Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The LORD Of Hosts Is With Us; Our Stronghold Is The God of Jacob.

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Reading I
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple
toward the east,
for the fa├žade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down
from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river
through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river,
where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw
very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district
down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters,
which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature
that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes
the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river,
fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered
by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food,
and their leaves for medicine.”
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Responsorial
Psalm 46
R.The Lord of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
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Gospel
John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews,
and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda,
with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill,
blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill
for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time,
he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way,
someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well,
took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful
for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them,
“The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you,
‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed
did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away,
since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area
and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
======================
St. Vincent Ferrer
(1350?-1419)

The polarization in the Church today is a mild breeze compared with the tornado that ripped the Church apart during the lifetime of this saint. If any saint is a patron of reconciliation, Vincent Ferrer is.

Despite parental opposition, he entered the Dominican Order in his native Spain at 19. After brilliant studies, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Peter de Luna — who would figure tragically in his life.

Of a very ardent nature, Vincent practiced the austerities of his Order with great energy. He was chosen prior of the Dominican house in Valencia shortly after his ordination.

The Western Schism divided Christianity first between two, then three, popes. Clement VII lived at Avignon in France, Urban VI in Rome. Vincent was convinced the election of Urban was invalid (though Catherine of Siena was just as devoted a supporter of the Roman pope). In the service of Cardinal de Luna, he worked to persuade Spaniards to follow Clement. When Clement died, Cardinal de Luna was elected at Avignon and became Benedict XIII.

Vincent worked for him as apostolic penitentiary and Master of the Sacred Palace. But the new pope did not resign as all candidates in the conclave had sworn to do. He remained stubborn despite being deserted by the French king and nearly all of the cardinals.

Vincent became disillusioned and very ill, but finally took up the work of simply "going through the world preaching Christ," though he felt that any renewal in the Church depended on healing the schism. An eloquent and fiery preacher, he spent the last 20 years of his life spreading the Good News in Spain, France, Switzerland, the Low Countries and Lombardy, stressing the need of repentance and the fear of coming judgment. (He became known as the "Angel of the Judgment.")

He tried, unsuccessfully, in 1408 and 1415, to persuade his former friend to resign. He finally concluded that Benedict was not the true pope. Though very ill, he mounted the pulpit before an assembly over which Benedict himself was presiding and thundered his denunciation of the man who had ordained him a priest. Benedict fled for his life, abandoned by those who had formerly supported him. Strangely, Vincent had no part in the Council of Constance, which ended the schism.

Comment:
The split in the Church at the time of Vincent Ferrer should have been fatal — 36 long years of having two "heads." We cannot imagine what condition the Church today would be in if, for that length of time, half the world had followed a succession of popes in Rome, and half, an equally "official" number of popes in, say, Rio de Janeiro. It is an ongoing miracle that the Church has not long since been shipwrecked on the rocks of pride and ignorance, greed and ambition. Contrary to Lowell's words, "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne," we believe that "truth is mighty, and it shall prevail" — but it sometimes takes a long time.

Quote:
“Precious stone of virginity...
Flaming torch of charity...
Mirror of penance...
Trumpet of eternal salvation...
Flower of heavenly wisdom...
Vanquisher of demons.”
(From the litanies of St. Vincent)

Patron Saint of:
Builders
Reconciliation

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

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