Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

John 17:11-19

Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,

keep those you have given me true to your name,

so that they may be one like us.

While I was with them,

I kept those you had given me true to your name.

I have watched over them

and not one is lost

except the one who chose to be lost,

and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you

and while still in the world I say these things

to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them,

and the world hated them,

because they belong to the world

no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world,

but to protect them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth;

your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,

I have sent them into the world,

and for their sake I consecrate myself

so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’


Acts 20:28-38

I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:

‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.

‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’

When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.


Psalm 67(68):29-30,33-36

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God.

Show forth, O God, show forth your might,

your might, O God, which you have shown for us.

For the sake of your temple high in Jerusalem

may kings come to you bringing their tribute.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord

who rides on the heavens, the ancient heavens.

He thunders his voice, his mighty voice.

Come, acknowledge the power of God.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God.

His glory is on Israel; his might is in the skies.

God is to be feared in his holy place.

He is the Lord, Israel’s God.

He gives strength and power to his people.

Blessed be God!

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“And Lead Us not into Temptation”

2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to “lead” us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.” “God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one”; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle “between flesh and spirit”; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.

2847 The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death. We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a “delight to the eyes” and desirable, when in reality its fruit is death.

God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings…. There is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even we ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.

2848 “Lead us not into temptation” implies a decision of the heart: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…. No one can serve two masters.” “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” In this assent to the Holy Spirit the Father gives us strength. “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it.”

2849 Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart,” and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: “Keep them in your name.” The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch. Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. “Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake.”


Augustine of Canterbury (born first third of the 6th century – died probably 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church.

Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to Christianize King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Kent was probably chosen because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris, who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht’s main town of Canterbury.

King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king’s subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine’s authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. The archbishop probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.

Source: Wikipedia

Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest

John 16:12-15

The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you

but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes

he will lead you to the complete truth,

since he will not be speaking as from himself

but will say only what he has learnt;

and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me,

since all he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine;

that is why I said:

All he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.’


Acts 17:15,22-18:1

I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing it

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.

So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:

‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.

‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.

‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’

At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.


Psalm 148:1-2,11-14

Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

Praise the Lord from the heavens,

praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all his angels,

praise him, all his host.

Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

All earth’s kings and peoples,

earth’s princes and rulers,

young men and maidens,

old men together with children.

Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

Let them praise the name of the Lord

for he alone is exalted.

The splendour of his name

reaches beyond heaven and earth.

Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

He exalts the strength of his people.

He is the praise of all his saints,

of the sons of Israel,

of the people to whom he comes close.

Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Come, Holy Spirit”

2670 “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.

If the Spirit should not be worshiped, how can he divinize me through Baptism? If he should be worshiped, should he not be the object of adoration?

2671 The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit. Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth. But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.

2672 The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer. He is the artisan of the living tradition of prayer. To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all. It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church.


Bernardino of Siena, (also known as Bernardine; 8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444) was an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary. He was a systematizer of Scholastic economics. His popular preaching made him famous during his own lifetime because it was frequently directed against sorcery, gambling, infanticide, witchcraft, sodomy (homosexuality), Jews, and usury. Bernardino was later canonised by the Catholic Church as a saint – where he is also referred to as “the Apostle of Italy” – for his efforts to revive the country’s Catholic faith during the 15th century.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Our Lady of Fátima

John 15:1-8

I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,

and my Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in me that bears no fruit

he cuts away,

and every branch that does bear fruit

he prunes to make it bear even more.

You are pruned already,

by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.

As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,

but must remain part of the vine,

neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine,

you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me, with me in him,

bears fruit in plenty;

for cut off from me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me

is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;

these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,

and they are burnt.

If you remain in me

and my words remain in you,

you may ask what you will

and you shall get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,

and then you will be my disciples.’


Acts 15:1-6

They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.

But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.


Psalm 121(122):1-5

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

I rejoiced when I heard them say:

‘Let us go to God’s house.’

And now our feet are standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

Jerusalem is built as a city

strongly compact.

It is there that the tribes go up,

the tribes of the Lord.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

For Israel’s law it is,

there to praise the Lord’s name.

There were set the thrones of judgement

of the house of David.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart:

“Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. the spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. the humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.


Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Fátima, formally known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fátima Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima European Portuguese: [ˈnɔsɐ sɨˈɲoɾɐ dɨ ˈfatimɐ] Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈnɔsɐ sĩˈȷ̃ɔɾɐ dʒi ˈfatʃimɐ]), is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary based on the famed Marian apparitions reported in 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal. The three little children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

The reported apparitions at Fátima were officially declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church, which commemorates the event on the same date. The published memoirs of Lúcia Santos’ in the 1930s revealed two secrets that she claimed came from the Virgin while the third secret was to be revealed by the Catholic Church in 1960. The controversial events at Fátima gained fame due partly to elements of the secrets, prophecy and eschatological revelations allegedly related to the Second World War and possibly more global wars in the future, particularly the Virgin’s alleged request for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday of the 4th week of Eastertide

John 12:44-50 

I, the light, have come into the world

Jesus declared publicly:

‘Whoever believes in me

believes not in me

but in the one who sent me,

and whoever sees me,

sees the one who sent me.

I, the light, have come into the world,

so that whoever believes in me

need not stay in the dark any more.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,

it is not I who shall condemn him,

since I have come not to condemn the world,

but to save the world.

He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already:

the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

For what I have spoken does not come from myself;

no, what I was to say,

what I had to speak,

was commanded by the Father who sent me,

and I know that his commands mean eternal life.

And therefore what the Father has told me

is what I speak.’

First reading Acts 12:24-13:5 

‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart’

The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.

In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Psalm 66(67):2-3,5-6,8 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

O God, be gracious and bless us

and let your face shed its light upon us.

So will your ways be known upon earth

and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and exult

for you rule the world with justice.

With fairness you rule the peoples,

you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

May God still give us his blessing

till the ends of the earth revere him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

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.”

Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin, Doctor

John 6:35-40

It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal life

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.

But, as I have told you,

you can see me and still you do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;

because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,

but to do the will of the one who sent me.

Now the will of him who sent me

is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,

and that I should raise it up on the last day.

Yes, it is my Father’s will

that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life,

and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’


Acts 8:1-8

They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.

There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.

Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.

Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.


Psalm 65(66):1-7

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,

O sing to the glory of his name.

O render him glorious praise.

Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Because of the greatness of your strength

your enemies cringe before you.

Before you all the earth shall bow;

shall sing to you, sing to your name!’

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Come and see the works of God,

tremendous his deeds among men.

He turned the sea into dry land,

they passed through the river dry-shod.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Let our joy then be in him;

he rules for ever by his might.

His eyes keep watch over the nations:

let rebels not rise against him.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. “Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.'”

Perseverance in faith

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.” To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.


Saint Catherine of Siena (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a laywoman associated with the Dominican Order, was a Scholastic philosopher, and theologian who had a great influence on the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1461, she is also a doctor of the Church.

Born in Siena, she grew up there and wanted very soon to devote herself to God, against the will of her parents. She joined the Sisters of the Penance of St. Dominic and made her vows. She made herself known very quickly by being marked by mystical phenomena such as stigmata and mystical marriage.

She accompanied the chaplain of the Dominicans to the pope in Avignon, as ambassador of Florence, then at war against the pope. Her influence with Pope Gregory XI played a role in his decision to leave Avignon for Rome. She was then sent by him to negotiate peace with Florence. After Gregory XI’s death and peace concluded, she returned to Siena. She dictated to secretaries her set of spiritual treatises The Dialogue of Divine Providence.

The Great Schism of the West led Catherine of Siena to go to Rome with the pope. She sent numerous letters to princes and cardinals to promote obedience to Pope Urban VI and defend what she calls the “vessel of the Church.” She died on 29 April 1380, exhausted by her penances. Urban VI celebrated her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.

The devotion around Catherine of Siena developed rapidly after her death. She was canonized in 1461, declared patron saint of Rome in 1866, and of Italy (together with Francis of Assisi) in 1939.First woman (along with Teresa of Ávila) to be declared a “doctor of the Church,” on 4 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI, she was also proclaimed patron saint of Europe in 1999 by Pope John Paul II. She is the patron saint of journalists, media, and all communication professions, because of her epistolary work for the papacy.

Catherine of Siena is one of the outstanding figures of medieval Catholicism, by the strong influence she has had in the history of the papacy. She is behind the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome, and then carried out many missions entrusted by the pope, something quite rare for a woman in the Middle Ages.

Her writings—and especially The Dialogue, her major work which includes a set of treatises she would have dictated during ecstasies—mark theological thought. She is one of the most influential writers in Catholicism, to the point that she is one of only four women to be declared a doctor of the Church. This recognition by the Church consecrates the importance of her writings.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday of the 2nd week of Eastertide

John 3:16-21

God sent his Son into the world so that through him the world might be saved

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘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.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong

hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’


Acts 5:17-26

The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the people

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.

But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.

When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.


Psalm 33(34):2-9

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise always on my lips;

in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.

The humble shall hear and be glad.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

Glorify the Lord with me.

Together let us praise his name.

I sought the Lord and he answered me;

from all my terrors he set me free.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

Look towards him and be radiant;

let your faces not be abashed.

This poor man called, the Lord heard him

and rescued him from all his distress.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

The angel of the Lord is encamped

around those who revere him, to rescue them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

This poor man called and the Lord heard him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

To Judge The Living And The Dead

678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love. On the Last Day Jesus will say: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. The Father has given “all judgment to the Son”. Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.

Easter Wednesday

Luke 24:13-35

They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


Acts 3:1-10

I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.


Psalm 104(105):1-4,6-9

Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name,

make known his deeds among the peoples.

O sing to him, sing his praise;

tell all his wonderful works!

Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Be proud of his holy name,

let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Consider the Lord and his strength;

constantly seek his face.

Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

O children of Abraham, his servant,

O sons of the Jacob he chose.

He, the Lord, is our God:

his judgements prevail in all the earth.

Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

He remembers his covenant for ever,

his promise for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

the oath he swore to Isaac.

Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Holy Spirit prepares for the reception of Christ

1093 In the sacramental economy the Holy Spirit fulfills what was prefigured in the Old Covenant. Since Christ’s Church was “prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Covenant,” the Church’s liturgy has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant as integral and irreplaceable, adopting them as her own:

-notably, reading the Old Testament;

-praying the Psalms;

-above all, recalling the saving events and significant realities which have found their fulfillment in the mystery of Christ (promise and covenant, Exodus and Passover, kingdom and temple, exile and return).

1094 It is on this harmony of the two Testaments that the Paschal catechesis of the Lord is built, and then, that of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. This catechesis unveils what lay hidden under the letter of the Old Testament: the mystery of Christ. It is called “typological” because it reveals the newness of Christ on the basis of the “figures” (types) which announce him in the deeds, words, and symbols of the first covenant. By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled. Thus the flood and Noah’s ark prefigured salvation by Baptism, as did the cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea. Water from the rock was the figure of the spiritual gifts of Christ, and manna in the desert prefigured the Eucharist, “the true bread from heaven.”

1095 For this reason the Church, especially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the “today” of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church’s liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.

1096 Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people’s faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God’s mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. The Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation.

1097 In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church. The liturgical assembly derives its unity from the “communion of the Holy Spirit” who gathers the children of God into the one Body of Christ. This assembly transcends racial, cultural, social – indeed, all human affinities.

1098 The assembly should prepare itself to encounter its Lord and to become “a people well disposed.” The preparation of hearts is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the assembly, especially of its ministers. The grace of the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken faith, conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father’s will. These dispositions are the precondition both for the reception of other graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life which the celebration is intended to produce afterward.

Wednesday of Holy Week

Matthew 26:14-25

‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.


Isaiah 50:4-9

Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me

a disciple’s tongue.

So that I may know how to reply to the wearied

he provides me with speech.

Each morning he wakes me to hear,

to listen like a disciple.

The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance,

neither did I turn away.

I offered my back to those who struck me,

my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;

I did not cover my face

against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help,

so that I am untouched by the insults.

So, too, I set my face like flint;

I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?

Then let us go to court together.

Who thinks he has a case against me?

Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help,

who will dare to condemn me?


Psalm 68(69):8-10,21-22,31,33-34

In your great love, O Lord, answer my prayers for your favour.

It is for you that I suffer taunts,

that shame covers my face,

that I have become a stranger to my brothers,

an alien to my own mother’s sons.

I burn with zeal for your house

and taunts against you fall on me.

In your great love, O Lord, answer my prayers for your favour.

Taunts have broken my heart;

I have reached the end of my strength.

I looked in vain for compassion,

for consolers; not one could I find.

For food they gave me poison;

in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

In your great love, O Lord, answer my prayers for your favour.

I will praise God’s name with a song;

I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

The poor when they see it will be glad

and God-seeking hearts will revive;

for the Lord listens to the needy

and does not spurn his servants in their chains.

In your great love, O Lord, answer my prayers for your favour.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life

610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles “on the night he was betrayed”. On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: “This is my body which is given for you.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

 

Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent

John 8:31-42

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home

you will indeed be my disciples,

you will learn the truth

and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

everyone who commits sin is a slave.

Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,

but the son’s place is assured.

So if the Son makes you free,

you will be free indeed.

I know that you are descended from Abraham;

but in spite of that you want to kill me

because nothing I say has penetrated into you.

What I, for my part, speak of

is what I have seen with my Father;

but you, you put into action

the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children,

you would do as Abraham did.

As it is, you want to kill me

when I tell you the truth

as I have learnt it from God;

that is not what Abraham did.

What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me,

since I have come here from God;

yes, I have come from him;

not that I came because I chose,

no, I was sent, and by him.’


Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’


Daniel 3:52-56

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

Blest your glorious holy name.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the temple of your glory.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest who gaze into the depths.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the firmament of heaven.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The signs of the kingdom of God

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

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

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

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

The Annunciation of the Lord

Luke 1:26-38

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.


Isaiah 7:10-14,8:10

The maiden is with child

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’

Then Isaiah said:

‘Listen now, House of David:

are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men

without trying the patience of my God, too?

The Lord himself, therefore,

will give you a sign.

It is this: the maiden is with child

and will soon give birth to a son

whom she will call Immanuel,

a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’


Hebrews 10:4-10

God’s will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,

prepared a body for me.

You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;

then I said,

just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,

‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.


Psalm 39(40):7-11

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,

but an open ear.

You do not ask for holocaust and victim.

Instead, here am I.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

In the scroll of the book it stands written

that I should do your will.

My God, I delight in your law

in the depth of my heart.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

Your justice I have proclaimed

in the great assembly.

My lips I have not sealed;

you know it, O Lord.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

I have not hidden your justice in my heart

but declared your faithful help.

I have not hidden your love and your truth

from the great assembly.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace:

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”