readings 20150520

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 299
Reading 1 ACTS 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.
Responsorial Psalm PS 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Alleluia SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel JN 17:11B-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm

Readings 20150519

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 298
Reading 1 ACTS 20:17-27

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”
Responsorial Psalm PS 68:10-11, 20-21

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Alleluia JN 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel JN 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm

Saint of the day 20150318

18 March


ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(+386)

        Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, about the year 315. He was ordained priest by St. Maximus, who gave him the important charge of instructing and preparing the candidates for Baptism. This charge he held for several years, and we still have one series of his instructions, given in the year 347 or 318. They are of singular interest as being the earliest record of the systematic teaching of the Church on the creed and sacraments, and as having been given in the church built by Constantine on Mount Calvary. They are solid, simple, profound; saturated with Holy Scripture; exact, precise, and terse; and, as a witness and exposition of the Catholic faith, invaluable.

        On the death of St. Maximus, Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. At the beginning of his episcopate a cross was seen in the air reaching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and so bright that it shone at noonday. St. Cyril gave an account of it to the emperor; and the faithful regarded it as a presage of victory over the Arian heretics.

        While Cyril was bishop, the apostate Julian resolved to falsify the words of Our Lord by rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem. He employed the power and resources of a Roman emperor; the Jews thronged enthusiastically to him and gave munificently. But Cyril was unmoved. ” The word of God abides,” he said; “one stone shall not be laid on another.” When the attempt was made, a heathen writer tells us that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and scared workmen. The attempt was made again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon after, the emperor perished miserably in a war against the Persians, and the Church had rest.

        Like the other great bishops of his time, Cyril was persecuted, and driven once and again from his see; but on the death of the Arian Emperor Valens he returned to Jerusalem. He was present at the second General Council at Constantinople, and died in peace in 386, after a troubled episcopate of thirty-five years.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 – 386)

He was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and some of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.

Other saints: St Edward the Martyr (962 – 978)

He was the eldest son of King Edgar of the English, and on Edgar’s death in 975 the kingship was contested, with some supporting Edward’s claim and others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred (known to history as ‘Ethelred the Unready’). Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester.
  The great nobles of the kingdom quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. The nobles took advantage of Edward’s weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties which King Edgar had granted to them. Edward was murdered at Corfe Castle on 18 March 978 in circumstances which are not altogether clear.
  His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 his remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

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Readings 20150318

http://www.legrc.org/regnum_db/archivos_db/podcast-en/med180315.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Who can claim authority and power over life and death itself? Jesus not only made such a claim, he showed God’s power to heal and restore people to wholeness of life. He also showed the mercy of God by releasing people from their burden of sin and guilt. He even claimed to have the power to raise the dead to life and to execute judgment on all the living and dead. The Jewish authorities were troubled with Jesus’ claims and looked for a way to get rid of him. He either had to be a mad man and an imposter or who he claimed to be – God’s divine son. Unfortunately, they could not accept Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah, the anointed one sent by the Father to redeem his people. They sought to kill him because he claimed an authority and equality with God which they could not accept. They failed to recognize that this was God’s answer to the long-awaited prayers of his people: “In a time of favor I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you” (Isaiah 49:8). 

A “covenant” to the people 
Jesus was sent by the Father as “a covenant to the people” to reconcile them with God and  restore to them the promise of paradise and everlasting life. Jesus’ words and actions reveal God’s mercy and  justice. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah when he brings healing, restoration, and forgiveness to those who accept his divine message. 

The religious authorities charged Jesus as a Sabbath-breaker and a blasphemer. They wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed equality with God – something they thought no mortal could say without blaspheming. Little did they understand that Jesus was both human and divine – the eternal Son with the Father and the human son, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Jesus answered their charge of breaking the Sabbath law by demonstrating God’s purpose for creation and redemption – to save and restore life. God’s love and mercy never ceases for a moment. Jesus continues to show the Father’s mercy by healing and restoring people, even on the Sabbath day of rest. When the religious leaders charged that Jesus was making himself equal with God, Jesus replied that he was not acting independently of God because his relationship is a close personal Father-Son relationship. He and the Father are united in heart, mind, and will. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God.

The unity of love and obedience 
Jesus also states that his identity with the Father is based on complete trust and obedience. Jesus always did what his Father wanted him to do. His obedience was not just based on submission, but on love. He obeyed because he loved his Father. The unity between Jesus and the Father is a unity of love – a total giving of oneself for the sake of another. That is why their mutual love for each other is perfect and complete. The Son loves the Father and gives himself in total obedience to the Father’s will. The Father loves the Son and shares with him all that he is and has. We are called to submit our lives to God with the same love, trust, and obedience which Jesus demonstrated for his Father. 

If we wish to understand how God deals with sin and how he responds to our sinful condition, then we must look to Jesus. Jesus took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. He, who is equal in dignity and stature with the Father, became a servant for our sake to ransom us from slavery to sin. He has the power to forgive us and to restore our relationship with God because he paid the price for our sins.

Jesus states that to accept him is life– a life of abundant peace and joy with God. But if we reject him, then we freely choose for death – an endless separation with an all-loving and merciful God. Do you want the abundant life which Jesus offers? Believe in him, the living Word of God, who became a man for our sake and our salvation, and reject whatever is false and contrary to the gospel – the good news he came to give us. 

“Lord Jesus, increase my love for you and unite my heart and will with yours, that I may only seek and desire what is pleasing to you.”


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

ON THE THRESHOLD OF…

  “In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you.” —Isaiah 49:8  

We have been fasting for four weeks to prepare for Easter. What will the Lord do this Easter?

  1. Some who feel forsaken and forgotten will be assured of the Lord’s tender love (see Is 49:14-15). At first, this will not change the distressing circumstances of their lives, but will dramatically change their attitude toward them. 
  2. Long-term desolation will be replaced by restoration (Is 49:8). 
  3. Many people trapped in the prison and darkness of sin will come out and show themselves (Is 49:9). 
  4. Through a series of miracles, many of you will return from a self-imposed exile in the world into life in God’s kingdom (see Is 49:9-12). 
  5. The heavens, earth, and mountains will sing because of the comfort and mercy the Lord will give us (Is 49:13). 
  6. At least hundreds of thousands of people will pass from death to life by hearing the Lord’s Word and believing in Him (Jn 5:24). 
  7. Possibly thousands of people will die in Christ, Who will raise their spirits from the dead and take them to be with Him forever in heaven (see Jn 5:29). 

The risen Lord will do several million other things this upcoming Easter season. We are on the threshold of an awesome outpouring of the Lord’s love and grace. Prepare to share in Easter 2015. Repent, confess, forgive, give, pray, fast, witness, heal, obey, believe, and love. Come, risen Lord Jesus!

  Prayer: Father, may this be the Lent of a lifetime and the springtime of my life in the Spirit. Promise: “An hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear His voice and come forth.” —Jn 5:28 Praise: St. Cyril described Christians as “pressed into the service of a great King.”    
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Readings 20150317

http://www.stlukeproductions.com/benedictus-media/mp3/03_17.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Is there anything holding you back from the Lord’s healing power and transforming grace that can set you free to live in wholeness, joy, and peace with God? God put into the heart of the prophet Ezekiel a vision of the rivers of living water flowing from God’s heavenly throne to bring healing and restoration to his people. We begin to see the fulfillment of this restoration taking place when the Lord Jesus announces the coming of God’s kingdom and performs signs and miracles in demonstration of the power of that kingdom. 

One of the key signs which John points out in his Gospel account takes place in Jerusalem when Jesus went up to the temple during one of the great Jewish feasts (John 5:1-9). As Jesus approached the temple area he stopped at the pool of Bethzatha which was close by. Many Jews brought their sick relatives and friends to this pool. John tells us that a “multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed” were laid there on the pavement surrounding the pool (John 5:3). This pool was likely one of the ritual baths used for purification for people before they went into the temple to offer prayers and sacrifice. On certain occasions, especially when the waters were stirred, the lame and others with diseases were dipped in the pool in the hope that they might be cured of their ailments.

The lame man that Jesus stopped to speak with had been paralyzed for more than 38 years. He felt helpless because he had no friends to help him bathe in the purifying waters of the pool. Despite his many years of unanswered prayer, he still waited by the pool in the hope that help might come his way. Jesus offered this incurable man not only the prospect of help but total healing as well. Jesus first awakened faith in the paralyzed man when he put a probing question to him, “Do you really want to be healed?” This question awakened a new spark of faith in him. Jesus then ordered him to “get up and walk!” Now the lame man had to put his new found faith into action. He decided to take the Lord Jesus at his word and immediately stood up and began to walk freely.

The Lord Jesus approaches each one of us with the same probing question, “Do you really want to be healed – to be forgiven, set free from guilt and sin, from uncontrollable anger and other disordered passions, and from hurtful desires and addictions. The first essential step towards freedom and healing is the desire for change. If we are content to stay as we are, then no amount of coaxing will change us. The Lord will not refuse anyone who sincerely askes for his pardon, mercy, and healing.

“Lord Jesus, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed in your way of holiness. Let your Holy Spirit purify my heart and renew in me a fervent love and desire to do whatever is pleasing to you and to refuse whatever is contrary to your will.”


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

HEALED FOR HELL?

  “Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you.” —John 5:14  

Fr. Al Lauer, founder and long-time author of One Bread, One Body, preached often on healing. One of his frequent exhortations during healing services was: “God heals you for service in His Kingdom. He didn’t heal you so you could be the healthiest person in hell!” 

Father Al often referred to Peter’s mother-in-law as the model of one who received healing. She was suffering from a fever. Jesus healed her, and immediately she got up and began to wait on Jesus and the apostles. That’s the goal: to be healed from our physical and spiritual infirmities, and to be healed for service, evangelization, worship, and a life of holiness. 

A man had been infirm for thirty-eight years. Jesus then exhorted him to give up his sins so that nothing “worse” could happen to him (Jn 5:14). There is something worse than thirty-eight years of being bedridden: a life of sin and an eternity in hell. 

Jesus’ healing is both spiritual and physical. He doesn’t heal halfway. “Give up your sins” (Jn 5:14) and let Jesus touch you with His healing love for a life of service in His kingdom.

  Prayer: Jesus, use me to lead thousands of people to receive Your healing. Promise: “God is our Refuge and our Strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not.” —Ps 46:2-3 Praise: In imitation of the Father, St. Patrick forgot the sins committed against him (see Ps 103:12). He freely chose to return to his former captors to teach them the good news.   (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)  
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20150316

16 March


SAINT ABRAHAM, Hermit 

(+ c. 360)

and SAINT MARY

(+ c. 355)

        Abraham was a rich nobleman of Edessa. At his parents’ desire he married, but escaped to a cell near the city as soon as the feast was over. He walled up the cell-door, leaving only a small window through which he received his food. There for fifty years he sang God’s praises and implored mercy for himself and for all men. The wealth which fell to him on his parents’ death he gave to the poor.

        As many sought him for advice and consolation, the Bishop of Edessa, in spite of his humility, ordained him priest. St. Abraham was sent, soon after his ordination, to an idolatrous city which had hitherto been deaf to every messenger. He was insulted, beaten, and three times banished, but he returned each time with fresh zeal. For three years he pleaded with God for those souls, and in the end prevailed. Every citizen came to him for Baptism.

        After providing for their spiritual needs he went back to his cell more than ever convinced of the power of prayer. His brother died, leaving an only daughter, Mary, to the Saint’s care. He placed her in a cell near his own, and devoted himself to training her in perfection. After twenty years of innocence she fell, and fled in despair to a distant city, where she drowned the voice of conscience in sin. The Saint and his friend St. Ephrem prayed earnestly for her during two years. Then he went disguised to seek the lost sheep, and had the joy of bringing her back to the desert a true penitent. She received the gift of miracles, and her countenance after death shone as the sun.

        St. Abraham died five years before her, about 360. All Edessa came for his last blessing and to secure his relics.



Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]