Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, celebrated 6 January 2019, in St Peter’s Basilica

“In order to find Jesus, we also need to take a different route, to follow a different path, His path, the path of humble love.   And we have to persevere.   Today’s Gospel ends by saying that the Magi, after encountering Jesus, “left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:12).   Another road, different from that of Herod.   An alternative route than that of the world, like the road taken by those who surround Jesus at Christmas – Mary and Joseph, the shepherds.   Like the Magi, they left home and became pilgrims on the paths of God.   For only those, who leave behind their worldly attachments and undertake a journey, find the mystery of God.for only those who leave behind their worldly attachments - pope francis epiphany 2019 9jan2019.jpg

This holds true for us too.   It is not enough to know where Jesus was born, as the scribes did if we do not go there.   It is not enough to know that Jesus was born, like Herod, if we do not encounter Him.   When His place becomes our place, when  His time becomes our time, when His person becomes our life, then the prophecies come to fulfilment in us.   Then Jesus is born within us.   He becomes the living God for me.   Today we are asked to imitate the Magi.   They do not debate – they set out.  They do not stop to look but enter the house of Jesus.   They do not put themselves at the centre but bow down before the One who is the centre.   They do not remain glued to their plans but are prepared to take other routes.   Their actions reveal a close contact with the Lord, a radical openness to Him, a total engagement with Him.   With Him, they use the language of love, the same language that Jesus, though an infant, already speaks.   Indeed, the Magi go to the Lord not to receive but to give.   Let us ask ourselves this question – at Christmas did we bring gifts to Jesus for His party, or did we only exchange gifts among ourselves?when his place becomes our place - pope franics epip homily 2019 9 jan 2019.jpg

let us ask ourselves - pope francis 9 jan 2019 epiphany homily 2019.jpg

If we went to the Lord empty-handed, today we can remedy that.   The Gospel, in some sense, gives us a little “gift list”: gold, frankincense and myrrh.   Gold, the most precious of metals, reminds us God has to be granted first place – He has to be worshipped. But to do that, we need to remove ourselves from the first place and to recognise our neediness, the fact that we are not self-sufficient.    Then there is frankincense, which symbolises a relationship with the Lord, prayer, which like incense rises up to God (cf. Ps 141:2).   Just as incense must burn in order to yield its fragrance, so too, in prayer, we need to “burn” a little of our time, to spend it with the Lord.   Not just in words but also by our actions.   We see this in the myrrh, the ointment that would be lovingly used to wrap the body of Jesus taken down from the cross (cf. Jn 19:39).   The Lord is pleased when we care for bodies racked by suffering, the flesh of the vulnerable, of those left behind, of those who can only receive without being able to give anything material in return.   Precious in the eyes of God is mercy shown to those who have nothing to give back.   Gratuitousness!

In this Christmas season now drawing to its close, let us not miss the opportunity to offer a precious gift to our King, who came to us not in worldly pomp but in the luminous poverty of Bethlehem.   If we can do this, His light will shine upon us.”in this christmas season - pope francis - 9 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Thought for the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – It is still Christmastide!

‘If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart
and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Pope Francis’ Homily – 19 December 2018 – General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In six days, it will be Christmas.   The trees, the decorations and the lights everywhere recall that this year also there will be a celebration.   Advertising invites to keep exchanging newer and newer gifts to have surprises.   However, is this the celebration that pleases God?   What Christmas would He want, what presents and surprises?

We look at the first Christmas of history to discover God’s tastes.   That Christmas was full of surprises.   It begins with Mary, who was Joseph’s promised bride – the Angel arrives and changes her life.   From being a virgin, she will be a mother.   It continues with Joseph, called to be the father of a son without generating Him.   A son that — in a dramatic turn of events — arrives in the least indicated moment, namely, when Mary and Joseph were betrothed and, according to the Law, could not live together.   In face of the scandal, the good sense of the time invited Joseph to repudiate Mary and save his good name but he, although he had the right, surprises us – not to hurt Mary he thinks of taking leave of her in secret, at the cost of losing his own reputation.   Then, another surprise – in a dream, God changes his plans and asks him to take Mary to himself.   Jesus having been born, when Joseph had his plans for the family, again in a dream he is told to rise and go to Egypt.   To summarise, Christmas brought unexpected life changes.  And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life.

However, it’s on Christmas Eve that the greatest surprise arrives – the Most High is a little baby.   The divine Word is an infant, which means literally, “incapable of speaking.”   And the divine Word becomes “incapable of speaking.”  The Authorities of the time or of the place or the ambassadors were not there to receive the Saviour – no, it was simple shepherds, who, surprised by the Angels while they were working at night, run without delay.   Who would have expected it?   Christmas is to celebrate the unheard-of God, or better, it is to celebrate an unprecedented God, who overturns our logics and our expectations.

To celebrate Christmas, then, is to receive on earth Heaven’s surprises.   One can’t live “down to earth,” when Heaven has brought its novelties into the world.   Christmas inaugurates a new era, where life isn’t planned but is given;  where one no longer lives for oneself, on the basis of one’s tastes, but for God;  and with God because since the first Christmas, God is God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us.   To live Christmas is to let oneself be shaken by its surprising novelty.   Jesus’ Birth doesn’t offer the reassuring warmth of a fireplace but the divine thrill, that shakes history.  Christmas is the revenge of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over noise, of prayer over “my time,” of God over my “I.”christmas is - pope francis no 2 - 8 jan 2019

To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy people and to come down to those in need of us.   It is to do as Mary did, to entrust ourselves, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do.   To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did, to rise to do what God wants, even if it’s not according to our plans.   Saint Joseph is surprising – he never speaks in the Gospel, there isn’t one word of Joseph in the Gospel and the Lord speaks to him in silence, He speaks to him in fact in his sleep. Christmas is to prefer God’s silent voice to the noises of consumerism.   If we are able to be silent before the Crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us also, not something already seen.   To be in silence before the Crib – this is the invitation for Christmas.  Take a bit of time, go before the Crib and stay in silence.   And you will feel, you will see the surprise.

Unfortunately, however, the celebration can be mistaken and we can prefer the usual things on earth, to the novelties of Heaven.   If Christmas remains only a beautiful traditional feast, where we and not Him, are at the centre, it will be a lost occasion.   Please, let us not make Christmas worldly!   Let us not put the One celebrated aside as ‘happened’ then, when “He came among His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).   Since the first Gospel of Advent, the Lord has put us on guard, asking us not to be weighed down with “dissipation” and “the cares of life” (Luke 21:34).   In these days one runs, perhaps more than ever during the year.   So, the opposite is done of what Jesus wants.   We blame the many things that fill our day, the world that goes fast.   Yet Jesus didn’t blame the world.   He asked us not to let ourselves be dragged, to watch at all times praying (Cf. v. 36).

Behold, it will be Christmas if, like Joseph, we make room for silence;  if, like Mary, we say to God “Here I am”;  if, like Jesus, we are close to one who is alone;  if, like the shepherds, we go out of our enclosures to be with Jesus.   It will be Christmas, if we find the light in the poor cave of Bethlehem.   It won’t be Christmas if we seek the shimmering glow of the world, if we fill ourselves with gifts, lunches and dinners but we don’t help at least one poor person, who is like God, because at Christmas God came poor.

Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you a happy Christmas, a Christmas rich in Jesus’ surprises!   They might seem uncomfortable surprises but they are God’s tastes.   If we embrace them, we will have a splendid surprise for ourselves.   Each one of us has hidden in the heart, the capacity to be surprised.   Let us let Jesus surprise us this Christmas.

It’s Christmas every day!  behold it will be christmas - pope francis given 19 dec 2018 gen aud - 8 jan 2019

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION

Thought for the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

Thought for the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

This invitation from the Father is very important. We, the disciples o  f Jesus, are called to be people who listen to His voice and take His words seriously.   To listen to Jesus, we must be close to Him, to follow Him, like the crowd in the Gospel who chase Him through the streets of Palestine.

Jesus did not have a teaching post or a fixed pulpit, He was an itinerant teacher, who proposed His teachings, teachings given to Him by the Father, along the streets, covering distances that were not always predictable or easy.   Follow Jesus in order to listen to Him.   But also let us listen to Jesus in His written Word, in the Gospel.   I pose a question to you: do you read a passage of the Gospel everyday?   Yes, no… yes, no… half of the time … some yes, some no.   It is important!   Do you read the Gospel?   It is so good;  it is a good thing to have a small book of the Gospel, a little one and to carry in our pocket or in our purse and read a little passage in whatever moment presents itself during the day.   In any given moment of the day I take the Gospel from my pocket and I read something, a short passage. Jesus is there and He speaks to us in the Gospel!   Ponder this. It’s not difficult, nor is it necessary to have all four books: one of the Gospels, a small one, with us.   Let the Gospel be with us always, because it is the Word of Jesus in order for us to be able to listen to Him.

From the event of the Transfiguration I would like to take two significant elements that can be summed up in two words:  ascent and descent.   We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord.   This we do in prayer.   But we cannot stay there!   Encounter with God in prayer inspires us anew to “descend the mountain” and return to the plain where we meet many brothers weighed down by fatigue, sickness, injustice, ignorance, poverty both material and spiritual.   To these brothers in difficulty, we are called to bear the fruit of that experience with God, by sharing the grace we have received.
And this is curious.   When we hear the Word of Jesus, when we listen to the Word of Jesus and carry it in our heart, this Word grows.   Do you know how it grows?   By giving it to the other!   The Word of Christ grows in us when we proclaim it, when we give it to others!   And this is what Christian life is.   It is a mission for the whole Church, for all the baptised, for us all – listen to Jesus and offer Him to others.
Do not forget!   this week listen to Jesus!   And think about the matter of the Gospel, will you?   Will you do this?   Then next Sunday you tell me if you have done this, that you have a little book of the Gospel in your pocket or in your purse to read in little stages throughout the day.and this is what the christian life is listen to jesus and offer him to others - transfiguration 2 - 6 aug 2018

And now let us turn to our Mother Mary and entrust ourselves to her guidance in pursuing with faith and generosity this path of …., learning a little more how to “ascend” with prayer and listen to Jesus and to “descend” with brotherly love, proclaiming Jesus.

Pope Francis -16 March 2014blessed virgin mary - pray for us - 25 may 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 13 July

Thought for the Day – 13 July – Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23.

“Jesus said to his Apostles:

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves”

Matthew 10:16

Jesus’ sending disciples on mission does not guarantee their success, just as it does not protect them from failure and suffering.   They have to take into account both the possibility of rejection and that of persecution.   This is somewhat frightening but it is the truth.
The disciple is called to conform his life to Christ who was persecuted by men, knew rejection, abandonment and death on the cross.   There is no Christian mission marked by tranquility!   Difficulties and tribulations are part of the work of evangelisation and we are called to find in them the opportunity to test the authenticity of our faith and of our relationship with Jesus.   We must consider these difficulties as the opportunity to be even more missionary and to grow in that trust toward God our Father, who does not abandon His children during the storm.
Even in our day, brothers and sisters, persecution against Christians is present.
Their example helps us not to hesitate in taking the position in favour of Christ, bearing witness bravely in everyday situations.
Besides sending us out as “sheep in the midst of wolves”, the Lord even in our times sends us out as sentinels in the midst of people who do not want to be woken from their worldly lethargy which ignores the Gospel’s words of Truth, building for themselves their own ephemeral truths.   And if we go to or live in these contexts and we proclaim the Words of the Gospel, this is bothersome and they will look at us unkindly.
But in all this, the Lord continues to tell us, as He did to the disciples of His time:  “Do not fear!”…Pope Francis (Angelus, 25 June 2017)

“When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say;  for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour;  for it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.”…Matthew 10:19-20besides sending us out - pope francis - 13 july 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL PRAYERS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY

Second Thought for the Day – 6 February – The Memorial of St Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910)

Second Thought for the Day – 6 February – The Memorial of St Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910)

“At the start of today’s celebration, we addressed this prayer to the Lord: “Create in us a generous and steadfast heart, so that we may always serve you with fidelity and purity of spirit” (Collect).

By our own efforts, we cannot give ourselves such a heart. Only God can do this and so in the prayer we ask him to give it to us as his “creation”.   In this way, we come to the theme of prayer, which is central to this Sunday’s scriptural readings and challenges all of us who are gathered here for the canonisation of new Saints.   The Saints attained the goal.   Thanks to prayer, they had a generous and steadfast heart.   They prayed mightily, they fought and they were victorious.

The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer.  Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them.   They struggle to the very end, with all their strength and they triumph but not by their own efforts:  the Lord triumphs in them and with them.   The seven witnesses who were canonised today also fought the good fight of faith and love by their prayers.   That is why they remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart.   Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer. May we cry out day and night to God, without losing heart.   May we let the Holy Spirit pray in us and may we support one another in prayer, in order to keep our arms raised, until Divine Mercy wins the victory.”

Homily of HH Pope Francis – St Peter’s Square – Sunday 16 October 2016 – HOLY MASS AND CANONISATION OF THE BLESSEDS:  Salomon Leclercq, José Sánchez del Río, Manuel González García, Lodovico Pavoni, Alfonso Maria Fusco, José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, Elisabeth of the Holy Trinity Catez

Holy Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!holy saints pray for us - 6 FEB 2018

Posted in CATECHESIS, HOMILIES, Re-BLOGS, The WORD

15th Sunday of O.T. (A): THE NECESSITY OF HAVING THE PROPER DISPOSITIONS TO RECEIVE GOD AND HIS WORD. Summary vid + full text.

Thank you Fr Rolly!

Catholics Striving for Holiness

15th Sunday of O.T. (A):
THE NECESSITY OF HAVING THE PROPER DISPOSITIONS TO RECEIVE GOD AND HIS WORD.
Summary vid + full text.

OUTLINE

  1. Summary of ideas of today’s readings
  2. The necessity of having the proper dispositions so that God’s grace would bear fruit in us.
  3. To accept Christ, hear His Word is not enough. It is necessary to put it into practice no matter the difficulties it may entail.

1. Summary of ideas of today’s readings

In the first reading (Is 55:10-11) rain is compared to the word that comes from the mouth of God which waters the earth making it fertile and causing the seed to germinate. God will fulfill his plan and bring it to its fruition through His Word, Our Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel which recounts the Parable of the sower (Mt 13: 1-23), God’s Word is compared to the seed which is sown by…

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