Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew: “Come after me"

and I will make you fishers of men.
-- Mt 4:18-22

Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today. Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops.
-- CCC 1575

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).
-- CCC 2029

Photo: Statue of St. Andrew at the Basilica of San Giovanni Laterano, Roma.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday, 34th Wk: "I, Daniel, found my spirit anguished"

within its covering of flesh, and I was terrified by the visions of my mind.

Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets. Christian tradition has always recognized that God's Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow.
-- CCC 707

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday, 34th Wk: "Heaven and earth will pass away"

but my words will not pass away.

The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".
-- CCC 34

Being seated at the Father's right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel's vision concerning the Son of man: "To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." After this event the apostles became witnesses of the "kingdom [that] will have no end".
-- CCC 664

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, 34th Wk: "You will be hated by all"

because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
-- CCC 2854

Monday, November 23, 2009

St Clement: “See that you not be deceived"

many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come'.
-- Lk 21:5-11

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Solemnity of CHRIST THE KING: "Viva Cristo Rey!"

Daniel 7. 13-14; Psalm 93. 1-2, 5; Revelation 1. 5-8; St. John 18. 33b-37

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Lord Jesus is universal King because his Lordship is divine, eternal and omnipotent, therefore extending to all times, places and peoples. His Lordship is also of the truth, and all of those who share in his reign witness to the truth. Thus is fulfilled the eighth commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex 20:16; cf. Deut 5:20)

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world." Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." (Jn 18. 36-38)

Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he has "come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." (Jn 18:37) The Christian is not to "be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord." (2 Tim 1:8) In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep "a clear conscience toward God and toward men. (Acts 24:16) (CCC 247

After the communion prayer of today's Mass, take the opportunity for liturgical expression of Christ's kingship through benediction and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart and Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

(See also paragraph 217, 549, 559, 600 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) (Publish with permission.)

Image: Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro in the act of martyrdom cried, "Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King", stretching out his arms in the sign of Christ's Cross, the act of His victory of Divine Love over sin and death.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, 33d Wk: "Jesus entered the temple area"

and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce. He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'" After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.
-- CCC 584

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, 33d Wk: "Jesus drew near Jerusalem"

he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart's desire: "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes."
-- CCC 558

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, 33d Wk: "to everyone who has, more will be given"

but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
-- Lk 19:11-28

The sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. "The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity."
-- CCC 1212

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, 33d Wk: “What do you want"

“Lord, please let me see.”
-- Lk 18:35-43

Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight"; we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part". Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.
-- CCC 164

Saturday, November 14, 2009

THIRTY-THIRD Sunday: "It is not for you to know"

Daniel 12, 1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10, 11-14. 18; St. Mark 13, 24-32

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Even after the apocalyptic predictions surrounding the turning of the millennium failed to materialize, false prophets continue to spring up who will claim to know "the day and the hour" of the final judgment; novel writers and movie directors purport to know exactly "the day and the hour" when the world will end. A current movie says the date is now 2012!

The Church stands fast in the truth delivered once and for all by Christ the Lord that it is not for the faithful to know the day or the hour that the Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, (Cf. Rev 22:20) even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." (Acts 1:7; cf. Mk 13:32.) This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed." (Cf. Mt 24:44; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Theses 2:3-12) (CCC 673)

The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel," for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. (Rom 11:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.) (CCC 674)

"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." (Mk 13:24-26)

Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. (Cf. Lk 19:8; Mt 24:12.) The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth (Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.) will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. (Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3;2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18, 22) (CCC 675)

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification o f the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, (Cf. DS 3839.) especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.) (CCC 676)

The Gospel cannot be reduced to liberation theology or Marxist solutions, but comes from Christ only for redemption from sin through the Church the sacrament of salvation for the world.

The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. (Cf. Rev 19:1-9) The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. (Cf. Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.) God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. (Cf. Rev 20:12; 2 Pet 3: 12-13.) (CCC 677)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick

(See also paragraph 474 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

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Saturday, 32d Week: "Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones?"

Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
-- Lk 18:1-8

St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." "The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity":

When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.
-- CCC 2446

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Memorial of Saint Leo the Great: "God formed man"

to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them.
-- Wis 2:23–3:9

"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship.
-- CCC 355

Art: Raphael, Meeting of Saint Leo the Great and Attila the Hun.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

32d Sunday: "this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors"

1 Kings 17, 10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9, 24-28; St. Mark 12, 38-44

Generosity from each, according to the capabilities of each, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Whether one, like the widow, has a mere mite, or whether, like the Pharisees, perhaps much more, all should give not from their excess but from their want. Generosity is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity." (Galations 5:22-23.) (CCC 1832)

St. Paul's letter to the Philippians speaks of the generosity of the Christian community which should serve as an example for unbelievers. Those who are generous are laying up treasure in heaven.

It was kind of you to want to share in my hardships... Even when I was at Thessalonica you sent something for my needs, not once, but twice. It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, my concern is for the ever-growing balance in your account... My God will supply your needs fully, in a way worthy of his magnificent riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 14, 16, 17,19.)

It is not money that people have difficulty in giving today. It is loving and unconditional acceptance for every human life that is wanting. Openness of married couples to new life by the shunning of artificial methods of birth regulation, loving and respectful acceptance for all pregnant women and mothers, financial assistance to women and children, furthering the cause of life by working to elect leaders who are friendly to life; all of these and more are the ways that we can be generous in an age of unprecedented stinginess with regard to human life. Let us be unambiguously pro-life in the midst of the cult of death.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick

(See also paragraphs 678, 2444 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Saturday, 31st Wk: "No servant can serve two masters."

You cannot serve God and mammon.
-- Lk 16:9-15

Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.
-- CCC 2113

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday, 31st Wk: "the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently"

For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”

Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.
-- CCC 1806

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday, 31st Wk: ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy...

When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God's merciful love for the sinner.
-- CCC 1465

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday 31st Wk: "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."

If anyone 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. ... everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
-- Lk 14:25-33

Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them "renounce all that [they have]" for his sake and that of the Gospel. Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.
-- CCC 2544

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday, 31st Wk: “A man gave a great dinner"

‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.

The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord's Cross, from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited. In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen).
-- CCC 1182