Sunday, June 30, 2013

"The Son of Man has nowhere on earth to lay His head": poverty and self-denial open the way to sacredness in Christ

In today's Gospel for holy Mass the Lord describes His earthly life of poverty: "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Christ does not find here on earth a lasting city and urges us by His example and the gift of grace to imitate Him.  He also, by choosing a life of preaching and teaching in order to seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel, must always depend upon the kindness of strangers, of whatever Providence His heavenly Father gives through the goodness of creatures.  In these two ways then He makes clear what is necessary for those who will cooperate with Him in His mission to save souls through the preaching and teaching of the Kingdom of God.

He instructs us that if we would have Him and His holiness which brings us to heaven, then we must invite those He sends, our bishop and priests, without shame into whatever kind of poverty afflicts us, into all the circumstances of our lives.  This includes, of course, exposing before His all-seeing gaze the greatest poverty: the absence of God.  What makes God most absent in our lives is sin.

Our priests are sent to us by the bishops, Christ for us today, into all the circumstances of our lives, into whatever poverties from which we suffer, in order to give us the wealth of God.  God comes first into our poverty of sinfulness through mercy, in particular through the absolution from the condemnation of sin and death in the sacrament of Confession.  Then God makes us one with Him through the Body and Blood of His Son, the greatest treasure on earth.

Christ has nowhere to lay His head until we are willing to invite Him into the poverty of our lives. We do this, so that the holiness of Christ is ours, every time we welcome His priests into our midst, to relieve us of the poverty of sin through absolution in Confession and bestowing the gift of grace in His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

“Beware of false prophets"

who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.

Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature.
-- CCC 150 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

“Enter through the narrow gate"

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."
-- CCC 1036

Monday, June 24, 2013

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist: "The LORD called me from birth"

You are my servant, he said to me
-- Is 49:1-6

St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
-- CCC 523

Art: Domenico Ghirlandaio, Birth of St. John the Baptist

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Please put up with me"

For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.

Man, having been wounded in his nature by original sin, is subject to error and inclined to evil in exercising his freedom.
-- CCC  1714

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly"

God loves a cheerful giver

"This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ." To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself." The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is. They form Jesus' true family. To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own.
-- CCC 764

Friday, June 14, 2013

"We hold this treasure in earthen vessels"

that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us
-- 2 Cor 4:7-15

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words." The Holy Spirit, the artisan of God's works, is the master of prayer.

-- CCC 741

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday, June 13, 2013

San Antonio di Padova / Saint Anthony: "Every high priest is taken from among men"


... and made their representative before God
-- Heb 5:1-10

In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:
It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.
-- CCC 1548

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Such confidence we have through Christ"

our qualification comes from God, who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit
-- 2 Cor 3:4-11
 
 In the consecratory prayer for ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:

Almighty God . . .,

You make the Church, Christ's body,

grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.

You enrich it with every kind of grace

and perfect it with a diversity of members

to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.

You established a threefold ministry of worship and service,

for the glory of your name.

As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi

and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.
-- CCC 1543

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time







Tuesday, June 11, 2013

S Barnabas, Apostle: "They sent Barnabas"


and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.
Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them."
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.
Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household." When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.
-- CCC 1655
(Celebrating the Year of Saint Paul: Marker at Tre Fontane, outside the ancient walls of Rome, directing pilgrims to the traditional place of Saint Paul's martyrdom, over which the church of Tre Fontane was built. Photo by author.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"

who encourages us in our every affliction
  
Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).
-- CCC 1431 

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!"

Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,


praised be your name forever and ever.

Let the heavens and all your creation

praise you forever.

You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve

to be his help and support;

and from these two the human race descended.

You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;

let us make him a partner like himself.’

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine

not because of lust,

but for a noble purpose.

Call down your mercy on me and on her,

and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”

The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).
-- CCC 1660
Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

S Boniface: "proclaim the Word"

... be persistent
-- 2 Tm 4:1-8

To proclaim the faith and to plant his reign, Christ sends his apostles and their successors. He gives them a share in his own mission. From him they receive the power to act in his person.
-- CCC 935

Saturday, June 1, 2013

S Justin Martyr: "I have much more to tell you"

... but you cannot bear it now
--Jn 16:12-15

Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers. The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. The Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
-- CCC 729