Tuesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 10:38-42

Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

2709 What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” Contemplative prayer seeks him “whom my soul loves.” It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him. In this inner prayer we can still meditate, but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself.

2710 The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart. One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter. One cannot always meditate, but one can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state. The heart is the place of this quest and encounter, in poverty ant in faith.

2711 Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy: we “gather up:” the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.

2712 Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more. But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.

2713 Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts. Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, “to his likeness.”

2714 Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith” and we may be “grounded in love.”

2715 Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him.

2716 Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child. It participates in the “Yes” of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God’s lowly handmaid.

2717 Contemplative prayer is silence, the “symbol of the world to come” or “silent love.” Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.

2718 Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. The mystery of Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts.

2719 Contemplative prayer is a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to abide in the night of faith. The Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the night of the agony and the tomb – the three intense moments of the Hour of Jesus which his Spirit (and not “the flesh [which] is weak”) brings to life in prayer. We must be willing to “keep watch with [him] one hour.”


Psalm 129(130):1-4,7-8

A song of ascents. Much have they oppressed me from my youth, now let Israel say.

Much have they oppressed me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed.

Upon my back the plowers plowed, as they traced their long furrows.

But the just LORD cut me free from the ropes of the yoke of the wicked.

May they be scattered in disgrace, all who hate Zion.

May they be like grass on the rooftops withered in early growth,

Never to fill the reaper’s hands, nor the arms of the binders of sheaves,

With none passing by to call out: “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

Source: The New American Bible


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Denis, B & M, and companions, Mm; John Leonardi, P

+Luke 10:25-37

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Charity

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

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.96 By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jonah 2:3-5,8

But the LORD sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

From the belly of the fish Jonah said this prayer to the LORD, his God:

Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me.

Then I said, “I am banished from your sight! yet would I again look upon your holy temple.”

The waters swirled about me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me; seaweed clung about my head.

Down I went to the roots of the mountains; the bars of the nether world were closing behind me forever, But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD, my God.

When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; My prayer reached you in your holy temple.

Those who worship vain idols forsake their source of mercy.

But I, with resounding praise, will sacrifice to you; What I have vowed I will pay: deliverance is from the LORD.

Source: The New American Bible


Saint Denis was a legendary 3rd-century Christian martyr and saint. According to his hagiographies, he was bishop of Paris in the third century and, together with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, was martyred for his faith by decapitation. Some accounts placed this during Domitian’s persecution and identified St Denis of Paris with the Areopagite who was converted by St Paul and who served as the first bishop of Athens. Assuming Denis’s historicity, it is now considered more likely that he suffered under the persecution of the emperor Decius shortly after ad 250. Denis is the most famous cephalophore in Christian legend, with a popular story claiming that the decapitated bishop picked up his head and walked several miles while preaching a sermon on repentance. He is venerated in the Catholic Church as the patron saint of France and Paris and is accounted one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. A chapel was raised at the site of his burial by a local Christian woman; it was later expanded into an abbey and basilica, around which grew up the French city of Saint-Denis, now a suburb of Paris.


Saint Giovanni Leonardi (1541 – 9 October 1609) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He was born in the Republic of Lucca and was ordained as a priests in 1572. He first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of adolescents in his local Lucca parish. He assumed the name of “Giovanni of the Mother of God” as his religious name.

In 1574 he founded a group charged to deepen Christian faith and devotion; this foundation occurred as part of the movement known as the Counter-Reformation. Leonardi worked with this group to spread devotion to the Blessed Mother and devotion to the Forty Hours as well as spreading the message of the importance of frequent reception of the Eucharist.

This foundation received approval from Pope Paul V in 1614. Leonardi took his work to Rome where he became friends with Saint Philip Neri. Neri held him in high regard for his qualities of firmness and judgment and entrusted him to delicate works such as the reform of the Benedictine congregation of Montevergine. He then founded with J. Vivès the seminary of the Propagation of the Faith.

He died in 1609 dedicating himself to his brothers suffering from the influenza epidemic that was raging in Rome at the time.

The final Rule of his institute was published in 1851. Two houses of the Clerks of the Mother of God were opened when he died and three others were opened during the seventeenth century.

Leonardi was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938. His liturgical feast is celebrated on 9 October.

Source: Wikipedia


Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

+Matthew 21:33-43

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Symbols of the Church

753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. Around this center are grouped images taken “from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage.”

754 “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.

755 “The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.

756 “Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the corner-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

757 “The Church, further, which is called ‘that Jerusalem which is above’ and ‘our mother’, is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ ‘loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.’ It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly ‘nourishes and cherishes.'”


Psalm 79(80):9,12-16,19-20

A psalm of Asaph. O God, the nations have invaded your heritage; they have defiled your holy temple, have laid Jerusalem in ruins.

They have left the corpses of your servants as food for the birds of the heavens, the flesh of your faithful for the beasts of the earth.

They have spilled their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and no one is left to bury them.

We have become the reproach of our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us.

How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your rage keep burning like fire?

Pour out your wrath on nations that reject you, on kingdoms that do not call on your name,

For they have devoured Jacob, laid waste his home.

Do not hold past iniquities against us; may your compassion come quickly, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God our savior, for the glory of your name. Deliver us, pardon our sins for your name’s sake.

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes make clear to the nations that you avenge the blood of your servants.

Let the groans of prisoners come before you; by your great power free those doomed to death.

Lord, inflict on our neighbors seven fold the disgrace they inflicted on you.

Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; through all ages we will declare your praise.

Source: The New American Bible


Our Lady of the Rosary

+Luke 10:17-24

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’

It was then that, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said:

‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church is communion with Jesus

787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: “Abide in me, and I in you. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches.” And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”

789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.


Psalm 68(69):33-37

For the leader. A psalm of David; a song.

God will arise for battle; the enemy will be scattered; those who hate God will flee.

The wind will disperse them like smoke; as wax is melted by fire, so the wicked will perish before God.

Then the just will be glad; they will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy.

Sing to God, praise the divine name; exalt the rider of the clouds. Rejoice before this God whose name is the LORD.

Father of the fatherless, defender of widows –  this is the God whose abode is holy,

Who gives a home to the forsaken, who leads prisoners out to prosperity, while rebels live in the desert.

God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the desert, Selah

The earth quaked, the heavens shook, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.

You claimed a land as your own, O God;

your people settled there. There you poured abundant rains, God, graciously given to the poor in their need.

The Lord announced the news of victory:

“The kings and their armies are in desperate flight.

All you people so numerous,

will you stay by the sheepfolds?

  1.  Every household will share the booty,
  2. perhaps a dove sheathed with silver,
  3. its wings covered with yellow gold.”

When the Almighty routed the kings there, the spoils were scattered like snow on Zalmon.

You high mountains of Bashan, you rugged mountains of Bashan,

You rugged mountains, why look with envy at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell, where the LORD resides forever?

God’s chariots were myriad, thousands upon thousands; from Sinai the Lord entered the holy place.

You went up to its lofty height; you took captives, received slaves as tribute. No rebels can live in the presence of God.

Blessed be the Lord day by day, God, our salvation, who carries us. Selah

Our God is a God who saves; escape from death is in the LORD God’s hands.

God will crush the skulls of the enemy, the hairy heads of those who walk in sin.

The Lord has said: “Even from Bashan I will fetch them, fetch them even from the depths of the sea.

You will wash your feet in your enemy’s blood; the tongues of your dogs will lap it up.”

Your procession comes into view, O God, your procession into the holy place, my God and king.

The singers go first, the harpists follow; in their midst girls sound the timbrels.

In your choirs, bless God; bless the LORD, you from Israel’s assemblies.

In the lead is Benjamin, few in number; there the princes of Judah, a large throng, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali, too.

Summon again, O God, your power, the divine power you once showed for us.

Show it from your temple on behalf of Jerusalem, that kings may bring you tribute.

Roar at the wild beast of the reeds, the herd of mighty bulls, the lords of nations; scatter the nations that delight in war.

Exact rich tribute from lower Egypt, from upper Egypt, gold and silver; make Ethiopia extend its hands to God.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; chant the praises of the Lord, Selah

Who rides the heights of the ancient heavens, whose voice is thunder, mighty thunder.

Confess the power of God, whose majesty protects Israel, whose power is in the sky.

Awesome is God in his holy place, the God of Israel, who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Source: The New American Bible


Our Lady of Victory

In 1571, Pope St. Pius V organized a coalition of forces from Spain and smaller Christian kingdoms, republics and military orders, to rescue Christian outposts in Cyprus, particularly the Venetian outpost at Famagusta which, however, surrendered after a long siege on August 1 before the Christian forces set sail. On October 7, 1571, the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, sailed from Messina, Sicily, and met a powerful Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Lepanto. Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct materiel disadvantage, the holy pontiff, Pope Pius V, called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory, and led a rosary procession in Rome.

After about five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece, the combined navies of the Papal States, Venice and Spain managed to stop the Ottoman navy, slowing the Ottoman advance to the west and denying them access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas. If the Ottomans had won then there was a real possibility that an invasion of Italy could have followed so that the Ottoman sultan, already claiming to be emperor of the Romans, would have been in possession of both New and Old Rome. Combined with the unfolding events in Morocco where the Sa’adids successfully spurned the Ottoman advances, it confined Turkish naval power to the eastern Mediterranean. Although the Ottoman Empire was able to build more ships, it never fully recovered from the loss of trained sailors and marines, and was never again the Mediterranean naval power it had become the century before when Constantinople fell.

Feast day

Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory at Lepanto, which he attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Dedications to Our Lady of Victory preceded this papal declaration. In particular, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory in thanks for the Catholic victory over the Albigensians at the Battle of Muret on September 12, 1213.

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of the “Feast of Our Lady of Victory” to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. Dominican friar Juan Lopez in his 1584 book on the rosary states that the feast of the rosary was offered “in memory and in perpetual gratitude of the miraculous victory that the Lord gave to his Christian people that day against the Turkish armada”.

In 1671 the observance of this festival was extended by Clement X to the whole of Spain, and somewhat later Clement XI, after the victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene in the Battle of Petrovaradin on 6 August 1716 (the feast of Our Lady of the Snows), commanded the feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church, assigning it to the first Sunday in October.

A set of “proper” lessons in the second nocturn were conceded by Benedict XIII. Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class and added to the Litany of Loreto the invocation “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary”. On this feast, in every church in which the Rosary confraternity has been duly erected, a plenary indulgence toties quoties is granted upon certain conditions to all who visit therein the Rosary chapel or statue of Our Lady. This has been called the “Portiuncula” of the Rosary.

Pius X in 1913 changed the date to 7 October, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays. In 1960 Pope John XXIII changed the title to “Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary”.

Source: Wikipedia


Bruno, P; Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, V

+Luke 10:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. And still, it will not go as hard with Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell.

‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Magisterium of the Church

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”

87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”, the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.


Psalm 78(79):1-5,8-9

A maskil of Asaph.  Attend, my people, to my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in story, drawing lessons from of old.

We have heard them, we know them; our ancestors have recited them to us.

We do not keep them from our children; we recite them to the next generation, The praiseworthy and mighty deeds of the LORD, the wonders that he performed.

God set up a decree in Jacob, established a law in Israel: What he commanded our ancestors, they were to teach their children;

That the next generation might come to know, children yet to be born. In turn they were to recite them to their children,

that they too might put their trust in God, And not forget the works of God, keeping his commandments.

They were not to be like their ancestors, a rebellious and defiant generation, A generation whose heart was not constant, whose spirit was not faithful to God,

Like the ranks of Ephraimite archers, who retreated on the day of battle.

Source: The New American Bible


Bruno of Cologne (Cologne c. 1030 – Serra San Bruno 6 October 1101) was the founder of the Carthusian Order, he personally founded the order’s first two communities. He was a celebrated teacher at Reims, and a close advisor of his former pupil, Pope Urban II. His feast day is October 6.

Life

Bruno was born at Cologne about the year 1030. According to tradition, he belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city. Little is known of his early years, except that he studied theology in the present-day French city of Reims before returning to his native land.

His education completed, Bruno returned to Cologne, where he was most likely ordained a priest around 1055, and provided with a canonry at St. Cunibert’s. In 1056 Bishop Gervais recalled him to Reims, where the following year he found himself head of the episcopal school, which at the time included the direction of the schools and the oversight of all the educational establishments of the diocese. For eighteen years, from 1057 to 1075, he maintained the prestige which the school of Reims attained under its former masters, Remi of Auxerre, and others.

Bruno led the school for nearly two decades, acquiring an excellent reputation as a philosopher and theologian. Among his students were Eudes of Châtillon, afterwards Pope Urban II, Rangier, Cardinal and Bishop of Reggio, Robert, Bishop of Langres, and a large number of prelates and abbots.

Chancellor of the Diocese of Reims

In 1075, Bruno was appointed chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims, which involved him in the daily administration of the diocese. Meanwhile, the pious Bishop Gervais de Château-du-Loir, a friend to Bruno, had been succeeded by Manasses de Gournai, a violent aristocrat with no real vocation for the Church. In 1077, at the urging of Bruno and the clergy at Reims, de Gournai was suspended at a council at Autun. He responded, in typical eleventh century fashion, by having his retainers pull down the houses of his accusers. He confiscated their goods, sold their benefices, and even appealed to the pope. Bruno discreetly avoided the cathedral city until in 1080 a definite sentence, confirmed by popular riot, compelled Manasses to withdraw and take refuge with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, the fierce opponent of Pope Gregory VII.

Refusal to become a Bishop

Saint Bruno refuses the archbishopric of Reggio di Calabria, by Vincenzo Carducci, Chartreuse of el Paular.

On the verge of being made bishop himself, Bruno instead followed a vow he had made to renounce secular concerns and withdrew, along with two of his friends, Raoul and Fulcius, also canons of Reims.

Bruno’s first thought on leaving Reims seems to have been to place himself and his companions under the direction of an eminent solitary, Robert of Molesme, who had recently (1075) settled at Sèche-Fontaine, near Molesme in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Langres, together with a band of other hermits, who were later on (in 1098) to form the Cistercians. But he soon found that this was not his vocation. After a short stay he went with six of his companions to Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble. The bishop, according to the pious legend, had recently had a vision of these men, under a chaplet of seven stars, and he installed them himself in 1084 in a mountainous and uninhabited spot in the lower Alps of the Dauphiné, in a place named Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble. With St. Bruno were: Landuin, Stephen of Bourg, Stephen of Die (canons of St. Rufus), Hugh the Chaplain and two laymen, Andrew and Guerin, who afterwards became the first lay brothers.

They built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other where they lived isolated and in poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study, for these men had a reputation for learning, and were frequently honored by the visits of St. Hugh who became like one of themselves.

At the time, Bruno’s pupil, Eudes of Châtillon, had become pope as Urban II (1088). Resolved to continue the work of reform commenced by Gregory VII, and being obliged to struggle against Antipope Clement III and Emperor Henry IV, he was in dire need of competent and devoted allies and called his former master to Rome in 1090.

It is difficult to assign the place which Bruno occupied in Rome, or his influence in contemporary events, because it remained entirely hidden and confidential. Lodged in the Lateran with the pope himself, privy to his most private councils, he worked as an advisor but wisely kept in the background, apart from the fiercely partisan rivalries in Rome and within the curia. Shortly after his arrival in Rome, the papal party was forced to evacuate to the south by the arrival of Henry IV with his own antipope in tow.

Bruno did not attend the Council of Clermont, where Urban preached the First Crusade, but seems to have been present at the Council of Benevento (March, 1091). His part in history is effaced.

During the voyage south, the former professor of Reims attracted attention in Reggio Calabria, which had just lost its Archbishop Arnulph in the year 1090. The pope and Roger Borsa, the Norman Duke of Apulia, strongly approved of the election and pressed Bruno to accept it. Bruno sidestepped the offer, which he guided to one of his former pupils nearby at an abbey near Salerno of the Order of Saint Benedict. Instead Bruno begged to return again to his solitary life. His intention was to rejoin his brethren in Dauphiné, as a letter addressed to them makes clear. But the will of Urban II kept him in Italy, near the papal court, to which he could be called at need.

The place for his new retreat, chosen in 1091 by Bruno and some followers who had joined him, was in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Squillace, in a small forested high valley, where the band constructed a little wooden chapel and cabins. His patron there was Roger I of Sicily, Count of Sicily and Calabria and uncle of the Duke of Apulia, who granted them the lands they occupied, and a close friendship developed. Bruno went to the Guiscard court at Mileto to visit the count in his sickness (1098 and 1101), and to baptize his son, Roger (1097), the future King of Sicily. But more often Roger went into retreat with his friends, where he erected a simple house for himself. Through his generosity, the monastery of St. Stephen was built in 1095, near the original hermitage dedicated to the Virgin.

At the turn of the new century, the friends of St. Bruno died one after the other: Urban II in 1099; Landuin, the prior of the Grande Chartreuse, his first companion, in 1100; Count Roger in 1101. Bruno followed on 6 October 1101 in Serra San Bruno.

Bruno’s legacy

After his death, the Carthusians of Calabria, following a frequent custom of the Middle Ages, dispatched a roll-bearer, a servant of the community laden with a long roll of parchment, hung round his neck, who travelled through Italy, France, Germany, and England, stopping to announce the death of Bruno, and in return, the churches, communities, or chapters inscribed upon his roll, in prose or verse, the expression of their regrets, with promises of prayers. Many of these rolls have been preserved, but few are so extensive or so full of praise as that about St. Bruno. A hundred and seventy-eight witnesses, of whom many had known the deceased, celebrated the extent of his knowledge and the fruitfulness of his instruction. Strangers to him were above all struck by his great knowledge and talents. But his disciples praised his three chief virtues — his great spirit of prayer, extreme mortification, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Both the churches built by him in the desert were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Our Lady of Casalibus in Dauphiné and Our Lady Della Torre in Calabria; faithful to his inspirations, the Carthusian Statutes proclaim the Mother of God the first and chief patron of all the houses of the order, whoever may be their particular patron. He is also the eponym for San Bruno Creek in California.

Inscription in the Roman Calendar

Bruno was buried in the little cemetery of the hermitage of Santa Maria. In 1513, his bones were discovered with the epitaph “Haec sunt ossa magistri Brunonis” (these are the bones of the master Bruno) over them. Since the Carthusian Order maintains a strict observance of humility, Saint Bruno was never formally canonized. He was not included in the Tridentine Calendar, but in the year 1623 Pope Gregory XV included him in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 6 October.

Saint Bruno has long been regarded the patron saint of Calabria and one of the patron saints of Germany.

A writer as well as founder of his order, Saint Bruno composed commentaries on the Psalms and on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle. Two letters of his also remain, his profession of faith, and a short elegy on contempt for the world which shows that he cultivated poetry. St Bruno’s Commentaries reveal that he knew a little Hebrew and Greek; he was familiar with the Church Fathers, especially Augustine of Hippo and Ambrose. “His style,” said Dom Rivet, “is concise, clear, nervous and simple, and his Latin as good as could be expected of that century: it would be difficult to find a composition of this kind at once more solid and more luminous, more concise and more clear.”

In Catholic art, Saint Bruno can be recognized by a skull that he holds and contemplates, with a book and a cross. He may be crowned with a halo of seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas.


The Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, S.N.J.M., (6 October 1811 – 6 October 1849) was a Canadian Roman Catholic religious sister, who founded the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1982.

She was born Eulalie Mélanie Durocher in the village of Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on 6 October 1811. She was the tenth of eleven children born to Olivier and Geneviève Durocher, a prosperous farming family. Three of her siblings died in infancy. Her brothers Flavien, Théophile, and Eusèbe entered the Roman Catholic priesthood, and her sister Séraphine joined the Congregation of Notre Dame.

Durocher was home-schooled by her paternal grandfather Olivier Durocher until the age of 10. Upon his death in 1821, she became a boarding pupil at a convent run by the Congregation of Notre Dame in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu until 1823, where she took First Communion aged 12. After leaving the convent she returned home to be privately tutored by Jean-Marie-Ignace Archambault, a teacher at the Collège de Saint-Hyacinthe. During this time she owned a horse named Caesar and became a competent equestrian.

In 1827, aged 16, Durocher entered the boarding school of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal in 1827, where she intended to enter the novitiate as her sister Séraphine had earlier done. However, her health proved too poor to allow her to complete her education there and after two years she returned home. A contemporary of Durocher’s from her time at boarding school later wrote: “[Durocher] was wonderful; she alone was unaware of her own worth, attributing all to God that was found favourable in her, and asserting that of herself she was only weakness and misery. She possessed charming modesty, was gentle and amiable; attentive always to the voice of her teachers, she was still more so to the voice of God, who spoke to her heart.”

In 1830, Durocher’s mother Geneviève died, and Durocher assumed her mother’s role as homemaker. In 1831, Durocher’s brother Theophile, who at that time was curate of Saint-Mathieu Parish in Belœil, persuaded his father and Durocher to move from the family farm to the presbytery of his parish. At the presbytery, Durocher worked as housekeeper and secretary to Theophile between 1831 and 1843. During the course of this work she was made aware of the severe shortage of schools and teachers in the surrounding countryside (in 1835 Quebec was home to only 15 schools) and discussed with her family and acquaintances the need for a religious community specifically dedicated to the education of children both rich and poor.

Foundress

In 1841, Louis-Moïse Brassard, parish priest of Longueuil, entered discussions with Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles, France, for the establishment of a mission to Quebec by a French religious congregation known as the Sœurs des Saints-Noms de Jésus et de Marie. Durocher learned of the proposed mission through Brassard. Along with her friend Mélodie Dufresne, Durocher applied in advance to join the novitiate of the new congregation upon its arrival in Canada. However, the mission ultimately did not go ahead, and Mazenod instead advised Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, whom Mazenod had met during Bourget’s European visit of that year, to establish a similar congregation in Canada, based upon the two women who had been eager to be part of the French group.

On 2 December 1841, a mission of the Oblate Fathers arrived in Montreal, and in August 1842 opened a church at Longueuil. Among the Oblates was a Father Pierre-Adrien Telmon, who travelled to Belœil to conduct popular missions, where he met Durocher and became her spiritual director.On 6 October 1843, Durocher travelled to Longueuil to witness her brother Eusèbe profess his religious vows, and there she met Bishop Bourget. Together, Bourget and Telmon petitioned Durocher to take a leading role in the foundation of a new religious congregation dedicated to the Christian education of youth. Durocher agreed to this request, and on 28 October 1843, Durocher began her postulancy at Saint-Antoine Church in Longueuil under the direction of Father Jean-Marie François Allard, a member of the Oblates. Two companions entered training alongside her: Durocher’s friend Mélodie Dufresne, and Henriette Céré, a schoolteacher of Longueuil at whose school building Durocher and Dufresne roomed during their postulancy.

On 28 February 1844, in a ceremony conducted by Bishop Bourget, the three postulants began their novitiate, assumed the religious habit and received their religious names. Durocher took the name Sister Marie-Rose, Dufresne became Sister Marie-Agnes and Céré became known as Sister Marie-Madeleine. Bishop Bourget gave the newly founded community diocesan approval and named it the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, after the French community Durocher had hoped to join. The sisters adopted the rule and constitutions of their French namesakes, as well as a modified version of their habit. On 8 December 1844, Durocher, Dufresne and Céré professed religious vows in the church at Longueuil. Bourget named Durocher as mother superior, mistress of novices, and depositary of the new congregation.

The new congregation began teaching out of Henriette Céré’s schoohouse, but demand for their services was extraordinary and on 4 August 1844 they were forced to move to larger premises. The number of prospective pupils continued to rise over the following years, with the result that between February 1844 and October 1849 the sisters established four convents (in Longueuil, Belœil, Saint Lin and Saint Timothée) employing 30 teachers and enrolling (as of 6 October 1849) 448 pupils. The sisters developed a course of study that provided equally for English and French pupils. Originally the sisters had planned to teach only girls but their missionary requirements eventually forced them to teach boys in some provinces.

On 17 March 1845 the sisters were incorporated by an act of the Canadian Parliament. During 1846, Durocher clashed with Charles Chiniquy, an outspoken priest who would eventually leave the Roman Catholic Church and become a Protestant. Chiniquy wished to take control of teaching in the sisters’ schools, and when he was blocked in this aim by Durocher, he publicly disparaged the sisters.

Death and beatification

Durocher, troubled throughout her life by ill health, died of a “wasting illness” on 6 October 1849, aged 38. Her funeral was held the same day in the church of Longueuil, with Bishop Ignace Bourget presiding. Since 1 May 2004, Durocher’s remains have been interred in the Chapelle Marie-Rose in the right transept of the Co-cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua in Longueuil.

In a statement made in 1880, Bishop Ignace Bourget called for Durocher’s canonization, saying: “I invoke her aid as a saint for myself, and I hope that the Lord will glorify her before men by having the church award her the honours of the altar.” On 9 November 1927, Alphonse-Emmanuel Deschamps, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal, appointed an ecclesiastical tribunal to enquire into the possible canonisation of Durocher. The tribunal was empowered by ecclesiastical mandate to collect anything written by Durocher, and called upon Roman Catholics of Montreal to produce any privately held documents in accordance with that mandate. The evidence gathered by the tribunal was collected in a positio, which was then taken to Rome for presentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

On 2 October 1972 the cause for her beatification was officially introduced by Pope Paul VI, bestowing upon Durocher the title of “Servant of God”. On 13 July 1979 a declaration was made with respect to Durocher’s heroic virtues, resulting in Durocher receiving the title “Venerable”. On 23 May 1982 she was beatified by decree of Pope John Paul II. The decree was made before a crowd in St Peter’s Square in Rome. Beatification is the third of four steps on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood, and bestows the title of “Blessed” upon Durocher. Durocher’s feast day is celebrated on 6 October.

Several alleged miracles have been posthumously connected with Durocher. In 1946, a Detroit man, Benjamin Modzell, was crushed against a wall by a truck and pronounced dead. He was reported to recover after prayers were made invoking Durocher. This incident was the primary miracle upon which Durocher’s beatification was based.

In 1973, sisters at their Spokane, Washington, convent claimed to have a stopped a fire at a chapel in Fort Wright College by invoking Durocher through prayer. The fire, which started in Spokane River gorge, was approaching the campus when the sisters tacked Durocher’s picture to trees and prayed to her for help. Flames were reportedly within 15 feet of the chapel, with smoke filling the interior, when the fire changed direction. Similarly, in 1979, Frank Carr, the owner of a lake resort in Tonasket, Washington, observed an uncontrolled wildfire change direction after he tossed a picture of Durocher into the flames. Said Carr, “All I know is that we threw in the picture and the wind changed. There’s no question the fire would have taken the orchard, some farm houses and the resort if it hadn’t turned.”

Durocher is commemorated in a stained glass window in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, where she is depicted alongside Frances Xavier Cabrini and Andre Bessette. The College Durocher St Lambert, Quebec, is named after Durocher, as is the Eulalie Durocher High School in Montreal. Durocher Hall at Holy Names University Oakland, California, is one building named in her honor, as is Durocher Pavilion on the grounds of St. Cecilia Parish in San Francisco.

Source: Wikipedia


Thursday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 10:1-12

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

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Irreligion

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

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

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

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

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


Psalm 18(19):8-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.

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

Source: The New American Bible


Francis of Assisi, Rel

+Luke 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’

Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’

Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.


Psalm 136

Praise the LORD, who is so good; God’s love endures forever;

Praise the God of gods; God’s love endures forever;

Praise the Lord of lords; God’s love endures forever;

Who alone has done great wonders, God’s love endures forever;

Who skillfully made the heavens, God’s love endures forever;

Who spread the earth upon the waters, God’s love endures forever;

Who made the great lights, God’s love endures forever;

The sun to rule the day, God’s love endures forever;

The moon and stars to rule the night, God’s love endures forever;

Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, God’s love endures forever;

And led Israel from their midst, God’s love endures forever;

With mighty hand and outstretched arm, God’s love endures forever;

Who split in two the Red Sea, God’s love endures forever;

And led Israel through, God’s love endures forever;

But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, God’s love endures forever;

Who led the people through the desert, God’s love endures forever;

Who struck down great kings, God’s love endures forever;

Slew powerful kings, God’s love endures forever;

Sihon, king of the Amorites, God’s love endures forever;

Og, king of Bashan, God’s love endures forever;

And made their lands a heritage, God’s love endures forever;

A heritage for Israel, God’s servant, God’s love endures forever.

The LORD remembered us in our misery, God’s love endures forever;

Freed us from our foes, God’s love endures forever;

And gives food to all flesh, God’s love endures forever.

Praise the God of heaven, God’s love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


Saint Francis of Assisi (Italian: San Francesco d’Assisi), born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), was an Italian Roman Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis on 16 July 1228. Along with Saint Catherine of Siena, he was designated Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October. He is often remembered as the patron saint of animals.

In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. Once his community was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. Francis is also known for his love of the Eucharist. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene. According to Christian tradition, in 1224 he received the stigmata during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy  making him the first recorded person in Christian history to bear the wounds of Christ’s Passion. He died during the evening hours of 3 October 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 142 (141).

Early life

Francis of Assisi was one of seven children born in late 1181 or early 1182 to Pietro di Bernardone, a prosperous silk merchant, and his wife Pica de Bourlemont, about whom little is known except that she was a noblewoman originally from Provence. Pietro was in France on business when Francis was born in Assisi, and Pica had him baptized as Giovanni. Upon his return to Assisi, Pietro took to calling his son Francesco (“the Frenchman”), possibly in honor of his commercial success and enthusiasm for all things French. Since the child was renamed in infancy, the change can hardly have had anything to do with his aptitude for learning French, as some have thought.

While going off to war in 1202, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. In 1205, Francis left for Apulia to enlist in the army of Walter III, Count of Brienne.

Francis lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. In 1201, he joined a military expedition against Perugia and was taken as a prisoner at Collestrada, spending a year as a captive. It is possible that his spiritual conversion was a gradual process rooted in this experience. Upon his return to Assisi in 1203, Francis returned to his carefree life. In 1204, a serious illness led him to a spiritual crisis.

A strange vision made him return to Assisi, deepening his ecclesiastical awakening. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter’s Basilica, an experience that moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon gathered followers. His Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares, which became an enclosed religious order for women, as well as the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance (commonly called the Third Order). As a youth, Francesco became a devotee of troubadours and was fascinated with all things Transalpine. Although many hagiographers remark about his bright clothing, rich friends, and love of pleasures, his displays of disillusionment toward the world that surrounded him came fairly early in his life, as is shown in the “story of the beggar”. In this account, he was selling cloth and velvet in the marketplace on behalf of his father when a beggar came to him and asked for alms. At the conclusion of his business deal, Francis abandoned his wares and ran after the beggar. When he found him, Francis gave the man everything he had in his pockets. His friends quickly chided and mocked him for his act of charity. When he got home, his father scolded him in rage.

According to the hagiographic legend, thereafter he began to avoid the sports and the feasts of his former companions. In response, they asked him laughingly whether he was thinking of marrying, to which he answered, “Yes, a fairer bride than any of you have ever seen”, meaning his “Lady Poverty”. He spent much time in lonely places, asking God for spiritual enlightenment. By degrees he took to nursing lepers, the most repulsive victims in the lazar houses near Assisi. After a pilgrimage to Rome, where he joined the poor in begging at the doors of the churches, he said he had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the country chapel of San Damiano, just outside Assisi, in which the Icon of Christ Crucified said to him, “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” He took this to mean the ruined church in which he was presently praying, and so he sold some cloth from his father’s store to assist the priest there for this purpose.

His father, Pietro, who was highly indignant, attempted to change his mind, first with threats and then with beatings. In the midst of legal proceedings before the Bishop of Assisi, Francis renounced his father and his patrimony, laying aside even the garments he had received from him in front of the public. For the next couple of months he lived as a beggar in the region of Assisi. Returning to the countryside around the town for two years, he embraced the life of a penitent, during which he restored several ruined chapels in the countryside around Assisi, among them the Porziuncola, the little chapel of St. Mary of the Angels just outside the town, which later became his favorite abode.

Founding of the Franciscan Orders

The Friars minor

At the end of this period (on February 24, 1209, according to Jordan of Giano), Francis heard a sermon that changed his life forever. The sermon was about Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road. Francis was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty.

Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Gospel precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance. He was soon joined by his first follower, a prominent fellow townsman, the jurist Bernardo di Quintavalle, who contributed all that he had to the work. Within a year Francis had eleven followers. Francis chose never to be ordained a priest, and the community lived as “lesser brothers”, fratres minores in Latin. The brothers lived a simple life in the deserted lazar house of Rivo Torto near Assisi; but they spent much of their time wandering through the mountainous districts of Umbria, always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression upon their hearers by their earnest exhortations.

Francis’ preaching to ordinary people was unusual since he had no license to do so. In 1209 he composed a simple rule for his followers (“friars”), the Regula primitiva or “Primitive Rule”, which came from verses in the Bible.

The rule was “To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps”. In 1209, Francis led his first eleven followers to Rome to seek permission from Pope Innocent III to found a new religious Order. Upon entry to Rome, the brothers encountered Bishop Guido of Assisi, who had in his company Giovanni di San Paolo, the Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. The Cardinal, who was the confessor of Pope Innocent III, was immediately sympathetic to Francis and agreed to represent Francis to the pope. Reluctantly, Pope Innocent agreed to meet with Francis and the brothers the next day. After several days, the pope agreed to admit the group informally, adding that when God increased the group in grace and number, they could return for an official admittance. The group was tonsured. This was important in part because it recognized Church authority and prevented his following from possible accusations of heresy, as had happened to the Waldensians decades earlier. Though Pope Innocent initially had his doubts, following a dream in which he saw Francis holding up the Basilica of St. John Lateran (the cathedral of Rome, thus the ‘home church’ of all Christendom), he decided to endorse Francis’ Order. This occurred, according to tradition, on April 16, 1210, and constituted the official founding of the Franciscan Order. The group, then the “Lesser Brothers” (Order of Friars Minor also known as the Franciscan Order or the Seraphic Order), preached on the streets and had no possessions. They were centered in the Porziuncola and preached first in Umbria, before expanding throughout Italy.

The Poor Clares and the Third Order

From then on, the new Order grew quickly with new vocations. Hearing Francis preaching in the church of San Rufino in Assisi in 1211, the young noblewoman Clare of Assisi became deeply touched by his message and realized her calling. Her cousin Rufino, the only male member of the family in their generation, was also attracted to the new Order (which he joined). On the night of Palm Sunday, March 28, 1212, Clare clandestinely left her family’s palace. Francis received her at the Porziuncola and thereby established the Order of Poor Ladies, later called Poor Clares. This was an Order for women, and he gave Clare a religious habit, or garment, similar to his own, before lodging her and a few female companions in a nearby monastery of Benedictine nuns. Later he transferred them to San Damiano. There they were joined by many other women of Assisi. For those who could not leave their homes, he later formed the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance, a fraternity composed of either laity or clergy whose members neither withdrew from the world nor took religious vows. Instead, they observed the principles of Franciscan life in their daily lives. Before long, this Third Order grew beyond Italy.

Travels

Determined to bring the Gospel to all God’s creatures, Francis sought on several occasions to take his message out of Italy. In the late spring of 1212, he set out for Jerusalem, but he was shipwrecked by a storm on the Dalmatian coast, forcing him to return to Italy. On May 8, 1213, he was given the use of the mountain of La Verna (Alverna) as a gift from Count Orlando di Chiusi, who described it as “eminently suitable for whoever wishes to do penance in a place remote from mankind”. The mountain would become one of his favourite retreats for prayer.

In the same year, Francis sailed for Morocco, but this time an illness forced him to break off his journey in Spain. Back in Assisi, several noblemen (among them Tommaso da Celano, who would later write the biography of St. Francis) and some well-educated men joined his Order. In 1215, Francis went again to Rome for the Fourth Lateran Council. During this time, he probably met a canon, Dominic de Guzman (later to be Saint Dominic, the founder of the Friars Preachers, another Catholic religious order). In 1217, he offered to go to France. Cardinal Ugolino of Segni (the future Pope Gregory IX), an early and important supporter of Francis, advised him against this and said that he was still needed in Italy.

In 1219, accompanied by another friar and hoping to convert the Sultan of Egypt or win martyrdom in the attempt, Francis went to Egypt during the Fifth Crusade where a Crusader army had been encamped for over a year besieging the walled city of Damietta two miles (3.2 kilometres) upstream from the mouth of one of the main channels of the Nile. The Sultan, al-Kamil, a nephew of Saladin, had succeeded his father as Sultan of Egypt in 1218 and was encamped upstream of Damietta, unable to relieve it. A bloody and futile attack on the city was launched by the Christians on August 29, 1219, following which both sides agreed to a ceasefire which lasted four weeks. It was most probably during this interlude that Francis and his companion crossed the Muslims lines and were brought before the Sultan, remaining in his camp for a few days. The visit is reported in contemporary Crusader sources and in the earliest biographies of Francis, but they give no information about what transpired during the encounter beyond noting that the Sultan received Francis graciously and that Francis preached to the Muslims without effect, returning unharmed to the Crusader camp. No contemporary Arab source mentions the visit. One detail, added by Bonaventure in the official life of Francis (written forty years after the event), has Francis offering to challenge the Sultan’s “priests” to trial-by-fire in order to prove the veracity of the Christian Gospel.

Such an incident is alluded to in a scene in the late 13th-century fresco cycle, attributed to Giotto, in the upper basilica at Assisi. It has been suggested that the winged figures atop the columns piercing the roof of the building on the left of the scene are not idols but are part of the secular iconography of the sultan, affirming his worldly power which, as the scene demonstrates, is limited even as regards his own “priests” who shun the challenge. Although Bonaventure asserts that the sultan refused to permit the challenge, subsequent biographies went further, claiming that a fire was actually kindled which Francis unhesitatingly entered without suffering burns. The scene in the fresco adopts a position midway between the two extremes.

According to some late sources, the Sultan gave Francis permission to visit the sacred places in the Holy Land and even to preach there. All that can safely be asserted is that Francis and his companion left the Crusader camp for Acre, from where they embarked for Italy in the latter half of 1220. Drawing on a 1267 sermon by Bonaventure, later sources report that the Sultan secretly converted or accepted a death-bed baptism as a result of the encounter with Francis. The Franciscan Order has been present in the Holy Land almost uninterruptedly since 1217 when Brother Elias arrived at Acre. It received concessions from the Mameluke Sultan in 1333 with regard to certain Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and (so far as concerns the Catholic Church) jurisdictional privileges from Pope Clement VI in 1342.

Reorganization of the Franciscan Order and death

By this time, the growing Order of friars was divided into provinces and groups were sent to France, Germany, Hungary, and Spain and to the East. Upon receiving a report of the martyrdom of five brothers in Morocco, Francis returned to Italy via Venice. Cardinal Ugolino di Conti was then nominated by the Pope as the protector of the Order. Another reason for Francis’ return to Italy was that the friars in Italy were causing problems. The Franciscan Order had grown at an unprecedented rate compared to prior religious orders, but its organizational sophistication had not kept up with this growth and had little more to govern it than Francis’ example and simple rule. To address this problem, Francis prepared a new and more detailed Rule, the “First Rule” or “Rule Without a Papal Bull” (Regula prima, Regula non bullata), which again asserted devotion to poverty and the apostolic life. However, it also introduced greater institutional structure though this was never officially endorsed by the pope.

On September 29, 1220, Francis handed over the governance of the Order to Brother Peter Catani at the Porziuncola, but Brother Peter died only five months later, on March 10, 1221, and was buried there. When numerous miracles were attributed to the deceased brother, people started to flock to the Porziuncola, disturbing the daily life of the Franciscans. Francis then prayed, asking Peter to stop the miracles and to obey in death as he had obeyed during his life.

The reports of miracles ceased. Brother Peter was succeeded by Brother Elias as Vicar of Francis. Two years later, Francis modified the “First Rule”, creating the “Second Rule” or “Rule With a Bull”, which was approved by Pope Honorius III on November 29, 1223. As the official Rule of the Order, it called on the friars “to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own and in chastity”. In addition, it set regulations for discipline, preaching, and entry into the Order. Once the Rule was endorsed by the Pope, Francis withdrew increasingly from external affairs. During 1221 and 1222, Francis crossed Italy, first as far south as Catania in Sicily and afterwards as far north as Bologna.

While he was praying on the mountain of Verna, during a forty-day fast in preparation for Michaelmas (September 29), Francis is said to have had a vision on or about September 14, 1224, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a result of which he received the stigmata. Brother Leo, who had been with Francis at the time, left a clear and simple account of the event, the first definite account of the phenomenon of stigmata. “Suddenly he saw a vision of a seraph, a six-winged angel on a cross. This angel gave him the gift of the five wounds of Christ.” Suffering from these stigmata and from trachoma, Francis received care in several cities (Siena, Cortona, Nocera) to no avail. In the end, he was brought back to a hut next to the Porziuncola. Here, in the place where it all began, feeling the end approaching, he spent the last days of his life dictating his spiritual Testament. He died on the evening of Saturday, October 3, 1226, singing Psalm 142 (141), “Voce mea ad Dominum”. On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX (the former cardinal Ugolino di Conti, friend of Saint Francis and Cardinal Protector of the Order). The next day, the Pope laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. Francis was buried on May 25, 1230, under the Lower Basilica, but his tomb was soon hidden on orders of Brother Elias to protect it from Saracen invaders. His exact burial place remained unknown until it was re-discovered in 1818. Pasquale Belli then constructed for the remains a crypt in neo-classical style in the Lower Basilica. It was refashioned between 1927 and 1930 into its present form by Ugo Tarchi, stripping the wall of its marble decorations. In 1978, the remains of Saint Francis were examined and confirmed by a commission of scholars appointed by Pope Paul VI, and put into a glass urn in the ancient stone tomb.

Character and legacy

It has been argued that no one else in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ, in Christ’s own way—Francis is sometimes even remembered as alter Christus, “another Christ.” This is important in understanding Francis’ character and his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament.

He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty. Poverty was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his Order.

He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters”, and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. In his Canticle of the Creatures (“Praises of Creatures” or “Canticle of the Sun”), he mentioned the “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”, the wind and water, and “Sister Death”. He referred to his chronic illnesses as his “sisters”. His deep sense of brotherhood under God embraced others, and he declared that “he considered himself no friend of Christ if he did not cherish those for whom Christ died”.

Francis’ visit to Egypt and attempted rapprochement with the Muslim world had far-reaching consequences, long past his own death, since after the fall of the Crusader Kingdom, it would be the Franciscans, of all Catholics, who would be allowed to stay on in the Holy Land and be recognized as “Custodians of the Holy Land” on behalf of the Catholic Church.

At Greccio near Assisi, around 1220, Francis celebrated Christmas by setting up the first known presepio or crèche (Nativity scene). His nativity imagery reflected the scene in traditional paintings. He used real animals to create a living scene so that the worshipers could contemplate the birth of the child Jesus in a direct way, making use of the senses, especially sight. Thomas of Celano, a biographer of both Francis and Saint Bonaventure, tells how he used only a straw-filled manger (feeding trough) set between a real ox and donkey. According to Thomas, it was beautiful in its simplicity, with the manger acting as the altar for the Christmas Mass.

Source: Wikipedia


Tuesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 9:51-56

As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus’ ascent to Jerusalem

557 “When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem.” By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”

558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart’s desire: “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”


Psalm 86

A prayer of David. Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and oppressed.

Preserve my life, for I am loyal; save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; pity me, Lord; to you I call all the day.

Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.

Lord, you are kind and forgiving, most loving to all who call on you.

LORD, hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help.

In this time of trouble I call, for you will answer me.

None among the gods can equal you, O Lord; nor can their deeds compare to yours.

All the nations you have made shall come to bow before you, Lord, and give honor to your name.

For you are great and do wondrous deeds; and you alone are God.

Teach me, LORD, your way that I may walk in your truth, single-hearted and revering your name.

I will praise you with all my heart, glorify your name forever, Lord my God.

Your love for me is great; you have rescued me from the depths of Sheol.

O God, the arrogant have risen against me; a ruthless band has sought my life; to you they pay no heed.

But you, Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, most loving and true.

Turn to me, have pity on me; give your strength to your servant; save this child of your handmaid.

Give me a sign of your favor: make my enemies see, to their confusion, that you, LORD, help and comfort me.

Source: The New American Bible


Guardian Angels

+Matthew 18:1-5,10

The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Christmas mystery

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.202 Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.203 The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal

And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.

The angels and shepherds praise him

And the magi advance with the star,

For you are born for us,

Little Child, God eternal!

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we mu–t be “born from above” or “born of God”. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:

O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.


Psalm 101

A psalm of David. I sing of love and justice; to you, LORD, I sing praise.

I follow the way of integrity; when will you come to me? I act with integrity of heart within my royal court.

I do not allow into my presence anyone who speaks perversely. Whoever acts shamefully I hate; no such person can be my friend.

I shun the devious of heart; the wicked I do not tolerate.

Whoever slanders another in secret I reduce to silence. Haughty eyes and arrogant hearts I cannot endure.

I look to the faithful of the land; they alone can be my companions. Those who follow the way of integrity, they alone can enter my service.

No one who practices deceit can hold a post in my court. No one who speaks falsely can be among my advisors.

Each morning I clear the wicked from the land, and rid the LORD’S city of all evildoers.

Source: The New American Bible


A guardian angel is an angel that is assigned to protect and guide a particular person, group, kingdom, or country. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity. The concept of tutelary angels and their hierarchy was extensively developed in Christianity in the 5th century by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

The theology of angels and tutelary spirits has undergone many refinements since the 5th century. Belief in both the East and the West is that guardian angels serve to protect whichever person God assigns them to, and present prayer to God on that person’s behalf.

Source: Wikipedia


Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.


Psalm 24(25):4-9

A psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.

For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

“The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.

They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.

Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory. Selah

Source: The New American Bible