The Gospel

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Josaphat


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 12,38-44.

In the course of his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."
He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Martin of Tours

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 16,9-15.

I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them, "You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Godfrey

Letter to the Philippians 2,12-18.

So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

Psalms 27,1.4.13-14.

Of David The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom am I afraid?
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the LORD'S house all the days of my life, To gaze on the LORD'S beauty, to visit his temple.
But I believe I shall enjoy the LORD'S goodness in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,25-33.

Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Carina & her Companions

Letter to the Philippians 2,5-11.

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Psalms 22,26-27.28-30.31-32.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.
The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"
All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.
For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.
All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.
And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.
The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,15-24.

One of his fellow guests on hearing this said to him, "Blessed is the one who will dine in the kingdom of God." He replied to him, "A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, 'Come, everything is now ready.' But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, 'I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.' And another said, 'I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.' And another said, 'I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.' The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.' The servant reported, 'Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.' The master then ordered the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.'"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Leonard, St. Bertile

Saint Gregory of Naziance : “You taught your people by these deeds that those who are just must be kind” (Wis 12:19)

Letter to the Philippians 2,1-4.

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.

Psalms 131,1.2.3.

A song of ascents. Of David. LORD, my heart is not proud; nor are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me.
Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in the LORD, now and forever.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,12-14.

Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Commentary of the day :

Saint Gregory of Naziance (330-390), Bishop, Doctor of the Church
On love of the poor, 4-6

“You taught your people by these deeds that those who are just must be kind” (Wis 12:19)

The first and the greatest of the commandments, that on which the Law and the prophets are based (Mt 22:40), is love, which it seems to me brings its greatest proof in love of the poor, in tenderness and compassion for one’s neighbor. Nothing gives as much honor to God as mercy, for nothing is more like him. “Mercy and truth go before him,” (Ps 89:15) and he prefers mercy to judgment (Hos 6:6). Nothing attracts the kindness of the Friend of humankind as much as kindness towards human beings (Wis 1:6); his reward is just, he weighs and measures mercy.

We must open our heart to all who are poor and to all who are unhappy, whatever their suffering might be. That is the meaning of the commandment which requires us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15) Since we are also human beings, is it not right and proper for us to be kind towards those who are like us?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Sylvia

Francis of Sales : Loving God produces the love of our neighbour

Book of Deuteronomy 6,2-6.

so that you and your son and your grandson may fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life. Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that you may grow and prosper the more, in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers, to give you a land flowing with milk and honey. "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.

Psalms 18,2-3.3-4.47.57.

He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,
LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!
LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!

Letter to the Hebrews 7,23-28.

Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 12,28-34.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, 'He is One and there is no other than he.' And 'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Commentary of the day :

Francis of Sales (1567-1622), Bishop in Geneva and doctor of the Church
Treatise on the Love of God, 10:11

Loving God produces the love of our neighbour

As God created man to his own image and likeness (Gn 1:26), so did he appoint for man a love after the image and resemblance of the love which is due to his own divinity. He said: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart; this is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Why do we love God? "The cause for which we love God," says S. Bernard, "is God Himself;" as though he had said: we love God because he is the most sovereign and infinite goodness. And why do we love ourselves in charity? Surely because we are the image and likeness of God; and whereas all men are endowed with the same dignity, we love them also as ourselves, that is, as being holy and living images of the divinity.

For it is on that account… that he makes no difficulty to call himself our father, and to call us his children; it is on that account that we are capable of being united to his divine essence by the fruition o f his sovereign goodness and felicity; it is on that account that we receive his grace, that our spirits are associated to his most Holy Spirit, and made in a manner participant of his divine nature (2P 1:4)... And therefore the same charity which produces the acts of the love of God produces at the same time those of the love of our neighbour. And even as Jacob saw that one same ladder touched heaven and earth, serving the angels both for descending and ascending (Gn 28:12), so we know that one same charity extends itself to both the love of God and our neighbour.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : St. Charles Borromeo

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux : Sitting down in the lowest place

Letter to the Philippians 1,18-26.

What difference does it make, as long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I rejoice. Indeed I shall continue to rejoice, for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better. Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me when I come to you again.

Psalms 42,2.3.5.

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?
Those times I recall as I pour out my soul, When I went in procession with the crowd, I went with them to the house of God, Amid loud cries of thanksgiving, with the multitude keeping festival.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,1.7-11.

On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Commentary of the day :

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church
Sermon 37 on the Song of Songs

Sitting down in the lowest place

If each of us could clearly see the truth of our condition in God's sight, it would be our duty to depart neither upwards nor downwards from that level, but to conform to the truth in all things. Since God's judgment however, is now in darkness and his word is hidden from us… So, it is certainly the better thing, the safer thing, to follow the advice of him who is truth, and choose for ourselves the last place. Afterwards we may be promoted from there with honor… If you pass through a low doorway you suffer no hurt however much you bend, but if you raise your head higher than the doorway, even by a finger's breadth, you will dash it against the lintel and injure yourself. So also a man has no need to fear any humiliation, but he should quake with fear before rashly yielding to even the least degree of self-exaltation.

So then, beware of comparing yourself with your betters or your inferiors, with a particular few or with even one. For how do you know but that this one person, whom you perhaps regard as the vilest and most wretched of all, whose life you recoil from and spurn as more befouled and wicked, not merely than yours, for you trust you are a sober-living man and just and religious, but even than all other wicked men; how do you know, I say, but that in time to come, with the aid of the right hand of the Most High, he will not surpass both you and them if he has not done so already in God's sight? That is why God wished us to choose neither a middle seat nor the last but one, nor even one of the lowest rank; for he said, "Sit down in the lowest place," that you may sit alone, last of all, and not dare to compare yourself, still less to prefer yourself, to anyone.

Today the Church celebrates : St. Winifred, St. Martin de Porres

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Meaning of the sabbath

Letter to the Philippians 1,1-11.

Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and ministers: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Psalms 111,1-2.3-4.5-6.

Hallelujah. I will praise the LORD with all my heart in the assembled congregation of the upright.
Great are the works of the LORD, to be treasured for all their delights.
Majestic and glorious is your work, your wise design endures forever.
You won renown for your wondrous deeds; gracious and merciful is the LORD.
You gave food to those who fear you, mindful of your covenant forever.
You showed powerful deeds to your people, giving them the lands of the nations.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,1-6.

On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, "Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?" But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them, "Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?" But they were unable to answer his question.

Commentary of the day :

Catechism of the Catholic Church
§ 345-349

Meaning of the sabbath

The sabbath - the end of the work of the six days. the sacred text says that "on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done", that the "heavens and the earth were finished", and that God "rested" on this day and sanctified and blessed it. (Gn 2:1-3) These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:

In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God's covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.
Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation. As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over "the work of God", that is, solemn worship. This indicates the right order of human concerns.
The sabbath is at the heart of Israel's law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. the seventh day completes the first creation. the eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. the first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today the Church celebrates : All Saints, Solemnity of All Saints

Saint Catherine of Siena : "I believe in the communion of saints" (The Creed)

Book of Revelation 7,2-4.9-14.

Then I saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, "Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the Israelites: After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb." All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: "Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, "Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you are the one who knows." He said to me, "These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Psalms 24,1-2.3-4.5-6.

A psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.
For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.
Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?
"The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.
They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.
Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob." Selah

First Letter of John 3,1-3.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5,1-12.

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dominican tertiary, Doctor of the Chuch, co-patron of Europe
The Dialogue, chapter 41

"I believe in the communion of saints" (The Creed)

God said to saint Catherine: The just soul, for who finishes life in the affection of charity and the bonds of love, cannot increase in virtue, her time having come to an end, but she can always love with the affection with which she comes to me, and the measure that is measured to her (Lk 6:38). She always desires me, and loves me, and her desire is not in vain—being hungry, she is satisfied, and being satisfied, she is still hungry, but the tediousness of satiety and the pain of hunger are far from her. In love, the blessed souls rejoice in my eternal vision, participating in that good that I have in myself, everyone according to their measure, that is, so say, the measure of love with which they have come to me is measured out to them.

Because they have lived in love of me and of their neighbor, they are united together in love… They rejoice and exult, participating in each other’s good with the affection of love, besides the un iversal good that they enjoy all together. And the saints rejoice and exult with the angels with whom they are placed… They have a special participation with those whom they closely loved with particular affection in the world. With this affection they grew in grace and increased virtue; each one was the occasion for the other to manifest the glory and praise of my name… In everlasting life, they have not lost their love, but keep it still. The joy they have at the happiness of others increases their own happiness with more abundance.