Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

+Mark 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to take any food and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Then he gave them this warning, ‘Keep your eyes open; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ And they said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear? Or do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ They answered, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ And they answered, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Are you still without perception?’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called:

Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.

1329 The Lord’s Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, above all at the Last Supper. It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.

The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church.


Psalm 93

The LORD is king, robed with majesty; the LORD is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved.

Your throne stands firm from of old; you are from everlasting, LORD.

The flood has raised up, LORD; the flood has raised up its roar; the flood has raised its pounding waves.

More powerful than the roar of many waters, more powerful than the breakers of the sea, powerful in the heavens is the LORD.

Your decrees are firmly established; holiness belongs to your house, LORD, for all the length of days.

Source: The New American Bible

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Monday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

+Mark 8:11-13

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.

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.”


Psalm 118(119):67-68,71-72,75-76

Let your love come to me and I shall live.

Before I was afflicted I strayed

but now I keep your word.

You are good and your deeds are good;

teach me your statutes.

Let your love come to me and I shall live.

It was good for me to be afflicted,

to learn your statutes.

The law from your mouth means more to me

than silver and gold.

Let your love come to me and I shall live.

Lord, I know that your decrees are right,

that you afflicted me justly.

Let your love be ready to console me

by your promise to your servant.

Let your love come to me and I shall live.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

 

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

+Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ the physician

1503 Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing.110 The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.” And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.

1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”. But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”. of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.


Psalm 31

For the leader. A psalm of David.

In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice deliver me;

incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me.

You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me.

Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.

Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God.

You hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.

I will rejoice and be glad in your love, once you have seen my misery, observed my distress.

You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space.

Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; with grief my eyes are wasted, my soul and body spent.

My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing. My strength fails in affliction; my bones are consumed.

To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends. When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away.

I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a shattered dish.

I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire against me; they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness.

Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.

Strike dumb their lying lips, proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn.

How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of all the people.

You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You keep them in your abode, safe from plotting tongues.

Blessed be the LORD, who has shown me wondrous love, and been for me a city most secure.

Once I said in my anguish, “I am shut out from your sight.” Yet you heard my plea, when I cried out to you.

Love the LORD, all you faithful. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Source: The New American Bible

Scholastica, V

+Mark 8:1-10

A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said. Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd. They had a few small fish as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed also. They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over. Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away and immediately, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called:

Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.

1329 The Lord’s Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, above all at the Last Supper. It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.

The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church.

1330 The memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.

The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church’s whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.

1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) – the first meaning of the phrase “communion of saints” in the Apostles’ Creed – the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality, viaticum. . . .

1332 Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives.


Psalm 105

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds!

Sing praise, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds!

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!

Rely on the mighty LORD; constantly seek his face.

Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his signs and his words of judgment,

You descendants of Abraham his servant, offspring of Jacob the chosen one!

The LORD is our God who rules the whole earth.

He remembers forever his covenant, the pact imposed for a thousand generations,

Which was made with Abraham, confirmed by oath to Isaac,

And ratified as binding for Jacob, an everlasting covenant for Israel:

“To you I give the land of Canaan, your own allotted heritage.”

When they were few in number, a handful, and strangers there,

Wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another,

He let no one oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:

”  Do not touch my anointed, to my prophets do no harm.”

Then he called down a famine on the land, destroyed the grain that sustained them.

He had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, sold as a slave.

They shackled his feet with chains; collared his neck in iron,

Till his prediction came to pass, and the word of the LORD proved him true.

The king sent and released him; the ruler of peoples set him free.

He made him lord over his palace, ruler over all his possessions,

To instruct his princes by his word, to teach his elders wisdom.

Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob lived in the land of Ham.

God greatly increased his people, made them too many for their foes.

He turned their hearts to hate his people, to treat his servants unfairly.

He sent his servant Moses, Aaron whom he had chosen.

They worked his signs in Egypt and wonders in the land of Ham.

He sent darkness and it grew dark, but they rebelled against his word.

He turned their waters into blood and killed all their fish.

Their land swarmed with frogs, even the chambers of their kings.

He spoke and there came swarms of flies, gnats through all their country.

For rain he gave them hail, flashes of lightning throughout their land.

He struck down their vines and fig trees, shattered the trees of their country.

He spoke and the locusts came, grass hoppers without number.

They devoured every plant in the land; they ravaged the crops of their fields.

He struck down every firstborn in the land, the first fruits of all their vigor.

He brought his people out, laden with silver and gold; no stragglers among the tribes.

Egypt rejoiced when they left, for panic had seized them.

He spread a cloud as a cover, and made a fire to light up the night.

They asked and he brought them quail; with bread from heaven he filled them.

He split the rock and water gushed forth; it flowed through the desert like a river.

For he remembered his sacred word to Abraham his servant.

He brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with shouts of triumph.

He gave them the lands of the nations, the wealth of the peoples to own,

That they might keep his laws and observe his teachings. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


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

Friday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

+Mark 7:31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

POVERTY OF HEART

2544 Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them “renounce all that [they have]” for his sake and that of the Gospel. Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.

2545 All Christ’s faithful are to “direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty.”

2546 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs:

The Word speaks of voluntary humility as “poverty in spirit”; the Apostle gives an example of God’s poverty when he says: “For your sakes he became poor.”

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. “Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.


Psalm 80 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the shoot your right hand has planted.

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

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

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

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

Source: The New American Bible

Jerome Emiliani; Josephine Bakhita, V

+Mark 7:24-30

Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus hears our prayer

2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus’ prayer: “He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us.”


Psalm 105

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds!

Sing praise, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds!

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!

Rely on the mighty LORD; constantly seek his face.

Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his signs and his words of judgment,

You descendants of Abraham his servant, offspring of Jacob the chosen one!

The LORD is our God who rules the whole earth.

He remembers forever his covenant, the pact imposed for a thousand generations,

Which was made with Abraham, confirmed by oath to Isaac,

And ratified as binding for Jacob, an everlasting covenant for Israel:

“To you I give the land of Canaan, your own allotted heritage.”

When they were few in number, a handful, and strangers there,

Wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another,

He let no one oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:

” 3 Do not touch my anointed, to my prophets do no harm.”

Then he called down a famine on the land, destroyed the grain that sustained them.

He had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, sold as a slave.

They shackled his feet with chains; collared his neck in iron,

Till his prediction came to pass, and the word of the LORD proved him true.

The king sent and released him; the ruler of peoples set him free.

He made him lord over his palace, ruler over all his possessions,

To instruct his princes by his word, to teach his elders wisdom.

Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob lived in the land of Ham.

God greatly increased his people, made them too many for their foes.

He turned their hearts to hate his people, to treat his servants unfairly.

He sent his servant Moses, Aaron whom he had chosen.

They worked his signs in Egypt and wonders in the land of Ham.

He sent darkness and it grew dark, but they rebelled against his word.

He turned their waters into blood and killed all their fish.

Their land swarmed with frogs, even the chambers of their kings.

He spoke and there came swarms of flies, gnats through all their country.

For rain he gave them hail, flashes of lightning throughout their land.

He struck down their vines and fig trees, shattered the trees of their country.

He spoke and the locusts came, grass hoppers without number.

They devoured every plant in the land; they ravaged the crops of their fields.

He struck down every firstborn in the land, the first fruits of all their vigor.

He brought his people out, laden with silver and gold; no stragglers among the tribes.

Egypt rejoiced when they left, for panic had seized them.

He spread a cloud as a cover, and made a fire to light up the night.

They asked and he brought them quail; with bread from heaven he filled them.

He split the rock and water gushed forth; it flowed through the desert like a river.

For he remembered his sacred word to Abraham his servant.

He brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with shouts of triumph.

He gave them the lands of the nations, the wealth of the peoples to own,

That they might keep his laws and observe his teachings. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


Gerolamo Emiliani (Italian: Gerolamo Emiliani also Jerome Aemilian, Hiëronymus Emiliani) (1486 – 8 February 1537), was an Italian humanitarian, founder of the Somaschi Fathers, and saint. He was canonized in 1767 and is the patron saint of orphans.

Biography

Jerome was born in Venice, the son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and Eleonore Mauroceni. His father died when he was a teenager and Jerome ran away at the age of 15 to join the army. In 1508, he participated in the defense of Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. He was appointed governor of a fortress in the mountains of Treviso, and while defending his post was taken prisoner. His escape he attributed to the intercession of the Mother of God; and he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow, and left his chains as an offering. He was then appointed podestà (Venetian magistrate) of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere and showed his zeal, especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their needs. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; in Brescia, Bergamo, Milan and other places in northern Italy, he erected orphanages, for boys and for girls. At Bergamo, he also founded a hostel for repentant prostitutes.

Congregation of Regular Clerics

Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, then joined him in his labors of charity, and in 1532 Gerolamo founded a religious society, the Congregation of Regular Clerics. The motherhouse was at Somasca, a secluded North Italian hamlet in the Comune of Vercurago between Milan and Bergamo, after which the members became known as Somaschi. In the Rule of this Society, Gerolamo stated the principal work of the community was the care of orphans, poor and sick, and demanded that dwellings, food and clothing would bear the mark of religious poverty. Devoted to the guardian angels, Emiliani entrusted the Company to the protection of the Virgin, the Holy Spirit and the Archangel Raphael.

The Congregation was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, and the Order, which has as its official name “Clerici Regulares S. Majoli Papiae Congregationis Somaschae,” spread throughout Italy.

During an epidemic, Jerome was assisting the sick when he contracted the plague. He died in Somasca, February 8, 1537.


Josephine Margaret Bakhita, F.D.C.C., (ca. 1869 – 8 February 1947) was a Sudanese-born former slave who became a Canossian Religious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In 2000 she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Early life

She was born around the year 1869 in the western Sudanese region of Darfur; in the village of Olgossa, west of Nyala and close to Mount Agilerei. She belonged to the prestigious Daju people; her well respected and reasonably prosperous father was brother of the village chief. She was surrounded by a loving family of three brothers and three sisters; as she says in her autobiography: “I lived a very happy and carefree life, without knowing what suffering”.

Sometime between the age of seven to nine, probably in February 1877, she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders, who already had kidnapped her elder sister two years earlier. She was cruelly forced to walk barefoot about 960 kilometers (600 mi) to El Obeid and was already sold and bought twice before she arrived there. Over the course of twelve years (1877–1889) she was resold again three more times and then given away. It is said that the trauma of her abduction caused her to forget her own name; she took one given to her by the slavers, bakhita, Arabic for lucky. She was also forcibly converted to Islam.

Life as a Slave

In El Obeid, Bakhita was bought by a very rich Arab from Arab slave traders who used her as a maid in service to his two daughters. They liked her and treated her well. But after offending one of her owner’s sons, possibly for breaking a vase, the son lashed and kicked her severely that she spent more than a month unable to move from her straw bed. Her fourth owner was a Turkish general and she had to serve his mother-in-law and his wife who both were very cruel to all their slaves. Bakhita says: “During all the years I stayed in that house, I do not recall a day that passed without some wound or other. When a wound from the whip began to heal, other blows would pour down on me.”

She says that the most terrifying of all her memories there was when she (in common with other slaves) was marked by a process resembling both scarification and tattooing, which was a traditional practice throughout Sudan. As her mistress was watching her with a whip in her hand, a dish of white flour, a dish of salt and a razor were brought by a woman. She used the flour to draw patterns on her skin and then she cut deeply along the lines before filling the wounds with salt to ensure permanent scarring. A total of 114 intricate patterns were cut into her breasts, belly, and into her right arm.

By the end of 1882, El Obeid came under the threat of an attack of Mahdist revolutionaries. The Turkish general began making preparations to return to his homeland. He sold all his slaves but selected ten of them to be sold later, on his way through Khartoum. There in 1883 Bakhita was bought by the Italian Vice Consul Callisto Legnani, who didn’t use the lash when giving orders and treated her in a loving and cordial way. Two years later, when Legnani himself had to return to Italy, Bakhita begged to go with him. By the end of 1884 they escaped from besieged Khartoum with a friend, Augusto Michieli. They traveled a risky 650-kilometer (400 mi) trip on camel back to Suakin, which then was the largest port of Sudan. In March 1885 they left Suakin for Italy and arrived at the Italian port of Genoa in April. They were met there by Augusto Michieli’s wife Signora Maria Turina Michieli. Callisto Legnani gave the enslavement of Bakhita to Turina Michieli as a present. Bakhita’s new masters took her to their family villa at Zianigo, near Mirano Veneto, about 25 km (16 mi) west of Venice. She lived there for three years and became nanny to the Michieli’s daughter Alice, known as Mimmina, born in February 1886. The Michielis brought Bakhita with them to the Sudan for nine months before returning to Italy.

Conversion to Catholicism and freedom

Suakin in the Sudan was besieged but remained in Anglo-Egyptian hands. Augusto Michieli acquired a large hotel there. He therefore decided to sell his entire property in Italy and to move his family to the Sudan permanently. Selling his house and lands took much longer than expected. By the end of 1888, Turina wanted to see her husband in the Sudan even though land transactions were not finished. Since the villa in Zianigo was already sold, Bakhita and Mimmina needed a temporary place to stay while Turina went to the Sudan without them. At the advice of their business agent Illuminato Cecchini, on 29 November 1888, Signora Turina Michieli left them in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice. When she returned to take them both to Suakin, though, Bakhita firmly refused to leave. For a full three days Mrs. Michieli tried to force the issue. So, the superior of the institute for baptismal candidates (Catechumenate) that Bakhita attended complained to the Italian authorities. On 29 November 1889 an Italian court ruled that, because the British had induced Sudan to outlaw slavery before Bakhita’s birth and because Italian law did not recognize slavery, Bakhita had never legally been a slave. For the first time in her life Bakhita found herself in control of her own destiny. She chose to remain with the Canossians. On January 9, 1890 Bakhita was baptised with the names of Josephine Margaret and Fortunata (which is the Latin translation for the Arabic Bakhita). On the same day she was also confirmed and received Holy Communion from Archbishop Giuseppe Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice, the future Pope Pius X, himself.

Canossian Sister

On 7 December 1893 Josephine Bakhita entered the novitiate of the Canossian Sisters and on 8 December 1896 she took her vows, welcomed by Cardinal Sarto. In 1902 she was assigned to the Canossian convent at Schio, in the northern Italian province of Vicenza, where she spent the rest of her life. Her only extended time away was between 1935 and 1939, when she stayed at the Missionary Novitiate in Vimercate (Milan); mostly visiting other Canossian communities in Italy, talking about her experiences and helping to prepare young sisters for work in Africa. A strong missionary drive animated her throughout her entire life – “her mind was always on God, and her heart in Africa”.

During her 42 years in Schio, Bakhita was employed as the cook, sacristan and portress (door keeper) and was in frequent contact with the local community. Her gentleness, calming voice, and ever-present smile became well known and Vicenzans still refer to her as Sor Moretta (“little brown sister”) or Madre Moretta (“black mother”). Her special charisma and reputation for sanctity were noticed by her order; the first publication of her story (Storia Meravigliosa by Ida Zanolini) in 1931, made her famous throughout Italy. During the Second World War (1939–1945) she shared the fears and hopes of the town people, who considered her a saint and felt protected by her mere presence. Not quite in vain as the bombs did not spare Schio, but the war passed without one single casualty.

Her last years were marked by pain and sickness. She used a wheelchair, but she retained her cheerfulness, and if asked how she was, she would always smile and answer: “As the Master desires.” In the extremity of her last hours her mind was driven back to the years of her slavery and she cried out: “The chains are too tight, loosen them a little, please!” After a while she came round again. Someone asked her: “How are you? Today is Saturday.” “Yes, I am so happy: Our Lady… Our Lady!” These were her last audible words.

Bakhita died at 8:10 PM on 8 February 1947. For three days her body lay on display while thousands of people arrived to pay their respects.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

+Mark 7:14-23

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.’

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,326 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.

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.


Psalm 36

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Sin directs the heart of the wicked; their eyes are closed to the fear of God.

For they live with the delusion: their guilt will not be known and hated.

Empty and false are the words of their mouth; they have ceased to be wise and do good.

In their beds they hatch plots; they set out on a wicked way; they do not reject evil.

LORD, your love reaches to heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds.

Your justice is like the highest mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep; all living creatures you sustain, LORD.

How precious is your love, O God! We take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink.

For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.

Continue your kindness toward your friends, your just defense of the honest heart.

Do not let the foot of the proud overtake me, nor the hand of the wicked disturb me.

There make the evildoers fall; thrust them down, never to rise.

Source: The New American Bible

 

 

 

Paul Miki and Companions, Mm

+Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,

while their hearts are far from me.

The worship they offer me is worthless,

the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

He was obedient to them.

The Lord Jesus himself recalled the force of this “commandment of God.” The Apostle teaches: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ (This is the first commandment with a promise.) ‘that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”‘

2197 The fourth commandment opens the second table of the Decalogue. It shows us the order of charity. God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God. We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.

2198 This commandment is expressed in positive terms of duties to be fulfilled. It introduces the subsequent commandments which are concerned with particular respect for life, marriage, earthly goods, and speech. It constitutes one of the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church.

2199 The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it.

This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.

2200 Observing the fourth commandment brings its reward: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Respecting this commandment provides, along with spiritual fruits, temporal fruits of peace and prosperity. Conversely, failure to observe it brings great harm to communities and to individuals.


Psalm 83

A song; a psalm of Asaph.

God, do not be silent; God, be not still and unmoved!

See how your enemies rage; your foes proudly raise their heads.

They conspire against your people, plot against those you protect.

They say, “Come, let us wipe out their nation; let Israel’s name be mentioned no more!”

They scheme with one mind, in league against you:

The tents of Ishmael and Edom, the people of Moab and Hagar,

Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre.

Assyria, too, in league with them gives aid to the descendants of Lot. Selah

Deal with them as with Midian; as with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent Kishon,

Those destroyed at Endor, who became dung for the ground.

Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,

Who made a plan together, “Let us seize the pastures of God.”

My God, turn them into withered grass, into chaff flying before the wind.

As a fire raging through a forest, a flame setting mountains ablaze,

Pursue them with your tempest; terrify them with your storm.

Cover their faces with shame, till they pay you homage, LORD.

Let them be dismayed and shamed forever; let them perish in disgrace.

Show them you alone are the LORD, the Most High over all the earth.

Source: The New American Bible


 

 

Ps118:24

Alleluia, alleluia!

Train me, Lord, to observe your law,

to keep it with my heart.

Alleluia!

 

Paulo Miki was born into a wealthy Japanese family. He was educated by the Jesuits in Azuchi and Takatsuki. He joined the Society of Jesus and became a well known and successful preacher – gaining numerous converts to Catholicism. The local daimyō, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, began persecuting Catholics for fear of the Jesuits’ influence and intentions, and possibly that of European visitors.

Miki was arrested and jailed with his fellow Catholics, who were later forced to march 966 kilometers (600 miles) from Kyoto to Nagasaki; all the while singing the Te Deum. On arriving in Nagasaki—which today has the largest Catholic population in Japan—Miki had his chest pierced with a lance while tied to a cross on 5 February 1597.

He preached his last sermon from the cross, and it is maintained that he forgave his executioners, stating that he himself was Japanese. Crucified alongside him were Joan Soan (de Gotó) and Santiago Kisai, also of the Society of Jesus; along with twenty-three other clergy and laity, all of whom were canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1862.

Source: Wikipedia

Agatha, V & M

+Mark 6:53-56

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ the physician

1503 Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing. The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.” And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.

1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”. But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”. of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.


Psalm 131

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest!

At Ephrata we heard of the ark;

we found it in the plains of Yearim.

‘Let us go to the place of his dwelling;

let us go to kneel at his footstool.’

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest!

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest,

you and the ark of your strength.

Your priests shall be clothed with holiness;

your faithful shall ring out their joy.

For the sake of David your servant

do not reject your anointed.

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest!

Source: Jerusalem Bible


Saint Agatha of Sicily (231 AD – 251 AD) is a Christian saint and virgin martyr. Her memorial is on 5 February. Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

She is the patron saint of Catania, Molise, Malta, San Marino, and Zamarramala, a municipality of the Province of Segovia in Spain. She is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, bell-founders, bakers, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna.

Life

One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250–253) in Catania, Sicily, for her determined profession of faith.

Her written legend comprises “straightforward accounts of interrogation, torture, resistance, and triumph which constitute some of the earliest hagiographic literature”, and are reflected in later recensions, the earliest surviving one being an illustrated late 10th-century passio bound into a composite volume in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, originating probably in Autun, Burgundy; in its margin illustrations Magdalena Carrasco detected Carolingian or Late Antique iconographic traditions.

Although the martyrdom of Saint Agatha is authenticated, and her veneration as a saint had spread beyond her native place even in antiquity, there is no reliable information concerning the details of her death.

According to Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend of ca. 1288, having dedicated her virginity to God, fifteen-year-old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith. He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel.

The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sent for her, argued, threatened, and finally had her put in prison. Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers. After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion, Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake, but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St. Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Saint Agatha died in prison, according to the Legenda Aurea in “the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three in the time of Decius, the emperor of Rome.”

Osbern Bokenham, A Legend of Holy Women, written in the 1440s, offers some further detail.

Source: Wikipedia

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

+Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus prays

2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin also learned to pray according to his human heart. He learns the formulas of prayer from his mother, who kept in her heart and meditated upon all the “great things” done by the Almighty. He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: “I must be in my Father’s house.” Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.

2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ’s ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father’s witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father’s plan of love by his Passion. He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter’s confession of him as “the Christ of God,” and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted. Jesus’ prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.

2601 “He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.”‘ In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.

2602 Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that “his brethren” experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.

2603 The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes. His exclamation, “Yes, Father!” expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father’s “good pleasure,” echoing his mother’s Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.

2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John. Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides his Son’s heart; the gift is given “as well.”

The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation. A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.

2605 When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father’s plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“Abba . . . not my will, but yours.”), but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”; “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”, “Woman, behold your son” – “Behold your mother”; “I thirst.”; “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”; “It is finished”; “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”60 until the “loud cry” as he expires, giving up his spirit.

2606 All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. The Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the “today” of the Resurrection the Father says: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”


Psalm 146

Hallelujah!

Praise the LORD, my soul; I shall praise the LORD all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.

I Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save.

When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing.

Happy those whose help is Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the LORD, their God,

The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, Who keeps faith forever,

secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free;

the LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked.

The LORD shall reign forever, your God, Zion, through all generations! Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible