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Prayer

2098 The acts of faith, hope, and charity enjoined by the first commandment are accomplished in prayer. Lifting up the mind toward God is an expression of our adoration of God: prayer of praise and thanksgiving, intercession and petition. Prayer is an indispensable condition for being able to obey God’s commandments. “[We] ought always to pray and not lose heart.”

Sacrifice

2099 It is right to offer sacrifice to God as a sign of adoration and gratitude, supplication and communion: “Every action done so as to cling to God in communion of holiness, and thus achieve blessedness, is a true sacrifice.”

2100 Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit. . . . ” The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor. Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father’s love and for our salvation. By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.


Psalm 18

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

The breakers of death surged round about me; the menacing floods terrified me.

The cords of Sheol tightened; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook as his wrath flared up.

Smoke rose in his nostrils, a devouring fire poured from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.

Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resound.

He let fly his arrows and scattered them; shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.

Then the bed of the sea appeared; the world’s foundations lay bare, At the roar of the LORD, at the storming breath of his nostrils.

He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters.

He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me.

They attacked me on a day of distress, but the LORD came to my support.

He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me.

The LORD acknowledged my righteousness, rewarded my clean hands.

For I kept the ways of the LORD; I was not disloyal to my God.

His laws were all before me, his decrees I did not cast aside.

I was honest toward him; I was on guard against sin.

So the LORD rewarded my righteousness, the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Toward the faithful you are faithful; to the honest you are honest;

Toward the sincere, sincere; but to the perverse you are devious.

Humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low.

You, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens the darkness about me.

With you I can rush an armed band, with my God to help I can leap a wall.

God’s way is unerring; the LORD’S promise is tried and true; he is a shield for all who trust in him.

Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?

This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

Who made my feet swift as a deer’s, set me safe on the heights,

Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.

You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.

You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till I destroyed them.

I struck them down; they could not rise; they fell dead at my feet.

You girded me with strength for war, subdued adversaries at my feet.

My foes you put to flight before me; those who hated me I destroyed.

They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but got no answer.

I ground them fine as dust in the wind; like mud in the streets I trampled them down.

You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations. A people I had not known became my slaves;

as soon as they heard of me they obeyed. Foreigners cringed before me;

their courage failed; they came trembling from their fortresses.

The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!

O God who granted me vindication, made peoples subject to me,

and preserved me from my enemies, Truly you have exalted me above my adversaries, from the violent you have rescued me.

Thus I will proclaim you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.

You have given great victories to your king, and shown kindness to your anointed, to David and his posterity forever.

Source: The New American Bible


Matthew the Apostle (Hebrew: מַתִּתְיָהוּ‎‎ Mattityahu or מתי‎ Mattay, “Gift of YHVH”; Greek: Ματθαῖος Matthaios; also known as Saint Matthew and as Levi) was, according to the Christian Bible, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to Christian tradition, one of the four Evangelists.

In the New Testament

Among the early followers and apostles of Jesus, Matthew is mentioned in Matthew 9:9 and Matthew 10:3 as a publican who, while sitting at the “receipt of custom” in Capernaum, was called to follow Jesus. Matthew may have collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. Matthew is also listed among the twelve, but without identification of his background, in Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. In passages parallel to Matthew 9:9, both Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 describe Jesus’ calling of the tax collector Levi, the son of Alphaeus, but Mark and Luke never explicitly equate this Levi with the Matthew named as one of the twelve apostles.

Early life

Matthew was a 1st-century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province), the son of Alpheus. As a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek. His fellow Jews would have despised him for what was seen as collaborating with the Roman occupation force.

After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32)

Ministry

The New Testament records that as a disciple, he followed Jesus, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus. Afterwards, the disciples withdrew to an upper room (Acts 1:10–14) (traditionally the Cenacle) in Jerusalem. The disciples remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

In the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) “Mattai” is one of five disciples of “Jeshu”.

Later Church fathers such as Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3.1.1) and Clement of Alexandria claim that Matthew preached the Gospel to the Jewish community in Judea, before going to other countries. Ancient writers are not agreed as to what these other countries are. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr, although this was rejected by the gnostic heretic Heracleon as early as the second century.

Matthew’s Gospel

The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous: the author is not named within the text, and the superscription “according to Matthew” was added some time in the second century. The tradition that the author was the disciple Matthew begins with the early Christian bishop Papias of Hierapolis (c. 100–140 CE), who is cited by the Church historian Eusebius (260–340 CE), as follows: “Matthew collected the oracles (logia: sayings of or about Jesus) in the Hebrew language ( Hebraïdi dialektōi), and each one interpreted (hērmēneusen – perhaps “translated”) them as best he could.”[Notes 1]

On the surface, this has been taken to imply that Matthew’s Gospel itself was written in Hebrew or Aramaic by the apostle Matthew and later translated into Greek, but nowhere does the author claim to have been an eyewitness to events, and Matthew’s Greek “reveals none of the telltale marks of a translation”. Scholars have put forward several theories to explain Papias: perhaps Matthew wrote two gospels, one, now lost, in Hebrew, the other our Greek version; or perhaps the logia was a collection of sayings rather than the gospel; or by dialektōi Papias may have meant that Matthew wrote in the Jewish style rather than in the Hebrew language. The consensus is that Papias does not describe the Gospel of Matthew as we know it, and it is generally accepted that Matthew was written in Greek, not in Aramaic or Hebrew.

Non-canonical or Apocryphal Gospels

In the 3rd-century Jewish–Christian gospels attributed to Matthew were used by Jewish–Christian groups such as the Nazarenes and Ebionites. Fragments of these gospels survive in quotations by Jerome, Epiphanius and others. Most academic study follows the distinction of Gospel of the Nazarenes (26 fragments), Gospel of the Ebionites (7 fragments), and Gospel of the Hebrews (7 fragments) found in Schneemelcher’s New Testament Apocrypha. Critical commentators generally regard these texts as having been composed in Greek and related to Greek Matthew. A minority of commentators consider them to be fragments of a lost Aramaic or Hebrew language original.

The Infancy Gospel of Matthew is a 7th-century compilation of three other texts: the Protevangelium of James, the Flight into Egypt, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

Origen said the first Gospel was written by Matthew. This Gospel was composed in Hebrew near Jerusalem for Hebrew Christians and translated into Greek, but the Greek copy was lost. The Hebrew original was kept at the Library of Caesarea. The Nazarene Community transcribed a copy for Jerome which he used in his work. Matthew’s Gospel was called the Gospel according to the Hebrews or sometimes the Gospel of the Apostles and it was once believed that it was the original to the Greek Matthew found in the Bible. However, this has been challenged by modern biblical scholars such as Bart Ehrman and James R. Edwards.

Jerome relates that Matthew was supposed by the Nazarenes to have composed their Gospel of the Hebrews though Irenaeus and Epiphanius of Salamis consider this simply a revised version canonical Gospel. This Gospel has been partially preserved in the writings of the Church Fathers, said to have been written by Matthew. Epiphanius does not make his own the claim about a Gospel of the Hebrews written by Matthew, a claim that he merely attributes to the heretical Ebionites.

Veneration

Matthew is recognized as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican churches. (See St. Matthew’s Church.) His feast day is celebrated on 21 September in the West and 16 November in the East. (For those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 16 November currently falls on 29 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated by the Orthodox, together with the other Apostles, on 30 June (13 July), the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles. His tomb is located in the crypt of Salerno Cathedral in southern Italy.

Like the other evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7. The one that accompanies him is in the form of a winged man. The three paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, where he is depicted as called by Christ from his profession as tax gatherer, are among the landmarks of Western art.

In Islam

The Quran speaks of Jesus’ disciples but does not mention their names, instead referring to them as “helpers to the work of God”. Muslim exegesis and Qur’an commentary, however, name them and include Matthew amongst the disciples. Muslim exegesis preserves the tradition that Matthew, with Andrew, were the two disciples who went to Ethiopia (not the African country, but a region called ‘Ethiopia’ south of the Caspian Sea) to preach the message of God.

Source: Wikipedia


Triumph of the Cross

+John 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and the Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF A GRAVEN IMAGE . . .”

2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: “Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure. . . . ” It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater than all his works.” He is “the author of beauty.”

2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.

2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons – of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new “economy” of images.

2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.


Psalm 77

For the leader; al Jeduthun. A psalm of Asaph.

I cry aloud to God, cry to God to hear me.

On the day of my distress I seek the Lord; by night my hands are raised unceasingly; I refuse to be consoled.

When I think of God, I groan; as I ponder, my spirit grows faint. Selah

My eyes cannot close in sleep; I am troubled and cannot speak.

I consider the days of old; the years long past

I remember. In the night I meditate in my heart; I ponder and my spirit broods:

“Will the Lord reject us forever, never again show favor?

Has God’s love ceased forever? Has the promise failed for all ages?

Has God forgotten mercy, in anger withheld compassion?” Selah

I conclude: “My sorrow is this, the right hand of the Most High has left us.”

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, your wonders of old I will remember.

I will recite all your works; your exploits I will tell.

Your way, O God, is holy; what god is as great as our God?

You alone are the God who did wonders; among the peoples you revealed your might.

With your arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

The waters saw you, God; the waters saw you and lashed about, trembled even to their depths.

The clouds poured down their rains; the thunderheads rumbled; your arrows flashed back and forth.

The thunder of your chariot wheels resounded; your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.

Through the sea was your path; your way, through the mighty waters, though your footsteps were unseen.

You led your people like a flock under the care of Moses and Aaron.

Source: The New American Bible


In the Christian liturgical calendar, there are several different Feasts of the Cross, all of which commemorate the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. While Good Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the Crucifixion, these days celebrate the cross itself, as the instrument of salvation.

In English, it is called The Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the official translation of the Roman Missal, while the 1973 translation called it The Triumph of the Cross. In some parts of the Anglican Communion the feast is called Holy Cross Day, a name also used by Lutherans. The celebration is also sometimes called Holy Rood Day.

As per some Christian tradition the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross. One-third remained in Jerusalem, one-third was brought to Rome and deposited in the Sessorian basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem), and one-third was taken to Constantinople to make the city impregnable.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

Red is the usual liturgical color in churches that follow such traditions. In Western Christianity, red vestments are worn at church services conducted on this day as well as Pentecost and other times of celebration. In the Roman Catholic liturgical observance, the red is worn only on this day, and if the day falls on a Sunday, its Mass readings are used instead of those for the occurring Sunday in Ordinary Time. The lectionaries of the Church of England (and other Anglican churches) and Western Rite Orthodoxy also stipulate red as the liturgical color for ‘Holy Cross Day.’

In Eastern-Rite Orthodox Churches that use various liturgical colors, red vestments are also worn. Yet in these Orthodox churches, the wearing of red continues for a week after the feast

In Western Rite Orthodox Parishes, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the calendar week after the one in which the feast day occurs, are designated as one of each year’s four sets of Ember days. In new calendar Western Rite Orthodox Parishes (e.g. those under the Antiochian Diocese) these ember days are the week following 14 September. In old calendar Western Rite Orthodox Parishes (e.g. those under the Russian Diocese) these ember days are the week following 27 September.

Until 1969, these ember days were a part of the Roman Catholic Church. Organization of these celebrations is now left to the decision of episcopal conferences in view of local conditions and customs.

September 14 is the titular feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross, The Companions of the Cross and the Episcopal Church’s Order of the Holy Cross. This date also marked the beginning of the period of fasting, except on Sundays and ending on Easter Sunday, that was stipulated for Carmelites in the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of 1247. The Rule of St. Benedict also prescribes this day as the beginning of monastic winter (i.e., the period when there are three nocturns of psalms and readings at matins) which also ends at Easter.

Source: Wikipedia


Thursday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 5:1-11

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The living God

205 God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that burns without being consumed: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.

“I Am who I Am”

Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is – infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.

207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past (“I am the God of your father”), as for the future (“I will be with you”). God, who reveals his name as “I AM”, reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.

208 Faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God’s holiness. Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: “Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: “I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” The apostle John says likewise: “We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

209 Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel do not pronounce his name. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name (YHWH) is replaced by the divine title “LORD” (in Hebrew Adonai, in Greek Kyrios). It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: “Jesus is LORD.”


Psalm 97

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.

Cloud and darkness surround the Lord; justice and right are the foundation of his throne.

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.

Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.

All who serve idols are put to shame, who glory in worthless things; all gods bow down before you.

Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD.

You, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.

The LORD loves those who hate evil, protects the lives of the faithful, rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Light dawns for the just; gladness, for the honest of heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, you just, and praise his holy name.

Source: The New American Bible


Thursday of the Twenty-First Week of Ordinary Time

+Matthew 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

‘What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the dishonest servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time,” and sets about beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with drunkards, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel

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

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


Psalm 89

A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

The promises of the LORD I will sing forever, proclaim your loyalty through all ages.

For you said, “My love is established forever; my loyalty will stand as long as the heavens.

I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:

I will make your dynasty stand forever and establish your throne through all ages.” Selah

The heavens praise your marvels, LORD, your loyalty in the assembly of the holy ones.

Who in the skies ranks with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the gods?

A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all who sit there!

LORD, God of hosts, who is like you? Mighty LORD, your loyalty is always present.

You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves.

You crushed Rahab with a mortal blow; your strong arm scattered your foes.

Yours are the heavens, yours the earth; you founded the world and everything in it.

Zaphon and Amanus you created; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.

Mighty your arm, strong your hand, your right hand is ever exalted.

Justice and judgment are the foundation of your throne; love and loyalty march before you.

Happy the people who know you, LORD, who walk in the radiance of your face.

In your name they sing joyfully all the day; at your victory they raise the festal shout.

You are their majestic strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.

Truly the LORD is our shield, the Holy One of Israel, our king!

Once you spoke in vision; to your faithful ones you said: “I have set a leader over the warriors; I have raised up a hero from the army.

I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.

My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong.

No enemy shall outwit him, nor shall the wicked defeat him.

I will crush his foes before him, strike down those who hate him.

My loyalty and love will be with him; through my name his horn will be exalted.

I will set his hand upon the sea, his right hand upon the rivers.

He shall cry to me,’You are my father, my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’

I myself make him firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth.

Forever I will maintain my love for him; my covenant with him stands firm.

I will establish his dynasty forever, his throne as the days of the heavens.

If his descendants forsake my law, do not follow my decrees,

If they fail to observe my statutes, do not keep my commandments,

I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with lashes.

But I will not take my love from him, nor will I betray my bond of loyalty.

I will not violate my covenant; the promise of my lips I will not alter.

By my holiness I swore once for all: I will never be false to David.

His dynasty will continue forever, his throne, like the sun before me.

Like the moon it will stand eternal, forever firm like the sky!” Selah

But now you have rejected and spurned, been enraged at your anointed.

You renounced the covenant with your servant, defiled his crown in the dust.

You broke down all his defenses, left his strongholds in ruins.

All who pass through seize plunder; his neighbors deride him.

You have exalted the right hand of his foes, have gladdened all his enemies.

You turned back his sharp sword, did not support him in battle.

You brought to an end his splendor, hurled his throne to the ground.

You cut short the days of his youth, covered him with shame. Selah

How long, LORD? Will you stay hidden forever? Must your wrath smolder like fire?

Remember how brief is my life, how frail the race you created!

What mortal can live and not see death? Who can escape the power of Sheol? Selah

Where are your promises of old, Lord, the loyalty sworn to David?

Remember, Lord, the insults to your servants, how I bear all the slanders of the nations.

Your enemies, LORD, insult your anointed; they insult my every endeavor.

Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and amen!

Source: The New American Bible


Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

+John 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

MEDITATION

2705 Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the “today” of God is written.

2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

2707 There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire to meditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower. But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus.

2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.


Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος Bartholomaíos, Latin: Bartholomaeus) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathanael (alternatively spelled Nathaniel), who appears in the Gospel according to John as being introduced to Christ by Philip (who would also become an apostle),[Jn 1:43-51] although some modern commentators reject the identification of Nathanael with Bartholomew.

According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his martyrdom is commemorated on the first day of the Coptic Calendar (i.e. the first day of the month of Thout), which currently falls on September 11 (corresponding to August 29 in the Julian Calendar). His feast is June 11 in Eastern Christianity and August 24 in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Anglican Communion and both forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος, transliterated “Bartholomaios”) comes from the Aramaic {bar-Tôlmay (בר-תולמי),} meaning son of Talmai or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman). Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus in the three Synoptic gospels: Matthew,[10:1–4] Mark,[3:13–19] and Luke,[6:12–16] and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension[Acts 1:4,12,13]; on each occasion, however, he is named in the company of Philip. He is not mentioned by the name Bartholomew in the Gospel of John, nor are there any early acta, the earliest being written by a pseudepigraphical writer who assumed the identity of Abdias of Babylon and to whom is attributed the Saint-Thierry Manuscript and Pseudo-Abdias Manuscripts.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

+Matthew 18:21-19:1

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the part of Judaea which is on the far side of the Jordan.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

And forgive us our trespasses . . .

2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.

2840 Now – and this is daunting – this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount. This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But “with God all things are possible.”

. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.

2843 Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies, transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.

2845 There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness, whether one speaks of “sins” as in Luke (11:4), “debts” as in Matthew (6:12). We are always debtors: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another.” The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relationship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.

God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.