Saturday, January 24, 2015

Third Sunday after Epiphany 25 January 2015

Third  Sunday after Epiphany
25 January   2015


“Be of one mind towards one another.”
Rom. 12:16
   
Today’s readings show the radical difference between the gospel message of Jesus and the way in which the world lives.   Jesus taught all his followers the need for a life of charity and the practice of virtue.  In today’s Gospel (Mt. 8:1-13), we see how Jesus Himself exemplifies His great love for men by His compassion for the leper and the centurion’s servant when He cured them of their sickness.  Likewise, in today’s Epistle to the Romans (12:16-21), St. Paul emphasizes the need for charity, especially towards our enemies. This was unheard of in the ancient world, and it is still not practiced in the world today: “Be of one mind towards one another.” Rom. 12:16  We also see in today’s readings, how much Jesus was pleased with the faith and humility of the both the leper and the centurion who believed that Jesus could aid them in their request.  For us, these readings are important teachings because they remind us of the need for charity toward one another and faith in Jesus who alone can help us.


“Vengeance is mine...” Deut. 32:35


In the Epistle to the Romans today, St. Paul reminds his followers of Jesus’ lesson on the need to practice charity even to one’s enemies.  Jesus had said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you...”  Mt. 5:44.  St. Paul tells the Romans this same message:  “To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things....Do not avenge yourselves, but give place to the wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’” Rom. 12:17-9  This was a far cry from the ancient traditions which said that one could return what was given to you--- “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...” Lev. 24:19.  St. Paul is reminding his followers that Christians who believe in Jesus Christ must love their enemies and take no revenge on anyone who opposes them.  Revenge is not for man to take!  This is God’s domain as He alone knows who is evil and who is good, and He will ask all His creatures to render an account of their works.  If men do not repent of their evil, they will have to endure the severe justice of God.  This can be seen in what Jesus said would happen to anyone who causes one of His little ones to sin; Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it were better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Mt. 18:6  While God is all merciful, He is also all just, and those who offend Him and do evil to their fellow man will endure a most severe judgment.  This is why Jesus asks us to pray for those who persecute us as they will have to endure the justice of God for their deeds. If we could see how the justice of God  shall punish those who do evil (to us), then we would fervently pray for them. Jesus also warns us not to despise (hurt) them:  Mt. 18:6   “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father in heaven.”  Mt. 18:6  What are we doing to our little  ones and those innocents in the world; we are murdering our babies with abortion, we are denying  life for other brothers and sisters to our children  with contraception, we are corrupting  the morals of our  youth  with false teachings and sex education, and we are denying our children the faith in a good Catholic family by not marrying and practicing the faith.  The list could go on and on!  Has there ever been such a sinful generation as ours is today?  How severe will be the vengeance of God on the Day of Judgment towards our generation for the scandal that we have caused  “the little ones.”


Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Rom. 12:21


St. Paul takes the essential gospel teaching of charity which Jesus had taught to its desired end of loving even our enemies: “If thy enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head.”  Rom 12:20   These “coals of fire” are what St. Augustine explains as “the violence of charity: Evil must be answered and conquered by good.  By gentleness Christians must disarm anger, and by charity they must break down hatred. Against the violence of charity,” says St. Augustine, ”the world is powerless.”  (Msgr. Patrick Boylan, The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,” p. 75.)  These are the “coals of fire” which one’s enemy will not be able to overcome.  Fight hatred with charity.  It is the same lesson that Jesus taught when He said, “But I say to you not to resist the evildoer; on the contrary, if someone strikes thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also...”  Mt. 5: 39   Only those filled with the Spirit of Jesus can understand such divine wisdom.


Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Mt. 8:2
   
    The leper in today’s gospel has the Spirit of Jesus because he firmly believes that Jesus can cure him of his leprosy.  His faith and confidence in Jesus are rewarded:  “And stretching forth his hand Jesus touched him, saying, ‘I will; be thou made clean.’” Mt. 8:3 We can certainly admire the leper who has trust in the goodness of Jesus by coming to Him even though he knows that, as a leper, all are advised to shun him as unclean.  He goes to Jesus with great hope and confidence that He can make him clean if Jesus wills it.  His trust in Jesus’ goodness is rewarded instantly!


“Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Mt. 8: 8
Like the leper, the centurion also has great faith in Jesus.  He also has great charity:  he is not asking for help for himself but for his servant who is dying:  “Lord, my servant is lying sick in the house, paralyzed, and is grievously afflicted.” Mt. 8:6    The centurion, even though he is a pagan,  is also aware Jesus should not enter his house.  He  knows that Jesus, who is a  prophet having great power with God, does not need to come all the way to his house and can cure him from where He is:  “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Mt. 8: 8   Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith and says:  “Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel. And a I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the darkness outside; there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”   Mt. 8:10-11. By contrast, the faith of the children of Abraham, who should know better, is so weak that they will not feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven....”  Mt. 8:11


“Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.”   Mt. 8:13



Although Jesus says these words to the centurion, they also apply to the leper.  Here we see how important it is to have faith in Jesus.  Ironically, in today’s gospel the two men who have faith in Jesus are despised in the Jewish society, a leper and a pagan Roman soldier. There is a most important lesson for all of us who have been called to follow Christ.  We need to practice the same faith in God and charity to all or else, like the Jews, we will be excluded from the kingdom and be in the darkness outside “weeping and gnashing our teeth.” Mt. 8:11


The First Friday, 6 February 2015


Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the  devotion to the “Nine  First Fridays” of the Month.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."  There is no better way of  honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on  the “Nine First Fridays.”.






Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix


(MIM) 7 February 2015


    On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
 This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.  






The First Saturday:  
7 February2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!  






Second Sunday after Epiphany 18th January 2015

Second Sunday After Epiphany
18 January   2015
“But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Jn. 2:9


    Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol 3, tells us of the mystery of today’s feast: “The third Mystery of the Epiphany shows us the completion of the merciful designs of God upon the world, at the same time that it manifests to us for the third time (the first time to the Shepherds and Magi at the stable and the second time to Jewish people at the Baptism of  St. John the Baptist), the glory of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The star  has led the soul to faith, the sanctified Waters of the Jordan have conferred purity upon her; the Marriage-Feast unites her to her God. We have been considering, during  this Octave, the Bridegroom revealing himself to the Spouse; we have heard him calling her to come to him from the heights of Libanus; and now, after having enlightened and purified her, he invites her to the heavenly feast, where she is to receive the Wine of his divine love.


The New Wine of Charity
    “A Feast is prepared (cf. Jn. 2): it is a Marriage-Feast; and the Mother of Jesus is present at it, for it is just that, having co-operated in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, she should take part in all that her Son does, and in all the favours he bestows on his elect.  But, in the midst of the feast, the Wine fails. Wine is the symbol of Charity  or Love, and Charity had failed on the earth; for the Gentiles had never tasted its sweetness; and as to the Synagogue, what had it produced but wild grapes (cf. Is. 5:2).  The True Vine is our Jesus and he calls himself  by that name (Jn. 15:1).   He alone could give that Wine which gladdeneth the heart of man (cf. Ps. 53:15). He alone could give us that Chalice which inebriated (cf. Ps. 22:5), and of which the Royal Psalmist prophesied.


“Do whatsoever he shall say to you.”  Jn. 2:5
“Mary said to Jesus: They have no Wine.  It is the office of the Mother of God to tell him of the wants of men, for she is also their Mother.  But Jesus answers her in words which are apparently harsh: Woman! What is it to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.’ The meaning of these words is, that, in this great Mystery, he was about to act, not as the Son of Mary, but as  the Son of God. Later on, the hour will come when, dying upon the Cross, he will do a work, in the presence of his Mother, and he will do it as Man, that, according to that human nature which he has received from her.  Mary at once understands the words of her Son, and she says to the waiters of the Feast, what she is now ever saying to her children: ‘Do whatsoever he shall say to you.’


The New Wine of Christ
“Now, there were six large waterpots of stone there, and they were empty. The world was then in its Sixth Age, as St. Augustine and other Holy Doctors tell  us. During these six ages, the earth had been awaiting its Saviour, who was to instruct and redeem it.  Jesus commands these waterpots to be filled with water; and yet water does not suit the Feast of the Spouse.  The figures and the prophecies of the ancient world were this water, and until the opening of the Seventh Age, when Christ, who is the Vine, was to be given to the world, no man had contracted an alliance with the Divine Word.
“But, when the Emmanuel came, he had but to say, Now draw out, and the waterspots were seen to be filled with the wine of the New covenant, the Wine which had been kept to the end.  When he assumed our human nature—a nature weak  and unstable as water—he effected a change in it; he raised it up even to himself, by making us partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4); he gave us the power to love him, to be united to him, to form that one Body of which he is the Head, that Church of which he is the Spouse  and which he loved from all eternity, and with such tender love, that he came down from heaven to celebrate his nuptials with her.


Jesus Manifests His Glory as God
“St. Matthew, the Evangelist of the Humanity of our Lord, has received from the Holy Ghost the commission to announce to us the Mystery of Faith by the star; St. Luke the Evangelist of Jesus’ Priesthood, has been selected by the same Holy Spirit, to instruct us in the mystery of the Baptism in the Jordan; but the Mystery of the Marriage-Feast was to be revealed to us by the Evangelist John, the Beloved Disciple.  He suggests to the Church the object of this third Mystery, by this expression, ‘This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and he MANIFESTED his glory.’ Jn. 2:11   At Bethlehem, the God of the Magi expressed the Divinity of the Babe; at the Jordan, the descent of the Holy Ghost and the voice of the Eternal Father proclaimed  Jesus (known to the people as  a carpenter of  Nazareth) to be the Son of God; at Cana, it is Jesus himself that acts, and he acts as God, for, says St. Augustine, he who changed the water into wine in the waterpots could be no other than the same who, every year, works the same miracle in the vine.  Hence it was that, from that day, as St. John tells us, ‘his disciples believed in him’ (cf. Jn. 2:), and the Apostolic College began to be formed.” Gueranger, p. 241-3


The “good wine” of  Christ and His Bride, the Church
The Lord delights in performing this miracle.  God has saved the good wine” for last:  “But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Jn. 2:9  The new wine of Jesus is charity. St. Paul  illustrates  how the superabundant aid of the Spirit  in the New Testament is revealed in  charismatic gifts and the practice of fraternal charity.   The new wine represents the blessing of the Church on Holy Matrimony.  The love  that husband and wife have for each other is similar to the love that Christ has for His Church: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water (Baptism) by means of the word; in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-7   St. Paul also  speaks of this love which we need to have for one another in today’s Epistle to the Romans (12: 6-16):     “Let love be without pretense. Hate what is evil, hold to what is good. Love one another with fraternal charity, anticipating one another with honour. Be patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer, Share the needs of the saints, practising hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be of one mind toward one another….”  Rom 12: 9-16


Divine Charity, Our Espousal with Christ
    Dom Gueranger comments on the spiritual meaning of today’s Gospel (Jn. 2: 1-11) of Jesus’ miracle of changing water into wine: “Thus divine Charity, which dwells in the Sacrament of Love (Holy Eucharist), is communicated to us; and that we might not be unworthy of the espousals with himself, to which he called us, he raises us up even to himself. Let us therefore, prepare our souls for this wonderful union, and, according to the advice of the Apostle, let us labour to present them to our Jesus with such purity as to resemble  that chaste Virgin, who was presented  to the spotless Lamb (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2 and Eph. 5: 27). Gueranger, p. 247. Jesus not only manifests Himself with the miracle of changing water into wine at Cana, but He shows how we are called to be His spouse in the Heavenly  Marriage Feast.


The First Saturday of the Month
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!  Just think that when you are  about to die that the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven!   “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen”   How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?


How to attend Holy Mass


“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”
His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X




Friday, January 9, 2015

First Sunday after the Epiphany, Feast of the Holy Family, 11 January 2015

First Sunday after the Epiphany
Feast of the Holy Family
11 January 2015

“Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee.” Lk. 2: 48

Today, in this time after the Epiphany, the Church continues to give us aspects of the early life of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Today’s Gospel (Lk. 2:42-52) focuses on the time during the Paschal season when the Holy Family made their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast. On the return trip, the men and women travelled separately and both Joseph and Mary thought that Jesus was with the other. Their sorrow knew no bounds when they discovered Jesus was nowhere to be found. Of course, being God, Jesus was not really lost, but to Joseph and Mary, he was missing and they did not know what happened to Him. In their return to Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple listening to the doctors of the law and asking them questions. Mary questioned Jesus, “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee.” Lk. 2: 48 Jesus replied, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Lk. 2:49. At first, it appears that Jesus was being inconsiderate of His parents, but on a closer analysis, we see a most important teaching in our spiritual lives. Our first obligation is to God. Jesus is being obedient to His father. This is the primary lesson in today’s liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Family. The second and closely-linked teaching is the need for charity within all of our relationships. St. Paul highlights this in today’s Epistle (Col. 3:12-17): “But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection.” Col. 3:14. These two virtues of charity and obedience are the essential virtues in every Catholic family.

Charity “is the bond of perfection.” Col.3:14

In every family, there is the need for love, kindness, and mercy for all the members of the family. We need to be patient with one another’s faults. Because charity “is the bond of perfection,” (Col. 3:14) it alone perfects all other virtues, and it alone is the virtue in which all perfection consists. Where there is love, then no sacrifice will be too difficult. Where there is no love, then even our good deeds will be just acts of self-love. This is why in our families we need to practice what St. Paul gives us in today’s Epistle: “Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity (goodness), humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.” Col 3:12-13. These are the virtues that every member of the family needs to practice for true peace and harmony within the family.

Perfect Charity is doing God’s Will

All of our moral virtues must be motivated by charity or else they are not meritorious. This is why it is so important for the soul to be in the state of grace. Without sanctifying grace there are no meritorious actions. St. Thomas Aquinas gives us the reason for this because “It is charity which united our will to that of God in the most perfect fashion. From charity all the other virtues are derived and take their true strength... Charity is the end in view; all other things are means to that end. Therefore, there are no limits to the extent of charity; but there are limits in the other virtues.” “The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia,” p. 275 The reason why there is so much unhappiness in the world is because there is no peace in our hearts. Peace implies the right order of things. When we have ordered our lives to God with charity, we will be at peace. If we have not ordered our lives to God and His will, then we will never be at peace with ourselves or with others. This is why we must do all of our actions out of love for God. When our actions coincide with God’s will, then we show true love for God. If we do actions which are pleasing to ourselves and which are against God’s will as expressed in His Commandments and the duties of our state in life, then we will never be at peace and our hearts will be filled with disordered self-love.

“Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Lk. 2:49.

In Jesus’ reply to His Mother Mary, we see the essence of true charity. Jesus must obey God His Father first and foremost. It was His Father’s will that Jesus spend these three days in the temple praying and listening to and asking the Jewish doctors of the law questions about the Messiah. Jesus’ time away from Joseph and Mary was so mysterious that they did not fully understand it: “And they understood not the word that He spoke to them.” Lk. 2:50 Jesus needs to do the will of His Father rather than the will of His parents. Sooner or later, He will be leaving home to spread the Kingdom of His heavenly Father. Jesus does not blame His mother as St. Bede tells us: “He blames her not because she sought Him as her son, but forces her to raise the eyes of her mind to what He owes Him whose Eternal Son He is.”

Christ the God-Man

In order to understand the divine person of Jesus Christ, we must see that in His nature, He performs actions as God and actions as man. In the latter actions as man, He performs functions common to all men such as eating, sleeping, labouring etc.; and then He performs actions proper to Him as the God-man, the Redeemer, the Christ and these are called “Theandric” (of the God-man, partly of God, partly of man). These actions were those of teaching, working miracles, calling His disciples etc. With regard to the actions of man, Christ was willing to obey His parents from whom He had received His human nature. With the “Theandric” actions, which are of a higher order, His actions were received and directed by God alone. Thus Jesus answered His parents based on the higher authority of His Father with the actions of the “God-man.” This is why Jesus must be about “His Father’s business” (Lk. 2:4) which is the salvation of souls.



The Fifth Joyful Mystery

The Church with the Holy Rosary, calls today’s gospel story, the mystery of “The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.” Like all the mysteries, it has a particular virtue or fruit which can be learned from it. The fruit of this mystery is charity that conforms our will to God’s will. Other virtues related to charity in this mystery would include obedience to God’s will and zeal for the salvation of souls. The mysteries of the rosary have depths of meaning that we can find when we pray the rosary daily by meditating on each mystery. No wonder Our Lady at Fatima wanted us to pray the Holy Rosary daily. The most important action that every family can do is to pray the “Family Rosary”: “The family that prays together stays together.”

White Flower Appeal
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
This organization performs a most (if not, the most) important work in our society today. They protect the lives of unborn children. Do all that you can to help this most deserving organization. As you leave Mass today, someone will be at the door collecting for SPUC.

“Life, What A Beautiful Choice! “

“God loves a cheerful giver.” II Cor. 9:7

God will never be outdone in generosity.

How to attend Holy Mass

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”
His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X

“Make everything a sacrifice”

At Fatima, the Angel told the three children: “Make everything a sacrifice.” St. John of the Cross explains how we can do this.

“To arrive at perfect union, there is needed a total and perfect mortification of the senses and desires. The shortest and most effectual method of obtaining it is this: As to the senses whatever pleasing object may offer itself to them, unconnected with pure love to God, we should refuse it to them instantly, for the love of Jesus Christ, who in this life neither had nor desired to have any pleasure except to do the will of His Father, which He called His food. If, for example, there should arise a fancy or wish to hear or see things which do not concern the service of God or lead especially to Him, we should deny this fancy, and refrain from beholding or hearing these things; but if this is not possible, it is sufficient not to consent with the will. Then as to the desires, we should endeavour to incline always to what is poorest, worst, most laborious, most difficult, most unpleasant, and to desire nothing except to suffer and be despised.” St. John of the Cross











Solemnity of Epiphany, Sunday, 4 January 2015

Solemnity of Epiphany
Sunday, 4 January 2015

“And entering the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they worshipped him and opening their treasures they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Mt. 2:11
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The Church commemorate the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles in the person of Three Magi from the East who represent all the nations of the world. Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 3, comments on today’s feast: “Oh! the greatness of this glorious Day, on which begins the movement of all nations towards the Church, the true Jerusalem! Oh! the mercy of our heavenly Father, who has been mindful of all these people that were buried in the shades of death and sin! Behold! the glory of the lord has risen upon the Holy City; and Kings set out to find and see the Light. Jerusalem is not large enough to hold all this sea of nations; another city must be founded, and towards her shall be turned the countless Gentiles of Median and Epha. Thou, O Rome! art this Holy City, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged. Heretofore thy victories have won thee slaves; but from this day forward, thou shalt draw within thy walls countless children. Lift up thine eyes and see—all these, that is the whole human race, give themselves to thee as thy sons and daughters; they come to receive from thee new birth. Open wide thine arms and embrace them that come from North and South bringing gold and frankincense to him who is thy King and ours.” Gueranger, p. 122 What great mysteries are revealed in the Word of God today! First, we have the fulfilment of several Messianic prophecies, and next we have the call of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God.

Glory of the Lord Revealed to the Gentiles
In today’s Epistle (Is. 60: 1-6) the prophet Isaiah tells Jerusalem to rise because a great light has come: “Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for the light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Is. 60:1 Not only will the inhabitants of Israel see the great light, but so will all the nations of the world: “All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.” Is. 60:6 This great light is also prophesied by the pagan prophet Balaam in the Book of Numbers: “A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel.” Nu. 24:17 This theme of all nations adoring the Messiah is seen in today’s Offertory Antiphon: “And all the Kings of Earth shall adore Him, all nations shall serve him.” Ps. 71:11

The Call of the Gentiles
St. Paul also gives us the same theme: The Lord Jesus Christ has come for all nations and people. For St. Paul this is the revelation of a great mystery hidden from other times. It is now fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ: “That the Gentiles are joint heirs, and fellow members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Eph. 3:6

The Magi Believe in the Light of Christ
The account of the Magi by St. Matthew in today’s Gospel (Mt. 2:1-12) reveals much of the mystery of the revelation to the Gentiles. First of all, the Magi are pagan astrologers who by their faith are a contrast to the doubting Jews who possess all the prophecies about the Christ but still do not believe. The Magi have followed the star to Jerusalem in the hope of seeing the royal king. The priests can tell them and King Herod that the king of the prophecy will be born in Bethlehem, but they do not believe it. Thus, they cannot claim that they knew nothing of his coming since they tell the Magi where he is to be born. Even Herod, the wicked king acknowledges his birth: “…when you have found him bring me word, that I too may go and worship him.” Mt. 2:8 The Jews have no excuse for not believing for they have all the prophets to tell them the truth. Ironically, the pagan Magi have only their one prophet Balaam, and yet they believe. Only the Magi see the light of Christ’s star. Christ is the bright and morning star arising in the East. When the Magi turned to Jerusalem for guidance, they lost the star. When they left Jerusalem and Herod, a symbol for the loss of faith, they regained the star and found Christ, the true light.

“…and falling down, they worshipped him.” Mt. 2:11
Having failed to find Christ where the earthly King reigned, the Magi found Him in poverty in the stable in Bethlehem. The Magi thus realize the fulfilment of two prophecies. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, and He shall be given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh: “The Kings of the Arabian and Saba shall bring gifts.” Ps. 71:10. St. John Chrysostom comments on these gifts: “For by gold the power of a king is signified, by frankincense the honour of God, by myrrh the burial of the body; and accordingly they gave Him gold as king, frankincense as God and myrrh as man.”

“They went back to their own country by another way.” Mt. 2:12
One final point is important for understanding the story of the Magi. They were warned in a dream about Herod’s evil intentions so they returned to their own homes by another route. Once they had seen the true light of Christ, their lives changed. They recognized the wickedness of Herod, and the ignorance and the lack of faith of the Jews. They returned to their own country to tell all about the great things that they have seen, especially, the fulfilment of the prophecy on the star which “shall rise out of Jacob.” Num. 24:17 Their trip would bear fruit in the future when the Apostles taught all nations. Notwithstanding this time of waiting until the preaching to all nations after Christ died, was resurrected and ascended into heaven, the visit of the Magi, who are the canonized saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, is still another example of how God was preparing His people for His coming. God was surrounding the birth of His Son with extraordinary events such as angels singing for poor shepherds and a star guiding the Magi from distant lands.

Be Imitators of the Three Wise Men
Let us imitate the faith and hope of the Magi who obey the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and leave their homeland to go to a far country. Let us bring to the Infant Jesus the gold of our charity, the frankincense of our adoration and prayer, and the myrrh of suffering and sacrifice. Let us also fall down and adore our God who is so humble as to be born as a babe in a lowly stable. Let us think about all these events of this Christmas season when we pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary especially the third mystery of the Birth of Jesus who is adored and honoured by the Gentile world with gifts of gold for His royalty, frankincense for His divinity and myrrh for His humanity. We too can say with them and to Mary, His Mother, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Lk. 1:42 Let us not imitate the Herods of this world who, although they know the truth of God’s identity, are intent on destroying the life of the new-born King of the Jews. Let us not imitate the modern-day Herods in the culture of death who also abort the many babies whose lives are the Father’s gift to our world as a blessing for humanity.



White Flower Appeal

Next Sunday, 11 January 2015 we will have a collection at the chapel door after Mass for the The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). This organization performs a most (if not, the most) important work in our society today. It protects the lives of unborn children. Do all that you can to help this most deserving organization!

“Life, What A Beautiful Choice! “

“God loves a cheerful giver.” II Cor. 9:7

God will never be outdone in generosity.



Epiphany Saints and Protectors

As in the past, we will have the drawing of saints after Mass today in St. Joseph’s Hall. This special drawing of Patron Saints, Virtues, Names of Our Lady, and Spiritual Maxims will help us live holy lives in the coming year. We will have the special guidance of all these holy patrons and virtues and Our Lady throughout the year.

How to attend Holy Mass

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”
His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X



Friday, December 26, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Advent 21st December 2014


Fourth Sunday of Advent
21 December 2014

“Sound the trumpet in Sion, for the day of the Lord is nigh: Behold he will come to save us, alleluia, alleluia.” (1st Antiphon for Vespers & Lauds)
Today, as Christmas is upon us, we again see how the Church introduces the figure of St. John the Baptist preaching a doctrine of repentance for sins as the most important preparation for the coming of Jesus to His public life. The theme of repentance is also related to the coming of Jesus for the first time on Christmas Day as we want to be ready with pure hearts for Him. This is why the angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.” Lk. 2:14 We need to have our souls cleansed of any sins or evil desires. God will only give peace to men who have good hearts. This is why St. John the Baptist’s message in today’s gospel is so important: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths. Every valley shall be levelled; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough roads shall be made smooth. And all flesh shall behold God’s salvation.” Lk. 3:4-6 & Is. 40:3-5 St. Paul says the same thing in the Epistle, First Corinthians (4:1-5): “Hence, judge nothing before the time fixed—until the Lord comes, who will bring light to hidden things of darkness, and manifest the designs of hearts.” I Cor. 4:5 When the Lord comes, he will reveal the hidden things of the human heart and uncover the darkness of sin because Jesus is the Light of the World.

“Prepare the way of the Lord....” Lk. 3:4
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 1, tells us how our preparation for Christmas can be enhanced by St. John the Baptist’s message: “Today, she (the Church) makes a last effort to stir up the devotion of her children. She leads them to the desert; she shows them John the Baptist, upon whose mission she instructed them on the third Sunday. The voice of the austere Precursor resounds through the wilderness, and penetrates even into the cities. It preaches penance, and the obligation men are under of preparing by self-purification for the coming of Christ. Let us retire from the world during these next few days; or if that may not be by reason of our external duties, let us retire into the quiet of our own hearts and confess our iniquities, as did those true Israelites, who came, full of compunction and of faith in the Messias, to the Baptist, there to make perfect their preparation for worthily receiving the Redeemer on the day of His appearance to the world.” Gueranger, p. 233-4

“A voice of one crying in the wilderness....” Lk.3:4 (Is 40:3)
St. Luke in today’s Gospel (Lk. 3:1-6) quotes the prophet Isaiah who spoke of the coming of a precursor, whom we now recognize as St. John the Baptist. This holy Isaiah, also a precursor, but of the Old Testament called all the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem to: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths. Every valley shall be levelled; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough roads shall be made smooth. And all flesh shall behold God’s salvation.” Lk. 3:4-6 The Jews were familiar with this metaphor of the servants going before the wealthy by making sure that the roads were smooth for their masters. Valleys would be filled and mounds would be levelled. Isaiah spoke of St. John the Baptist who would have to prepare the hearts of men for the Messiah. He did this by preaching a baptism for the remission of sins. His baptism would not forgive sins, but it would prepare them for the Baptism of Jesus by making their hearts ready for His message. St. Bede tells us why St. John’s baptism was important for the coming of Jesus Christ: “If we seek to know why John was baptizing when his baptism was nevertheless unable to take away sins, the reason is clear; to be faithful to his ministry as forerunner it was necessary for him to baptise before the Lord did, just as he was born before he was, preached before he did and died before him. At the same time it was to prevent the jealous wrangling of the Pharisees and scribes from seizing upon the Lord’s ministry supposing he had been the first to administer baptism. ‘Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or human origin?’ As they would not dare to deny that it came from heaven, they were obliged to acknowledge that the word of Him whom John preached was also accomplished by means of a power coming from heaven. However, if John’s baptism did not take away sins that does not mean to say that it bore no fruit for those who received it... It was a sign of faith and repentance, that is to say, it called to mind that all must abstain from sin, practice almsgiving, believe in Christ, and make haste to be washed for the remission of their sins.”


Repentance for sin

Msgr. Patrick Boylan comments on the need for repentance in today’s Gospel. He likens the preparation of the desert roads for the King to the preparation of our souls for Christ’s coming at Christmas: “He is to pass as the desert of our passions, evil tendencies, religious indifference, and sinful habits. To us the Voice cries out, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” Lk. 3:4 In the preparation we are asked (a) to make straight the crooked paths; (b) to fill up the valleys; (c) to level the hills; (d) and to make the rough ways smooth. (a) The crooked ways are our habits of falsehood, detraction, dishonesty, and idle speech. The paths of injustice and deceit are not paths on which our King will approach: they are twisted, devious, and perverse. They must be straightened out by a good confession. (b) The valleys of our slothfulness and indifference must be filled in with zeal for the duties of our state, frequent and fervent reception of the Sacraments, constant effort to realize, and to live up to, the Catholic ideal in our public as well as our private lives. (c) In our soul’s life there are mountains of pride and vanity, self-complacency, worldly ambition. Over these the King’s highway cannot pass. They must be brought low by penance, humility, graciousness and gentleness. He that comes is mild and gentle, and to His own He comes. (d) The rough ways of our unkindness, our uncharitableness, our carelessness of our needy brethren, our jealousy, our envy, our hatreds, must be made smooth.” (The Sunday Epistles and Gospels, Vol. I & II, p. 39-40) Let us prepare for Jesus’ coming at Christmas by purifying our hearts of all uncleanness.

“Oh the joy of thy coming, dear Jesus!”
Dom Gueranger reminds us of the great joy of Jesus’ coming once we purify our hearts. “....Oh the joy of thy coming, dear Jesus! How great it must needs be, when the prophecy says it shall be like an everlasting crown upon our heads (cf. Isaiah 35). And could it be otherwise? The very desert is to flourish as a lily, and living waters are to gush forth out of the parched land, because God is coming. Come, O Jesus, come quickly, and give us of that water, which flows from Thy sacred Heart, and which the Samaritan woman, the type of us sinners, asked of Thee with such earnest entreaty. This water is Thy grace; let it rain upon our parched souls, and they too will flourish; let it quench our thirst and we will run in the way of Thy precepts and examples. Thou, O Jesus, are our way, our path, to God; and Thou are Thyself God; Thou art, therefore, both our way and the term to which our way leads us. We had lost our way; we had gone astray as lost sheep; how great Thy love to come in search of us. To teach us the way to heaven, Thou hast deigned to come down from heaven, and then tread with us the road which leads to it....There is but one thing which makes us sad; our preparation is not completed. We have some ties still to break; help us to do it, O Saviour of mankind. We desire to obey the voice of Thy Precursor, and make plain those rugged paths, which would prevent Thy coming into our hearts, O divine Infant! Give us to be baptized in the Baptism of the waters of penance; Thou wilt soon follow, baptizing us in the Holy Ghost and love.” Gueranger, p. 235-6

Christmas Schedule

Christmas Eve, Wednesday
24th December 2014:
10:30 P. M. Matins: Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate

12:00 A. M. Midnight Mass (Extraordinary Form) with Christmas Songs (After Mass there will be refreshments and good cheer in the friary and repository. All are invited to share the great joy of the Birthday of Jesus Christ.)

Christmas Day, Thursday
25th December 2014

10:00 A. M. Holy Mass (Extraordinary Form)

New Year’s Eve, Wednesday
31 December 2014:

7:30 A. M. Holy Mass (Extraordinary Form). After Mass, there will be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (all day) in reparation for our sins and the sins of the world.

11:15 PM Matins and Benediction

12:00 A. M. Te Deum (No Mass at Midnight)
(Refreshments in the friary after the Te Deum; all are invited to share the Peace of Christ for the New Year of 2015)

Octave Day of the Nativity,
Thursday, 1 January 2015

10:00 A. M. Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Christmas Novena: Christmas Novena of Masses from Christmas Day 25th December 2014 to 2 January 2015 This Novena of Masses will be for all of the benefactors, friends and relatives of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate. Thank you for all of your kind donations of alms and providence for us here in Lanherne.

Christmas Decorations

Special thanks to Fra Leonard Joseph Mary, FI for his decorations of the Christmas stable, crib and the altar with its many lights. Franciscans have always followed the example of Our Holy Father St. Francis of Assisi who began the practice of the Christmas stable and crib at Greccio in Italy in the early part of the 13th Century. So too, many people have come to our chapel to see our depiction of the First Christmas day. The beautiful stable, crib, statues and altar lights, remind us how important Christmas is to all of us. It is the night on which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary out of love for all men. Let us give glory to God and love for our fellow man as we recall the words of the angels to the shepherds in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will.” Lk. 2:14