Saturday, July 26, 2014

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 27th July 2014

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
27 July 2014

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:23

Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalene in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, comments on today’s readings: “Both the Epistle (Rom. 6:19-23) and the Gospel (Mt. 7:15-21) for today speak of the true fruits of the Christian life and invite us to ask ourselves what fruit we have produced so far. ‘When you were servants of sin,’ says St. Paul, ‘you brought forth fruits of death, but now, being made from sin and become servants of God, you have brought your fruit of sanctification.’” (cf. Rom. 6:22) Fr. Gabriel, p. 711-12. In today’s Gospel, Jesus also speaks of bearing fruit as a sign of a good soul: “By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Mt. 7:16-18 What accounts for the bad fruit? Jesus has redeemed us all with His Precious Blood in our Baptism, but not everyone has understood the liberty of the children of God. Some have believed in false prophets whose fruits are bad: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Mt. 7:15. Those who misuse their freedom become servants of sin and death by following false prophets of a worldly doctrine of pleasure and greed.

Jesus delivers us from sin
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 11, comments on today’s Epistle. He assures us we have been delivered from original sin and the devil: “Sold under sin, by our first parents even before we had seen the day, and branded with the infamous stigma, our whole life belonged to the cruel tyrant. He is a master who is never satisfied with our service; he is a merciless exactor; there is scarce an hour that he does not make us feel his power over the members of our body; he does not allow us to forget that our body is his slave. But, if the life of a slave is under his master’s control, death comes at last and sets the soul free; and as to the body, the oppressor can claim nothing, once it is buried. Now, it was on the cross of the Man-God, who, as the apostle so strongly expresses it, was made sin (cf. Rom. 6:11) because of our sins, that guilty human nature was considered by God’s merciful justice to have become what its divine and innocent Head was. The old man that was the issue of Adam the sinner has been crucified; he has died in Christ; the slave by birth, affranchised by this happy death, has had buried under the waters of Baptism the body of sin, which carried in its flesh the mark of its slavery....the sacred stream has not only washed away the defilement of this degraded body, but it has also set it free from the those members of sin, which are the evil passions. These passions were the powers of iniquity—that is, power which deformed, and turned into uncleanness, those faculties and organs wherewith God had endowed us, that we might fulfil all justice unto sanctification. At the moment of our Baptism the strong-armed tyrant forfeited his possession of us; that Baptism was a death which set his slave free.” Gueranger, p. 175-6. This new freedom is to what St. Paul is referring: “But now set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and as your end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:22-23

“By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16
There seems little doubt that today’s Gospel should be applied to those who did not believe in Jesus. This is why Jesus compares people to good and bad fruit. Those who listen to His word are the good fruit; those who oppose Him and teach others to do so are the bad fruit. “By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16 The bad fruit are the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who lead people away with the false teachings. This is why Jesus says: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Mt. 8:15. Jesus is directing these words to the teachers of the law during His time who by their office appeared “in sheep’s clothing” and looked good on the outside, but within they were filled with treachery to destroy souls with their false teachings. Dom Gueranger comments on them: “False prophets and false Christs are numerous in Israel since the true Messiah, whom the prophets foretold, has been ignored, and treated by His own people as the prophets themselves had been.” Gueranger, p. 182 “By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16 “Under sheep’s clothing, which they wear that they may deceive simple souls, the apostles of falsehood ever betray their real nature. The artful language they use, and the flatteries they utter for gain’s sake, cannot hide the hollowness of their words. They separate themselves from the flock of Christ,...” Gueranger, 187. They are the bad fruit that come from a bad tree. We know the tree by its fruit. “Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Mt. 8: 16-18

Obey the Commandments
In case anyone did not understand what good and bad fruit had to do with His teaching, Jesus clearly states that one needs to do His will which means to keep His Commandments: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 8:21 As in Jesus’ time, so today, there are many who pretend to work for God but are really “false prophets.” They teach in Jesus’ Name and they may even prophesy in His Name, but they do not keep His Commandments. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this bad fruit: “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.” Jer. 48:10 No wonder St. John would also be strong in his condemnation of “bad fruit”: “He who says he loves God and does not keep the commandments is a liar and there is no truth in him.” I Jn. 2:4 These “false prophets” have returned to their father, the devil, a murderer and a liar from the beginning (cf. Jn. 8:44), and they have become slaves of sin and death. Those who keep God’s Commandments are the good fruit who will inherit the kingdom because they have kept God’s Word and have produced fruit unto life everlasting.

The New Evangelization in the Church

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Heb. 6:11
God wants us to believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ redeemed by His death on the Cross and established His Church on Peter and the other Apostles as a means of salvation. As there are so many Catholics who have lost their faith and there are so many people who are not Catholics, the Church has called for a “New Evangelization” for our time. You might wonder how this “New Evangelization” should be conducted in these times. It should be done as it was in early days of the Church As in days long ago, when the pagan world was evangelized, the Apostles and their successors preached the necessity of believing in Jesus Christ and joining His Church by being baptized. “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15-6

“…thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…” Mt. 16:18

Jesus Christ founded His Church on St. Peter: “And I say to thee, thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt. 16: 18-19 Only the Catholic Church can trace its origin back to St. Peter and Jesus Christ. All other churches were founded by men! The Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, is the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth. Jesus promised that the gates of hell (untruth) shall not prevail against His Church. Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. Jesus promised that whatever the Church teaches on earth will be approved by Him (in heaven).

Solemn Teachings of Jesus Christ

Jesus wanted all to be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. How many religions do not believe in the Blessed Trinity of three Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) in one God? Many do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They also do not believe in Sacraments which were instituted by Jesus to give grace. Jesus said, “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world….Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you shall not have life in you.” John 6:51 and 54 On Easter Sunday night, Jesus also promised his Apostles that they would be able to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” John 20:22 St. Anthony Mary Claret said: “It is not that everyone has to be a Catholic per se, but where else are they to get their sins forgiven.” The great English author and convert to Catholicism, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, said, “I wanted a Church in which my sins could be forgiven.”

People in the world need to hear these truths which were uttered by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They need to realize that only the Catholic Church was founded by Him and that He wants all to believe in His words and listen to His Church which teaches in His name. We all need to proclaim these truths for where else can souls gain eternal salvation except in the Catholic Church? (to be continued next week)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 20th July 2014

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
20 July 2014

“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

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 13th July 2014

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
13 July 2014
“For I say to you that unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:20

In his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, Father Gabriel of St. Magdalene identifies today’s liturgy as “the Sunday of Fraternal Charity, a virtue so necessary to preserve proper relations with our neighbour.” (p. 669) Likewise Jesus’ words in the Gospel (Mt. 5:20-24) state that our justice (fraternal charity) must be greater than that of the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees or else we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. We can see that Jesus not only warns us against the grave sin of murder, but also against sins against charity such as anger and hatred: “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Thou shalt not kill’; and that whoever shall kill shall be liable to the judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ (empty-headed) shall be liable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘Thou fool!’ shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna.” Mt. 5: 21-22 We are also told not to keep hatred or grudges within us but rather to be reconciled with our brother before we offer our gifts at the altar. St. Peter in today’s Epistle (I Pt. 3:8-15) also reminds us that we must be charitable to our brothers: “ all like-minded, compassionate, lovers of the brethren, merciful, humble; not rendering evil for evil, or abuse for abuse, but contrariwise, blessing; for unto this were you called that you might inherit a blessing.” I Pt. 3:8-9 Jesus’ message is essentially one of charity as St. John tells us: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. And everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.” I Jn. 4:7-8

The Father’s House of “Living Stones”

Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 11--Time After Pentecost Book II comments on the mystical meaning of today’s Epistle. “The Gospel of last Sunday showed us the apostles gathering into their net the mystic fish, which represented the chosen souls called into the union of the Church. To-day we must look upon the faithful as the living stones of which that Church is built; for we are listening to the words of Peter, who is the rock and the foundation-stone. The Son of God came down from heaven for no other purpose than to found on earth a glorious city, in which God Himself might delight to dwell (cf. Apoc. 21:2-3 “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold the dwelling of God with men and he will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’): He came, that He might build for His Father a temple of matchless beauty, where praise and love, ceaselessly sounding from the very stones which form its walls, might worthily proclaim it to be the sanctuary of the great sacrifices. He became Himself the foundation of the thrice holy structure wherein was to burn the eternal holocaust (cf. I Pet. 2:4-7 ‘Draw near to him a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and honoured by God. Be you yourselves as living stones built thereon into spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’ 4-5). He communicated this character of foundation of the new temple Simon, His vicar; and by giving him the name of Peter or rock He as good as told all future generations, what was the one aim of all His divine labours, viz, to build, here on earth, a temple worthy of His eternal Father. ….Union of true charity, concord, and peace, which must, at every cost, be kept up as the condition for their being happy both now and for ever—such is the substances of the instruction addressed by Simon, now Peter, to those other chosen stones, which rest upon him, and constitute that august temple to be presented by the Son of Man to the glory of the Most High. Do not the solidity and duration of even earth’s palaces depend on the degree of union between the materials used in their structure? …What then, will be the cause of the stability, what the cement which is to hold together the house prepared for God to dwell in, which, when all else has crumbled into change, is to ever the same? And that dwelling is the Church; the dwelling of the adorable Trinity, up to whose throne the fragrance which exhales from her divine Spouse will ascend for all eternity.

The Holy Spirit Infuses Charity into the Church

“Here again it is the Holy Spirit who must explain to us the mystery of this union, which makes up the holy city (cf. Ps. 121:3), and which is to last as long as eternity itself. The charity which is poured forth into our hearts at the moment of our Baptism is an emanation of the very love that reigns in the bosom of the blessed Trinity; for the workings of the holy Spirit in the saints have this for their aim: to make them enter into a participation in the divine energies. Having become the life of the regenerate soul, the divine fire penetrates her whole being with God, and communicates, to her created and finite love, the direction and the power of the flame that is everlasting and divine. So that, henceforward, the Christian must love as God loves; his charity is then only what it should be, when it takes in everything God loves. Now, such ineffable friendship established by the supernatural order between God and His intellectual creatures, that He vouchsafes to love them with the love wherwith He loves Himself; and therefore, our charity should include and embrace, not only God Himself, but moreover, all those beings whom He has called to share, if they will, in His own infinite happiness. This will give us to understand the grandeur and incomparable power of the union, in which the Holy Ghost has established the Church. We are not surprised that the bonds should be stronger than death, and its cohesion be proof against all the power of hell (cf. Cant. 8:6); for the cement, which joins the living stones of its walls together, partakes of the strength of God Himself, and imitates the stability of His eternal love…

The Necessity for Mutual Love

“But let us also understand the importance and the necessity of mutual union for all Christians. There must be among them that love of brotherhood which is so frequently and so strongly recommended by the apostles, the co-operators of the Spirit in the building up of the Church. The keeping aloof from schism and heresy… the repression of hatred and jealousy; no, these are not enough to make us become useful members of the Church of Christ. We must, moreover, have a charity which is effective, and devoted, and persevering and brings all souls and hearts into true union and harmony; a charity, which, to be worthy of the name, must be warm-hearted and generous, for it must make us see God in our fellow-men, and that will bring us to look upon their happiness or misfortunes as though they were our own. We must have none of that phlegmatic egotism which finds satisfaction in never putting itself out of the way for anybody. Hateful as such a temperament is, it is far from being a rare one. It holds this peculiar view about charity, that the best way of observing it is to have a complete indifference for those who live with us! Souls of this stamp, it is evident, are not bedded in the divine cement; you could never make them part of the holy structure; the heavenly builder is compelled to reject them as unfit, …When it is too late, they will open their eyes, and understand that charity is one; so that, he does not love God who does not love his neighbour (cf. I Jn. 4:21 ‘And this commandment we have from him that he who loves God should love his brother also.’), and he who does not love, abideth in death ( I Jn. 3:14 ‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.’). Let us, therefore, as St. John counsels us, measure the perfection of our love for God by the love we have for our neighbours: then only shall we be enabled to enjoy the unspeakable mysteries of divine union with Him, who only unites Himself with His elect, in order to make both them and Himself one magnificent temple to the glory of His Father.” Gueranger, p. 136-140

God’s Union with His Beloved Bride, the Church

In the Gospel, Dom Gueranger shows how the Church, the temple of God on earth, continues its growth in divine love. “…and yet, the five weeks we have had since Pentecost have shown us how gloriously the Church has been begun on Mount Sion. There, fronting the temple of the restricted and imperfect covenant of Sinai, the holy Spirit has founded the Church, making her the place where all nations of earth are to meet in gladness (cf. Ps. 47:3); she is the city of the great King, where all men shall henceforth live in the knowledge of God (cf. Jer. 31:34); and, from the very first moment of her existence, she has been showing herself to us as the abode where Eternal Wisdom has made it His delight to dwell ( Prov. 8:31; Prov. 9:1); she has proved herself to be the true Holy of holies, wherein God and we are to be brought into union.

The New Law of Love Overcomes Fear and Bondage

“The law of fear and bondage (cf. Rom. 8:15) is, therefore, for ever abrogated by the law of love. A lingering remnant of regard for the once approved institution, which was the depository of divine revelations (cf. Rom. 3:2), permits the first generation of Jewish converts to observe, if it so please them, the practices of their forefathers (circumcision); but the permission is to cease with the temple, whose approaching destruction is to bury the Synagogue for ever. And even now, before that period of destruction, the prescriptions of the Mosaic law are insufficient to justify the sons of Jacob before God. … The very commandments of the Decalogue -— those necessary commandments, which belong to all times and can never undergo change, because they pertain to the essence of the ties existing between creatures and their Creator—even these holy commandment have acquired such additional splendour from the teachings of Jesus, the Sun of all justice, that man’s conscience now finds in them an almost immeasurable increase of moral responsibility and loveliness.

Human Corruption of the Law

“But man’s reason having become greatly obscured by the fall, his soul had no longer the full and clear notion it previously had of the moral obligations resulting from his nature as man. His will, too, was a sufferer by the same fall: it became depraved; it used the original weakness of reason as an excuse for its own malice; and that malice did but thicken the darkness which covered its own excesses. Voluntary or heedless victims of error, the Gentiles were seen adapting their conduct to false maxims, which were, at times, contrary to the first principles of morality, that we who enjoy the blessings of faith can scarcely believe that men could ever be so wicked. Even the descendants of the Patriarchs though singularly preserved through benediction given by God to their fathers, were by no means free from the general corruption…” Gueranger, p. 143.

Interior Sins Denounced by Jesus

Don Gueranger contrasts the exterior and interior sins to show the superiority of the New Covenant: “… every judgment passed by men, be their authority never so imposing, can only deal with exterior facts: so that Moses, in the legislative code he had drawn up, assigned no penalty for interior sins. These, however grievous they be may be, are essentially beyond the appreciations and cognizance of society and the human powers governing it. Even now, under the new Law, the Church does not inflict her censures on interior faults, unless they be made manifest by some act which comes under the senses; just as Moses had done, who, whilst acknowledging the culpability of criminal thoughts or desires, yet left to God’s judgment what He alone can know….According to the moral theology of those Hebrew doctors, conscience meant only what the tribunal of public justice issued as its decisions; the obligations of the interior tribunal of a man’s conscience were to be restricted to the rules followed by the assize-courts. The result of such teaching soon showed itself: the only thing people need care for was what was seen by men; if the fault were not one that human eyes could judge of, you were not to trouble about it. The Gospel is filled with the woes uttered by our Lord against blind guides, who taught the souls they professed to direct how best to smother law and justice and love under the outward cover of the letter. Jesus never lost an opportunity in denouncing, and castigating, and holding up to execrations, those hypocritical scribes and Pharisees who took such pain to be ever cleaning the outside of the dish, but within were full of impurity, and murder and rapine (cf. Mt. 22).” Gueranger, p. 144-5

Jesus Came to Restore the Original Law of Justice and Charity

Don Gueranger points out how Jesus came to earth to restore the original principles of justice.
“The divine Word, who had come down from heaven to sanctify men in truth, that is in Himself (cf. Jn. 1&:17, 19), had to make this His first care; to restore what time had tarnished, to restore all the original brightness to the changeless principles of justice and right, which rest in Him as in their centre. No sooner had He called the disciples around Him and chosen twelve out of their number as apostles, than He began, with all possible solemnity, His divine work of moral restoration. The passage from the Sermon on the Mount, which the Church has selected for the Gospel of this fifth Sunday, follows immediately after His declaring that he had come, not to find fault with, or to destroy the Law (cf. Mt. 5:17) but to restore it to its true meaning of which the scribes had deprived it…. In the few lines put before us to-day by the Church, Our Lord tells us not to make human tribunals the standard of the justice needed for the entering into the kingdom of heaven. The Jewish law brought a man who was guilty of murder before the criminal court of judgment; and He, the master and author of the law, declares to us, that anger, which is the first step leading to murder, even though it lurk in the deepest recesses of the conscience, may bring death to the soul; and thus really incur, in the spiritual order, the capital punishment which human tribunals reserve to actual murder. If, without going so far as to strike the offender, our anger should vent itself in insulting language, such as worthless wretch (which in Syriac is Raca) the sin becomes so serious that, weighed in the balance of its real guilt as known by God, it would be a case, not of the ordinary criminal jurisdiction, but of the highest council of the nation. If the angry man pass from insulting to injurious language, there is no human tribunal which, be it as severe as it can be in its verdict, can give us an idea of the enormity of the sin committed. But the authority of the sovereign Judge is not, like that of a human magistrate, confined within certain limits; when fraternal charity is outraged, there is an avenger who will demand justice beyond the grave. Such is the importance of holy charity, which demands should unite all men together! And so directly opposed to God’s design is the sin, which, in whatever degree, endangers or troubles the union of the living stones of the temple, which has to be built up in concord and love here below, to the glory of the undivided and tranquil Trinity.” Gueranger, p. 146-7

The Precept of Absolute Reconciliation
In the passage right before today’s Gospel, Jesus told the Pharisees: “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Mt. 5:17 Jesus is teaching the true meaning of the Mosaic Law (The Ten Commandments) when He reminds them that they must have pure hearts and cannot have any hatred or anger for their neighbour. If they do, they must come to peace with him. In today’s Gospel Jesus also demands reconciliation: “Therefore, if thou art offering thy gift at the altar and there rememberest that thy brother has anything against thee, leave thy gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and them come and offer thy gift.” Mt. 5:23- 24 Cornelius a Lapide comments on the meaning of this passage: “Therefore, this is a precept, both of law and of the natural law, or better, a supernatural precept connatural with grace. For this is the order of virtues, that reconciliation, peace, and unity precede religion and an act of Sacrifice, so as to dispose the soul to this; hence, this precept obliged even the Jews under the old law. Here, nevertheless, it is sanctioned more strictly by Christ, because by the Incarnation of the Word He has, in the very closest manner, united us all to Himself and to one another. This greater union, which we have, therefore, through Christ, demands greater love and unity among Christian brethren: so He has said, ‘A new commandment give I unto you, that you love one another.’ Jn. 13:34 Also because the Sacrifice of the Eucharist is holier than the ancient sacrifices. It is the gathering together and the communion of the Body, of which we all partake; and thereby we are all mutually united to Christ and one another. Hence, it is called ‘Communion,’ that is, the common union of all. Since, therefore, the Eucharist is a sacrifice, as well as a sacrament and profession of mutual union and peace, it is necessary that all discord should be done away with, and that those who have offended should reconcile themselves to those whom they have offended before this Sacred Synaxis, lest they be found liars. For in truth he is a liar who takes this Sacrament of Union, i.e. the Eucharist, with his neighbour, and is not in union with, but bears a grudge or rancour against him in his heart. St. Augustine says it beautifully (serm. 16 de Verbis Domini), ‘The Lord is seeking you more than a gift; you are bringing your gift yet you are not God’s gift. Christ seeks the one whom He has redeemed by His Blood more than what you have procured in your barn.’” The Commentary of Cornelius a’ Lapide: St. Matthew’s Gospel, Vol. 1, p. 253-4

Pastoral Letter on the “Assisted Dying Bill” from Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth.

In his Pastoral Letter of 12th/13th July 2014, Bishop Mark O’Toole reminds us of the extreme importance of this bill when he writes: “Our faith teaches us that all human life is sacred. Respecting life means that every person must be valued for as long as they live… The Catechism of the Catholic Church… says: ‘It is God who remains the sovereign master of life. We are stewards, not owners of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
“The new bill marks a very serious moment for our country. It raises serious questions about what sort of society we want to be. Especially of concern is whether we will continue to promote a proper care of the dying, and of those who are vulnerable through disability or age.”

Let us do all that we can to follow the teaching of our bishop. Let us pray for our country that it will respect life from the cradle to the grave. Let us do all that we can in the political and social area to remind people that life is sacred and it is not ours to question why God allows some to suffer in this life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 6th July 2014

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost,
6 July 2014

“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.

The First Friday, 4 July 2014
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

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix(MIM)
5 July 2014

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. (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.

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix
First Saturday Day: 5 July 2014
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
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

The First Saturday of the Month
5 July 2014
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?