Wednesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Matthew 20:17-28 

They will condemn the Son of Man to death

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

  When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Jeremiah 18:18-20 

My enemies are digging a pit for me

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord,

hear what my adversaries are saying.

Should evil be returned for good?

For they are digging a pit for me.

Remember how I stood in your presence

to plead on their behalf,

to turn your wrath away from them.

Psalm 30(31):5-6,14-16 

Save me in your love, O Lord.

Release me from the snares they have hidden

  for you are my refuge, Lord.

Into your hands I commend my spirit.

  It is you who will redeem me, Lord.

Save me in your love, O Lord.

I have heard the slander of the crowd,

  fear is all around me,

as they plot together against me,

  as they plan to take my life.

Save me in your love, O Lord.

But as for me, I trust in you, Lord;

  I say: ‘You are my God.

My life is in your hands, deliver me

  from the hands of those who hate me.’

Save me in your love, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Jesus Christ Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, Was Crucified, Died, And Was Buried” 

571 The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ. 

572 The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of “all the Scriptures” that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Jesus’ sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was “rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes”, who handed “him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified”.

Wednesday of the 1st week of Lent

Jonah 3:1-10 

The Ninevites repent, and God spares them

The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

Psalm 50(51):3-4,12-13,18-19 ©

A humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

  In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

  and cleanse me from my sin.

A humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.

A pure heart create for me, O God,

  put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

A humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,

  burnt offering from me you would refuse,

my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.

  A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

A humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Most Holy Name Of Jesus

430 Jesus means in Hebrew: “God saves.” At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, “will save his people from their sins”. in Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.

431 In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel “out of the house of bondage” by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it. For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.

432 The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation, so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

433 The name of the Savior God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. The mercy seat was the place of God’s presence. When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom “God put forward as an expiation by his blood”, he means that in Christ’s humanity “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”

434 Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Savior God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”. The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.

435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips.

Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 

Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

  ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

Joel 2:12-18 

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –

come back to me with all your heart,

fasting, weeping, mourning.’

Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn,

turn to the Lord your God again,

for he is all tenderness and compassion,

slow to anger, rich in graciousness,

and ready to relent.

Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,

will not leave a blessing as he passes,

oblation and libation

for the Lord your God?

Sound the trumpet in Zion!

Order a fast,

proclaim a solemn assembly,

call the people together,

summon the community,

assemble the elders,

gather the children,

even the infants at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom

and the bride her alcove.

Between vestibule and altar let the priests,

the ministers of the Lord, lament.

Let them say,

‘Spare your people, Lord!

Do not make your heritage a thing of shame,

a byword for the nations.

Why should it be said among the nations,

“Where is their God?”’

Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land,

took pity on his people.

Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

  In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

  and cleanse me from my sin.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

My offences truly I know them;

  my sin is always before me

Against you, you alone, have I sinned;

  what is evil in your sight I have done.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

A pure heart create for me, O God,

  put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Give me again the joy of your help;

  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,

O Lord, open my lips

  and my mouth shall declare your praise.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 

Be reconciled to God

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Many Forms Of Penance In Christian Life

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.

1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.”

1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father – every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

1439 The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father: the fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father’s house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father’s generous welcome; the father’s joy – all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life – pure worthy, and joyful – of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ Who knows the depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.

Saint Scholastica, Virgin

Mark 7:14-23 

It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean

Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

  When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

Genesis 2:4-9,15-17 

The Lord God fashioned man out of dust

At the time when the Lord God made earth and heaven there was as yet no wild bush on the earth nor had any wild plant yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was there any man to till the soil. However, a flood was rising from the earth and watering all the surface of the soil. The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.

  The Lord God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. The Lord God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. The Lord God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then the Lord God gave the man this admonition, ‘You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.’

Psalm 103(104):1-2,27-30

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Bless the Lord, my soul!

  Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

  wrapped in light as in a robe!

Bless the Lord, my soul!

All of these look to you

  to give them their food in due season.

You give it, they gather it up:

  you open your hand, they have their fill.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

You take back your spirit, they die,

  returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

  and you renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Body And Soul But Truly One”

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person.But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.

367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s coming. The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul.”Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God.

368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God.


Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 543) is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Born in Italy, according to a ninth century tradition, she was the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia. Her feast day is 10 February.

Life

What is known of her derives from the Dialogues of Gregory the Great. Scholastica was born c. 480 in Nursia, Umbria, of wealthy parents, Anicius Eupropius and his wife Claudia Abondantia Reguardati. According to a ninth century tradition, she was the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia. Gregory the Great says she was dedicated to God from a young age. She and her brother Benedict were brought up together until the time he left to pursue studies in Rome.

A young Roman woman of Scholastica’s class and time would likely have remained in her father’s house until marriage (likely arranged) or entry into religious life. But wealthy women could inherit property, divorce, and were generally literate. On occasion several young women would live together in a household and form a religious community.

Benedictine tradition holds that Scholastica lived in a convent at Piumarola about five miles from Monte Cassino and that this was the first “Benedictine” convent. However, it has been suggested that it is more likely that she lived in a hermitage with one or two other religious women in a cluster of houses at the base of Mount Cassino where there is an ancient church named after her. Ruth Clifford Engs notes that since Dialogues indicates that Scholastica was dedicated to God at an early age, perhaps she lived in her father’s house with other religious women until his death and then moved nearer to Benedict.

The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.

One day they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, perhaps sensing the time of her death was drawing near, Scholastica asked him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. Not wishing to break his own Rule, Benedict refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, “What have you done?”, to which she replied, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.” Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion.

According to Gregory’s Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister’s soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove. Benedict had her body brought to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself.

Legacy

Scholastica is the foundress of the women’s branch of Benedictine Monasticism.

She was selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin: the Austria €50 ‘The Christian Religious Orders’, issued 13 March 2002. On the obverse (heads) side of the coin Scholastica is depicted alongside Benedict. In iconography, Scholastica is often represented as an abbess, in a black habit and holding a book or a dove.

Scholastica is the patron saint of nuns, and convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain. Her memorial is 10 February.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday of week 4 in Ordinary Time

Mark 6:1-6 

‘A prophet is only despised in his own country’

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15 

God is training you as his sons

In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

  Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.

  Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.

Psalm 102(103):1-2,13-14,17-18 

The love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in fear.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  and never forget all his blessings.

The love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in fear.

As a father has compassion on his sons,

  the Lord has pity on those who fear him;

for he knows of what we are made,

  he remembers that we are dust.

The love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in fear.

But the love of the Lord is everlasting

  upon those who hold him in fear;

his justice reaches out to children’s children

  when they keep his covenant in truth.

The love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in fear.

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.

Wednesday of week 3 in Ordinary Time

Mark 4:1-20 

The parable of the sower

Jesus began to teach by the lakeside, but such a huge crowd gathered round him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there. The people were all along the shore, at the water’s edge. He taught them many things in parables, and in the course of his teaching he said to them, ‘Listen! Imagine a sower going out to sow. Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and sprang up straightaway, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away. Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop. And some seeds fell into rich soil and, growing tall and strong, produced crop; and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’

  When he was alone, the Twelve, together with the others who formed his company, asked what the parables meant. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables, so that they may see and see again, but not perceive; may hear and hear again, but not understand; otherwise they might be converted and be forgiven.’

  He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those on the edge of the path where the word is sown are people who have no sooner heard it than Satan comes and carries away the word that was sown in them. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy. But they have no root in them, they do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, they fall away at once. Then there are others who receive the seed in thorns. These have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches and all the other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil: they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

Hebrews 10:11-18 

Jesus achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying

All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. The Holy Spirit assures us of this; for he says, first:

This is the covenant I will make with them

when those days arrive;

and the Lord then goes on to say:

I will put my laws into their hearts

and write them on their minds.

I will never call their sins to mind,

or their offences.

When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.

Psalm 109(110):1-4 

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:

  ‘Sit on my right:

  your foes I will put beneath your feet.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord will wield from Zion

  your sceptre of power:

  rule in the midst of all your foes.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

A prince from the day of your birth

  on the holy mountains;

  from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.

  ‘You are a priest for ever,

  a priest like Melchizedek of old.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

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.

Wednesday of week 2 in Ordinary Time

Mark 3:1-6 

Is it against the law on the sabbath day to save life?

Jesus went into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.

Hebrews 7:1-3,15-17 

You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, for ever

You remember that Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, went to meet Abraham who was on his way back after defeating the kings, and blessed him; and also that it was to him that Abraham gave a tenth of all that he had. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of righteousness’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace’; he has no father, mother or ancestry, and his life has no beginning or ending; he is like the Son of God. He remains a priest for ever.

  This becomes even more clearly evident when there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it was about him that the prophecy was made: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.

Psalm 109(110):1-4 

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:

  ‘Sit on my right:

  your foes I will put beneath your feet.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord will wield from Zion

  your sceptre of power:

  rule in the midst of all your foes.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

A prince from the day of your birth

  on the holy mountains;

  from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.

  ‘You are a priest for ever,

  a priest like Melchizedek of old.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

JESUS AND ISRAEL

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

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

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

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12 

The visit of the Magi

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,

for out of you will come a leader

who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6 

It has now been revealed that pagans share the same inheritance

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.

Isaiah 60:1-6 

Above you the glory of the Lord appears

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,

the glory of the Lord is rising on you,

though night still covers the earth

and darkness the peoples.

Above you the Lord now rises

and above you his glory appears.

The nations come to your light

and kings to your dawning brightness.

Lift up your eyes and look round:

all are assembling and coming towards you,

your sons from far away

and your daughters being tenderly carried.

At this sight you will grow radiant,

your heart throbbing and full;

since the riches of the sea will flow to you,

the wealth of the nations come to you;

camels in throngs will cover you,

and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

everyone in Sheba will come,

bringing gold and incense

and singing the praise of the Lord.

Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,10-13 

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

  to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

  and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

In his days justice shall flourish

  and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea,

  from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts

  shall pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Seba

  shall bring him gifts.

Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,

  all nations shall serve him.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

For he shall save the poor when they cry

  and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak

  and save the lives of the poor.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

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).

768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her.” “Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom.”

6th day within the octave of Christmas

Luke 2:36-40 

Anna speaks of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem

There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

  When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

1 John 2:12-17 

Observance of the will of God

I am writing to you, my own children,

whose sins have already been forgiven through his name;

I am writing to you, fathers,

who have come to know the one

who has existed since the beginning;

I am writing to you, young men,

who have already overcome the Evil One;

I have written to you, children,

because you already know the Father;

I have written to you, fathers,

because you have come to know the one

who has existed since the beginning;

I have written to you, young men,

because you are strong and God’s word has made its home in you,

and you have overcome the Evil One.

You must not love this passing world

or anything that is in the world.

The love of the Father cannot be

in any man who loves the world,

because nothing the world has to offer

– the sensual body,

the lustful eye,

pride in possessions –

could ever come from the Father

but only from the world;

and the world, with all it craves for,

is coming to an end;

but anyone who does the will of God

remains for ever.

Psalm 95(96):7-10 

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,

  give the Lord glory and power;

  give the Lord the glory of his name.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

Bring an offering and enter his courts,

  worship the Lord in his temple.

  O earth, tremble before him.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’

  The world he made firm in its place;

  he will judge the peoples in fairness.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit

711 “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the “consolation of Israel” and “the redemption of Jerusalem.”

We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.

712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the “Book of Emmanuel” (“Isaiah said this when he saw his glory,”speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11: 81

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.” These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.” Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.

714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor.

715 The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of “love and fidelity.” St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost. According to these promises, at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

716 The People of the “poor” – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord.”

Saint John of Kęty, Priest

Luke 1:57-66

‘His name is John’

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

  Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Malachi 3:1-4,23-24 

Before my day comes, I will send you Elijah my prophet

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

  Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Psalm 24(25):4-5,8-9,10,14 

Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

Lord, make me know your ways.

  Lord, teach me your paths.

Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:

  for you are God my saviour.

Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

The Lord is good and upright.

  He shows the path to those who stray,

He guides the humble in the right path,

  He teaches his way to the poor.

Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

His ways are faithfulness and love

  for those who keep his covenant and law.

The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;

  to them he reveals his covenant.

Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Living in the Truth

2465 The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His “faithfulness endures to all generations.” Since God is “true,” the members of his people are called to live in the truth.

2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. “Full of grace and truth,” he came as the “light of the world,” he is the Truth. “Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know “the truth [that] will make you free” and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in “the Spirit of truth,” whom the Father sends in his name and who leads “into all the truth.” To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes or No.’”

2467 Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: “It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth.”

2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

2469 “Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another.” The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion. In justice, “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

2470 The disciple of Christ consents to “live in the truth,” that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord’s example, abiding in his truth. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.”


John Cantius (Latin: Joannes Cantius, Polish: Jan z Kęt or Jan Kanty; 23 June 1390 – 24 December 1473) was a Polish priest, scholastic philosopher, physicist and theologian.

Biography

John Cantius was born in Kęty, a small town near Oświęcim, Poland, to Stanisław and Anna Kanty. He attended the Kraków Academy at which he attained bachelor, and licentiate. In 1418 he became a Doctor of Philosophy. Upon graduation he spent the next three years conducting philosophy classes at the university, while preparing for the priesthood.

Upon his ordination, he became rector at the school of the Canons Regular of the Most Holy Sepulcher in Miechow. While there, he was offered a professorship of Sacra Scriptura (Sacred Scripture) back at his alma mater, the Kraków Academy, which would later be named the Jagiellonian University. He attained a doctorate in theology and eventually became director of the theology department. He held the professorship until his death in 1473. Cantius spent many hours copying manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures, theological tracts, and other scholarly works.

In physics, he helped develop Jean Buridan’s theory of impetus, which anticipated the work of Galileo and Newton.

During his time in Kraków, Cantius became well known in the city for his generosity and compassion toward the poor, especially needy students at the university. He subsisted on what was strictly necessary to sustain his life, giving alms regularly to the poor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem and four pilgrimages on foot to Rome.

Michael Miechowita, the medieval Polish historian and Cantius’s first biographer, described Cantius’s extreme humility and charity; he took as his motto:

Conturbare cave: non est placare suave,

Infamare cave; nam revocare grave.

(Beware disturbing: it’s not sweetly pleasing,

Beware speaking ill: for taking back words is burdensome.)

He died while living in retirement at his alma mater on 24 December 1473, aged 83. His remains were interred in the Collegiate Church of St Anne, where his tomb became and remains a popular pilgrimage site. He is the patron of the diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec (since 1992), and of the students.

Source: Wikipedia