Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 5 July 2015


Sixth  Sunday after Pentecost

5 July 2015

 

For we were buried with him by means of Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may  walk in newness of life.” Rom. 6:4

 

            Today’s liturgy reminds us of how God loves us all and has compassion on us in our weakness.  He nourishes us spiritually with His grace in the sacraments.  We can see this especially in today’s Epistle to the Romans (6:3-11) where St. Paul reminds us that we were buried with Him by means of our baptism, and we are given the new divine life of sanctifying grace. Today’s Gospel (Mark 8: 1-9) tells us how Jesus had compassion on the multitude who had been with Him for three days: “I have compassion on the crowd, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat.” Mk. 8:2.  The Second Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in the desert is a representation of how Jesus will give us His own Flesh and Blood to eat and drink in order to sustain us on our journey through the desert of this life.  The crowd in the desert is a symbolic and mystical representation of all who follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and have been given the life of grace through the Body and Blood of the Holy Eucharist.

 

“Thus do you consider yourselves also as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:11

            Our Baptism reminds us of the two-fold obligation which we have when  we share in the death and resurrection of Christ.  One is negative—death to sin and  the disorders of our passions; the other is positive, to live the life of Christ and develop it within us. To live for God in Christ Jesus must be our ideal.”  (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 380)  In order to live for Christ, we must die to sin.  “All the effects of sin are comprised under the name of death; all the effects of grace are comprised under the name of life... We live in proportion as we are associated with the life of Christ. Now it is in his death that Jesus Christ makes us participate in this life; we live in him only so far as we die in him.” (Ibid, p. 381)  In Baptism, we died to sin and became alive to the life of grace in Christ. “Baptism applies to us the fruit of Calvary. In it Jesus Christ associates us, in a mystical yet very real way, with his death and his life. By associating  us with his death he neutralized the active principle which sin has implanted in us, and which constituted the old man; by associating us with his life, he destroys all the germs of death and confers on us the privilege of an endless life: life of the soul and life of the body, life of grace and life of glory.” (Ibid., p. 381)

Mystical Death

            When we were baptized into Christ we became incorporated in Him: “...baptism truly deadens the old man in us, truly infuses into our veins the divine sap and truly creates in us a new being.... Now baptism represents sacramentally the death and life of Christ.  It must therefore, produce in us a death, mystical in its essence, but real in its effects; death to sin, to the flesh, to the old man, as well as a life in conformity with the life of Jesus Christ risen from the dead.” Ibid, p. 382 This is why St. Paul tells us ‘For we know that our old self has been crucified with him, in order that the body of sin may be destroyed, that we may no longer be slaves to sin;’ Rom. 6: 6.   Once dead to sin, then we can be alive to Christ:  But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also  live together with Christ; for we know that Christ having risen from the dead, dies no more, death shall no longer have dominion over him.’” Rom. 6: 8-9  Once dead to sin we will be living the life of grace in Christ: “Thus do you consider yourselves also as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.’”Rom. 6:11

 

Spiritual Sense of the Multiplication of Loaves

In today’s Gospel, St. Ambrose tells us of the spiritual sense of the second miracle of The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.  Dom Prosper Gueranger in his The Liturgical Year Vol. 11 comments: “St. Ambrose, whose comments we are following, compares the miraculous repast mentioned in today’s gospel with the other multiplication of loaves brought before us on the fourth Sunday of Lent: and he remarks how, both in spiritual nourishment  and in that which refreshes the body, there are various degrees of excellence. The Bridegroom (Christ) does not ordinarily serve up the choicest wine, He does not produce the daintiest dishes, at the beginning of the banquet He has prepared for His dear ones. Besides, there are many souls here below who are incapable of rising, beyond a certain limit, towards the divine and substantial light which is the nourishment of the spirit.  To these, therefore—and they are the majority, and are represented by the five thousand men who were present at the first miraculous multiplication—the five loaves of inferior quality are an appropriate food, and one that by its very number, is in keeping with five senses, which, more or less, have dominion over the multitude. But as for the privileged favourites of grace—as for those men who are not distracted by the cares of the present life, who scorn to use its permitted pleasures, and who, even while in the flesh, make God the only king of their soul, -- for these, and for these only, the Bridegroom reserves the pure wheat of the seven loaves, which, by their number, express the plenitude of the holy Spirit (Seven Gifts), and mysteries in abundance.” Gueranger, p. 164-5

 

Men not of this world

            St. Ambrose sees the four thousand men of  today’s gospel symbolic of those who partake of the Holy Eucharist. This sanctified bread corresponds to the seventh day of God’s rest in creation:  “Seven is the number of divine rest; it was also to be that of the fruitful rest of the sons of God, of  perfect souls, in that peace which makes love secure, and in the source of the invincible  power of the bride, as mentioned in the Canticle (8:4 ‘I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, not to stir my love, nor rouse it, until it please to awake.’) It is for this reason that the Man-God, when proclaiming on the mount of beatitudes of the law of love, attributed the seventh to the peace-makers, or peaceable,  as deserving to be called, most truly, the sons of God. It is in them alone that is fully developed the germ of divine sonship.  Thanks to the silence to which the passions have been reduced, their spirit, now master of the flesh, and itself subject to God....Rightly, then,... the seventh beatitude is that of the peaceful; to them belong the seven baskets of the crumbs that were over and above. This bread of the Sabbath, this sanctified bread, this bread of rest, is something great; and I even venture to say, that if after thou has eaten of the five loaves (First Multiplication), thou shalt have eaten also of the seven, thou hast no bread on earth that thou canst look forward to... The more intense their hunger, the more they long for their divine object and for no other, the more will the heavenly food strengthen them with light and love, the more will it satiate them with delight... all the goodness, all the beauty of created things, are incapable of satisfying any single soul.” Gueranger, p. 166-7  Only the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist can give us eternal rest:  I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eat of this bread, he shall live forever and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:51-2  

 

“I am the bread of life.”  Jn. 6:48

 The Catholic Church in her wisdom obliges all its members to attend Sunday Mass in order that they may have the opportunity to receive Holy Communion in order to gain eternal life.  Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day.” Jn. 6:55  Sadly, many of  Jesus’ disciples walked away from him that day and said, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it.”  Jn. 6: 61.  Today, many Catholics are saying the same thing and are not going to Mass on Sunday.  How will they gain eternal life if they do not receive Holy Communion?   As our body needs food to live, so our souls needs the spiritual food of the Holy Eucharist,  “As the living Father has sent  me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me.”  Jn. 6: 58

 

The First Friday, 3 July 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 to honour the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than doing the “Nine First Fridays” every month.

 

The First Saturday of the Month

4 July  2015

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?  

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix(MIM)

4 July 2015

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those  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.  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. 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

First Saturday Day:   4 July 2015

9:30 AM Tea and coffee: St. Joseph’s Hall)

10:00 AM- First Conference:                    

11:30 AM-  Holy Mass in the chapel

12:30 PM- Lunch  (Bring your own); Tea supplied

1:30 PM-  Quiet Time:  Adoration,   Confession, Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet

3:00 PM-  Benediction

3:15 PM-  Second Conference: 

4:00-4:30 PM-  Tea and Departure

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Prayer for the Proclaim 15 Conference (For the New Evangelization) in Birmingham

            11 July 2015

 

Loving Father,
You so loved the world that you sent us your only Son,

that we might believe in him and have eternal life.

May we encounter Jesus Christ anew this day

and live the Good News with joy.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit,

help us to “go out to the whole world and proclaim”
 
our faith with confidence.
Give us the courage to witness to the Joy of the Gospel

by our words and actions.

Help our parish to become more welcoming and missionary, 
so that you may be known and loved by all people.

We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever,

Amen.

Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelisation, Pray for us.

Blessed John Henry Newman, Pray for us.

St Thérèse of Lisieux, Pray for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feast of Sts Peter and Paul Sunday 28th July 2015


Feast of  Sts. Peter and Paul

Sunday 28 June 2015

 

I say to thee that thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.”  Mt. 16:16

 

On this feastday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the two great Apostles of the Church, Sts. Peter and Paul.  Both were men who overcame weakness;  St. Peter denied Christ, and St. Paul persecuted the Church.  Both repented and worked tirelessly to spread the gospel to all nations.  Eventually, both proved their great love for Christ by dying as martyrs for the faith.

 

The Primacy of St. Peter as the Vicar of Christ

            Today’s gospel from St. Matthew (16:13-19)  tells us how  Jesus conferred  the Keys of the Kingdom upon St. Peter. First, Our Lord changed the apostle’s name. He would no  longer be called Simon, but Peter because, as the name signifies,  he would  be the rock upon which Christ would  build His Church. Peter, as rock, is an image that has endured for centuries to our present day. Christ likens Peter to a rock because he will have the  strength of the foundation of  His  Church. Thus the image of rock illustrates  the primacy of Peter and his successors, the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church.  St. Peter and all the Popes enjoy primacy because they  govern the  Roman Catholic Church which alone has the four marks of truth: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. It is indeed the “One only” Church, whose sole founder and head is Christ who  chose Peter to represent Him after he proclaimed:  “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Mt. 16:16.   St. Peter is the Head of the Church.  St. Ambrose would say,  “Where Peter is, there is the Church.”  This means that wherever we find the  Pope, St. Peter’s successor and the Vicar of Christ, there is the Church.  This sense of belonging to the Church should fill us with great joy.  Today’s feast in honour of the two great Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, should inspire in us great joy in thanksgiving to God, the Father,   for bringing us to the  Church  established by His Son and sanctified by His Holy Spirit.  St. Cyprian reminds us of the deep gratitude which we rightly must have for the Catholic Church:  “He cannot have God for His Father who does not have the Church for his Mother.  

 

“Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Mt. 16:16

            When we honour St. Peter today, we are in reality honouring Christ whom St. Peter knows to be the Son of  God. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the Church, and St. Peter is the rock upon which Jesus  built His Church.   As the  Vicar of Christ on earth, we, also are, as St. Peter tells us, the “living stones built upon a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,” (I Pt. 2:5) with Christ Jesus as the  cornerstone.  Like St. Teresa of  Avila, we should be “a daughter (or son) of the Church.” We should be true children of the Church who are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the needs of Holy Mother Church. In today’s Epistle ( I Pet. 1:1-7) St. Peter reminds of us of  joy which we will have in suffering for Christ:  “Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must for  a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: that the trial of your faith, much more precious than gold (which is tried by the fire), may be found unto praise and glory and honour, at the appearance of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Today, the Holy Roman Catholic Church is suffering in its members who are persecuted for the Catholic faith. If we truly love Christ, then we will love the Catholic faith and be willing to suffer  all that God sends us for the good of  all the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church Militant on earth.

 

St. Paul,  the Apostle of the Gentiles

            We are all familiar with St. Paul, known formerly as Saul, a zealous Jew, who  persecuted the faith of the early Christians so much that he rode to Damascus  in order to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.  It was on his way to Damascus, that Saul was converted by being knocked off his horse by blinding light. Once he knew that he was actually persecuting Jesus Christ, the Nazarean, in the person of  the members of His Church he was never the same again. Now, as Paul,  all that mattered to him was to be like Jesus Christ, poor and crucified: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I live now in the flesh, I live in faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up  for me.”  Gal. 2:20  St.  Paul imitated Christ when he  gave himself totally to spreading the gospel.  He was unconcerned about himself and suffered all kinds of dangers and failures: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword.”  Rom. 8:5  St. Paul knows that he is the instrument chosen by God to bring the gospel to all the people who were not Jews, that is, the Gentile world: “But when it pleased him who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among the Gentiles…Gal. 1:15-6

 

The Blessings of the Grace of God

            St. Paul’s conversion is a powerful lesson to all of us on the power of God’s grace.  Paul, formerly Saul, was so zealous for the Jewish faith that he was blinded to the goodness of the Christians.  He may even have seen Jesus and also been blinded like so many other Jews of  his day.  St. Augustine tells us that St. Paul’s passionate zeal was like an impenetrable jungle.  Although it was a great obstacle, it nevertheless showed St. Paul’s natural talent.  God who sees the heart knew this and gave Paul the grace of conversion.   St. Paul would allude to the fact that he and all Christians were chosen from all eternity:  “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” Eph. 1:4   He has redeemed us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world existed. II Tim 1:9.  Oh, how mysterious and powerful was the grace of God in the life of  St. Paul.

 

Zealous Apostles

 St. Peter and St. Paul, lived not for themselves, but for  Jesus Christ. Both had been sinners who were selected by Jesus for very special missions:  St. Peter was to be the first Pope and the rock upon which Jesus built His Church; St. Paul was to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.  Both Apostles knew that Jesus spared nothing in His love for them and all men, and they also felt compelled to give themselves for their brethren in the Church.  Both  were martyrs for the faith, and both spoke boldly for Christ as they knew that they had to obey God rather than men.  We should imitate these holy Apostles in their zeal for the faith, and then we will rejoice with them and account the sufferings of this life as nothing in comparison to the great reward promised those who love and serve God. St. Paul knew of this reward and said:  “Eye has not seen, or ear heard, nor has it entered the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love him.”

 

The First Friday, 3 July 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 to honour the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than doing the “Nine First Fridays” every month.

 

The First Saturday of the Month

4 July  2015

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?  

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix(MIM)

4 July 2015

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those  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.  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. 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

First Saturday Day:   4 July 2015

9:30 AM Tea and coffee: St. Joseph’s Hall)

10:00 AM- First Conference:                    

11:30 AM-  Holy Mass in the chapel

12:30 PM- Lunch  (Bring your own); Tea supplied

1:30 PM-  Quiet Time:  Adoration, Confession, Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet

3:00 PM-  Benediction

3:15 PM-  Second Conference: 

4:00-4:30 PM-  Tea and Departure

 

 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 21st July 2015


Fourth  Sunday after Pentecost,

21  July  2015

 

“Master, the whole night through we have toiled and have taken nothing; but at thy word I will lower the net.” Lk. 5: 5

Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalene in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, tells us:  “Two ideas dominate the liturgy of today’s Mass: great confidence in God and an acute awareness of our human misery and insufficiency. These two ideas are closely connected, for it is the consciousness of our nothingness which leads us to put all our confidence in God, and the greater the confidence becomes in us, the more convinced we are of our nothingness. The Mass begins with a cry of unshakable hope: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?’ (Introit)  The Lord is with me in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, the Lord comes to me in Holy Communion.  What can separate me from Him?  What can make me fear? Yet I know my weakness; I have ever before my eyes the remembrance of my failures and infidelities. How great, then, is my need to humbly repeat the beautiful prayer of the of the Gradual: ‘Save us, O Lord, and pardon our sins.. Help us, O God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name.’ Yes, in spite of the continual help of divine grace, in spite of so many confessions and communions, I have to acknowledge  new failures every day; daily, I must begin anew.

 

Confidence in Jesus’ Redemption

“The struggle is arduous and painful, but in today’s Epistle (Rom. 8: 18-23), St. Paul reminds us that ‘the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.’ Rom. 8:18  This thought is one of consolation, hope and confidence; it does not, however, prevent us from longing for freedom and complete redemption.  This is what the Apostle experienced when he said: ‘We also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body in Christ Jesus.’ Rom. 8:23  The more we suffer because of our wretchedness, the more we should run to Jesus, with full confidence in the power of His Redemption.

 

“Without Me, you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5.

“Today’s Gospel (Lk. 5:1-11) is a practical demonstration of the words of Jesus: ‘Without Me, you can do nothing’ (Jn. 15:5).   Simon and his companions had been fishing all night and had caught nothing; that is all they had been able to do by themselves.  If we have had some little experience in the spiritual life, we will recognize that is often our situation too.  How many efforts we have made to rid ourselves of this or that attachment, to forget injuries, to adapt ourselves to our neighbour’s way of doing things, to subject our will to another’s!   And yet, after all these attempts, we find our hands empty,  like Peter’s nets. Let us not be discouraged; if we can humbly acknowledge our failure itself will turn into victory. So it happened to Peter after he admitted publicly that he had ‘taken nothing’ (Lk. 5:5).  St. Therese of the Child Jesus comments: ‘Had the Apostle caught some small fish, perhaps our divine Master would not have worked a miracle; but he had caught nothing, and so through the power and goodness of God his nets were soon filled with great fishes. Such is Our Lord’s way.  He gives as God, with divine generosity, but He insists on humility of heart.’” (Letters of St. Therese) Fr. Gabriel, Divine Intimacy, p. 648-9

 

“The kingdom of heaven”

In a spiritual interpretation of today’s gospel, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 11 comments on the allegorical interpretation of the fathers who  relate the gospel story to the Church:  “…As she now is, the Church is the multitude, without distinction between good and bad; but afterwards—that is, after the resurrection—the good alone will compose the Church, and their number will be forever fixed.  ‘The kingdom of heaven,’ says Our Lord, ‘is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out; they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad cast forth.’ Mt. 13: 47-8  To speak with St. Augustine, the fishers of men have cast forth their nets; they have taken the multitude of Christians which we see in wonderment; they have filled the two ships with them, the two peoples, Jew and Gentile. But what is this we are told?  The multitude weighs down the ships, even to the risk of sinking them; it is what we witness now: the pressing and mingled crowd of the baptized is a burden to the Church. Many Christians there are who live badly; they are a trouble to, and keep back, the good.  Worse than these, there are those who tear the nets by their schisms or their heresies; they are  impatient of the yoke of unity, and will not come to the banquet of Christ; they are pleased with themselves.  Under pretext that they cannot live with the bad, they break the net which kept them in the apostolic track, and they die far off the shore. …Let us not imitate their folly. If grace has made us holy, let us be patient with the bad while living in this world’s waters. Let the sight of them drive us neither to live as they do, nor to leave the Church. The shore is not far off, where those on the right, or the good, will alone be permitted to land, and from which the wicked will be repulsed and cast into the abyss.”  Gueranger, p. 128-29

 

Faith in Jesus Christ

Fr. Gabriel reminds us of the faith that we need to have in Jesus Christ. “In spite of our good will to advance in virtue, Our Lord will not permit us to have any success until He sees that we are thoroughly convinced of our own weakness and inability; to give us this conviction, He lets us, as He let Peter, work all night without catching anything (cf. Lk. 5:5).  But afterwards, as He sees our growing awareness of our poverty and our willingness  to admit it openly, He will come to our aid. We must, then, have great faith in Him, never allowing ourselves to give up through lack of success. Every day, relying ‘on His word,’ we must begin anew. If we have learned not to trust in our own strength, we must also learn to have complete confidence in the divine aid. If we have caught nothing until now, perhaps it is our lack of unshakable confidence that is the cause, and this deficiency, besides being displeasing  to Jesus, paralyzed our spiritual life.  Then let us repeat with Peter in a similar cry of confidence: “…Lord, at Thy word, I will let down the net’ (Lk. 5: 5). And let us repeat it every day, every moment without growing weary.”  Fr. Gabriel, p. 649-50

 

“At  thy word I will let down my net.” Lk. 5:6

 

     Cornelius a Lapide in Commentary of St. Luke’s Gospel, tells us:  “Because Peter had said, ‘At Thy word I will let down my net…’ Behold, this is the fruit of obedience. Jesus did this: 1. In order that by providing them with food, He might prepare them for their vocation and discipleship. As  if to say: I have decided to call you away  from fishing in order to be my disciples; make no excuse, saying that you must work for your livelihood as fishermen.  Behold, I supply you with this  miraculous draft of fishes, so that you might believe in Me, that even without fishing I shall provide you with your food and all things necessary for life, more easily and more abundantly than you can provide them yourselves by your toil and labor. 2.  To teach from this plentiful catch of fish, that they were soon to become successful fishers of men, when they were called by Christ to do so.” A Lapide, p. 352 So, too,  Jesus calls us to do His will in our vocation in life,  and, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, He will always give us the necessary graces for the  vocation to which we have been called. 

 

 

 

 

“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40

. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very special the Holy Eucharist is:  “O precious wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it, sins are purged away, virtues are increased and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift.”  “Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?”  Mt. 26:40

 

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.”  Pope St. Pius X

 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Third Sunday after Pentecost 14th June 2015


Third Sunday after Pentecost,

14 June,  2015

 

“I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in heaven  over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance.” Lk. 15:7

 

Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalene in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, tells us the meaning of today’s proper (prayers and readings):  “Today’s liturgy is a warm invitation to confidence in the merciful love of Jesus. Even from the beginning  of the Mass, the Church has us pray thus: ‘Look toward me and have pity on me, O Lord, for I am desolate and unhappy. See my misery and sadness, and pardon all my sins’ (Introit); then in the Collect we add: ‘O God… pour out upon us Your mercy,’ and a little later we are exhorted: ‘Cast your care upon the Lord and He will support you’ (Gradual). But how can we justify all this confidence in God since we are always poor sinners?   The Gospel (Lk. 15:1-10) explains the grounds for this justification by relating two parables used by Jesus Himself to teach us that we can never have too much  confidence in His infinite mercy: the story of the lost sheep and the account of the missing drachma.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 628.  In today’s Epistle, I Peter 5: 6-11, we can see complementary passages on how the Christian is to deal with the sufferings God sends him.  He is to have confidence in God:  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in time of visitation; cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.” I Pt. 5: 6.  Those who humble themselves before God are confident that God’s “mighty hand” will sustain them because He cares for all who trust Him with  their anxieties.

 

“Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.” Mt.  15:6

 

In his book, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 10,  Dom Prosper Gueranger explains the meaning of today’s gospel parables. “The parable of the sheep that is carried back to the fold on the shepherd’s shoulders was a favourite  one with the early Christians; and they made representations of it at almost every turn. The same is put before us in today’s Gospel; that our confidence may be strengthened in God’s infinite mercy. It reminds us, in its own beautiful way, of our Lord Jesus; whom we contemplated, a few weeks back, ascending triumphantly into heaven, carrying thither, in His arms, the lost human family, which He had won back from satan and death and sin.  For, as St. Ambrose said, ‘who is the Shepherd  of our parable?  It is Christ, who carries thee, poor man, in His own Body, and has taken all thy sins upon Himself. The sheep is one, not by number, but by its kind. Rich Shepherd this, of whose flock all we human beings form but the hundredth part!  For He has Angels, and Archangels and Dominations, and Powers, and Thrones, and all the rest; all those other countless flocks, whom He has left  yonder in the mountains, that He might run after the one sheep He had lost.’” Gueranger, p. 450

 

The Lost  Coin  is Man Lost by Sin

 

Dom Gueranger quotes Pope St. Gregory the Great who also explains the meaning of the Parable of the Woman and Ten Groats (Drachmas) as a symbol of the redemption of man from original sin.  “He that is signified by the shepherd is also meant by the woman. Jesus is God; He is the Wisdom of God. And because a good coin must bear the image of the king upon it, therefore, was it that the woman lost her groat, when man, who had been created after God’s image, strayed from that image by committing sin. But the woman lights a lamp; the Wisdom of God hath appeared in human flesh. A lamp is a light which burns in a vessel of clay; and Light in a vessel of His Body, that this Wisdom says; My strength is dried up like a potsherd (cf. Ps. 21:6).   For, just as clay is made hard by the fire, so His strength was dried up like a potsherd, because it has strengthened unto glory of His resurrection, in the crucible of sufferings , the Flesh which He (Wisdom) has assumed…. Having found the groat she had lost, the woman called together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me! Because I have found the groat which I had lost. Who are these friends and neighbours (cf. Lk. 15:9), if not the heavenly spirits, who are so near to divine Wisdom by the favours they enjoy of the ceaseless vision?  But we must not, meanwhile, neglect to examine why this woman, who represents divine Wisdom, is described as having ten groats, one of which she loses, then looks for, and again finds. We must know, then, that God made both angels and men, that they might know Him: and that having made both immortal, He made both to the image of God. The woman, then, had ten groats, because there are nine orders of angels, and man, who is to fill up the number of the elect, is the tenth groat; he was lost by his sin, but was found again, because eternal Wisdom restored him, by lighting the lamp, that is, by assuming his flesh, and through that working wonderful works, which led to his recovery.”  Gueranger, p. 450-1

 

 

I have not come to call the just but sinners.” Mt. 9:13

            The joy which the Good Shepherd and the woman experience when they  find what was lost is compared to the joy in heaven when a sinner repents.  Underlying Jesus’ words is His answer to the Pharisees who look upon Him with anger because He “…welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  Lk. 7:2   Jesus, who knew their thoughts, answers them by telling the three parables of “The Lost Sheep,” “The Missing Drachma,” and “The Prodigal Son,” (Lk. 11:32) which illustrate the mercy of God in contrast to the scornful attitude of the Pharisees.  They cannot see why, if Jesus is a holy man, He should associate with sinners. This, of course, is the major point as Jesus tells us elsewhere in the gospels: “For this I have come into the world, to seek and save what was lost,”  (Mt. 18:11)  and “I have not come to call the just but sinners.” (Mt. 9:13    This is why the good shepherd and the woman are so happy when they find the lost sheep and lost drachma: “Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.” Mt.  15:6  and “Rejoice with me for I have found the drachma that I had lost.” Lk. 15: 9   In concluding these two parables,  Jesus says: “Even so, I say to you, there will be joy among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Lk. 15:10

 

Great Joy in heaven for repentant sinners

            This startling revelation of the joy in heaven when a sinner repents reminds us of some other important aspects of the spiritual life which are mentioned in today’s readings. First, the angels understand the sinner’s great struggle  to overcome sin.  St Peter tells us this in today’s Epistle: “Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour.” I Pt. 5:8  The devil is indeed powerful if one falls into his clutches, but St. Peter reminds his hearers that they will be sustained by God who will reward them with eternal glory: “But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus will himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish us. To him is the dominion forever and ever.” I Pt. 5:10-11   From this struggle, we can see the second lesson of the spiritual life  by which God will sustain the soul in grace in preparation for eternal glory.  Another important aspect of the spiritual life related to the glory of God is that every soul which overcomes evil gives God great glory. Fr. Gabriel tells us:  The message of this parable applies not only to great sinners, those converted from serious sin, but also to those who turn from venial sins, who humble themselves and rise again after faults committed through weakness or lack of reflection.” (p. 629)  St. Therese of the Child Jesus would also remind us how the Heart of Jesus “thrills with joy when, humbly acknowledging our fault, we come to fling ourselves into His arms, imploring forgiveness; then, He loves even more tenderly  than before we fell.” (Letters )

 

“…for He cares for you.”  I Pt. 5:6-7

 No wonder our good God is so happy to forgive us for all of our sins because He knows our weakness, and He rejoices when we humble ourselves, as St. Peter tells us in today’s Epistle:  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that He may in due time raise you up. Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.”  I Pt. 5:6-7

 

 

June is the Month of  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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 to honour the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than doing the “Nine First Fridays” every month.