Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dominica in Sexagesima: "Semen est verbum Dei. The seed is the word of God."

"And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved.
Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away.
And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit.
But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience." (Luke 8, 4-15)

To welcome the seed of the Word is to welcome the Kingdom.

"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)

Indeed, to welcome the Word is to welcome Jesus Christ Who is the Kingdom present among us.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Septuagesima: "Run so as to obtain the prize."

"Fratres, Nescitis quod ii qui in stadio currunt, omnes quidem currunt, sed unus accipit bravium? Sic currite, ut comprehendatis." (1 Cor 9, 24-27; 10, 1-5)

"Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain."

Self-mastery is the work of Lent for which we prepare on Septuagesima.
"And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one.
"I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air:
"But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway."

"Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence." (CCC 2342)

The prize won by running the race through self-mastery which brings holiness of life here on earth is eternal life on high in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Saint Valentine, priest and martyr: “Ephphatha!”, “Be opened!” to God's love in Jesus Christ

God has sent us an invitation to love Him in Jesus Christ who expels evil. "Be opened" is His invitation to love God through a heart opened to God's grace through forgiveness of sins.

Priests participate in God's invitation to love Him in Christ as those who celebrate the sacraments for God's people. When he baptizes a priest uses these words of Christ, "Ephphatha!", be opened as a blessing of exorcism, opening the soul and body to God's grace by expelling sin.

Through faith and baptism we open our bodies and souls to the love of God in Jesus Christ, in particular as we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.