Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come After Me, And I Will Make You Fishers Of Men

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Reading I
Romans 10:9-18
Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth
that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart
that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart
and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth
and so is saved.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him
will be put to shame.
There is no distinction
between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him
in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him
of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear
without someone to preach?
And how can people preach
unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet
of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says,
Lord, who has believed
what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard
comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for:
Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 19
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Matthew 4:18-22
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter,
and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea;
they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me,
and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets
and followed him.
He walked along from there
and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee,
and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee,
mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately
they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
St. Andrew

Andrew was St. Peter’s brother, and was called with him. "As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-20).

John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. "Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day" (John 1:38-39a).

Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels. Before the multiplication of the loaves, it was Andrew who spoke up about the boy who had the barley loaves and fishes (see John 6:8-9). When the Gentiles went to see Jesus, they came to Philip, but Philip then had recourse to Andrew (see John 12:20-22).

Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras.


As in the case of all the apostles except Peter and John, the Gospels give us little about the holiness of Andrew. He was an apostle. That is enough. He was called personally by Jesus to proclaim the Good News, to heal with Jesus' power and to share his life and death. Holiness today is no different. It is a gift that includes a call to be concerned about the Kingdom, an outgoing attitude that wants nothing more than to share the riches of Christ with all people.


“...[T]he Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word’” (Acts 6:2-4).

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Many Will Come From The East And The West Into The Kingdom Of Heaven

Monday of the First Week of Advent
Reading I
Isaiah 4:2-6
On that day,
The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory,
and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor
for the survivors of Israel.
He who remains in Zion
and he who is left in Jerusalem
will be called holy:
every one marked down for life in Jerusalem.
When the LORD washes away
the filth of the daughters of Zion,
And purges Jerusalem’s blood from her midst
with a blast of searing judgment,
Then will the LORD create,
over the whole site of Mount Zion
and over her place of assembly,
A smoking cloud by day
and a light of flaming fire by night.
For over all,
the LORD’s glory will be
shelter and protection:
shade from the parching heat of day,
refuge and cover from storm and rain.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 122
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!"
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
+++    +++    +++    +++   
Matthew 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him
and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home
paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy
to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this,
he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you,
in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come
from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Servant of God John of Monte Corvino

At a time when the Church was heavily embroiled in nationalistic rivalries within Europe, it was also reaching across Asia to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Mongols. John of Monte Corvino went to China about the same time Marco Polo was returning. 

John was a soldier, judge and doctor before he became a friar. Prior to going to Tabriz, Persia (present-day Iran), in 1278, he was well known for his preaching and teaching. In 1291 he left Tabriz as a legate of Pope Nicholas IV to the court of Kublai Khan. An Italian merchant, a Dominican friar and John traveled to western India where the Dominican died. When John and the Italian merchant arrived in China in 1294, Kublai Khan had recently died.

Nestorian Christians, successors to the dissidents of the fifth-century Council of Ephesus’ teaching on Jesus Christ, had been in China since the seventh century. John converted some of them and also some of the Chinese, including Prince George from Tenduk, northwest of Beijing. Prince George named his son after this holy friar.

John established his headquarters in Khanbalik (now Beijing), where he built two churches; his was the first resident Catholic mission in the country. By 1304 he had translated the Psalms and the New Testament into the Tatar language.

Responding to two letters from John, Pope Clement V named John Archbishop of Khanbalik in 1307 and consecrated seven friars as bishops of neighboring dioceses. One of the seven never left Europe. Three others died along the way to China; the remaining three bishops and the friars who accompanied them arrived there in 1308.

When John died in 1328, he was mourned by Christians and non-Christians. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage. In 1368, Christianity was banished from China when the Mongols were expelled and the Ming dynasty began. John’s cause has been introduced in Rome.


When John of Monte Corvino went to China, he represented the Church’s desire to preach the gospel to a new culture and to be enriched by it. The travels of Pope John Paul II have demonstrated the universality of the Good News and the urgent need to continue the challenging work of helping the Good News take root in a variety of cultural situations.


In 1975, Pope Paul VI wrote, "The Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the Message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieus which are theirs" (Evangelization in the Modern World, #18).

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let Us Go Rejoicing To The House Of The Lord.

First Sunday of Advent
Reading I
Isaiah 2:1-5
This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
+++    +++     +++    +++
Psalm 122
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my brothers and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Reading II
Romans 13:11-14
Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now
than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came
and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know
on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night
when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”
St. James of the Marche

Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop!

James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances.

James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence.

With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching.

To combat extremely high interest rates, James established montes pietatis (literally, mountains of charity) — nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects.

Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James was canonized in 1726.


James wanted the word of God to take root in the hearts of his listeners. His preaching was directed to preparing the soil, so to speak, by removing any rocks and softening up lives hardened by sin. God’s intention is that his word take root in our lives, but for that we need both prayerful preachers and cooperative listeners.


"Beloved and most holy word of God! You enlighten the hearts of the faithful, you satisfy the hungry, console the afflicted; you make the souls of all productive of good and cause all virtues to blossom; you snatch souls from the devil’s jaw; you make the wretched holy, and men of earth citizens of heaven" (Sermon of St. James).

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marana Tha! Come Lord Jesus!

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 22:1-7
John said:
An angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God
and of the Lamb down the middle of the street,
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month;
the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
Nothing accursed will be found anymore.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it,
and his servants will worship him.
They will look upon his face,
and his name will be on their foreheads.
Night will be no more,
nor will they need light from lamp or sun,
for the Lord God shall give them light,
and they shall reign forever and ever.

And he said to me,
“These words are trustworthy and true,
and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits,
sent his angel to show his servants
what must happen soon.”
“Behold, I am coming soon.”
Blessed is the one who keeps
the prophetic message of this book.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 95
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
and the tops of the mountains are his.
His is the sea, for he has made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds,
the flock he guides.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 21:34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
St. Francesco Antonio Fasani

Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown.

In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.


Eventually we become what we choose. If we choose stinginess, we become stingy. If we choose compassion, we become compassionate. The holiness of Francesco Antonio Fasani resulted from his many small decisions to cooperate with God’s grace.


During his homily at the canonization of Francesco, Pope John Paul II reflected on John 21:15 in which Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other apostles and then tells Peter, "Feed my lambs." The pope observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by love. "He [Francesco] made the love taught us by Christ the fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations" (L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 16, number 3, 1986).

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Blessed Are They Whose Strength You Are! They Go From Strength To Strength.

Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 20:1-4, 11 -- 21:2
I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven,
holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain.
He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent,
which is the Devil or Satan,
and tied it up for a thousand years
and threw it into the abyss,
which he locked over it and sealed,
so that it could no longer lead the nations astray
until the thousand years are completed.
After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones;
those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment.
I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God,
and who had not worshiped the beast or its image
nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands.
They came to life and they reigned with Christ
for a thousand years.

Next I saw a large white throne
and the one who was sitting on it.
The earth and the sky fled from his presence
and there was no place for them.
I saw the dead, the great and the lowly,
standing before the throne,
and scrolls were opened.
Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.
The dead were judged according to their deeds,
by what was written in the scrolls.
The sea gave up its dead;
then Death and Hades gave up their dead.
All the dead were judged according to their deeds.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire.
(This pool of fire is the second death.)
Anyone whose name was not found
written in the book of life
was thrown into the pool of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 84
R. Here God lives among his people.
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. Here God lives among his people.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young –
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. Here God lives among his people.
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. Here God lives among his people.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 21:29 -33
Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves
and know that summer is now near;
in the same way,
when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”
St. Catherine of Alexandria
(c. 310)

According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians -- as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred.

Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of St. Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary. 


The pursuit of God's wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine's case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormenters offered her would rust, lose their beauty or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine's honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ.


“Therefore I [King Solomon] prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;/ Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands; and I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is the mother of these” (Wisdom 7:7-12).

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Will Praise Your Name For Ever, Lord.

Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a
I, John, saw another angel
coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined
by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

A mighty angel picked up a stone
like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:
“With such force will Babylon
the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were t
he great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray
by your magic potion.”

After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude
in heaven, saying:

Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

They said a second time:

“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 145
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 21:20-28
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women
and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity
will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot
by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring
of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”
St. Columban
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.

After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical slackness and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.

Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.


Now that public sexual license is approaching the extreme, we need the Church's jolting memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?


Writing to the pope about a doctrinal controversy in Lombardy, Columban said: “We Irish, living in the farthest parts of the earth, are followers of St. Peter and St. Paul and of the disciples who wrote down the sacred canon under the Holy Spirit. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching.... I confess I am grieved by the bad repute of the chair of St. Peter in this country.... Though Rome is great and known afar, she is great and honored with us only because of this chair.... Look after the peace of the Church, stand between your sheep and the wolves.”

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

Let All Your Works Give You Thanks, O Lord, And Let Your Faithful Ones Bless You.

Thanksgiving Day
Reading I
Sirach 50:22-24
And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.
+++    +++    +++    +++   
Psalm 145
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord
+++     +++    +++     +++
Reading II
Corinthians 1:3-9
Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called
to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village,
ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him
and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner
returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Do not let a day slip by without considering God's favors; praise and exalt his generosity, particularly in contrast with yours, for truly what you deserve is to be deprived of what you already have received.  Do not delude yourself about being worthy in any respect, for whatever is meritorious in you is a gift from God.  You are nothing but matter stripped of alal good, and anything you might have is clothing God lends you because he wishes you to have it.  Faithfully remember the gifts bestowed by nature as well as those you enjoy by chance and grace and by the promised glory that, unless you happen to lose it through your own fault, is as certain as the rest.  Think intently about the special and general graces from the Lord and admit truthfully that you received them from his hand.  Preserve them assiduously in the greatest possible purity and love them dearly, but even more, love him who so blessed you.  Withdraw and guard against offending grace and the Lord of grace...

A theologian who agrees with this says: "Woe to those who remain silent and do not acclaim you, Lord, the source of all good things, for even though such people speak at great length, they are mute.  Happy the tongue that thanks you, for it fulfills is purpose in life.  It now begins the business of thanking your Maker in which it will remain forever.

Fray Franciso de Osuna, O.F.M.

Father Francisco de Osuna (+ about 1540) was a Franciscan friar and ascetic writer from the Seville region of Spain. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Great And Wonderful Are All Your Works, Lord, Mighty God!

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dũng-Lac,
priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs
Reading I
Revelation 15:1-4
I, John, saw in heaven another sign,
great and awe-inspiring:
seven angels with the seven last plagues,
for through them God’s fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea
of glass mingled with fire.
On the sea of glass were standing those
who had won the victory over the beast
and its image and the number
that signified its name.
They were holding God’s harps,
and they sang the song of Moses,
the servant of God,
and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 98
R. Great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord, mighty God!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord, mighty God!
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord, mighty God!
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord, mighty God!
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord, mighty God!
+++    +++    +++    +++   
Luke 21:12-19
Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over
to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led
before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to
prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries
will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
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.”
St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

St. Andrew was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. Now all have been canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. 

Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. 

Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. 

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.

By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.


It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a recent war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as we ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam's soil proves hardier than the forces which would destroy it.


“The Church in Vietnam is alive and vigorous, blessed with strong and faithful bishops, dedicated religious, and courageous and committed laypeople.... The Church in Vietnam is living out the gospel in a difficult and complex situation with remarkable persistence and strength” (statement of three U.S. archbishops returning from Vietnam in January 1989).

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The LORD Comes To Judge The Earth.

Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 14:14-19
I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one
who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head
and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice
to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud
swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar,
who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle
and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth
and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.
+++     +++    +++    +++   
Psalm 96
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 21:5-11
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned
with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone
that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be
when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified;
for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”

Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes,
famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs
will come from the sky.”
Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro

¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Father Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.

Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, he entered the Jesuits in 1911 but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.

He immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988.


In 1927 when Father Miguel Pro was executed, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993 and 1999. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs. 


During his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II said that Father Pro “is a new glory for the beloved Mexican nation, as well as for the Society of Jesus. His life of sacrificing and intrepid apostolate was always inspired by a tireless evangelizing effort. Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away (see John 16:22). Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death.”

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sound I Heard Was Like That Of Harpists Playing Their Harps.

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr
Reading I
Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5
I, John, looked and
there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand
who had his name and his Father’s name
written on their foreheads.
I heard a sound from heaven
like the sound of rushing water
or a loud peal of thunder.
The sound I heard was like that
of harpists playing their harps.
They were singing what seemed to be
a new hymn before the throne,
before the four living creatures and the elders.
No one could learn this hymn
except the hundred and forty-four thousand
who had been ransomed from the earth.
These are the ones who follow the Lamb
wherever he goes.
They have been ransomed as the first fruits
of the human race for God and the Lamb.
On their lips no deceit has been found;
they are unblemished.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 24
R. Lord, this is the people
that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people
that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people
that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people
that longs to see your face.
+++     +++     +++    +++   
Luke 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up
he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow
putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings
from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty,
has offered her whole livelihood.”
Saint Cecilia
(3rd century)

Although Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, the familiar stories about her are apparently not founded on authentic material. There is no trace of honor being paid her in early times. A fragmentary inscription of the late fourth century refers to a church named after her, and her feast was celebrated at least in 545.

According to legend, Cecilia was a young Christian of high rank betrothed to a Roman named Valerian. Through her influence Valerian was converted, and was martyred along with his brother. The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church.

Since the time of the Renaissance she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.


Like any good Christian, Cecilia sang in her heart, and sometimes with her voice. She has become a symbol of the Church's conviction that good music is an integral part of the liturgy, of greater value to the Church than any other art. In the present confused state of Church music, it may be useful to recall some words of Vatican II (see below).


“Liturgical action is given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.... Choirs must be diligently promoted, but bishops and other pastors must ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightfully theirs.... Gregorian chant, other things being equal, should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded.... Religious singing by the people is to be skillfully fostered, so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out” (Constitution on the Liturgy, 112-118).

Patron Saint of:

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Lamb Who Was Slain is Worthy To Receive Strength And Divinity, Wisdom And Power And Honor; To Him Be Power And Glory Now And Forever.

The Solemnity of Christ the King
Reading I
2 Samuel 5:1-3
In those days, all the tribes of Israel
came to David in Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out
and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
'You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel
came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement
with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
+++    +++    +++    +++  
Psalm 122
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Reading II
Colossians 1:12-20
Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or principalities or powers;
all things were created
through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Luke 23:35-43
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus,
saying, "Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
"Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said,
"Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."
Feast of the Presentation of Mary

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.


It is sometimes difficult for modern Westerners to appreciate a feast like this. The Eastern Church, however, was quite open to this feast and even somewhat insistent about celebrating it. Even though the feast has no basis in history, it stresses an important truth about Mary: From the beginning of her life, she was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple than any made by hands. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God's saving work. At the same time, the magnificence of Mary enriches her children. They, too, are temples of God and sanctified in order that they might enjoy and share in God's saving work.


"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor" (adapted from a homily by St. Germanus on the Presentation of the Mother of God).

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The LORD Is The God Not Of The Dead, But Of The Living, For In Him, All Are Alive.

Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 11:4-12
I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me:
Here are my two witnesses:
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands
that stand before the Lord of the earth.
If anyone wants to harm them,
fire comes out of their mouths
and devours their enemies.
In this way, anyone wanting to harm them
is sure to be slain.
They have the power to close up the sky
so that no rain can fall
during the time of their prophesying.
They also have power to turn water into blood
and to afflict the earth
with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony,
the beast that comes up from the abyss
will wage war against them
and conquer them and kill them.
Their corpses will lie
in the main street of the great city,
which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,”
where indeed their Lord was crucified.
Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation
will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days,
and they will not allow their corpses to be buried.
The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them
and be glad and exchange gifts
because these two prophets
tormented the inhabitants of the earth.
But after the three and a half days,
a breath of life from God entered them.
When they stood on their feet,
great fear fell on those who saw them.
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven
say to them, “Come up here.”
So they went up to heaven in a cloud
as their enemies looked on.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 144
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle,
my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten‑stringed lyre
I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant
from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 20:27-40
Some Sadducees, those who deny
that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus,
saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies
leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection
whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy
to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known
in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead,
but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Born in Grenoble, France, of a family that was among the new rich, Philippine learned political skills from her father and a love of the poor from her mother. The dominant feature of her temperament was a strong and dauntless will, which became the material—and the battlefield—of her holiness. She entered the convent at 19 and remained despite their opposition. As the French Revolution broke, the convent was closed, and she began taking care of the poor and sick, opened a school for street urchins and risked her life helping priests in the underground.

When the situation cooled, she personally rented her old convent, now a shambles, and tried to revive its religious life. The spirit was gone, and soon there were only four nuns left. They joined the infant Society of the Sacred Heart, whose young superior, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, would be her lifelong friend. In a short time Philippine was a superior and supervisor of the novitiate and a school. But her ambition, since hearing tales of missionary work in Louisiana as a little girl, was to go to America and work among the Indians. At 49, she thought this would be her work. With four nuns, she spent 11 weeks at sea en route to New Orleans, and seven weeks more on the Mississippi to St. Louis. She then met one of the many disappointments of her life. The bishop had no place for them to live and work among Native Americans. Instead, he sent her to what she sadly called "the remotest village in the U.S.," St. Charles, Missouri. With characteristic drive and courage, she founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi.

It was a mistake. Though she was as hardy as any of the pioneer women in the wagons rolling west, cold and hunger drove them out—to Florissant, Missouri, where she founded the first Catholic Indian school, adding others in the territory. "In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered practically every hardship the frontier had to offer, except the threat of Indian massacre—poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings and with only the slightest training in courtesy" (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne).

Finally, at 72, in poor health and retired, she got her lifelong wish. A mission was founded at Sugar Creek, Kansas, among the Potawatomi. She was taken along. Though she could not learn their language, they soon named her "Woman-Who-Prays-Always." While others taught, she prayed. Legend has it that Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled bits of paper on her habit, and came back hours later to find them undisturbed. She died in 1852 at the age of 83.


Divine grace channeled her iron will and determination into humility and selflessness, and to a desire not to be made superior. Still, even saints can get involved in silly situations. In an argument with her over a minor change in the sanctuary, a priest threatened to remove her tabernacle. She patiently let herself be criticized by younger nuns for not being progressive enough. For 31 years, she hewed to the line of a dauntless love and an unshakable observance of her religious vows.


“We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self.... The truest crosses are those we do not choose ourselves.... He who has Jesus has everything.” (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

How Sweet To My Taste Is Your Promise, Sweeter Than Honey To My Mouth.

Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 10:8-11
I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me.
Then the voice spoke to me and said:
“Go, take the scroll that lies open
in the hand of the angel
who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
So I went up to the angel
and told him to give me the small scroll.
He said to me, “Take and swallow it.
It will turn your stomach sour,
but in your mouth
it will taste as sweet as honey.”
I took the small scroll
from the angel’s hand and swallowed it.
In my mouth it was like sweet honey,
but when I had eaten it,
my stomach turned sour.
Then someone said to me,
“You must prophesy again
about many peoples, nations,
 tongues, and kings.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 119
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 19:45-48
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.”
And every day he was teaching
in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes,
and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way
to accomplish their purpose
because all the people
were hanging on his words.
St. Agnes of Assisi

Agnes was the sister of St. Clare and her first follower. When Agnes left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring Agnes back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but all of a sudden her body became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Agnes and Clare in peace.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances which characterized their lives at San Damiano. In 1221 a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli (near Florence) asked to become Poor Clares. St. Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other Poor Clare monasteries in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253 when Clare was dying.

Agnes followed Clare in death three months later. Agnes was canonized in 1753.


God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.


Charles de Foucald, founder of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, said: "One must pass through solitude and dwell in it to receive God’s grace. It is there that one empties oneself, that one drives before oneself all that is not God, and that one completely empties this little house of our soul to leave room for God alone. In doing this, do not fear being unfaithful toward creatures. On the contrary, that is the only way for you to serve them effectively" (Raphael Brown, Franciscan Mystic, p. 126).

Saint of the Day
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Lamb Has Made Us A Kingdom Of Priests To Serve Our God.

Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 5:1-10
I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand
of the one who sat on the throne.
It had writing on both sides
and was sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a mighty angel
who proclaimed in a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll
and break its seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth
or under the earth
was able to open the scroll or to examine it.
I shed many tears
because no one was found worthy
to open the scroll or to examine it.
One of the elders said to me,
“Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah,
the root of David, has triumphed,
enabling him to open the scroll
with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne
and the four living creatures and the elders
a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
He had seven horns and seven eyes;
these are the seven spirits of God
sent out into the whole world.
He came and received the scroll
from the right hand of the one
who sat on the throne.
When he took it,
the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb.
Each of the elders held a harp
and gold bowls filled with incense,
which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood
you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue,
people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 149
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
+++    +++    +++    +++ 
Luke 19:41-44
As 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.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies
will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you
and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground
and your children within you,
and they will not leave
one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize
the time of your visitation.”
Dedication of St. Peter and Paul

St. Peter’s is probably the most famous church in Christendom. Massive in scale and a veritable museum of art and architecture, it began on a much humbler scale. Vatican Hill was a simple cemetery where believers gathered at St. Peter’s tomb to pray. In 319 Constantine built on the site a basilica that stood for more than a thousand years until, despite numerous restorations, it threatened to collapse. In 1506 Pope Julius II ordered it razed and reconstructed, but the new basilica was not completed and dedicated for more than two centuries.

St. Paul’s Outside the Walls stands near the Abaazia delle Tre Fontane, where St. Paul is believed to have been beheaded. The largest church in Rome until St. Peter’s was rebuilt, the basilica also rises over the traditional site of its namesake’s grave. The most recent edifice was constructed after a fire in 1823. The first basilica was also Constantine’s doing.

Constantine’s building projects enticed the first of a centuries-long parade of pilgrims to Rome. From the time the basilicas were first built until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.


Peter, the rough fisherman whom Jesus named the rock on which the Church is built, and the educated Paul, reformed persecutor of Christians, Roman citizen and missionary to the Gentiles, are the original odd couple. The major similarity in their faith-journeys is the journey’s end: Both, according to tradition, died a martyr’s death in Rome—Peter on a cross and Paul beneath the sword. Their combined gifts shaped the early Church and believers have prayed at their tombs from the earliest days.


“It is extraordinarily interesting that Roman pilgrimage began at an…early time. Pilgrims did not wait for the Peace of the Church [Constantine’s edict of toleration] before they visited the tombs of the Apostles. They went to Rome a century before there were any public churches and when the Church was confined to the tituli [private homes] and the catacombs. The two great pilgrimage sites were exactly as today—the tombs, or memorials, of St. Peter upon the Vatican Hill and the tomb of St. Paul off the Ostian Way” (H.V. Morton, This Is Rome).

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holy Is The LORD God Almighty, Who Was, Who Is, And Who Is To Come!

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious
Reading I
Revelation 4:1-11
I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven,
and I heard the trumpetlike voice
that had spoken to me before, saying,
“Come up here and I will show you
what must happen afterwards.”
At once I was caught up in spirit.
A throne was there in heaven,
and on the throne sat one
whose appearance sparkled
like jasper and carnelian.
Around the throne was a halo
as brilliant as an emerald.
Surrounding the throne I saw
twenty-four other thrones
on which twenty-four elders sat,
dressed in white garments
and with gold crowns on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder.
Seven flaming torches burned
in front of the throne,
which are the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne
was something that resembled
a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne,
there were four living creatures
covered with eyes in front and in back
The first creature resembled a lion,
the second was like a calf,
the third had a face like that of a man,
and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,
were covered with eyes inside and out.
Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor
and thanks to the one who sits on the throne,
who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down
before the one who sits on the throne
and worship him, who lives forever and ever.
They throw down their crowns before the throne,

“Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
because of your will
they came to be and were created.”
+++    +++    +++    +++   
Psalm 150
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God! 
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
+++    +++    +++     +++
Luke 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable
because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants
and gave them ten gold coins
and told them,
‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called,
to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you,
because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return
I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine
who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary

In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.

At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.

After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.

In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.


Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper: The Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many. Elizabeth is also an example to us in her following the guidance of a spiritual director. Growth in the spiritual life is a difficult process. We can play games very easily if we don't have someone to challenge us or to share experiences so as to help us avoid pitfalls.


"Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every individual, without exception, and to take positive steps to help a neighbor whom we encounter, whether that neighbor be an elderly person, abandoned by everyone, a foreign worker who suffers the injustice of being despised, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin of which the child is innocent, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: 'As long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me' (Matthew 25:40)" (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 27, Austin Flannery translation).

Patron Saint of:

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Behold, I Stand At The Door And Knock. If Anyone Hears My Voice, And Opens The Door, I Will Enter His House And Dine With Him.

Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
I, John, heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:
“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God
and the seven stars says this: “I know your works,
that you have the reputation of being alive,
but you are dead.
Be watchful and strengthen what is left,
which is going to die,
for I have not found your works complete
in the sight of my God.
Remember then how you accepted and heard;
keep it, and repent.
If you are not watchful,
I will come like a thief,
and you will never know
at what hour I will come upon you.
However, you have a few people in Sardis
who have not soiled their garments;
they will walk with me dressed in white,
because they are worthy. 

“‘The victor will thus be dressed in white,
and I will never erase his name from the book of life
but will acknowledge his name
in the presence of my Father
and of his angels.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

“To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this:
“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:
“I know your works;
I know that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm,
neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent
and have no need of anything,’
and yet do not realize
that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire
so that you may be rich,
and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness
may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes
so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
then I will enter his house and dine with him,
and he with me.
I will give the victor the right
to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
+++    +++     +++    +++
Psalm 15
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 19:1-10
At that time Jesus came to Jericho
and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector
and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead
and climbed a sycamore tree
in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place,
Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly
and received him with joy.
When they saw this,
they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay
at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there
and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions,
Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
St. Margaret of Scotland

Margaret of Scotland was a truly liberated woman in the sense that she was free to be herself. For her, that meant freedom to love God and serve others.

Not Scottish by birth, Margaret was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great-uncle, the English king, Edward the Confessor. Her family fled from William the Conqueror and was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm befriended them and was captivated by the beautiful, gracious Margaret. They were married at the castle of Dunfermline in 1070.

Malcolm was good-hearted, but rough and uncultured, as was his country. Because of Malcolm’s love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper, polish his manners and help him become a virtuous king. He left all domestic affairs to her and often consulted her in state matters.

Margaret tried to improve her adopted country by promoting the arts and education. For religious reform, she instigated synods and was present for the discussions which tried to correct religious abuses common among priests and lay people, such as simony, usury and incestuous marriages. With her husband, she founded several churches.

Margaret was not only a queen, but a mother. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.

Although she was very much caught up in the affairs of the household and country, she remained detached from the world. Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for devotions. She and Malcolm kept two Lents, one before Easter and one before Christmas. During these times she always rose at midnight for Mass. On the way home she would wash the feet of six poor persons and give them alms. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. It is recorded that she never sat down to eat without first feeding nine orphans and 24 adults.

In 1093, King William Rufus made a surprise attack on Alnwick castle. King Malcolm and his oldest son, Edward, were killed. Margaret, already on her deathbed, died four days after her husband.


There are two ways to be charitable: the "clean way" and the "messy way." The "clean way" is to give money or clothing to organizations that serve the poor. The "messy way" is dirtying your own hands in personal service to the poor. Margaret's outstanding virtue was her love of the poor. Although very generous with material gifts, Margaret also visited the sick and nursed them with her own hands. She and her husband served orphans and the poor on their knees during Advent and Lent. Like Christ, she was charitable the "messy way."


"When [Margaret] spoke, her conversation was with the salt of wisdom. When she was silent, her silence was filled with good thoughts. So thoroughly did her outward bearing correspond with the staidness of her character that it seemed as if she has been born the pattern of a virtuous life" (Turgot, St. Margaret's confessor).

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