The Gospel

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Seventeenth Sunday in ordinary time, St. Peter Chrysologus

John Paul II: “Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, and gave it to them”

2nd book of Kings 4,42-44.

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing the man of God twenty barely loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear. "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha said. But his servant objected, "How can I set this before a hundred men?" "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha insisted. "For thus says the LORD, 'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'" And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.

Psalms 145,10-11.15-18.

All your works give you thanks, O LORD and your faithful bless you.
They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your great works,
The eyes of all look hopefully to you; you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
You, LORD, are just in all your ways, faithful in all your works.
You, LORD, are near to all who call upon you, to all who call upon you in truth.

Letter to the Ephesians 4,1-6.

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6,1-15.

After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (of Tiberias). A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit)." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many? Jesus said, "Have the people recline." Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted." So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, "This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world." Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

Commentary of the day :

John Paul II
Apostolic Letter “Mane Nobiscum Domine” for the Year of the Eucharist, § 15-16

“Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, and gave it to them”

There is no doubt that the most evident dimension of the Eucharist is that it is a meal. The Eucharist was born, on the evening of Holy Thursday, in the setting of the Passover meal. Being a meal is part of its very structure. “Take, eat... Then he took a cup and... gave it to them, saying: Drink from it, all of you” (Mt 26:26, 27). As such, it expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with us and which we ourselves must build with one another.

Yet it must not be forgotten that the Eucharistic meal also has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning. In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha. Present in the Eucharist as the Risen Lord, he nonetheless bears the marks of his passion, of which every Mass is a “memorial”, as the Liturgy reminds us in the acclamation following the consecration: “We announce your death, Lord, we proclaim your resurrection...”. At the same time, while the Eucharist makes present what occurred in the past, it also impels us towards the future, when Christ will come again at the end of history. This “eschatological” aspect makes the Sacrament of the Eucharist an event that draws us into itself and fills our Christian journey with hope.

All these dimensions of the Eucharist come together in one aspect which more than any other makes a demand on our faith: the mystery of the “real” presence. With the entire tradition of the Church, we believe that Jesus is truly present under the Eucharistic species... It is precisely his presence which gives the other aspects of the Eucharist — as meal, as memorial of the Paschal Mystery, as eschatological anticipation — a significance which goes far beyond mere symbol- ism. The Eucharist is a mystery of presence, the perfect fulfilment of Jesus' promise to remain with us until the end of the world.

Today the Church celebrates : St. Peter & Marcellinus

Saint Augustine : “A woman named Martha welcomed him to her home.”

Book of Genesis 12,1-4.

The LORD said to Abram: "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you." Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

Psalms 1,1-4.6.

Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.
Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God's law they study day and night.
They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.
But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.
The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Letter to the Romans 8,26-30.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 10,38-42.

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Commentary of the day :

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 103,1,2; PL 38, 613

“A woman named Martha welcomed him to her home.”

Martha and Mary were sisters; they were close not only through ties of blood, but also through piety. Both of them were attached to the Lord, and with one heart they served him during the time of his life here below. Martha welcomed him as one normally welcomes a traveler. But it was a servant welcoming her Master, someone who is ill welcoming her Savior, a creature welcoming her Creator… For the Lord wanted to take the form of a servant so that it would be possible for servants to nourish him…

So here we have the Lord being welcomed like a guest. “To his own he came, yet his own did not accept him. Any who did accept him he empowered to become children of God.” (Jn 1:11-12) The servants who had been adopted in this way became his brothers, the captives who had been delivered in this way became his co-heirs. But let no one among you say: Blest are they who had the good fortune of welcoming Christ in their own house! Don’t feel pain, don’t lament for having been born du ring a period when you can no longer see the Lord in flesh and blood. He has not withdrawn his favor from you, he who said: “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.” (Mt 25:40)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Leopold Mandic

Saint John Chrysostom : «Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear"

Book of Jeremiah 3,14-17.

Return, rebellious children, says the LORD, for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently. When you multiply and become fruitful in the land, says the LORD, They will in those days no longer say, "The ark of the covenant of the LORD!" They will no longer think of it, or remember it, or miss it, or make another. At that time they will call Jerusalem the LORD'S throne; there all nations will be gathered together to honor the name of the LORD at Jerusalem, and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.

Jer. 31,10-13.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant coasts, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD'S blessings: The grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen; They themselves shall be like watered gardens, never again shall they languish.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,18-23.

Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."

Commentary of the day :

Saint John Chrysostom (about 345-407), bishop of Antioch and then of Constantinople, doctor of the Church
Homily 44 on Saint Matthew, 3-4

«Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear"

Now these things the Christ said in the parable of the sower manifesting that He discoursed to all without grudging. For as the sower makes no distinction in the land submitted to him, but simply and indifferently casts his seed; so He Himself too makes no distinction of rich and poor, of wise and unwise, of slothful or diligent, of brave or cowardly; but He discourses unto all, fulfilling His part, although foreknowing the results; that it may be in His power to say, "What ought I to have done, that I have not done?" (Is 5,4)...
But this parable He speaks, as anointing His disciples, and to teach them, that even though the lost be more than such as receive the word yet they are not to despond. For this was the case even with their Lord, and He who fully foreknew that these things should be, did not desist from sowing.
And how can it be reasonable, saith one, to sow among the thorns, on the rock, on the wayside? With regard to the seeds and the earth it cannot be reason able; but in the case of men's souls and their instructions, it hath its praise, and that abundantly. For the husbandman indeed would reasonably be blamed for doing this; it being impossible for the rock to become earth, or the wayside not to be a wayside, or the thorns, thorns; but in the things that have reason it is not so. There is such a thing as the rock changing, and becoming rich land; and the wayside being no longer trampled on, nor lying open to all that pass by, but that it may be a fertile field; and the thorns may be destroyed, and the seed enjoy full security. For had it been impossible, this Sower would not have sown. And if the change did not take place in all, this is no fault of the Sower, but of them who are unwilling to be changed: He having done His part: and if they betrayed what they received of Him, He is blameless, the exhibitor of such love to man.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Blessed Antonio Lucci

John Tauler : “Blest are your eyes because they see”

Book of Jeremiah 2,1-3.7-8.12-13.

This word of the LORD came to me: Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear! I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, Following me in the desert, in a land unsown. Sacred to the LORD was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest; Should anyone presume to partake of them, evil would befall him, says the LORD. When I brought you into the garden land to eat its goodly fruits, You entered and defiled my land, you made my heritage loathsome. The priests asked not, "Where is the LORD?" Those who dealt with the law knew me not: the shepherds rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after useless idols. Be amazed at this, O heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.

Psalms 36,6-11.

LORD, your love reaches to heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds.
Your justice is like the highest mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep; all living creatures you sustain, LORD.
How precious is your love, O God! We take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink.
For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.
Continue your kindness toward your friends, your just defense of the honest heart.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,10-17.

The disciples approached him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He said to them in reply, "Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.' Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: 'You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Commentary of the day :

John Tauler (around 1300-1361), Dominican
Sermon 53

“Blest are your eyes because they see”

Our Lord said: “Many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see but did not see it.” We must understand the prophets as being the great, subtle and reasoning minds who hold to the sublety of their natural reason and draw from it emptiness. Those eyes are not happy. We must understand the kings as being men who are naturally dominant, with strong and powerful energy, who are masters over themselves, their words, their works, their language, and who can do whatever they want when it comes to fasting, vigils and prayers. But they make a big thing of it, as if this were something extraordinary, and they despise the others. These are also not the eyes that see the things that make them happy.

All those people wanted to see and did not see. They wanted to see, and they held on to their own will. Evil resides in the will… Our own will covers our interior eyes like a membrane or a film covers the exterior eye and prevents it from seeing… So long as you stay within y our own will, you will be deprived of the joy of seeing with your interior eye. For all true happiness comes from real abandonment, from being detached from our own will. All that is born in the depth of humility… The more a person is small and humble, the less does he have his own will.

When all has been calmed, the soul sees its own essence and all its faculties; it recognizes itself as the rational image of Him from whom it came. The eyes… that look this far can rightly be called blest because of what they see. What a person discovers then is the marvel of marvels, what is most pure, most sure… May we be able to follow this path and to see in such a way that our eyes might be blest. And may God help us in that!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Sts. Joachim & Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (memorial)

Catechism of the Catholic Church: “What was sown on good soil is the man who hears the message and takes it in.” (Mt 13:23)

Book of Jeremiah 1,1.4-10.

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. The word of the LORD came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. "Ah, Lord GOD!" I said, "I know not how to speak; I am too young." But the LORD answered me, Say not, "I am too young." To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying, See, I place my words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, To root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.

Psalms 71,1-6.15.17.

In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue and deliver me; listen to me and save me!
Be my rock and refuge, my secure stronghold; for you are my rock and fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of the violent.
You are my hope, Lord; my trust, GOD, from my youth.
On you I depend since birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers.
My mouth shall proclaim your just deeds, day after day your acts of deliverance, though I cannot number them all.
God, you have taught me from my youth; to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,1-9.

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear."

Commentary of the day :

Catechism of the Catholic Church
§ 101-105, 108

“What was sown on good soil is the man who hears the message and takes it in.” (Mt 13:23)

Christ – The Unique Word of Sacred Scripture

In order to reveal himself to men, in the condescension of his goodness God speaks to them in human words: “Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of men, are in every way like human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men.” (Vatican II, DV 13)

Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely (Heb 1:1-3):

You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.” (St. Augustine)

For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithf ul the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body. (DV 21)

In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God.” (1 Thess 2:13; cf. DV 24) “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.” (DV 21)

God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” (DV 11)…

Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living.” (St. Bernard) If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scripture s.” (Lk 24:45)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. James the Greater

Origenes : “Jesus took Peter, James, and John off by themselves with him and led them up a high mountain.” (Mk 9:2): Saint James, witness to the light

Second Letter to the Corinthians 4,7-15.

But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Psalms 126,1-6.

A song of ascents. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming.
Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD had done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!
Restore again our fortunes, LORD, like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.
Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy.
Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, Will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 20,20-28.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left (, this) is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Commentary of the day :

Origenes (around 185-253), Priest and Theologian
Homilies on Genesis, 1,7

“Jesus took Peter, James, and John off by themselves with him and led them up a high mountain.” (Mk 9:2): Saint James, witness to the light

Everyone who sees Christ is not equally illumined by him, but rather, each one is illumined to the extent to which he is able to receive the light. The eyes of our body do not always receive the same amount of light from the sun; the more you rise up to a high place, the more you contemplate its rising from on high, the better you perceive its brilliance and its heat. In the same way, the more our mind goes up and rises towards Christ, the closer it is to the brilliance of his light in offering itself, the more magnificently and brilliantly it will be irradiated by his light. The Lord said this himself through the prophets: “Return to me… and I will return to you.” (Zech 1:3)…

So we don’t all go to him in the same way, but each person goes “according to his abilities.” (Mt 25:14) We either go to him with the crowds and he nourishes us with parables, so that we don’t collapse on the way from fasting (Mk 8:3). Or we remain constantly at his feet, concerned only with list ening to his word, without ever allowing ourselves to be troubled by the many cares in serving (Lk 10:38f.)… Without doubt, those who draw near to him in this way receive much more light.

But if, like the apostles, we never go away, but “stand loyally by him in his temptations” (cf. Lk 22:28), he explains to us in secret what he said to the crowds, and he illumines us with even more light (Mt 13:11f.). Finally, if he finds someone who is able to go up to the top of the mountain with him, like Peter, James and John, that person is not only illumined by the light of Christ, but by the voice of the Father himself.

Today the Church celebrates : Sts. John Boste, George Swallowell, & John Ingram, Blessed Louise of Savoy

Saint Peter Chrysologus : “You have a greater than Jonah here.”

Book of Micah 6,1-4.6-8.

Hear, then, what the LORD says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel. O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with holocausts, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Psalms 50,5-6.8-9.16-17.21.23.

"Gather my faithful ones before me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
The heavens proclaim divine justice, for God alone is the judge. Selah
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, nor for your holocausts, set before me daily.
I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold.
But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips?
You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!
When you do these things should I be silent? Or do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay the charge before you.
Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; to the obedient I will show the salvation of God."

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 12,38-42.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Peter Chrysologus (around 406-450), Bishop of Ravenna, Doctor of the Church
Sermon 3

“You have a greater than Jonah here.”

It was Jonah himself who decided to be thrown out of the boat: “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he said (Jon 1:12), which points to the passion of the Lord Jesus, which he freely took upon himself. For why did the sailors wait to be given the order…? It is because, when the salvation of all requires the death of one single person, that death depends on the free decision of the person concerned… Thus, in this story, which completely prefigures the Lord’s story, they await the decision of the person who must die, so that his death might not be a necessity to which he submits, but a free act: “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again. No one takes it from me,” (Jn 10:18) says the Lord. For when Christ delivered over his spirit (Jn 19:30), it was not because his life was slipping away from him. He who holds in his hands the soul of every person could not lose his own. The prophet said: “I constantly hold my life in your hands.” (Ps 119:109) An d in another place: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Ps 31:6; Lk 23:46)

Today the Church celebrates : Sixteenth Sunday in ordinary time, St. Bridget of Sweden, saint

Saint Silvan : «They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked, Jesus saw the vast crowd»

Book of Jeremiah 23,1-16.

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD. Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: "The LORD our justice." Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD, when they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt"; but rather, "As the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of the house of Israel up from the land of the north"--and from all the lands to which I banished them; they shall again live on their own land. Concerning the prophets: My heart within me is broken, my bones all tremble; I am like a man who is drunk, overcome by wine, Because of the LORD, because of his holy words. With adulterers the land is filled; on their account the land mourns, the pasture ranges are seared. Theirs is an evil course, theirs is unjust power. Both prophet and priest are godless! In my very house I find their wickedness, says the LORD. Hence their way shall become for them slippery ground. In the darkness they shall lose their footing, and fall headlong; Evil I will bring upon them: the year of their punishment, says the LORD. Among Samaria's prophets I saw unseemly deeds: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. But among Jerusalem's prophets I saw deeds still more shocking: Adultery, living in lies, siding with the wicked, so that no one turns from evil; To me they are all like Sodom, its citizens like Gomorrah. Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts against the prophets: Behold, I will give them wormwood to eat, and poison to drink; For from Jerusalem's prophets ungodliness has gone forth into the whole land. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Listen not to the words of your prophets, who fill you with emptiness; Visions of their own fancy they speak, not from the mouth of the LORD.

Psalms 23,1-6.

A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

Letter to the Ephesians 2,13-18.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6,30-34.

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Silvan (1866-1938), Orthodox monk

«They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked, Jesus saw the vast crowd»

The Lord forgave me a vast number of sins and granted me to know, by the Holy Spirit, how much he loves men. The heavens are all filled with wonder at the sight of the Lord made flesh: how he, the Lord the highest, came to save us, sinners, and how he obtained for us the eternal rest through his sufferings. My soul does not care about the earthly realities, but it is attracted there where the Lord is. Sweet to the heart are the words of the Lord when the Holy Spirit allows the soul to understand them.

While the Lord lived on earth, a big crowd followed him; for several days, these men could not separate from him, but forgetting to eat, they were hungry of listening to his sweet words. The soul loves the Lord, and everything that prevents him from thinking of God grieves it. And if already on earth the soul can experience so strongly the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, how much more will its joy be up there!

O Lord, with what love have you loved your creature! My soul cannot forget your peaceful and loving look.

Today the Church celebrates : St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Romanos the Melodious : Mary Magdalen, an apostle to the apostles

Second Letter to the Corinthians 5,14-17.

For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

Psalms 63,2-9.

O God, you are my God-- for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
So I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life; my lips offer you worship!
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall savor the rich banquet of praise, with joyous lips my mouth shall honor you!
When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall
That you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 20,1-2.11-18.

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him." But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Romanos the Melodious (? – around 560), Composer of hymns
1st hymn on the resurrection

Mary Magdalen, an apostle to the apostles

According to Saint John the Theologian’s account, the women bringing the spices sent Mary Magdalen ahead to the tomb. It was dark, but love gave her light. Thus, she saw the large stone that had been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, and she went back saying: “Disciples, do you know what I saw: the stone is no longer covering the tomb. Could they have taken away my Lord? There are no guards in sight, they have fled. Could he have risen, he who brings the resurrection to fallen humankind?”…

The heart of him who sees everything was touched, seeing Magdalen overcome with sobbing and weighed down by sorrow … He who tries innards and hearts, knowing that Mary would recognize his voice, called his sheep, he, the true shepherd: “Mary”, he said, and immediately, she recognized him: “It really is my shepherd who is calling me, so that from now on he can count me among the ninety-nine sheep. I know very well, who it is who is calling me. I had said, it is my Lord, it is the one who brings the resurrection to fallen humankind.” …

The Lord told her: “Woman, may your mouth henceforth proclaim these marvels and explain them to the children of the Kingdom who are waiting for me, the Living One, to awaken. Go quickly, Mary, gather together my disciples…; awaken them all as from sleep so that they come to meet me with burning torches. Go tell them: the Spouse has awoken, he is coming out of his tomb… Apostles, chase away your deadly sorrow, for the one who brings the resurrection to fallen humankind has awakened…”

“My mourning was suddenly transformed into rejoicing, everything has become joy and gladness for me. I don’t hesitate to say it: I have received the same glory as Moses. I have seen, yes, I have seen, not on the mountain, but in the tomb, not veiled with a cloud, but in my body, I have seen the master of the incorporeal beings and the clouds, the one who is, who was, and who is coming. It is he who told me: Hasten, Mary, g o reveal to those who love me that I have risen. To the descendants of Noah bring this good news like the dove brought them the olive branch (Gen 8:11). Tell them that death has been destroyed, and that the one who brings the resurrection to fallen humankind has risen from the tomb.”

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Origenes : “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Book of Isaiah 38,1-6.21-22.7-8.

In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: "Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover." Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD: "O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!" And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: "Go, tell Hezekiah: Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD'S temple; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city." Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover. Then Hezekiah asked, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?" (Isaiah answered:) "This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised: See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz go back the ten steps it has advanced." So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Is 38,10-12.16.

Once I said, "In the noontime of life I must depart! To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned for the rest of my years."
I said, "I shall see the LORD no more in the land of the living. No longer shall I behold my fellow men among those who dwell in the world."
My dwelling, like a shepherd's tent, is struck down and borne away from me; You have folded up my life, like a weaver who severs the last thread. Day and night you give me over to torment;
Those live whom the LORD protects; yours. . . the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life;

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 12,1-8.

At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."

Commentary of the day :

Origenes (around 185-253), Priest and Theologian
Homilies on Numbers, no. 23

“The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

We do not see that the words of Genesis: “God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken,” (Gen 2:2) were fulfilled on that seventh day of creation, nor even today. We still see God at work. There is no Sabbath on which God stops working, no day on which he does not cause the sun to rise “on the bad and the good” (Mt 5:45), or when he does not make “grass sprout on the mountains and herbs for the service of men,” (Ps 147:8)… or when he does not put to death and give life (1 Sam 2:6).

Thus the Lord answers those who accused him of working and healing on the Sabbath day: “My Father is at work until now, and I am at work as well.” (Jn 5:17) In this way, he showed that, so long as this world lasts, there is no Sabbath on which God rests from watching over the world’s course and the destinies of humankind… In his wisdom as Creator, he never stops exercising his providence and his kindness for his creatures “until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). Thus, th e true Sabbath on which God will rest from all his work will be the future world, when “sorrow and mourning will flee” (Isa 35:10) and God will be “all in all” (Col 3:11).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Kunigunde

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus : “Learn from me”

Book of Isaiah 26,7-9.12.16-19.

The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; When your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world's inhabitants learn justice. O LORD, you mete out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done. O LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your chastising. As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O LORD. We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind; Salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth. But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.

Psalms 102,13-21.

But you, LORD, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.
You will again show mercy to Zion; now is the time for pity; the appointed time has come.
Its stones are dear to your servants; its dust moves them to pity.
The nations shall revere your name, LORD, all the kings of the earth, your glory,
Once the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in glory,
Heeding the plea of the lowly, not scorning their prayer.
Let this be written for the next generation, for a people not yet born, that they may praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven,
To attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die."

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11,28-30.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Commentary of the day :

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
Prayer to obtain humility, Prayer no. 20

“Learn from me”

O Jesus! When you travelled on earth, you said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest.” O powerful monarch of the heavens, yes, my soul finds rest in seeing you clothed with the form and nature of a slave (Phil 2:7), lowering yourself to the point of washing the feet of your apostles. Then I remember those words that you said so as to teach me to practice humilty: “What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do…The disciple is not greater than his master. Once you know all these things, blest will you be if you put them into practice.” (Jn 13:15-17) I understand them, Lord, I understand these words that came forth from your gentle and humble heart; with the help of your grace, I want to put them into practice.

I want to humbly lower myself and to submit my will to that of my sisters, not contradicting them in anything and without seeking whether they have the right to command me. O my Beloved, no one had this right where you were concerned, and nevertheless you obeyed not only the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph, but even those who tortured you. Now I see you bringing your annihilations to the full in the host. How humble you are, o divine King of Glory… O my Beloved, how gentle and humble of heart you appear to me hidden behind the veil of the white host!… O Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Servant of God Francis Garces and Companions

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon : “You have revealed it to the merest children”

Book of Isaiah 10,5-7.13-16.

Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger, my staff in wrath. Against an impious nation I send him, and against a people under my wrath I order him To seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread them down like the mud of the streets. But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; Rather, it is in his heart to destroy, to make an end of nations not a few. and the boastfulness of his haughty eyes. For he says:) "By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd. I have moved the boundaries of peoples, their treasures I have pillaged, and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned. My hand has seized like a nest the riches of nations; As one takes eggs left alone, so I took in all the earth; No one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!" Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness, And instead of his glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.

Psalms 94,5-10.14-15.

They crush your people, LORD, torment your very own.
They kill the widow and alien; the fatherless they murder.
They say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice."
Understand, you stupid people! You fools, when will you be wise?
Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?
Does the one who guides nations not rebuke? The one who teaches humans not have knowledge?
You, LORD, will not forsake your people, nor abandon your very own.
Judgment shall again be just, and all the upright of heart will follow it.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11,25-27.

At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (around 130 – around 208), Bishop, Theologian, and Martyr
Against the Heresies, IV, 6, 4.7.3

“You have revealed it to the merest children”

What the Lord teaches us is that no one can know God unless God teaches him. In other words, we cannot know God without God’s help. But the Father wants to be known. Those to whom the Son reveals him, will know him… The word “reveals” not only points to the future, as if the Word had only begun to reveal the Father after he was born of Mary; rather, it applies to the whole of time. Since the beginning, the Son, present to the creation that he himself modeled, reveals the Father to all whom the Father wants, when he wants and as he wants. In all things and through all things, there is only one God the Father, one Word, one Spirit, and one salvation for all who believe in him.

For no one can know the Father without the Word of God, which is to say, unless the Son reveals him, nor can anyone know the Son without the “good pleasure” of the Father (Mt 11:26). Now the Son accomplishes what the Father in his kindness wants: the Father sends, the Son is sent, and he comes. And this infinite Father, who for us is invisible, is known by his own Word, and this Word makes known what is inexpressible (Jn 1:18).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Blessed Angeline of Marsciano

Saint Gregory the Great : “Jesus began to reproach the towns… with their failure to reform”

Book of Isaiah 7,1-9.

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah, went up to attack Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. When word came to the house of David that Aram was encamped in Ephraim, the heart of the king and heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind. Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller's field, and say to him: Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands (the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans, and of the son of Remaliah), because of the mischief that Aram (Ephraim and the son of Remaliah) plots against you, saying, "Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force, and appoint the son of Tabeel king there." Thus says the LORD: This shall not stand, it shall not be! Damascus is the capital of Aram, and Rezin the head of Damascus; Samaria is the capital of Ephraim, and Remaliah's son the head of Samaria. But within sixty years and five, Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation. Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!

Psalms 48,2-8.

Great is the LORD and highly praised in the city of our God: The holy mountain,
fairest of heights, the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, the heights of Zaphon, the city of the great king.
God is its citadel, renowned as a stronghold.
See! The kings assembled, together they invaded.
When they looked they were astounded; terrified, they were put to flight!
Trembling seized them there, anguish, like a woman's labor,
As when the east wind wrecks the ships of Tarshish!

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11,20-24.

Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: 'Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.' For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

Commentary of the day :

Saint Gregory the Great (around 540 – 604), Pope, Doctor of the Church
Presentation on the seven penitential Psalms

“Jesus began to reproach the towns… with their failure to reform”

Let us cry out with David; let us hear him weep and let us shed tears with him. Let us see how he rises up again and let us rejoice with him: “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness.” (Ps 51:3)

Let us place before the eyes of our soul a man who is seriously injured, almost on the point of breathing his last breath, and who is lying naked in the dust. In his desire to see a doctor arrive, he is moaning and begging the person who understands his condition to have pity. Now sin is a wound to the soul. You who are this wounded person, learn that your doctor is within you, and show him the wounds of your sins. May he to whom every secret thought is known hear the moaning of your heart. May your tears move him, and if you have to seek him with some insistence, let deep sighs rise up to him from the bottom of your heart. May your pain come to him and may you also be told, like David: “The Lord… has forgiven your sin.” (2 Sam 12:13)…

“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness.” The people who belittle their fault because they do not know this great tenderness, only draw a little tenderness to themselves. As for me, I fell far, I sinned with full knowledge. But you, almighty doctor, correct those who scorn you; you teach those who do not know their fault, and you forgive those who admit it to you.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : The Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne

Saint John Chrysostom : “He who welcomes you welcomes me”

Book of Isaiah 1,10-17.

Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure. When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Psalms 50,8-9.16-17.21.23.

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, nor for your holocausts, set before me daily.
I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold.
But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips?
You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!
When you do these things should I be silent? Or do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay the charge before you.
Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; to the obedient I will show the salvation of God."

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,34-42.11,1.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.' Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple--amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Commentary of the day :

Saint John Chrysostom (around 345 – 407), Bishop of Antioch, then of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, no. 45

“He who welcomes you welcomes me”

The Lord said: “Whoever welcomes this little child on my account welcomes me.” (Lk 9:48) The smaller our brother is, the more Christ is present. For when we welcome a great personality, we often do so out of vainglory; but the person who welcomes someone unimportant, does so with a pure intention and for Christ. He said: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” And again: “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.” (Mt 25:35.40) Since he is talking about a believer and a brother, no matter how unimportant he is, Christ comes in with him. Open your house and welcome him.

“He who welcomes a prophet because he bears the name of prophet receives a prophet’s reward.” Thus, the person who welcomes Christ will receive the reward of Christ’s hospitality. Do not doubt his words, trust them. He himself told us: “In them, I am presenting myself.” And so that you do not doubt them, he decreed the punishment for those who do not welcome him and the hono rs for those who do welcome him (Mt 25:31ff.). He would not do this if he were not personally touched by honor or scorn. He says: “You welcomed me into your house; I will welcome you in the Kingdom of my Father. You freed me from hunger; I will free you from your sins. You saw me in chains; I will let you see your liberation. You saw me a stranger; I will make of you a citizen of heaven. You gave me bread; I will give you the Kingdom as your inheritance that is entirely yours. You helped me in secret; I will proclaim it publicly and I will say that you are my benefactor and that I am in your debt.”

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Fifteenth Sunday in ordinary time, Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Saint Gregory the Great : “He began to send them out two by two”

Book of Amos 7,12-15.

To Amos, Amaziah said: "Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple." Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.

Psalms 85,9-14.

I will listen for the word of God; surely the LORD will proclaim peace To his people, to the faithful, to those who trust in him.
Near indeed is salvation for the loyal; prosperity will fill our land.
Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.
The LORD will surely grant abundance; our land will yield its increase.
Prosperity will march before the Lord, and good fortune will follow behind.

Letter to the Ephesians 1,3-14.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6,7-13.

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick--no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Gregory the Great (around 540 – 604), Pope, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospel, 17,1-3

“He began to send them out two by two”

Dearly beloved brethren, our Lord and Savior teaches us sometimes by his words and sometimes by his actions. His actions themselves are commandments, for when he does something without saying anything, he shows us how we must act. So here he is sending his disciples out two by two to preach, because there are two commandments of love: love of God and of the neighbor. The Lord sent his disciples to preach two by two to suggest to us without saying it that the person who does not have love for the other must absolutely not take on the ministry of preaching.

It is very good that he “sent them in pairs before him to every town and place he intended to visit.” (Lk 10:1) For the Lord comes after his preachers, because preaching is a prerequisite: the Lord comes to dwell in our soul when the words of exhoration have come as a forerunner and have caused us to welcome the truth in our soul. That is why Isaiah said to the preachers: “Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Isa 40:3) And the psalmist also told them: “Prepare the way for him who rises up to the west.” (Ps 67:5 Vulgate) The Lord rises up to the west [the lying down of the sun] because in lying down in his passion, he showed himself in greater glory in his resurrection. He rose up to the lying down, because in rising, he trampled underfoot the death that he suffered. Thus, we prepare the way for him who rises up to the lying down when we preach his glory to your souls, so that when he comes after, he might enlighten them by the presence of his love.

Today the Church celebrates : St. Bonaventure

Saint Ambrose : To speak out for Christ before men

Book of Isaiah 6,1-8.

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!" they cried one to the other. "All the earth is filled with his glory!" At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. "See," he said, "now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!"

Psalms 93,1-2.5.

The LORD is king, robed with majesty; the LORD is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old; you are from everlasting, LORD.
Your decrees are firmly established; holiness belongs to your house, LORD, for all the length of days.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,24-33.

No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Ambrose (around 340 – 397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
Homily 20 on Psalm 118

To speak out for Christ before men

Every day you can be a witness to Christ. You were tempted by the spirit of impurity; but … you believed that you should not soil the chastity of mind and body. You are Christ’s martyr, which is to say his witness… You were tempted by the spirit of pride; but when you saw the person who was poor and destitute, you were seized by tender compassion and you preferred humility to arrogance. You are Christ’s witness. Better than that: you not only witnessed by your word, but also through your action.

Who is the most sure witness? The person who “acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4:2) and who observes the precepts of the Gospel… How many such hidden martyrs of Christ there are every day, who acknowledge the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul was acquainted with that martyrdom and with the testimony of faith given to Christ, and he said: “Conscience gives testimony to our boast” (2 Cor 1:12). For how many acknowledged their faith towards the outside but denied it i nteriorly… Thus, be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so as to triumph also in external persecutions. There are also “kings and governors”, judges with fearsome power in the persecutions within. You have an example of these in the temptations the Lord endured (Mt 4:1ff.).

Today the Church celebrates : Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Saint Cyprian : “Like sheep among wolves”

Book of Hosea 14,2-10.

Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD; Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls. Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; We shall say no more, 'Our god,' to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion." I will heal their defection, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. "I am like a verdant cypress tree"-- Because of me you bear fruit! Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.

Psalms 51,3-4.8-9.12-14.17.

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,16-23.

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Cyprian (around 200 – 258), Bishop of Carthage and Martyr
The benefits of patience, 13.16

“Like sheep among wolves”

Our Lord and Master’s precept is salutary: “Whoever holds out till the end will be saved.” He also said: “If you live according to my teaching, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn 8:31) We must endure and persevere, beloved brothers. Thus, admitted to the hope of truth and of freedom, we will be able to reach that truth and that freedom, for if we are Christians, it is the work of faith and hope. But if hope and faith are to bear fruit, patience is necessary…

So let us not work impatiently, let us not allow ourselves to be felled on the Kingdom’s path, distracted and overcome by temptations. Not swearing, not cursing, not demanding back what has been taken away from us by force, turning the other cheek, forgiving our brothers all their wrongdoings, loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us – how can we manage to do all that if we are not firm in patience and tolerance? That is what we see in St ephen… He did not ask for revenge, but that his murderers be forgiven: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:59) Thus, Christ’s first martyr… not only preached the Lord’s passion, but he also imitated his extreme gentleness. When patience dwells in our heart, there cannot be any room in it for anger, discord and rivalry. Christ’s patience chases all that out so as to build a peaceful dwelling place in our heart, where the God of peace is pleased to live.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Henry II

Saint Gregory the Great : “The gift you have received, give as a gift.”

Book of Hosea 11,1.3-4.8-9.

When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim? My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Psalms 80,2-3.15-16.

Shepherd of Israel, listen, guide of the flock of Joseph! From your throne upon the cherubim reveal yourself
to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Stir up your power, come to save us.
Turn again, LORD of hosts; look down from heaven and see; Attend to this vine,
the shoot your right hand has planted.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,7-15.

As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words--go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Gregory the Great (around 540 – 604), Pope, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospels, 6

“The gift you have received, give as a gift.”

If you wish, you too can merit the beautiful name of messenger of God. For if each of you, according to his possibilities and to the extent to which he has been inspired to do so by heaven, turns his neighbor away from evil, if he takes care to lead him to what is good, if he reminds the person who has strayed of the Kingdom or of the punishment that awaits him in eternity, then he is obviously a messenger of the holy words of Jesus. And let no one come and say: I am incapable of teaching others, of exhorting them. At least do what is possible for you, so that one day you will not be asked to give an account of the talent you have received and unfortunately kept. For the person who preferred to hide his talent rather than to make it work also had received only one talent (Mt 25:14ff.).

Take the others with you. Let them be your companions on the road that leads to God. When you go to the city square or to the public baths and meet someone who is doing nothing, invite h im to go with you. For your daily actions themselves serve to unite you with the others. You were going to God? Try not to arrive there alone. May the person who has already heard the call of divine love in his heart draw from it a word of encouragement for his neighbor.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : Sts. John Jones and John Wall

John Paul II: “Jesus sent these men on mission as the Twelve”

Book of Hosea 10,1-3.7-8.12.

Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundant his fruit, the more altars he built; The more productive his land, the more sacred pillars he set up. Their heart is false, now they pay for their guilt; God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars. If they would say, "We have no king"-- Since they do not fear the LORD, what can the king do for them? The king of Samaria shall disappear, like foam upon the waters. The high places of Aven shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars. Then they shall cry out to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall upon us!" "Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you."

Psalms 105,2-7.

Sing praise, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds!
Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Rely on the mighty LORD; constantly seek his face.
Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his signs and his words of judgment,
You descendants of Abraham his servant, offspring of Jacob the chosen one!
The LORD is our God who rules the whole earth.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,1-7.

Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

Commentary of the day :

John Paul II
Prayer for vocations, 35th World Day of Vocations, May 3, 1998

“Jesus sent these men on mission as the Twelve”

Spirit of eternal Love,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
we thank you for all the vocations
to be apostles and saints
that have made the Church fruitful.
Continue your work, we beg you.
Remember the moment when, on Pentecost,
you came down on the apostles united in prayer
together with Mary, the mother of Jesus,
and look at your Church, which today
has a special need for holy priests,
for faithful and authorized witnesses of your grace,
which needs consecrated men and women
who radiate the joy of those who live only for the Father,
of those who make their own the mission and offering of Christ,
of those who build the new world in love.

Holy Spirit, eternal Source of joy and peace,
you open our hearts and minds to the divine call;
you make effective every surge
towards the good, towards truth, towards love.
Your inexpressible groanings
rise up to the Father from the heart of the Church
that is suf fering and struggling for the Gospel.
Open the hearts and minds of young men and women,
so that a new flowering of holy vocations
might show forth the fidelity of your love,
and that all might know Christ,
the true light who came into the world
to give every human being
the assured hope of eternal life. Amen.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Benedict

Pius XII: Saint Benedict, Father of Europe

Book of Hosea 8,4-7.11-13.

They made kings, but not by my authority; they established princes, but without my approval. With their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction. Cast away your calf, O Samaria! my wrath is kindled against them; How long will they be unable to attain innocence in Israel? The work of an artisan no god at all, Destined for the flames-- such is the calf of Samaria! When they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind; The stalk of grain that forms no ear can yield no flour; Even if it could, strangers would swallow it. When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin, his altars became occasions of sin. Though I write for him my many ordinances, they are considered as a stranger's. Though they offer sacrifice, immolate flesh and eat it, the LORD is not pleased with them. He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.

Psalms 115,3-10.

Our God is in heaven; whatever God wills is done.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see.
They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell.
They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk, and no sound rises from their throats.
Their makers shall be like them, all who trust in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD, who is their help and shield.
The house of Aaron trusts in the LORD, who is their help and shield.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 9,32-38.

As they were going out, a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him, and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons." Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

Commentary of the day :

Pius XII, Pope from 1939 to 1958
Homily in Saint-Paul-outside-the-Walls, September 18, 1947

Saint Benedict, Father of Europe

Saint Benedict is the father of Europe. When the Roman Empire fell apart, consumed by dilapidation and vices, and when the Barbarians tore into its provinces, this man who (according to Tertullian) has been called the last of the great Romans, who combined what was Roman with the Gospel, drew from these two sources the help and the strength to powerfully unite the peoples of Europe under the banner and authority of Christ… For legions of Benedictine monks spread from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, from the Atlantic to the plains of Poland, soothing the rebellious and savage nations by means of the cross, books and the plow.

“Pray and work.” Does not this Benedictine motto contain in its majestic brevity the main law and rule of life of humankind…? Praying is a divine precept; working is also one. We must fulfill the one and the other for the glory of God and the perfection of our minds and bodies… Now [very soon after the Second World War], Europe is groaning from ca lamities and destitution… In the midst of this storm that caused Europe to fall into disaster and misfortune, it is not inappropriate or useless to remember that powerful interior forces, a long and excellent civilization… were established in Europe as if built on extremely solid foundations.