Saturday, February 05, 2011

Gospel for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 5:13-16

Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

(Jesus said to the multitude:) [13] "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

[14] "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. [15] Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven."

13-16. These verses are a calling to that apostolate which is part and parcel of being a Christian. Every Christian has to strive for personal sanctification, but he also has to seek the sanctification of others. Jesus teaches us this, using the very expressive simile of salt and light. Salt preserves food from corruption; it also brings out its flavor and makes it more pleasant; and it disappears into the food; the Christian should do the same among the people around him.

"You are salt, apostolic soul. `Bonum est sal': salt is a useful thing', we read in the holy Gospel; `si autem sal evanuerit': but if the salt loses its taste', it is good for nothing, neither for the land nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out as useless. You are salt, apostolic soul. But if you lose your taste..." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 921).

Good works are the fruit of charity, which consists in loving others as God loves us (cf. John 15:12). "I see now", St. Therese of Lisieux writes, "that true charity consists in bearing with the faults of those about us, never being surprised at their weaknesses, but edified at the least sign of virtue. I see above all that charity must not remain hidden in the bottom of our hearts: `nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.' It seems to me that this lamp is the symbol of charity; it must shine out not only to cheer those we love best but all in the house" ("The Autobiography of a Saint", Chapter 9).

Apostolate is one of the clearest expressions of charity. The Second Vatican Council emphasized the Christian's duty to be apostolic. Baptism and Confirmation confer this duty, which is also a right (cf. "Lumen Gentium", 33), so much so that, because the Christian is part of the mystical body, "a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself" ("Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2). "Laymen have countless opportunities for exercising the apostolate of evangelization and sanctification. The very witness of a Christian life, and good works done in a supernatural spirit, are effective in drawing men to the faith and to God; and that is what the Lord has said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven" ("Apostolicam Actuositatem", 6).

"The Church must be present to these groups [those who do not even believe in God] through those of its members who live among them or have been sent to them. All Christians by the example of their lives and witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they put on in Baptism, and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation, so that others, seeing their good works, might glorify the Father and more perfectly perceive the true meaning of human life and the universal solidarity of mankind" ("Ad Gentes", 11; cf. 36).
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.

Mental Prayer - The Salt of the Earth, The Light of the World

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To see where I, as a Catholic, stand and to do something about it.

The Idea: Christ called His Apostles the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Why? Because as instruments of God they were to preserve mankind from sin and show men the road to heaven. For just as food needs salt to preserve it and give it the right taste, and men need light to show them the way, so people need leaders to direct them to God. Because the Apostles were so close to Christ, they had the qualities needed for this work. But immediately after Christ told them of their high office, He warned them: if the salt loses its flavor, it is to be thrown out. The Apostles had a job to do. If they did it well, their reward would be great. If they failed to do what lay in their power, they would be like worthless salt: they would have to be thrown out.

My Personal Application: As a faithful Catholic, I have many opportunities to point out, in my own way, the better thing. I have more knowledge about God's work, so more will be expected of me... to show the better road by my example - perhaps by watching my opportunities to preserve another from actual sin... not preaching, but simply showing the reasonableness of right living.

I Speak to Christ: Help me to realize, Lord, that as a member of Your Mystical Body I have an office in the apostolate... to light the way for my brothers and sisters... quietly, without calling undue attention to my actions... and realizing my responsibility. Give me the strength and inspiration to go into action... for your kingdom.

Thought for Today: I have a great work to do; I cannot cease till it be accomplished.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Prayers & Reflections for February 5

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


"And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be as red as crimson, they shall be white as wool" (Isa. 1:18).

[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

Friday, February 04, 2011

Prayers & Reflections for February 4

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


"What think you? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray?

"And if it be so that he finds it, amen I say to you, he rejoices more for that than over the ninety-nine that went not astray....

"Even so, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that a single one of these little ones should perish"
(Matt. 18:12-14).
[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

News Updates, 2/4

Second Video Shows Planned Parenthood-Sex Trafficking Coverup
A second videotape has been released showing a Planned Parenthood abortion business covering up an alleged sex trafficking ring. The first tape showed staffers in New Jersey engaged in the coverup and this one features a clinic in Virginia

Planned Parenthood Referred Sex Traffickers to Shoddy Abortion Center
During the discussion captured on video of a Planned Parenthood staffer helping alleged sex traffickers obtain abortions for young women, the staffer referred them to another abortion facility to better conceal the abortions. However, the abortion center in question has a shoddy history and once put a woman in a coma after a botched abortion.

YouTube May Censor Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Video

Faith groups tackle Super Bowl sex trade
Texas campaigns target human trafficking

Egyptians want to send apostates to their death
Majority also in favor of stoning adulterers

Pope gives reflection of Teresa of Avila (video)
Saint 'shows that time spent in prayer is not lost'

Christian persecution continues amid Egypt turmoil
Missionary: largely unbeknownst to the public eye

Archbishop underscores role of Church in Cuba
Says priests committed to help amid difficulties

Vatican to update bio-ethics guide for hospitals
Separate document on AIDS prevention to be released

Diocese agrees to $77 million abuse settlement
Payouts to range from $75,000 to $3M per victim

Typical new US nun: age 43 and prays the Rosary
Survey suggests shift to more conservative sisters

Attorney General Seeks Quick Supreme Court Review of Obamacare Lawsuit
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he will file a petition on behalf of the state with the Supreme Court to ask it to take an expedited review of the lawsuit he filed to declare Obamacare unconstitutional.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:14-29

Opinions About Jesus
[14] King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work with Him." [15] But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." [16] But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

John the Baptist Beheaded
[17] For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. [18] For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." [19] And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, [20] for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. [21] But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. [22] For when Herodias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." [23] And he said to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." [24] And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptizer." [25] And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptizer on a platter." [26] And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oath and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. [27] And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave him orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in prison, [28] and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. [29] When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

14. Following the popular custom, St. Mark called Herod "king", but in strict legal terminology he was only tetrarch, which is the way St. Matthew (14:1) and St. Luke (9:7) describe him, that is, a governor of certain consequence. The Herod referred to here was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great who was king of the Jews at the time of Jesus' birth.

16-29. It is interesting that the extensive account of the death of John the Baptist is inserted here in the Gospel narrative. The reason is St. John the Baptist's special relevance in the history of salvation: he is the Precursor, entrusted with the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. Besides, John the Baptist had a great reputation among the people: they believed him to be a prophet (Mark 11:32); some even thought he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:20); and they flocked to him from many places (Mark 1:5). Jesus Himself said: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). Later, the Apostle St. John will speak of him in the Gospel: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6); but the sacred text points out that, despite this, he was not the light, but rather the witness to the light (John 5:35). We are told here that he was a righteous man and preached to everyone what had to be preached: he had a word for people at large, for publicans, for soldiers (Luke 3:10-14); for Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-12); for King Herod himself (Mark 6: 18-20). This humble, upright and austere man paid with his life for the witness he bore to Jesus the Messiah (John 1:29 and 36-37).

26. Oaths and promises immoral in content should never be made, and, if made, should never be kept. This is the teaching of the Church, which is summed up in the "St. Pius X Catechism", 383, in the following way: "Are we obliged to keep oaths we have sworn to do unjust and unlawful things? Not only are we not obliged: we sin by making such oaths, for they are prohibited by the Law of God or of the Church.
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.

Prayers & Reflections for February 3

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


Can an architect plan a building without planning its smallest details?

Could God make a universe without a providential plan for everyone of us?
"I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, as the Father knoweth me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:14-17).
[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

News Updates, 2/3

Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz Fires Staffer in Sex Trafficking Video
The Planned Parenthood abortion clinic staffer who appears in a new undercover investigation video assisting two people who claim to be heading up a sex trafficking ring has been "fired"...

Copts: Egypt regime change trumps Islamist fears
Mubarak has portrayed self as bulwark against Islamism

US Senate condemns Egypt church attack
Resolution urges government to 'fully investigate'

What will happen to Copts in Egyptian crisis?
National civil unrest brings Christians hope, fear

HLI issues clarification about Fr. Euteneur
Pro-life org: We learned of 'additional allegations'

Boy defies Vatican protocol to speak to Pope
Six-year-old personally introduced himself to pontiff

Archbishop speaks out on liberation theology
Says it almost led him to abandon seminary and Church

Revised Bible provides 'more clarity, more detail'
'It will be like going from regular TV to high-definition'

Iraqi archdiocese to build university, hospital
Archbishop: 'symbols of hope for the Christian presence'

Senate Votes Against Repealing Pro-Abortion Obamacare
The Senate voted along party lines against a motion by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to repeal the Obamacare law that allowed for a government takeover of the health care system and prompted abortion funding and rationing concerns...
[the marxists/statists love Commiecare - may their defeat in 2012 be certain]

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Ansgar, Bishop
Optional Memorial: St Blase, Bishop and Martyr

From: Mark 6:7-13

The Mission of the Twelve
[7] And he (Jesus) called to him the Twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. [8] He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; [9] but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. [10] And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. [11] And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them." [12] So they went out and preached that men should repent. [13] And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

7. Cf. note on Mk 1:27; 3:14-19.
[The note on Mk 1:17 states:

27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).]

[The note on Mk 3:14-19 states:
14-19. The Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. 3:14) receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out", which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which He will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable them to perform this mission He gives them part of His power. The fact that He chooses "twelve" is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds His Church (cf. Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23).]

8-9. Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to souls through preaching, should not rely on human resources but on God's Providence. Whatever he does not in order to live with dignity as a herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance (cf. Mt 10:10).

"The preacher should so trust in God that he is convinced that he will have everything he needs to support life, even if he cannot himself obtain it; for he should not neglect eternal things worrying about temporal things" (St Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "By these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek to live in any other way than by depending on what was offered to them by those to whom they preached the Gospel; otherwise this very Apostle (St Paul) would have acted contrary to this precept when he earned his living by the labors of his own hands" (St Augustine, "De Consensu Evangelistarum", II, 30).

13. St Mark is the only evangelist who speaks of anointing the sick with oil. Oil was often used for treating wounds (cf. Is 1:6; Lk 10:34), and the Apostles also use it for the miraculous cure of physical illnesses by virtue of the power given them by Jesus. Hence the use of oil as the matter of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which cures wounds of the soul and even, if appropriate, bodily diseases. As the Council of Trent teaches--"Doctrina De Sacramento Extremae Unctionis", chap. 1--in this verse of St Mark there can be seen a "hint" of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which our Lord will institute and which later on "is recommended and promulgated to the faithful by St James the Apostle" (cf. Jas 5:14ff).
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.

Prayers & Reflections for February 2

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


God loves you more than you love yourself.

As St. Augustine said: "God loves us, everyone, as though there was but one of us to love."

[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

News Updates, 2/2

Fr. Euteneuer explains hasty departure from HLI
Pro-life priest admits to improper conduct in exorcism

Egypt: Christians fear Muslim Brotherhood takeover
Coptic minority could become increasingly endangered

Legion creates commission for Maciel's accusers
In response to request made by order's papal delegate

Caught on tape
Planned Parenthood aids pimp’s underage sex ring

Pro-Lifers Demand Planned Parenthood De-Funding After Expose’
The reaction from the national pro-life community to a new video released by a group exposing the Planned Parenthood abortion business has been swift and decisive: they want Congress to yank federal funding for Planned Parenthood

New York Daily News smears Catholic women
Catholic League takes issue with 'lying nun' story

Pakistan: Islamic militants beat Pope's effigy
Muslims protest efforts to change blasphemy law

“It is the bishop who provides the authoritative resolution”
Catholic Health Association concedes supremacy of diocesan bishops in interpreting Church teachings on medical care

Catholic hospitals reach agreement with bishops
Catholic Health Association shows united 'united front'

Babies Can Be Treated With Adult Stem Cells, Even in the Womb
Two recent stories are exciting about the possibility of treating young children, even in the womb, with adult stem cells. One study shows that cardiac adult stem cells can be isolated from young children with heart problems, even as young as one day old

New app to bring Catholics back to confession?
Pope: 'Proclaim the Gospel through the new media'

Catholic records of slave baptisms go online
Archdiocese of New Orleans unveils internet database

Senate May Vote This Week on Obamacare Repeal Bill
The Senate may vote as early as this week on legislation that would repeal the Obamacare law that contains abortion and rationing concerns of pro-life groups. The vote would come on the heels of a ruling by a federal judge declaring the law unconstitutional.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Gospel for Feb 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)

Old Calendar: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Luke 2:22-40

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they (Joseph and Mary) brought Him (Jesus) up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") [24] and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons."

Simeon's Prophecy
[25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. [26] And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. [27] And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, [28] he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, [29] "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; [30] for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation [31] which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, [32] a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to Thy people Israel."

[33] And His father and His mother marvelled at what was said about Him; [34] and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, "Behold this child is set for the fall the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against [35] (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Anna's Prophecy
[36] And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ahser; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, [37] and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Childhood of Jesus
[39] And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. [40] And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.
22-24. The Holy Family goes up to Jerusalem to fulfill the prescriptions of the Law of Moses--the purification of the mother and the presentation and then redemption or buying back of the first-born. According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a woman who bore a child was unclean. The period of legal impurity ended, in the case of a mother of a male child, after forty days, with a rite of purification. Mary most holy, ever-virgin, was exempt from these precepts of the Law, because she conceived without intercourse, nor did Christ's birth undo the virginal integrity of His Mother. However, she chose to submit herself to the Law, although she was under no obligation to do so.

"Through this example, foolish child, won't you learn to fulfill the holy Law of God, regardless of personal sacrifice?
"Purification! You and I certainly do need purification. Atonement and, more than atonement, Love. Love as a searing iron to cauterize our soul's uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretchedness of our hearts" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", Fourth Joyful Mystery).

Also, in Exodus 13:2, 12-13 it is indicated that every first-born male belongs to God and must be set apart for the Lord, that is, dedicated to the service of God. However, once divine worship was reserved to the tribe of Levi, first-born who did not belong to that tribe were not dedicated to God's service, and to show that they continued to be God's special property, a rite of redemption was performed.

The Law also laid down that the Israelites should offer in sacrifice some lesser victim--for example, a lamb or, if they were poor, a pair of doves or two pigeons. Our Lord, who "though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9), chose to have a poor man's offering made on His behalf.

25-32. Simeon, who is described as a righteous and devout man, obedient to God's will, addresses himself to our Lord as a vassal or loyal servant who, having kept watch all his life in expectation of the coming of his Lord, sees that this moment has "now" come, the moment that explains his whole life. When he takes the Child in his arms, he learns, not through any reasoning process but through a special grace from God, that this Child is the promised Messiah, the Consolation of Israel, the Light of the nations.

Simeon's canticle (verses 29-32) is also a prophecy. It consists of two stanzas: the first (verses 29-30) is an act of thanksgiving to God, filled with profound joy for having seen the Messiah. The second (verses 31-32) is more obviously prophetic and extols the divine blessings which the Messiah is bringing to Israel and to all men. The canticle highlights the fact that Christ brings redemption to all men without exception--something foretold in many Old Testament prophecies (cf. Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:6; 42:6; 60:3; Psalm 28:2).

It is easy to realize how extremely happy Simeon was--given that many patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel had yearned to see the Messiah, yet did not see Him, whereas he now held Him in his arms (cf. Luke 10:24; 1 Peter 1:10).

33. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph marvelled not because they did not know who Christ was; they were in awe at the way God was revealing Him. Once again they teach us to contemplate the mysteries involved in the birth of Christ.

34-35. After Simeon blesses them, the Holy Spirit moves him to further prophecy about the Child's future and His Mother's. His words become clearer in the light of our Lord's life and death.

Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet He will be a sign of contradiction because some people will obstinately reject Him--and for this reason He will be their ruin. But for those who accept Him with faith Jesus will be their salvation, freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life.

The words Simeon addresses to Mary announce that she will be intimately linked with her Son's redemptive work. The sword indicates that Mary will have a share in her Son's sufferings; hers will be an unspeakable pain which pierces her soul. Our Lord suffered on the cross for our sins, and it is those sins which forge the sword of Mary's pain. Therefore, we have a duty to atone not only to God but also to His Mother, who is our Mother too.

The last words of the prophecy, "that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed", link up with verse 34: uprightness or perversity will be demonstrated by whether one accepts or rejects Christ.

36-38. Anna's testimony is very similar to Simeon's; like him, she too has been awaiting the coming of the Messiah her whole life long, in faithful service of God, and she too is rewarded with the joy of seeing Him. "She spoke of Him," that is, of the Child--praising God in her prayer and exhorting others to believe that this Child is the Messiah.

Thus, the birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three different ways--first, by the shepherds, after the angel's announcement; second, by the Magi, who were guided by a star; third, by Simeon and Anna, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no matter how insignificant their lives seem in men's eyes, become instruments the Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to other. In His plan of redemption God avails of these simple souls to do much good to all mankind.

39. Before their return to Nazareth, St. Matthew tells us (2:13-23), the Holy Family fled to Egypt where they stayed for some time.

40. "Our Lord Jesus Christ as a child, that is, as one clothed in the fragility of human nature, had to grow and become stronger but as the eternal Word of God He had no need to become stronger or to grow. Hence He is rightly described as full of wisdom and grace" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
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.

Prayers & Reflections for February 1

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


The thief on the cross died a thief, for he stole Paradise!

Paradise may be stolen again.

[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

News Updates. Feb 1

“Devotion to medical and bioethical concerns”
Bishop Vasa to be guest homilist at ‘White Mass’ in Kansas City

A glimmer of light in an Egypt in revolt?
23 Muslim leaders call for an Islam that respect rights

UK: Anglicans must make women bishops, say MPs
Church of England threatened with 'equality laws'

Pope: Beatitudes free man from 'false values'
Jesus' Sermon on Mount teaching touches human condition

Canadian bishops call youth to chastity
Young people not afraid of 'authentic love'

Bishop to colleges: Strengthen Catholic identity
Kicanas: 'This is a deep concern for all of us'

Egyptians defy curfew as protests continue
'The government has gone, but it's not enough'

Pope commemorates missionaries to Ethiopia
'The way of sanctity also lies open to you'

Vatican rejects suit over Wisc. priest’s abuse
Pope, Cardinals Bertone, Sodano named as defendants

Obama/Pelosi/Reid Deathcare Ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
Marxists get shellacked again

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week 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.

Prayers & Reflections for January 31

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


Did not Our Lord say that He would never reject any man coming to Him: "Him that cometh to me, I will not cast out" (John 6:37).

[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons

News Updates, 1/31

UK Anglicans preparing for mass defections
'The whole thing stinks to high heaven'

'The Rite': Exorcism in the movies
New film offers realistic, orthodox depiction

“Hostile work environment”
CA Supreme Court upholds ruling in favor of San Diego firefighters forced to join in ‘gay pride’ parade

Document: Pope once supported relaxing celibacy?
Cardinal Ratzinger signed a memorandum proposal in 1970

Pope proposes healing 1500 year Church rift
Benedict XVI addresses Orthodox, Catholic divisions

Pope wants concrete projects for Holy Land peace
Benedict urges respect for religious minorities

Vatican seeks to repair 'frozen' dialogue with Egypt
Top Sunni Muslim institute protested Pope's remarks

Chaos erupts at funeral of gay rights activist
Pastor told homosexuals they 'would go to hell'

Terrorists threaten to kill Pakistani Catholic
Shahbaz Bhatti is Federal Minister for Religious Minorities

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Prayers & Reflections for January 30

The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime


If I had never sinned, I never could call Christ "Saviour."...

[Continued tomorrow]
The Armor of God
Reflections and Prayers for Wartime

by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen
(C) 1943, P.J. Kenedy & Sons