Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 9 -Marriage Feast at Cana

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask : To realize the great power of Mary's intercession with Jesus.

Mental Picture (d. John 2:1-2) : Noisy crowd at a wedding banquet, laughing and talking. Jesus and His disciples too are joining in the fun... Mary is directing the servants in their work. Suddenly she whispers softly to her Son, "There is no wine." Jesus turns to her, "Leave that to me, Mother; my hour is not yet come." Still, with a quiet confidence, Mary beckons to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you." Jesus looks at her, smiles, nods His head, and says to the servants, "Fill the waterpots with water." Then He changes the water into wine... it is His first public miracle... and He does it for His Mother.

My Personal Application: Why did Jesus perform His first miracle for His Mother? And why did HeI do it ahead of time? Isn't He simply trying to show me the great power that Mary has over Him ?

It is as if He were saying, "Look, if you want anything from me, just have my Mother ask for it. I can't refuse her anything."

I Speak to Christ: Lord Jesus, from watching you change this water into wine at your Mother's request, help me to realize the great power she has with you. I want to realize the full force of the saying, "To Jesus Through Mary." Let me form the habit of coming to you with Mary at my side to plead for me and with me.

Thought for Today: "To Jesus Through Mary."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Archbishop Burke Appointed to Supreme Tribunal

The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis as a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Others named include Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Archbishop Lluís Martínez Sistach of the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

The "Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura",
in addition to the function which it exercises as Supreme Tribunal, consults so that justice may be correctly administered in the Church. With many functions, the Apostolic Signatura judges the matters assigned to it in the Code of Canon Law; it extend the competence of tribunals; it extends the forum for strangers in Rome to cases of matrimonial nullity in extraordinary circumstances and for grave reasons; it supervises the proper administration of justice; it provides for the establishment of regional and interregional tribunals; it enjoys the rights assigned to it in concordats between the Holy See and the various nations. The Tribunal settles questions about the exercise of administrative ecclesiastical power which are referred to it. It also passes on conflicts of competence among the departments of the Holy See; it examines administrative matters referred to it by the Congregations of the Roman Curia as well as questions committed to it by the Holy Father. (source)

Gospel for Saturday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:14-17

The Call of Matthew (Continuation)

[14] Then the disciples of John (the Baptist) came to Him (Jesus), saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [15] And Jesus said them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. [16] And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. [17] Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."


14-17. This passage is interesting, not so much because it tells us about the sort of fasting practised by the Jews of the time--particularly the Pharisees and John the Baptist's disciples--but because of the reason Jesus gives for not requiring His disciples to fast in that way. His reply is both instructive and prophetic. Christianity is not a mere mending or adjusting of the old suit of Judaism. The redemption wrought by Jesus involves a total regeneration. Its spirit is too new and too vital to be suited to old forms of penance, which will no longer apply.

We know that in our Lord's time Jewish theology schools were in the grip of a highly complicated casuistry to do with fasting, purifications, etc., which smothered the simplicity of genuine piety. Jesus' words point to that simplicity of heart with which His disciples might practise prayer, fasting and almsgiving (cf. Matthew 6:1-18 and notes to same). From apostolic times onwards it is for the Church, using the authority given it by our Lord to set out the different forms fasting should take in different periods and situations.

15. "The wedding guests": literally, "the sons of the house where the wedding is being celebrated"--an __expression meaning the bridegroom's closest friends. This is an example of how St. Matthew uses typical Semitic turns of phrase, presenting Jesus' manner of speech.

This "house" to which Jesus refers has a deeper meaning; set beside the parable of the guests at the wedding (Matthew 22:1 ff), it symbolizes the Church as the house of God and the body of Christ: "Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope" (Hebrews 3:5-6).

The second part of the verse refers to the violent death Jesus would meet.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 8 - An Afternoon With Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To know the power of Christ's personality.

Mental Picture (d. John I : 35-39): I'm standing beside John and Andrew when John the Baptist calls Christ "the Lamb of God." Jesus moves along the river bank. John touches Andrew's arm... "Let's follow Him"... and off they go. I see the tall figure move away from the crowd. Around a comer in the path... He is standing there, waiting. "What do you want?" He's smiling at my confusion. John blurts out, "Master, where do you live?" That wonderful smile again...."Come and see." Walking along with Him! He talks with me all afternoon, and there is no need for anyone to say what he is thinking... "Never did man speak like this one." The most completely likable person I have ever met. I return home walking on air... I would do anything for this man!

My Personal Application: How can I grasp the drawing power of Christ? - the man who de­lighted little children; made fishermen walk out of their boats after Him, never to return; won enemies sent to arrest Him, who forgot their hate and murmured, "Never did man speak as this man."... But did that power stop with the Ascension? Think of the martyrs - even today­ - whom He fired with a love as strong as death. He can do it for me if I'll walk with Him for awhile.

I Speak to Christ: Fill me with admiration so my ears are always alive to hear your words, my eyes to see you in men, my mind thirsty for your truth, my heart open wide for your friendship. Over­power my selfishness with your personality, so that I will be loyal, even when I feel otherwise.

Thought for Today: "Never did a man speak as this man."

Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Rapture Preparedness

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Last Days Bible Church has taken a novel step to prepare people for the Rapture: under each seat in the sanctuary is an airline-style safety card giving instructions for what to do when the Rapture takes place.

"It's a way of getting people's attention," says pastor Mark Eckers, who preaches often about the end times. We are concerned about people's Rapture preparedness."

Ushers hold up the Rapture Safety cards and give a complete safety demonstration before each service, even pointing out exit routes for people who are not taken by the Rapture.

For believers, the cards depict various Rapture poses they may strike when the trumpet sounds: the flange pose, with both arms pointed down like a badminton birdie. Or the more popular Superman pose: one knee up, both arms held skyward.

"When the Rapture happens we want saved and unsaved people alike to get through the experience safely," says Eckers. "We're especially concerned that no one get trampled, because, of course, the ushers will be gone."

Source: Lark News

Words fail me...

Gospel for Friday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:9-13

The Call of Matthew

[9] As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[10] And as He sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [12] But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


9. "Tax office": a public place for the payment of taxes. On "following Jesus", see the note on Matthew 8:18-22.

The Matthew whom Jesus calls here is the Apostle of the same name and the human author of the first Gospel. In Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 he is called Levi the son of Alphaeus or simply Levi.

In addition to Baptism, through which God calls all Christians (cf. note on Matthew 8:18-22), the Lord can also extend, to whomever He chooses, a further calling to engage in some specific mission in the Church. This second calling is a special grace (cf. Matthew 4:19-21; Mark 1:17-20; John 1:30; etc.) additional to the earlier calling through Baptism. In other words, it is not man who takes the initiative; it is Jesus who calls, and man who responds to this call by his free personal decision: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

Matthew's promptitude in "following" Jesus' call is to be noted. When God speaks, soul may be tempted to reply, "Tomorrow; I'm not ready yet." In the last analysis this excuse, and other excuses, are nothing but a sign of selfishness and fear (different from that fear which can be an additional symptom of vocation: cf. John 1). "Tomorrow" runs the risk of being too late.

As in the case of the other Apostles, St. Matthew is called in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of his life: "What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And--wonder of wonders!--Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 799).

10-11. The attitude of these Pharisees, who are so prone to judge others and classify them as just men or sinners, is at odds with the attitude and teaching of Jesus. Earlier on, He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and elsewhere He added, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The fact is that all of us are sinners; and our Lord has come to redeem all of us. There is no basis, therefore, for Christians to be scandalized by the sins of others, since any one of us is capable of committing the vilest of sins unless God's grace comes to our aid.

12. There is no reason why anyone should be depressed when he realizes he is full of failings: recognition that we are sinners is the only correct attitude for us to have in the presence of God. He has come to seek all men, but if a person considers himself to be righteous, by doing so he is closing the door to God; all of us in fact are sinners.

13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 7 - Behold the Lamb of God

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To understand Christ as the Lamb of God.

The Idea: The Jews knew that sheep died a soundless death. They sacrificed lambs to worship God. That's how they understood the prophecy of Isaias about the coming Savior: "He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter" (Is. 53:7).

From the first moment of His public life Christ is pointed out as the Savior who will lay down His life for all men. John the Baptist points Him out to his followers saying, "Look, there goes the Lamb of God!"

My Personal Application: I know, but do I realize, that Christ's life was given to save me? Lamb means sacrifice. And here lamb means Christ was sacrificed willingly and silently.

How do I accept the irksome things in life?...the misery of a cold?...passing up a good time for needed study or work?...fighting constantly for holiness?... accepting the unfairness or rudeness of others?... willingly and quietly in return to Christ?

If I want to understand Christ, I have to suffer with Him, especially in making the sacrifices necessary for carrying on His apostolic work... giving my time and energy... laboring to become an intelligent, capable apostle.

I Speak to Christ: Jesus, help me see that you suffered willingly and quietly because it was for me. You said that if I would be your disciple, I must take up my cross daily. I want to be your disciple, but I need help and courage to accept suffering. Help me take what comes, just today, willingly and quietly because it will be for you.

Thought for Today: "Behold the Lamb of God."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Pro-Lifer Wins Mexico Presidential Elections over Abortion Supporter

MEXICO CITY, July 6, 2006 ( - Pro-life groups in Mexico are celebrating today the election of Felipe Calderon as the new President of Mexico. Calderon, from the ruling National Action Party (PAN), was until recently thought a long-shot against socialist Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party which supports abortion.

This is good news. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rose of Heaven, guide and protect Mr. Calderon as he assumes leadership.

Rabbi Amar to Pope: Thwart J'lem "gay" parade

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar asks Holy See to back efforts to block plans to hold J'lem gay parade

LifeSiteNews has an article on this here, as well.

HT to Patte for the link.

Bishop Urges Medjugorje Visionaries to Cease

LONDON (CNS) -- The bishop whose diocese includes the Bosnian village of Medjugorje has urged six alleged Marian visionaries to stop claiming that Mary has been visiting them for 25 years.

Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, Bosnia-Herzegovina, said the church "has not accepted, either as supernatural or as Marian, any of the apparitions" said to have been witnessed by a group of people from Medjugorje.

"As the local bishop, I maintain that regarding the events of Medjugorje, on the basis of the investigations and experience gained thus far throughout these last 25 years, the church has not confirmed a single apparition as authentically being the Madonna," he said. He then called on the alleged visionaries and "those persons behind the messages to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish."

"In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the church, by placing neither private apparitions nor private sayings before the official position of the church," he said.

Let us see, then, if the virtue of obedience is followed. I know a number of people who periodically make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and claim that much good fruit comes from there. I have expressed that, if one is truly faithful, he would listen to the declarations of the bishops, especially since private revelations are not necessary nor do they add to the Deposit of Faith. Enough stories (or messages) have surfaced which seem to support the stance of the bishops. Nevertheless, if there is any authenticity to the claims, it will only be realized by an adherence of obedience to ecclesiastical authority. We shall see how this play out, I'm sure.

More here at Catholic News Service.

Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings)

"It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: "Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance." With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

"The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God's grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

"From Maria's story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God's help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

"Not all of us are expected to die a martyr's death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces.

"So let us all, with God's grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven."

Excerpted from a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti by Pope Pius XII.

Car Crashes Archbishop's Fence, Gunshots Fired

When I first heard about this incident, I heard soemthing to the effect that an angry woman had crashed throught the fence at the Archbishop's residence and that gunshots were fire - and, of course, I began to imagine all sorts of things, not yet knowing the details. I had imagined that, perhaps, a disgruntled teacher had become unhinged over the Archdiocese's refusal to recognize the local attempt of union organizing of elementary teachers or maybe a deranged woman upset over St Stanislaus or the sexual abuse crisis.

A car driven by an angry wife crashed about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday through the fence surrounding the home of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke at Lindell Boulevard and Taylor Avenue, St. Louis police said.

The car was being driven by a woman who had been fighting with her husband, police said. When she crashed into the fence, on the Taylor Avenue side, she was trying to run down her husband, who was on foot, police added. The husband then fired two shots at his wife, which missed, before he fled.

And children were in the car! What a fine example mommy sets for them. And, thankfully, they were not harmed or killed by her loving husband.

They may be in the hands of the state by now, considering that the woman and her husband appear to be negligent parents.

Archbishop Burke was not available for comment since he is in Rome.

Gospel for Thursday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:1-8

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And getting into a boat He (Jesus) crossed over and came to His own city. [2] And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, "Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven." [3] And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." [4] But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? [5] For which is easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven', or to say, `Rise and walk'? [6] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He then said to the paralytic-- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." [7] And He rose and went home. [8] When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


1. "His own city": Capernaum (cf. Matthew 4:13 and Mark 2:1).

2-6. The sick man and those who bring him to Jesus ask Him to cure the man's physical illness; they believe in His supernatural powers. As in other instances of miracles, our Lord concerns Himself more with the underlying cause of illness, that is, sin. With divine largesse He gives more than He is asked for, even though people do not appreciate this. St. Thomas Aquinas says that Jesus Christ acts like a good doctor: He cures the cause of the illness (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 1-6).

2. The parallel passage of St. Mark adds a detail which helps us understand this scene better and explains why the text refers to "their faith": in Mark 2:2-5 we are told that there was such a crowd around Jesus that the people carrying the bed could not get near Him. So they had the idea of going up onto the roof and making a hole and lowering the bed down in front of Jesus. This explains His "seeing their faith".

Our Lord was pleased by their boldness, a boldness which resulted from their lively faith which brooked no obstacles. This nice example of daring indicates how we should go about putting charity into practice--as also how Jesus feels towards people who show real concern for others: He cures the paralytic who was so ingeniously helped by his friends and relatives; even the sick man himself showed daring by not being afraid of the risk involved.

St. Thomas comments on this verse as follows: "This paralytic symbolizes the sinner lying in sin"; just as the paralytic cannot move, so the sinner cannot help himself. The people who bring the paralytic along represent those who, by giving him good advice, lead the sinner to God" ("Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 2). In order to get close to Jesus the same kind of holy daring is needed, as the Saints show us. Anyone who does not act like this will never take important decisions in his life as a Christian.

3-7. Here "to say" obviously means "to say and mean it", "to say producing the result which your words imply". Our Lord is arguing as follows" which is easier--to cure the paralytic's body or to forgive the sins of his soul? Undoubtedly, to cure his body; for the soul is superior to the body and therefore diseases of the soul are the more difficult to cure. However, a physical cure can be seen, whereas a cure of the soul cannot. Jesus proves the hidden cure by performing a visible one.

The Jews thought that any illness was due to personal sin (cf. John 9:1-3); so when they heard Jesus saying, "Your sins are forgiven", they reasoned in their minds as follows: only God can forgive sins (cf. Luke 5:21); this man says that He has power to forgive sins; therefore, He is claiming a power which belongs to God alone--which is blasphemy. Our Lord, however, forestalls them, using their own arguments: by curing the paralytic by saying the word, He shows them that since He has the power to cure the effects of sin (which is what they believe disease to be), then He also has power to cure the cause of illness (sin); therefore, He has divine power.

Jesus Christ passed on to the Apostles and their successors in the priestly ministry the power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:22-23). "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 18:18). Priests exercise this power in the Sacrament of Penance: in doing so they act not in their own name but in Christ's--"in persona Christi", as instruments of the Lord.

Hence the respect, the veneration and gratitude with which we should approach Confession: in the priest we should see Christ Himself, God Himself, and we should receive the words of absolution firmly believing that it is Christ who is uttering them through the priest. This is why the minister does not say: "Christ absolves you...", but rather "I absolve you from your sins..." He speaks in the first person. So fully is he identified with Jesus Christ Himself (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 10).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Alter Christus - The Priest's Holy Mass

If the faithful are to be often reminded of the sacredness of Holy Mass, so also the priests. Not that they are easily tempted to forgo their Mass; but great is the danger lest routine and slovenliness creep in and mar the most sublime of their functions... It was our great hope and ambition, at our ordination, to make our daily Mass really a holy Mass every day of our priestly life. Alas! how far perhaps the reality has belied our expectations, to the great detri­ment of God's glory, of the good of souls, of our own sancti­fication . . .


If, when beginning holy Mass every morning, we could but remember the sublimity of the act, what reverence, awe and holy exultation would not fill us! We would see heaven open above us and the Blessed Trinity looking down with infinite good pleasure upon the altar where the unique oblation that renders due glory to God is about to be offered up - the very sacrifice of the Cross.

Should we do nothing else, as priests, than render to God, day after day, that most perfect cult of religion, by offering the "Sacrificium Laudis" with all the fervour and love we are capable of, we would indeed be fu1filling most nobly the end for which we were created: to give glory to God. What greater glory could we give to God than to return to Him the gift of infinite value He has placed in our hands: "Offerimus praeclarae Majestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam imma­culatam."

* Do these thoughts of faith animate us vividly at our daily Mass?

To counteract the danger of mechanical routine, let us meditate frequently on the meaning of holy Mass and the four ends of the Sacrificy. The earnestness of our immediate preparation, by prayer and recollection, must keep us in the proper dispositions to approach the divine Majesty of God.

Whilst celebrating holy Mass, one of the best and simplest ways to realize its sublimity, is to recite the prayers, those of the Canon especially, slowly enough to let their meaning penetrate our soul.

The great Bishop Dupanloup told the ordinandi of his seminary: "If you want to be always fervent in celebrating holy Mass, I ask of you only one thing: pronounce distinctly all the words of the sacred liturgy."


Another consideration that should ever stimulate us to fervour at the altar is that the Sacrifice is not our oblation only, but a collective act of the whole Church, in the name and for the benefit of all the members of Christ's Mystical Body. How this widens our horizon! How, also, it ought to deepen our sense of responsibility: for, the graces we obtain for the living and the dead increase with the fervour of our dispositions whilst offering the holy Sacrifice.

Moreover, our behaviour at the altar cannot fail to in­fluence our flock before whom we are saying Mass: is not the piety of the priest at the altar one of the sources of piety in those around the altar?

And how can the priest insist on the intimate participation of the faithful in the oblation of holy Mass, if he says that Mass in a slovenly way, or so quickly that his gestures are without dignity and edification and that the prayers are gabbled and impossible to follow intelligently?

* Are we sufficiently aware of the tremendous issues at stake when we offer the holy Sacrifice "pro nostra et totius mundi salute"?

Do we look upon our daily Mass as the chief source of fruitfulness in our ministry?

Are we trying to educate our Christians to an intelligent participation in the oblation of the holy Sacrifice?

Is our behaviour at the altar a help towards it?

Fidelity to the rubrics must give to our external attitude the stamp holy Church wants to imprint on all her priests at the altar; and, again, we must beware of hurry for the sake of our flock as well as for our own: "Overhaste kills devotion." (St Francis of Sales)


And how holy Mass sanctifies the priest himself! Re­membering that the Mass is the renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary and applies to us its infinite merits, with what confidence can we not raise to heaven our supplication along with the Divine Victim "ut omni benedictione coelesti et gratia repleamur"! If St Teresa could say that one Communion well made is enough to sanctify a soul, how much more truly could it be said of one Mass celebrated devoutly! . . .

We shall obtain this result in the degree in which we enter into the spirit of the holy Sacrifice and make it really our Mass by an intimate union with the Divine Victim: offering ourselves with Christ by a total oblation at the Offertory; lifting ourselves up with Christ, as co-victims, at the Consecration; letting ourselves be transformed Christ in holy Communion; and then continuing to live our Mass throughout the day, by making of all our actions practical applications of that morning surrender at the altar.

* I celebrate Mass every day. Why has it perhaps so little effect on my spiritual life???

See if I approach the altar with that great purity of conscience so necessary in one who is to be assimilated to the spotless Victim, and in a spirit of praise and worship and total self-surrender.

Do I realize the meaning and practical implications of my self-oblation in union with Christ?

Is my self-offering quite sincere, and do I seriously try to live my Mass? ­

Let me frequently renew my faith in the transforming power of the holy Sacrifice, and endeavour to make my Mass the center of my daily life.

"Da nobis, Domine, perfectae caritatis sacrifi­cium cum altaris oblatione coniungere" (Mass of St Paulinus, Secret), "ut immaculatam hostiam offerentes, ipsi quoque in holocaustum tibi acceptum transeamus" (Special Mass of St Vincent de Paul, Secret).
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 31.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Mental Prayer for July 6 - Christ Tempted by the Devil

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To know the devil's traps.

Mental Picture (d. Matt. 4:1-2): See Christ walking the barren, wind-blown desert, alone. He has just fasted 40 days and 40 nights. He's thin as a war prisoner. Someone who witnessed His baptism approaches and says, "If you are the Son of God, why not change these stones into bread?" Christ could do that easier than you could pick a hamburger off a counter, but it would be an abuse of God's power. He blocks Satan, saying, "God's will is more important than food." Christ allows Satan to take Him to the temple pinnacle. People throng far below. Christ refuses the sensational leap, saying it would tempt God. As a last attempt, Satan on a mountain top shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and fills His imagination with the money and the power and the glory of them. "All these will I give thee, if falling down you will adore me." And Jesus says, "Begone, Satan. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and serve Him alone."

My Personal Application: Notice that temptation is not wrong, even when it fills our imagination with pictures as it did Christ's. It's wrong only when I want it. Notice how Christ handles temptation: first He had prepared by prayer and penance, and secondly He doesn't believe Satan's line.

I Speak to God: God, the devil is smarter than I am. You always know that, but I forget. Give me quickness to see him; give me loyalty to you to refuse him. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Thought for Today: "... and serve Him alone."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Supreme Court Intervenes to Save the Mt. Soledad Cross

Supreme Court Orders a Temporary Stay In Response To Law Center's Emergency Request to Save the Mt. Soledad Cross
Wed, Jul 5, 2006

ANN ARBOR, MI – This past Monday, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy granted a temporary stay in response to the Thomas More Law Center’s emergency application for a stay of District Judge Gordon Thompson’s May 3rd order, which required the City of San Diego to remove the Mt. Soledad cross by August 1st or face fines of $5,000 a day thereafter.

Right to Life of Michigan flip-flops on abortion law/life amendment

An Email Update:
In the winter of 2006, Right to Life of Michigan and others said a proposed Prenatal Child Protection Amendment is not necessary because, they claimed, current Michigan law would immediately outlaw abortion in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.

Right to Life of Michigan's web site currently explains its non-support of the proposed amendment as follows: "This amendment will have no impact on stopping abortions so long as Roe v. Wade stands. In addition, Michigan already has a law banning abortion (MCL 750.14), but it is being blocked by Roe. The law is positioned to go back into effect as soon as Roe is reversed."

The Detroit News reported: "Right to Life's decision not to support the petition drive is based on legal, financial and practical considerations, (RTL-Michigan President Barb Listing) said. Attorneys have advised the group that a 1931 law on the books would make abortion illegal in Michigan should the Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade, so a new law is unnecessary." Detroit News, May 30, 2006

Michigan Catholic News reported: “Current state law prohibits abortion in Michigan,” said David Maluchnik, spokesman for The Michigan Catholic Conference, the Church’s public policy arm, “but that law lies dormant due to (the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Decision) Roe v. Wade. If that decision were to be overturned, Michigan is well-equipped from a statutory perspective to outlaw abortion.” ...“Michigan already has a law banning abortion, which remains dormant due to Roe v. Wade,” Sr. Kostielney wrote. ...Regarding the aim of Michigan Citizens for Life – to create an amendment on the state’s constitution – Maluchnik said the precedent set within state law is strong enough to ensure the illegality of killing unborn children if ever Roe v. Wade should be overturned."
Link Here

Supporters of the Prenatal Child Protection Amendment disagreed. The Thomas More Law Center, a Catholic public interest law firm, argued the point in a May 3, 2006 news release:
"A detailed legal analysis prepared by the Thomas More Law Center...exposes the grave weaknesses in Michigan’s currently existing law, concluding that the law is insufficient to guarantee a ban on abortions should Roe v. Wade be eventually overturned. The legal analysis points to the need for the Prenatal Child Protection Amendment to Michigan’s Constitution to protect all human life from the moment of conception. Richard Thompson, the President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, earlier in the year had expressed deep concern that after Roe v. Wade was decided, the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted Michigan’s pre-Roe statutory abortion ban to include a broad health exception, and that court interpretation would continue to authorize abortions through all nine months of pregnancy after Roe was overturned."


Now, in a stunning reversal, Right to Life of Michigan in an internal memorandum dated June 2006 expressly concedes that the Thomas More Law Center was right all along, that under current law, abortion on demand will remain legal in Michigan even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

"The Legal Status of Abortion in Michigan After Roe Falls," June 2006, prepared by the Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Office, states:

"Abortion will be legal in Michigan as it is presently on the day Roe v. Wade is overturned. ...In Michigan, on the day Roe falls, abortion would still be essentially legal as it is now, because Michigan’s laws have been interpreted by the Michigan Supreme Court to have certain very broad exceptions allowing for abortion as required by Roe and Doe. In a single sentence, Michigan’s law as interpreted by the Michigan Supreme Court under Roe is that: abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason that the pregnant woman and the abortionist agree would affect her health, with 'health' meaning anything that affects the woman’s “well-being.” (emotional, financial, age, etc.) This is the 'health' exception of Doe v. Bolton that in essence allows for abortion on demand. Unless and until the Court overturns this interpretation, or the Legislature or the public acts to supercede this interpretation, it would remain the status of Michigan law after Roe."

See full Right to Life of Michigan document:

Note this key passage: Right to Life of Michigan now concedes that "unless and until...the public acts to supercede this (existing legal) interpretation, (abortion on demand) would remain the status of Michigan law after Roe."

A public act precisely such as approving the Prenatal Child Protection Amendment, which only a few weeks ago, Right to Life of Michgian erroneously declared to be unnecessary to stop procedures used to terminate the lives of prenatal children.

The proposed amendment reads:

"The right to due process, whereby no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and the right to equal protection of the law, vest at conception. A 'person' for purposes of the Constitution and laws of the State of Michigan, exists from the moment of conception."

# # #

HT to Darla for the Update above...

Gospel for Wednesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 8:28-34

The Demoniacs of Gadara

[28] And when He (Jesus) came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met Him coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. [29] And behold, they cried out, "What have You to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" [30] Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. [31] And the demons begged Him, "If You cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." [32] And He said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. [34] And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their neighborhood.


28. Most Gospel codexes and the New Vulgate say "Gadarenes"; but the Vulgate and parallel texts in Mark and Luke have "Gerasenes". Both names are possible; the two main towns in the area were Gerasa and Gadara. The event reported here could have happened close to both towns (limits were not very well-defined), though the swine running down into the lake or sea of Galilee makes Gadara somewhat more likely. "Gergesenes" was a suggestion put forward by Origen.

28-34. In this episode Jesus once more shows His power over the devil. That it occurred in Gentile territory (Gerasa and Gadara were in the Decapolis, east of Jordan) is borne out by the fact that Jews were forbidden to raise swine, which the Law of Moses declared to be unclean. This and other instances of expulsion of demons narrated in the Gospel are referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, when St. Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: "He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38). It was a sign that the Kingdom of God had begun (cf. Matthew 12:28).

The attitude of local people towards this miracle reminds us that meeting God and living a Christian life require us to subordinate personal plans to God's designs. If we have a selfish or materialistic outlook we fail to appreciate the value of divine things and push God out of our lives, begging Him to go away, as these people did.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Reminder: The Latin Liturgy Convention in St Louis

Just a reminder that the Latin Liturgy Association Convention is coming up next weekend in St Louis.

See for more information. The agenda was posted here.

Details on the Pontifical High Mass with Archbishop Raymond Burke are posted here.

Mental Prayer for July 5 - Baptism of Christ Presence of God.

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To know Christ!

Mental Picture (cf.Markx : I-II) : On the bank of the Jordan River, a crowd thrills to the strong fiery words of John the Baptist... "One is to come after me who is mightier than I, the straps of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." A stranger steps from the crowd and stands before John... John looks and knows... the two wade into the water, and John baptizes him. The heavens seem to open... a dove descends over the stranger... a voice rings out from on high... "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Then silence... puzzlement... the stranger disappears. Who is this man?

My Personal Application: Who is this man? What does he mean to me? The dove and the voice? Was this man a silent historical figure to be lightly forgotten? Or someone so great, so personal to me, that he must forever influence my whole life?

I Speak to Christ: May you be no stranger in my life! May I understand what only puzzled most Jews: your identity and your mission! Help me to come so to know and imitate you, that I may one day hear the Father say of me, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Indeed, only if I am like you will the Father be pleased with me.

Thought for Today: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Tuesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 8:23-27

The Calming of the Storm

[23] And when He (Jesus) got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. [24] And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. [25] And they went and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." [26] And He said to them, "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?" Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. [27] And the men marvelled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?"


23-27. This remarkable miracle left a deep impression on Jesus' disciples, as can be seen from the fact that the first three evangelists all report it. Christian Tradition has applied this miracle in various ways to the life of the Church and the experience of the individual soul. From earliest times Christian art and literature have seen the boat as representing the Church, which also has to make its way around hazards which threaten to capsize it. Indeed, very early on, Christians were persecuted in various ways by Jews of their time, and were misunderstood by the public opinion of a pagan society--which also began to persecute them. Jesus' sleeping through the storm has been applied to the fact that sometimes God seems not to come to the Church's rescue during persecution. Following the example of the Apostles in the boat, Christians should seek Jesus' help, borrowing their words, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing". Then, when it seems we can bear it no longer, Jesus shows His power: "He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm"--but first rebuking us for being men of little faith. Quite often Gospel accounts are meant to serve as examples to us: they epitomize the future history of the Church and of the individual Christian soul.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 4 - St. John the Baptist

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Courage to speak out for God's values.

Mental Picture: I am standing on a little slope before the Jordan River. Below on the bank thousands of people jam to hear a lean man speak. He wears a rough camel hair garment... he has fire in his eyes... his powerful voice rings out, "I baptize you with water, but one mightier than I is coming..." John the Baptist is afraid of no one. He blasts the influential Pharisees: "You breed of snakes. What makes you think you don't need penance?" But he's gentle with many good people who ask, "What shall we do?" "Those of you who have, share with those who have not." To the tax collectors he gives warning: "Don't collect above the appointed rate." To the soldiers : "Don't treat men too roughly." To everyone: "Prepare the way of the Lord."

My Personal Application: John the Baptist is a pattern for the sincere Christian. God picked John. John gave himself completely to the job of preparing the way for Christ. Do I want to bring Christ to others? Then I must be an example in my life of unselfishness, courage, and penance as John was. I must be ready to speak out against values opposed to Christ; I must be ready to speak for God's values when people want to know about Catholics or about Christ.

I Speak to God: O Lord God, help me direct others along your paths as John did. Give me his courage, his willingness to bear laughter from people who don't understand, his faithfulness to you, always.

Thought for Today: "Prepare the way of the Lord."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Forward to KofC and Serra Club Members

I am passing on an email that I received in reference to an upcoming conference (July 10-14) by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC) :
With $500, one priest could attend the entire conference with room and board and enough left over for another priest to attend the conferences and have meals while staying somewhere else (hotel, rectory, friends, etc.) We have three rates available for the clergy: $300 for all talks, meals and accommodations; $150 for talks and meals only; $75 for conference talks only. We are getting a good rate for rooms at Catholic University ($50/night) since local hotels are over $100/night.

Any and all donations and contributions are welcome since our catering and transportation costs (we have to rent three vans) are all paid for by CCC funds (what little we have)

I wrote several years ago to the Supreme Knight of Columbus and to the President of the Serra Club. Neither replied or responded.

I asked for a donation from their national fund or something from a local chapter or council. No answer. God willing, one or both organizations may think differently.

The CCC is 100% orthodox and we were the ONLY national group of priests (700 members) to openly defend celibacy when 163 priests from Milwaukee called for its dissolution and got national publicity besides. We were one of the few groups of priests who openly supported then Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to Cardinal McCarrick urging the withholding of Holy Communion from politicians who openly support abortion or euthanasia.

Thanks for your invaluable assistance.

Father John [Trigilio]
If you belong (or know someone who belongs) to the Knights of Columbus or the Serra Club, please pass this along. We need to support our priests, especially those who are faithful to Christ and His Church. If the authentic faith is to be handed on (true catechesis), it will only be accomplished by God's will and our receptive response to His grace in support of those whom He has called to the ministerial priesthood.

HT to Patte G for the update.

A Great Article about Fr. Todd Reitmeyer

A Son Becomes a Father
by Father J. Patrick Serna

In order to make my high school football coach fly off the handle, all one had to do was make an excuse for a failed block, missed tackle, or imperfect execution. If Coach Slaughter sensed that an excuse was about to blossom, he would shout a dictum which should be etched in the mind of every man: "Excuses are like armpits. We all have them and they all stink!" Three hundred pound linemen would be shaking every time we were given this gentle reminder. But Coach Slaughter referred to a body part which was not the armpit, and even the dimmest light bulbs on the football field knew that certain principles must be maintained in order to be a man. "No Excuses" is one of the principles which every man should stick to.
. . .
Allow me to go back to the year 1999, when I first met the seminarian Todd Reitmeyer. He was a "New Man" that August, and this was the beginning of my third year at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. While in my room unpacking from the flight overseas, there was a strong knocking on my door. Frankenstein might as well have been the perpetrator. After I told the clubber to enter, in swaggered a six-foot plus Goliath, but this particular hulk had a buzz cut and blue eyes. "So are you Patrick Serna?"
. . .

If you never met Father Todd and knew not his love for the priesthood, his love for fidelity, his love for children, his love for Jesus, then I exhort you to encounter him in his writings on his personal Blog, ( begun at the time of his priestly ordination in 2003, the title of which is: "A Son Becomes a Father: A live journal of a recently ordained Catholic Priest."

Please offer Masses and prayers for
Fr. Todd Michael Anthony Reitmeyer, May 13, 1969 — May 24, 2006
Requiescat in pace

Document Coming Soon on the Synod on the Eucharist

Synod on the Eucharist: The Pope Has the Last Word
Benedict XVI is writing the concluding document, which will be published this summer. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith gives this preview: "A correction is necessary. The liturgy must be won back, in the spirit of the Council."

by Sandro Magister

Gospel for July 3, Feast: St. Thomas, Apostle

From: John 20:24-29

Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Continuation)

[24] Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."

[26] Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." [27] Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing." [28] Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" [29] Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."


24-28. Thomas' doubting moves our Lord to give him special proof that His risen body is quite real. By so doing He bolsters the faith of those who would later on find faith in Him. "Surely you do not think", [Pope] St. Gregory the Great comments, "that is was a pure accident that the chosen disciple was missing; who on his return was told about the appearance and on hearing about it doubted; doubting, so that he might touch and believe by touching? It was not an accident; God arranged that it should happen. His clemency acted in this wonderful way so that through the doubting disciple touching the wounds in His Master's body, our own wounds of incredulity might be healed. [...] And so the disciple, doubting and touching, was changed into a witness of the truth of the Resurrection" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 7).

Thomas' reply is not simply an exclamation: it is an assertion, an admirable act of faith in the divinity of Christ: "My Lord and my God!" These words are an ejaculatory prayer often used by Christians, especially as an act of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

29. [Pope] St. Gregory the Great explains these words of our Lord as follows: "By St. Paul saying `faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen' (Hebrews 11:1), it becomes clear that faith has to do with things which are not seen, for those which are seen are no longer the object of faith, but rather of experience. Well then, why is Thomas told, when he saw and touched, `Because you have seen, you have believed?' Because he saw one thing, and believed another. It is certain that mortal man cannot see divinity; therefore, he saw the man and recognized Him as God, saying, `My Lord and my God.' In conclusion: seeing, he believed, because contemplating that real man he exclaimed that He was God, whom he could not see" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 27, 8).

Like everyone else Thomas needed the grace of God to believe, but in addition to this grace he was given an exceptional proof; his faith would have had more merit had he accepted the testimony of the other Apostles. Revealed truths are normally transmitted by word, by the testimony of other people who, sent by Christ and aided by the Holy Spirit, preach the deposit of faith (cf. Mark 16:15-16). "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ" (Romans 10:17). The preaching of the Gospel, therefore, carries with it sufficient guarantees of credibility, and by accepting that preaching man "offers the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals, willingly assenting to the revelation given" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 5).

"What follows pleases us greatly: `Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.' For undoubtedly it is we who are meant, who confess with our soul Him whom we have not seen in the flesh. It refers to us, provided we live in accordance with the faith, for only he truly believes who practices what the believes" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Gospel for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 5:21-43

Jairus' Daughter is Restored to Life.
The Curing of the Woman With a Hemorrhage

[21] And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about Him; and He was beside the sea. [22] Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Him, he fell at His feet, [23] and besought Him, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." [24] And He went with him.

And a great crowd followed Him and thronged about Him. [25] And there was a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, [26] and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. [27] She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. [28] For she said, "If I touch even His garments, I shall be made well." [29] And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. [30] And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone forth from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched My garments?" [31] And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing around You, and yet You say, `Who touched Me?'" [32] And He looked around to see who had done it. [33] But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. [34] and He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

[35] While He was speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" [36] But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." [37] And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. [38] When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. [39] And when He had entered, He said to them, "Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." [40] And they laughed at Him. But He put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with Him, and went in where the child was. [41] Taking her by the hand He said to her, "Talitha cumi"; which means, "Little girl, I say to you arise." [42] And immediately the girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were overcome with amazement. [43] And He strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.


21-43. Both Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood give us an example of faith in Christ's omnipotence, for only a miracle can cure Jairus' daughter, who is on her death-bed, and heal this lady, who has done everything humanly possible to get better. Similarly, the Christian should always expect God to help him overcome the obstacles in the way of his sanctification. Normally, God's help comes to us in an unspectacular way, but we should not doubt that, if it is necessary for our salvation, God will again work miracles. However, we should bear in mind that what the Lord expects of us is that we should every day fulfill His will.

22. At the head of each synagogue was the archisynagogist, whose function it was to organize the meetings of the synagogue on Sabbaths and holy days, to lead the prayer and hymns and to indicate who should explain the Sacred Scripture. He was assisted in his task by a council and also had an aide who looked after the material side of things.

25. This woman suffered from an illness which implied legal impurity (Leviticus 14:25ff). Medical attention had failed to cure her; on the contrary, as the Gospel puts it so realistically, she was worse than ever. In addition to her physical suffering--which had gone on for twelve years--she suffered the shame of feeling unclean according to the Law. The Jews not only regarded a woman in this position as being impure: everything she touched became unclean as well. Therefore, in order not to be noticed by the people, the woman came up to Jesus from behind and, out of delicacy, touched only His garment. Her faith is enriched by her __expression of humility: she is conscious of being unworthy to touch our Lord. "She touched the hem of His garment, she approached Him in a spirit of faith, she believed, and she realized that she was cured [...]. So we too, if we wish to be saved, should reach out in faith to touch the garment of Christ" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam", VI, 56 and 58).

30. In all that crowd pressing around Him only this woman actually touched Jesus--and she touched Him not only with her hand but with the faith she bore in her heart. St. Augustine comments: "She touches Him, the people crowd Him. Is her touching not a sign of her belief?" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 26, 3). We need contact with Jesus. We have been given no other means under Heaven by which to be saved (cf. Acts 4:12). When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we obtain this physical contact through the sacramental species. We too need to enliven our faith if these encounters with our Lord are to redound to our salvation (cf. Matthew 13:58).

37. Jesus did not want more than these three Apostles to be present: three was the number of witnesses laid down by the Law (Deuteronomy 19:15). "For Jesus, being humble, never acted in an ostentatious way (Theophilactus, "Enarratio In Evangelium Marci, in loc."). Besides these were the three disciples closest to Jesus: later, only they will be with Him at the Transfiguration (cf. 9:2) and at His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. 14:33).

39. Jesus' words are in contrast with those of the ruler's servants; they say: "Your daughter is dead"; whereas He says: "She is not dead but sleeping". "To men's eyes she was dead, she could not be awoken; in God's eyes she was sleeping, for her soul was alive and was subject to God's power, and her body was resting, awaiting the Resurrection. Hence the custom which arose among Christians of referring to the dead, whom we know will rise again, as those who are asleep" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). What Jesus says shows us that, for God, death is only a kind of sleep, for He can awaken anyone from the dead whenever He wishes. The same happens with the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus says: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him out of sleep." And, when the disciples think that it is ordinary sleep He is referring to, our Lord tells them plainly: "Lazarus is dead" (cf. John 11:11ff).

40-42. Like all the Gospel miracles the raising of the daughter of Jairus demonstrates Christ's divinity. Only God can work miracles; sometimes He does them in a direct way, sometimes by using created things as a medium. The exclusively divine character of miracles--especially the miracle of raising the dead--is noticed in the Old Testament: "The Lord wills and brings to life; He brings down to Sheol and raises up" (1 Samuel 2:6), because He has "power over life and death" (Wisdom 16:13). And also in the Old Testament God uses men to raise the dead to life: the prophet Elijah revives the son of the widow of Sarepta by "crying to the Lord" (cf. 1 Kings 17:21), and Elisha prevails on Him to raise the son of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:33).

In the same way, in the New Testament the Apostles do not act by their own power but by that of Jesus to whom they first offer fervent prayer: Peter restores to life a Christian woman of Joppa named Tabitha (Acts 9:36ff); and Paul, in Troas, brings Eutychus back to life after he falls from a high window (Acts 20:7ff). Jesus does not refer to any superior power; His authority is sovereign: all He has to do is give the order and the daughter of Jairus is brought back to life; this shows that He is God.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.