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.


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