The Gospel

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Today the Church celebrates : Founders of the Orders of Servites

John Paul II: Contemplating and following the Transfigurated


Letter to the Hebrews 11,1-7.

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible. By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain's. Through this he was attested to be righteous, God bearing witness to his gifts, and through this, though dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and "he was found no more because God had taken him." Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen, with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household. Through this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.


Psalms 145(144),2-3.4-5.10-11.

Every day I will bless you; I will praise your name forever.
Great is the LORD and worthy of high praise; God's grandeur is beyond understanding.
One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works.
They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds.
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,


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 9,2-13.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. Then they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He told them, "Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him."




Commentary of the day :

John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005
Vita Consecrata, § 75 - Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Contemplating and following the Transfigurated


He continually calls new disciples to himself, both men and women, to communicate to them, by an outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), the divine agape, his way of loving, and to urge them thus to serve others in the humble gift of themselves, far from all self-interest. Peter, overcome by the light of the Transfiguration, exclaims: "Lord, it is well that we are here" (Mt 17:4), but he is invited to return to the byways of the world in order to continue serving the Kingdom of God:

"Come down, Peter! You wanted to rest up on the mountain: come down. Preach the word of God, be insistent both when it is timely and when it is not; reprove, exhort, give encouragement using all your forbearance and ability to teach. Work, spend yourself, accept even sufferings and torments, in order that, through the brightness and beauty of good works, you may possess in charity what is symbolized in the Lord's white garments" (Saint Augustine, Sermon 78:6).

The fact that consecrated persons fix their gaze on the Lord's countenance does not diminish their commitment on behalf of humanity; on the contrary, it strengthens this commitment, enabling it to have an impact on history, in order to free history from all that disfigures it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Today the Church celebrates : St. Onesimus

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI]: “Let him follow in my steps”


Book of Genesis 11,1-9.

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While men were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire." They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth." LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men had built. Then the LORD said: "If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says." Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.


Psalms 33(32),10-11.12-13.14-15.

The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever, wise designs through all generations.
Happy the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his very own.
From heaven the LORD looks down and observes the whole human race,
Surveying from the royal throne all who dwell on earth.
The one who fashioned the hearts of them all knows all their works.


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 8,34-38.9,1.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." He also said to them, "Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power."



Commentary of the day :

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI]
Meditation for Holy Week, 1969 - Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

“Let him follow in my steps”


Like the Church itself, the sacraments of the Church are the fruit of the dying grain of wheat (Jn 12:24). In order to receive them, we must enter into the movement from which they themselves come. That movement consists in losing oneself, without which it is impossible to find oneself: “Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will preserve it.” This word of the Lord is the fundamental formula for a Christian life. When all is said and done, to believe is to say “yes” to this holy adventure of “losing oneself”. In its quintessence, faith is nothing other than true love. Thus, Christian life receives its characteristic form from the cross. The Christian opening to the world, which today is so extolled, can find its true model only in the Lord’s open side (Jn 19:34), the expression of that radical love, which alone is able to save.