Archive for “2015”

From the Rector 5/3/2015

ON THIS FIFTH SUNDAY IN THE SEASON OF EASTER Jesus in today’s Gospel asks us to make our home in Him. How? The Eucharist, the sacraments, the Bible, the Rosary are just some of the ways in which we make our home in Jesus. There are many seductions and distractions in our world also inviting us to make our home in them but if we do our branch will wither and we will not bear fruit. As we all know from personal experience there are many voices in the world telling us to eat the apple from the tree and then we will have life and all will be well. But after eating the apple we discover that we are worse and even more unhappy. So we make our home in Jesus. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life and when we make our home in Him we bear fruit. As Jesus said: “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me” (John 15:4). It is not just a question of making our home in Jesus because it feels good. A branch which is connected to the vine bears fruit. Jesus asks each of us to bear fruit, as He says in the Gospel: “Whoever remains in me, and me in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In our second reading John also says we are to bear fruit as he says, “Our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active; only by this can we be certain that we are the children of the truth…” (1 John 3:18-19).  And so we must ask ourselves today: how are each of us doing in the department of bearing fruit for the kingdom of God?  We need to remember, folks, that God gave each of us many and varied gifts, abilities and talents.  We use most of them every day of our lives.  But do we apply these gifts and talents in His vineyard for the building up of His kingdom here on earth?  Chances are we do – but only to a certain point.  We limit ourselves.  Let’s uncork the Spirit within us, beginning today, and apply our God-given gifts, abilities and talents, and in doing so, brick by brick, effort by effort, demonstrate to ourselves that we have a graces and the capacity to not only live a life in Christ, but through our connectivity to Jesus build up His kingdom not by mere words but by real and tangible actions.

 

SACRAMENTS IN OUR PARISHES: We pray for and congratulate those who made their First Holy Communion last Sunday at Holy Cross Church, and who do so this Sunday at Saint Joseph Cathedral.  What a wonderful step in their faith and sacramental lives!  Next Sunday at the Cathedral 10:30 a.m. Mass Bishop Campbell will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation to the young parishioners of our two parishes.  Congratulations to them as they mature in their faith!

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW DEACONS OF OUR DIOCESE who were ordained by Bishop Campbell on May 1:  Rev. Mr. Jeremiah Guappone, Rev. Mr. Timothy Lynch, Rev. Mr Stephen Smith, and Rev. Mr. Daniel Swartz.

 

SPECIAL COLLECTION MAY 9 & 10 TO SUPPORT EARTHQUAKE RELIEF EFFORTS: I think it is fair to say that we have seen many images of the destruction and devastation from last Saturday’s earthquake, and aftershocks, in Nepal and in surrounding countries of the Indian subcontinent.  The people there need our prayers, and they need our financial support to basics such as food, drinking water, medicine and shelter for the short-term, and longer-term rebuilding.  Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are already on the ground already bringing aid and relief, but they need our support.  Please read the center section of this bulletin. “Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found…”


5/9/2015 Lectio Divina

Saturday, May 9 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

 

Holy Gospel: John 15:18-21 Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

 

Meditation: When Jesus says “you are not of this world” many are initially confused by what this means.  The “world” in scripture refers to that society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to his will. The world rejected Jesus, and his disciples can expect the same treatment. Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are either for him or against him, for his kingdom of light or for the kingdom of darkness. The prophet Isaiah warned that people who separate themselves from God because of their rebellion and spiritual blindness would end up calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

 

Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, who through the regenerating power of Baptism have been pleased to confer on us heavenly life, grant, we pray, that those you render capable of immortality by justifying them may by your guidance attain the fullness of glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: If we want to live in the light of God’s truth, how can we rightly distinguish good from evil? True love of God and his ways draw us to all that is lovely, truthful and good. If we truly love God then we will submit to his truth and will for our lives. A friend of God cannot expect to be a friend of the world because the world opposes God. Jesus’ demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your thoughts, actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart with the love of God (Romans 5:5).

 

 

 

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

frlumpe:2015

 


5/8/2015 Lectio Divina

Friday, May 8 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

 

Holy Gospel: John 14:6-14 Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

 

Meditation: What’s the greatest thing we can aim for in our brief earthly life? Fame? Riches? Power? The greatest thing we can aim for is to know, love and serve God. What is the best thing we can possess in this life, bringing more joy, contentment, life and happiness, than anything else? Knowledge of God! Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal knowledge of God as our Father – the one who created us out of love, and who out of love for us sent his only son into this world – Jesus Christ – to save and redeem us.

 

Prayer: Grant us, Lord, we pray, that, being rightly conformed to the paschal mysteries, what we celebrate in joy may protect and save us with perpetual power. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us unconditionally – without reservation, unselfishly – for our sake and not his, and perfectly – without neglecting or forgetting us even for a brief moment. Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, “Our Father who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses…” (Matthew 6:9-11; Luke 11:2-3).  Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his genuine love and care for you?

5/7/2015 Lectio Divina

Thursday, May 7 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

 

Holy Gospel: John 15:9-11 Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.”

 

Meditation: Do you know first-hand the love that produces immeasurable joy? Jesus speaks of the love which the Father and he have for those who belong to him. We can never out give God in love, because he has loved us without measure. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding mercy and kindness towards us. Paul the Apostle tells us that we can abound in joy and hope because “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). In God’s love we find the fullness of grace, life, peace, and joy. Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment – a new way of love. We are to love others as Jesus has loved us.

 

Prayer: O God, by whose grace, though sinners, we are made just and, though pitiable, made blessed, stand, we pray, by your works, stand by your gifts, that those justified by faith may not lack the courage of perseverance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: What is the essence of this new commandment? True love is sacrificial. It gives all to the beloved. And there is no greater proof in love than the sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. Jesus proved his love for his disciples by giving his life for them, even to death on the cross. We prove our love for God and for one another when we embrace the way of the cross. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God’s will, then God’s will must be done. Do you know the joy and contentment of a life fully surrendered to God and consumed with his love?

5/6/2015 Lectio Divina

Wednesday, May 6 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

 

Holy Gospel: John 15:1-8  Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

 

Meditation: People often wonder why Jesus speaks of himself as the true vine? The image of the vine was a rich one for the Jews since the land of Israel was covered with numerous vineyards. It had religious connotations to it as well. Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:7). Jeremiah said that God had planted Israel “as his choice vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). While the vine became a symbol of Israel as a nation, it also was used in the scriptures as a sign of degeneration. Isaiah’s prophecy spoke of Israel as a vineyard which “yielded wild grapes” (see Isaiah 5:1-7). Jeremiah said that Israel had become a “degenerate and wild vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can claim their spiritual inheritance through association with a particular people or bloodline. Rather, it is only through Jesus Christ that one can become grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.

 

Prayer: O God, restorer and lover of innocence, direct the hearts of your servants towards yourself, that those you have set free from the darkness of unbelief may never stray from the light of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Jesus offers true life – the abundant life which comes from God and which results in great fruitfulness. How does the vine become fruitful? The vinedresser must carefully prune the vine before it can bear good fruit. Vines characteristically have two kinds of branches – those which bear fruit and those which don’t. The non-bearing branches must be carefully pruned back in order for the vine to conserve its strength for bearing good fruit. Jesus used this image to describe the kind of life he produces in those who are united with him – the fruit of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus says there can be no fruit in our lives apart from him. The fruit he speaks of here is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). There is a simple truth here: We are either fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing. There is no in-between. But the bearing of healthy fruit requires drastic pruning. The Lord promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and allow him to purify us. Do you trust in the Lord’s abiding presence with you?

5/5/2015 Lectio Divina

Tuesday, May 5 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

 

Holy Gospel: John 14:27-31a Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

 

Meditation: Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less. Jesus also speaks of his destination and ultimate triumph over the powers of evil in the world. In the eyes of the world the cross stood for shame, humiliation, and defeat. Jesus went to the cross knowing that it would lead to victory over the powers of sin and of Satan. Jesus also knew that he would return to his Father in glory. The cross brought glory to Jesus and to the Father and it is our way to glory as well. In the Cross of Christ we find true peace and reconciliation with God. Do you live in the peace of Jesus Christ?

 

Prayer: O God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ, grant your people constancy in faith and hope, that we may never doubt the promises of which we have learned from you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: In his farewell discourse, Jesus Christ grants peace as his gift to his disciples. What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our attaining the highest good. The world’s approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things – and a growing aspiration to embrace a life of “political correctness” as opposed to embracing what is right and good and true according to living our lives according to God’s will and Christ’s teachings. Jesus offers the one true peace which conquers all of our fears and anxieties.  Do you seek his peace before other sources of peace which are fleeting at best?

5/4/2015 Lectio Divina

 

“By virtue of Baptism and Confirmation we are called to conform ourselves to Christ, who is the Good Samaritan for all who suffer. ‘We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another’ (1 Jn 3:16). When we draw near with tender love to those in need of care, we bring hope and God’s smile to the contradictions of the world. When generous devotion to others becomes the hallmark of our actions, we give way to the Heart of Christ and bask in its warmth, and thus contribute to the coming of God’s Kingdom.”

~Pope Francis, 2014 World Day of the Sick – Paragraph 3

 

Monday, May 4 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

Saint Peregrine, Friar ~ Friar Servants of Mary (Servites)

 

Holy Gospel: John 14:21-26 Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

 

Meditation: God’s love for each of us is as real and tangible as the love of a mother for her child and the love of a lover who gives all for his beloved. God made us for love – to know him personally and to grow in the knowledge of his great love for us. How can we know and be assured of the love of God? The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in the knowledge of God and his great love. The Spirit enables us to experience the love of God and to be assured of the Lord’s abiding presence with us (see Romans 8:35-39). The Holy Spirit also opens our ears to hear and understand the word of God. Do you listen attentively to God’s word and believe it? Ask the Holy Spirit to inflame your heart with the love of God and his word.

 

Prayer: O God, who have taught your Church to keep all the heavenly commandments by love of you as God and love of neighbor; grant that, practicing the works of charity after the example of Saint Peregrine we may be worthy to be numbered among the blessed in your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

Prayer to Saint Peregrine: O great Saint Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you. (Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying.) Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Do you know the love that surpasses all, and that love is stronger than death itself (ref. Song of Songs 8:6)? In Jesus’ last supper discourse he speaks of the love he has for his disciples and of his Father’s love. He prepares his disciples for his imminent departure to return to his Father by exhorting them to prove their love for him through their loyalty and obedience to his word. He promises them the abiding instruction and consolation of the Holy Spirit. Saint Augustine says “the Lord loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.”

 

About Saint Peregrine: Peregrine labored for years as a brother in the Order of the Friar Servants of Mary and at age 60 was diagnosed with cancer of the leg brought on by many years of disciplined prayer while standing, resulting in varicose veins which became ulcerous.  On the night before the scheduled amputation of his leg, Peregrine dragged himself to the foot of the cross in the community chapter room and fell into a deep trance-like sleep. Upon waking, Saint Peregrine was healed of a cancerous ulcer on his leg which was considered beyond saving. The fame of this event in 1325 spread rapidly round the western Church. Christians, and especially the sick, began to invoke his name and seek his intercession for the relief of their suffering and even for a cure from sickness. The canonization of St. Peregrine in 1726 increased people’s devotion to him which spread to the universal Church. Even with great developments in medicine, there are still many diseases which are incurable. Some of them are claiming more and more victims. Because of this, the prayers to this saint are becoming more intense and more frequent because this was a person who knew suffering and sickness in his life and also knew the power of divine grace helping him. The lesson of Peregrine’s life is not that God worked a miracle, but that a faithful, trustful servant placed himself, unconditionally, in the hands of our Lord. Peregrine’s trust in God can be a model for us in dealing with the pain, sickness and crosses of our lives. (Visit www.stperegrine.org)

5/01/2015 Lectio Divina

Friday, May 1 ~ Fourth Week of Easter

Saint Joseph the Worker

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58 Coming to His own country Jesus taught them in the synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

 

Meditation: The liturgy for this feast vindicates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. In many of the documents issued by Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council and Pope Saint John Paul II, reference is made to the Christian spirit that should permeate one’s work, after the example of St. Joseph, recognizing that all of our gifts and talents are gifts to us from God, and should be used to help build up His kingdom here on earth. In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work done in caring for the human family.

 

Prayer: O God, Creator of all things, who laid down for the human race the law of work, graciously grant that by the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage we may complete the works you set us to do and attain the rewards you promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Prayer to Saint Joseph for the Spirit of Work: Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all who pass their life in labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my own inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to use and develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties. Help me to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must render of time lost, talents wasted, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Worth contemplating on this Feast is a brief excerpt from a document of the Second Vatican Council “The Church in the Modern World” – Gaudium et Spes – which notes: “Throughout the course of the centuries, men have labored to better the circumstances of their lives through a monumental amount of individual and collective effort. To believers, this point is settled: considered in itself, this human activity accords with God’s will. For man, created to God’s image, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all it contains, and to govern the world with justice and holiness; a mandate to relate himself and the totality of things to Him Who was to be acknowledged as the Lord and Creator of all. Thus, by the subjection of all things to man, the name of God would be wonderful in all the earth” (No. 34).

 

 

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

frlumpe:2015

4/30/2015 Lectio Divina

Thursday, April 30 ~ Fourth Week of Easter

Saint Pius V, Pope

 

Holy Gospel: John 13:16-20 When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, the one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

 

Meditation: Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness to them even to death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection Jesus opened a new way of relationship and friendship with God. Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father who sent him. This principle extends to all who belong to Christ and who speak in his name. To accept the Lord’s messenger is to accept Jesus himself. The great honor and the great responsibility any Christian has is to stand in the world for Jesus Christ. As his disciples and ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20), we are called to speak for him and to act on his behalf.  Are you ready to stand for Jesus at the cross of humiliation, rejection, opposition, and suffering?

 

Prayer: O God, who in your providence raised up Pope Saint Pius the Fifth in your Church that the faith might be safeguarded and more fitting worship be offered to you, grant, through his intercession, that we may participate in your mysteries with lively faith and fruitful charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Have you ever given any thought as to how you treat those who cause you grief or harm?  Especially those who are close to you in some way? In his last supper discourse, Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships. Jesus knew beforehand that one of his own disciples would betray him. Such knowledge could have easily led Jesus to distance himself from such a person and to protect himself from harm’s way. Instead, Jesus expresses his love, affection, and loyalty to those who were his own, even to the one he knew would “stab him in the back” when he got the opportunity. Jesus used a quotation from Psalm 4:9 which describes an act of treachery by one’s closest friend. In the culture of Jesus’ day, to eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust. Jesus extends such friendship to Judas right at the moment when Judas is conspiring to betray his master. The expression lift his heel against me reinforces the brute nature of this act of violent rejection.

4/29/2015 Lectio Divina

Wednesday, April 29 ~ Fourth Week of Easter

Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

 

Holy Gospel: John 12:44-50  Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

 

Meditation: God does not leave us in our ignorance and unbelief. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he helps us to grow in faith, knowledge and understanding of his word. Saint Augustine summed up rather succinctly our need for God’s help in the following prayer: “God our Father, we find it difficult to come to you, because our knowledge of you is imperfect. In our ignorance we have imagined you to be our enemy; we have wrongly thought that you take pleasure in punishing our sins; and we have foolishly conceived you to be a tyrant over human life. But since Jesus came among us, he has shown that you are loving, and that our resentment against you was groundless.” Do you want to know more of God and his transforming love? Look to Jesus, the Light of God, and in his truth you will find joy, freedom, and wholeness of mind, body and soul.

 

Prayer: O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and her service or your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: To see Jesus is to see God. To hear his words is to hear the voice of God. He is the very light of God that has power to overcome the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief. God’s light and truth brings healing, pardon, and transformation. This light is not only for the chosen people of Israel, but for the whole world as well.  Jesus warns that if we refuse his word or take it lightly, we choose to remain in spiritual darkness. Jesus made it clear that he did not come to condemn us, but rather to bring abundant life and freedom from the oppression of sin, ignorance and evil. We condemn ourselves when we reject God’s wisdom and truth. It is one thing to live in ignorance due to lack of knowledge, but another thing to disdain those who teach us true wisdom and knowledge. Jesus says that his word which we have heard will be our judge. Do you believe that God’s word has power to change and transform your life?