Readings 20150131

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

WHAT IS FAITH?

“Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” —Hebrews 11:1
We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). “All depends on faith, everything is grace” (Rm 4:16). Therefore, faith in the Lord is absolutely necessary. However, this presents a problem because we are lacking in faith (see Mk 4:40). Jesus asks: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8) We must cry out to the Lord: “I do believe! Help my lack of faith!” (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

“Faith is confident assurance” (Heb 11:1). It is a solid, substantial assurance of security, stability, affirmation, and unconditional love. We can rest assured, for the Lord is our Rock (see Ps 18:3) and our Abba (see Mt 6:9; Gal 4:6). We are securely held in His loving arms.

Faith is the result of a very good relationship. To have such substantial, confident assurance of God’s love, we must truly and deeply know the Lord. Jesus taught and prayed: “Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn 17:3). Paul prayed: “I wish to know Christ” (Phil 3:10). We too should pray to know God so as to have faith in Him.

Prayer: Father, may my love for You result in faith in You. May this faith cause me to experience the “breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love” (Eph 3:18). May this deeper love result in deeper faith. Promise: “All of these died in faith.” —Heb 11:13 Praise: A tremendously anointed minister to youth, St. John Bosco required kindness in all his fellow youth ministers. He said: “The young should know that they are loved.”
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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Saint of the day 20150131

St John Bosco (1815 – 1888)
He was born in Piedmont of a peasant family, and he was brought up by his widowed mother. He became a priest, and his particular concern was for the young. He settled in Turin, where, as in so many cities in the 19th century, the industrial revolution was bringing enormous movements of population and consequent social problems, especially for the young men who came there to work. John Bosco devoted himself to the care of the young, first of all by means of evening classes, to which hundreds came, and then by setting up a boarding-house for apprentices, and then workshops for their training and education. Despite many difficulties, caused both by the anti-clerical civil authorities and by the opposition of some senior people within the Church, his enterprise grew, and by 1868 over 800 boys and young men were under his care. To ensure the continuation of his work, he founded a congregation, which he named after St Francis de Sales (a saint for whom he had great admiration), and today the Salesians continue his work all over the world.
Other saints: Saint Alban Roe
He was born in East Anglia of Church of England parents as Bartholomew Roe, July 20, 1583. He studied for a time at Cambridge where he first met a number of Catholics and began to have doubts about the faith in which he had been brought up. For some time he wrestled with his doubts until it became clear to him that he was in conscience bound to become a Catholic. He studied first of all at Douai but after a year he was sent back to England, on the grounds that he had disturbed the peace and order of the College (he was apparently an ebullient character, a characteristic which stayed with him all his life). Having left he was accepted into the Benedictine community at Dieulouard (from which the monastery at Ampleforth is descended), was professed as Bro Alban in 1614, and was ordained priest a year later. Very soon he was sent to England. After working for three years as a priest in London he was arrested and taken to the Fleet prison. He spent three years in the Fleet when the Spanish ambassador obtained his release, conditional on his leaving the country for good. However he soon returned, spent a further three years working in London, was again arrested and was this time first imprisoned in St Alban’s (a particularly harsh prison) and then transferred to the Fleet where he stayed for many years. In 1641 he was transferred to Newgate to face trial, when he was found guilty of treason. On 21 January 1642 he died on the scaffold, being allowed to hang until he was dead. According to a contemporary source, in his death he showed “joy, contentment, constancy, fortitude and valour”. The feast is on 31 January according to the modern Gregorian calendar, already in use on the Continent: this corresponds to 21 January in the previous Julian calendar, which England was still using at that time.
DK
Other saints: Saint Thomas Green (c.1560-1642)
Thomas Green (also known as Reynolds), was over eighty when he was executed. He was probably descended from the Greens of Great Milton in Oxfordshire, and the Reynolds of Old Stratford in Warwickshire. He was ordained deacon at Reims in 1590, and priest at Seville. He came to England early in the 1600s and spent nearly fifty years working on the English mission. He was arrested in 1628 and spent the next fourteen years in prison under sentence of death for having worked as a priest. He was executed without fresh trial. He was somewhat frail and was much encouraged by his companion Alban Roe, to whom he said, “glad I am to have for my comrade in death a man of your undoubted courage.” The two of them were drawn on the same hurdle, where they heard each other’s confessions, and were hanged simultaneously on the same gibbet on January 21 1642, amidst great demonstrations of popular sympathy.
DK
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31 January

SAINT JOHN BOSCO
Priest
(1815-1888)

Born in the diocese of Turin in 1815, and brought up in poverty, John Bosco devoted his life to the education of working youth.

He founded religious congregations -the Salesian Order, and the Congregation of the Helpers of Mary -to carry on his ideals.

He fell asleep in the Lord on January 30, 1888 at the age of seventy-two.

Readings 20150130

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

What can mustard seeds teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Just as a seed has no power to change itself until it is planted in the ground, so we cannot change our lives to be like God until God gives us the power of his Holy Spirit.
The Lord of the Universe is ever ready to transform us by the power of his Spirit. Are you ready to let God change you by his life-giving Word and Spirit? The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to the Lord Jesus and allow his word to take root in us, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Paul the Apostle says, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

Peter Chrysologous (400-450 AD), an early church father, explained how the ” tree of the cross” spreads its branches throughout the world and grew into a worldwide community of faith offering its fruit to the whole world:

It is up to us to sow this mustard seed in our minds and let it grow within us into a great tree of understanding reaching up to heaven and elevating all our faculties; then it will spread out branches of knowledge, the pungent savor of its fruit will make our mouths burn, its fiery kernel will kindle a blaze within us inflaming our hearts, and the taste of it will dispel our unenlightened repugnance. Yes, it is true: a mustard seed is indeed an image of the kingdom of God. Christ is the kingdom of heaven. Sown like a mustard seed in the garden of the virgin’s womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world. Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has produced seasoning enough for the flavoring and preservation of every living creature with which it comes in contact. As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it is crushed they are exceedingly evident. So it was with Christ; he chose to have his body crushed, because he would not have his power concealed….
Christ became all things in order to restore all of us in himself. The man Christ received the mustard seed which represents the kingdom of God; as man he received it, though as God he had always possessed it. He sowed it in his garden, that is in his bride, the Church. The Church is a garden extending over the whole world, tilled by the plough of the gospel, fenced in by stakes of doctrine and discipline, cleared of every harmful weed by the labor of the apostles, fragrant and lovely with perennial flowers: virgins’ lilies and martyrs’ roses set amid the pleasant verdure of all who bear witness to Christ and the tender plants of all who have faith in him. Such then is the mustard seed which Christ sowed in his garden. When he promised a kingdom to the patriarchs, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew tall; in the Church it became a great tree putting forth innumerable branches laden with gifts. And now you too must take the wings of the psalmist’s dove, gleaming gold in the rays of divine sunlight, and fly to rest for ever among those sturdy, fruitful branches. No snares are set to trap you there; fly off, then, with confidence and dwell securely in its shelter. (SERMON 98)

Do you allow the seed of God’s word to take deep root in your life and transform you into a fruit-bearing disciple of Jesus Christ?
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.”

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

“[You] joyfully assented to the confiscation of your goods, knowing that you had better and more permanent possessions.” —Hebrews 10:34
Imagine that somebody not only steals your stuff, but confiscates it, that is, he legally “steals” your possessions by a power squeeze and then openly and blatantly keeps it for himself. In our modern society, people would expect you to go to court and sue the confiscator to get back your possessions. If that was not possible, society would expect you to try to exact revenge by whatever means possible. Instead, you publicly rejoice and praise God, saying: “Thank You, Jesus! I didn’t need all that stuff anyway. It was holding me back from a deeper relationship with You. Praise You, Lord! Alleluia!” It’s not hard to imagine the incredulous reactions from those who can’t understand what it means that Jesus is your King Who promises to supply all that you need (Mt 6:24-34; Phil 4:19).

Our possessions can end up possessing us (see Mt 19:21-22). Therefore Jesus bluntly tells us: “None of you can be My disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions” (Lk 14:33). St. Paul obeyed this teaching and proclaimed: “Those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ. I have come to rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. For His sake I have forfeited everything; I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my Wealth” (Phil 3:7-8).

Each day, lose your life for Jesus’ sake (Lk 9:24). Detach yourself from your possessions and the things of the world. Less of the world equals more of Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, the only possession I want is You (1 Jn 5:12; 2 Jn 9). Promise: “Take delight in the Lord, and He will grant you your heart’s requests.” —Ps 37:4 Praise: Nine years after his vasectomy, Ralph repented, joined a small Christian community, and had his vasectomy reversed. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20150130

30 January

SAINT BATHILDES
Queen.
(c. 634-680)

St. Bathildes was an Englishwoman, who was carried over whilst yet young into France, and there sold for a slave, at a very low price, to Erkenwald, mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. When she grew up, her master was so much taken with her prudence and virtue that he placed her in charge of his household.

The renown of her virtues spread through all France, and King Clovis II. took her for his royal consort. This unexpected elevation produced no alteration in a heart perfectly grounded in humility and the other virtues; she seemed to become even more humble than before. Her new station furnished her the means of being truly a mother to the poor; the king gave her the sanction of his royal authority for the protection of the Church, the care of the poor, and the furtherance of all religious undertakings.

The death of her husband left her regent of the kingdom. She at once forbade the enslavement of Christians, did all in her power to promote piety, and filled France with hospitals and religious houses.

As soon as her son Clotaire was of an age to govern, she withdrew from the world and entered the convent of Chelles. Here she seemed entirely to forget her worldly dignity, and was to be distinguished from the rest of the community only by her extreme humility, her obedience to her spiritual superiors, and her devotion to the sick, whom she comforted and served with wonderful charity.

As she neared her end, God visited her with a severe illness, which she bore with Christian patience until, on the 30th of January, 680, she yielded up her soul in devout prayer.

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

Other saints: Saint Aedan of Ferns (c.550 – 632)
He was the son of an Irish tribal chieftain and studied under St Finian and St David. He was the first bishop of Ferns, in Ireland, and founded many churches and monasteries. See the article in Wikipedia.
You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

AppStore link

Catholic Calendar is free.

You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future.
Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.
AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.

Readings 20150129

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

What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God’s kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.
Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all.
There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him; they will not lack what they need to live as Christ’s disciples, and they will shine as lights to those who hunger for God’s truth and wisdom. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?

“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.”

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

“We should not absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do, but encourage one another; and this all the more because you see that the Day draws near.” —Hebrews 10:25
When we gather in Jesus’ name, He has promised to be with us in a special way (Mt 18:20). In Jesus’ special presence, we are more deeply united with Him and with one another. In this deeper unity, we have greater knowledge of and openness to God’s will. Therefore, when we pray together, we express better the will of God, and our prayers are answered (Mt 18:19). In this great prayer-power, we are encouraged and roused to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25). In His presence, unity, will, intercession, and power, we are gathered as Jesus’ disciples were gathered in the upper room before the first Christian Pentecost (see Acts 1:14).

When the members of Christ’s Body repeatedly resist the temptation to absent themselves from the assembly, we will see a new Pentecost, hasten the final coming of Christ (2 Pt 3:12), and be ready for the end of the world and His coming (see Heb 10:25). When spouses get together for prayer, when families gather to hear God’s Word, when Christian communities cover the earth, when churches are packed for daily Mass, when prayer groups are abounding, then we will see God’s glory. Therefore, make any sacrifices necessary so as not to absent yourself from the assembly.

Prayer: Father, may I never imply by the choices I make that I don’t need the other parts of Christ’s Body (see 1 Cor 12:21). Promise: “In the measure you give you shall receive, and more besides.” —Mk 4:24 Praise: Tony had no money to pay his bills when he was laid off. He refused to panic, and believed God would provide. On the day his bills were due, three separate individuals visited him to pay off old debts, which totalled the amount of what he owed. (For a related teaching, order our tape What is Christian Community? on audio AV 76-1 or video V-76.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20150129

29 January

SAINT GILDAS THE WISE (or Gildas of Rhuys)
Abbot
(c. 500-570 or 581)

St. Gildas was a 6th-century British monk. He learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect.

His renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens (Gildas the Wise).

He wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae and he also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accused of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar.

He fell asleep in the Lord in 570 or in 581