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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 03-03-13, Third Sunday of Lent
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 03-03-13 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 03/02/2013 7:38:29 PM PST by Salvation

March 3, 2013 
 

Third Sunday of Lent

 

Reading 1 Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro,
the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in fire
flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
“I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
God called out to him from the bush, AMoses! Moses!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
God said, “Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your fathers, “ he continued,
“the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
But the LORD said,
“I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt
and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers,
so I know well what they are suffering.
Therefore I have come down to rescue them
from the hands of the Egyptians
and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Moses said to God, “But when I go to the Israelites
and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites:
I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.

“This is my name forever;
thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

reading 2 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
that our ancestors were all under the cloud
and all passed through the sea,
and all of them were baptized into Moses
in the cloud and in the sea.
All ate the same spiritual food,
and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,
and the rock was the Christ.
Yet God was not pleased with most of them,
for they were struck down in the desert.

These things happened as examples for us,
so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.
Do not grumble as some of them did,
and suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example,
and they have been written down as a warning to us,
upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure
should take care not to fall.

Gospel Lk 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; lent; prayer; scrutinies
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1 posted on 03/02/2013 7:38:39 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All
If you are in RCIA, you will hear these readings

 

March 3, 2013

Third Sunday of Lent – Year A Scrutinies

 

Reading 1 Ex 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

reading 2 Rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel Jn 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

or Jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

2 posted on 03/02/2013 7:40:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory Ping!

If you aren’t on this ping list NOW and would like to be on it, please Freepmail me.



3 posted on 03/02/2013 7:43:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15

God Appears to Moses in the Burning Bush


[1] Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Mi-
dian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb,
the mountain of God. [2] And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of
fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet
it was not consumed. [3] And Moses said, “I will turn aside and see this great
sight, why the bush is not burnt.” [4] When the Lord saw that he turned aside to
see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here am
I.” [5] Then he said, “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the
place on which you are standing is holy ground.” [6] And he said, “I am the God
of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

[7] Then the Lord, said, “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt,
and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their suffering, [8a]
and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to
bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk
and honey.”

The Divine Name is Revealed (Continuation)


[13] Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his
name?’ what shall I say to them?” [14] God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.’” [15]
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of
your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has
sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered
throughout all generations.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

3:1-4:17. This account of the calling of Moses is charged with theological content;
it gives the features of two protagonists (Moses and God) and the bases of the li-
beration of the people by means of wondrous divine intervention.

In the dialogue between God and Moses after the theophany of the burning bush
(vv. 1-10), the Lord endows Moses with alt the gifts he needs to carry out his mis-
sion: he promises him help and protection (vv. 11-12), he makes his name known
to him (vv. 13-22), he gives him the power to work wonders (4:1-9), and he desig-
nates his brother Aaron as his aide, who will be his spokesman (4:10-17).

This section shows how God brings about salvation by relying on the docility of a
mediator whom he calls and trains for the purpose. But the initiative always stays
with God. Thus, God himself designs the smallest details of the most important
undertaking the Israelites will embark on — their establishment as a people and
their passing from bondage to freedom and the possession of the promised land.

3:1-3. The mountain of God, Horeb, called in other traditions Sinai, probably lies
in the south-east part of the Sinai peninsula. Even today shepherds in that region
will leave the valleys scorched by the sun in search of better pasture in the moun-
tains. Although we do not yet know exactly where Mount Horeb is, it still had pri-
mordial importance in salvation history. On this same mountain the Law will later
be promulgated (chap. 19), in the context of another dramatic theophany. Elijah
will come back here to meet God (1 Kings 19:8-19). It is the mountain of God
“par excellence”.

The “angel of the Lord” is probably an expression meaning “God”. In the most
ancient accounts (cf., e.g., Gen 16:7; 22:11, 14; 31:11, 13), immediately after
the angel comes on the scene it is God himself who speaks: since God is invi-
sible he is discovered to be present and to be acting in “the angel of the Lord”,
who usually does not appear in human form. Later, in the period of the monar-
chy, the existence of heavenly messengers distinct from God will begin to be
recognized (cf 2 Sam 19:28; 24:16; 1 Kings 19:5,7; etc.).

Fire is often a feature of theophanies (cf., e.g., Ex 19:18; 24:17; Lev 9:23-24;
Ezek 1:17), perhaps because it is the best symbol to convey the presence of
things spiritual and divine transcendence. The bush mentioned here would he
one of the many thorny shrubs that grow in desert uplands in that region. Some
Christian writers have seen in the burning bush an image of the Church which en-
dures despite the persecutions and trials it undergoes. It is also seen as a figure
of the Blessed Virgin, in whom the divinity always burned (cf. St Bede, “Com-
mentaria In Pentateuchum”, 2, 3).

All the details given in the passage help to bring out the simplicity and at the
same time the drama of God’s action; the scene is quite ordinary (grazing, a
mountain, a bush...), but extraordinary things happen (the angel of the Lord, a
flame which does not burn, a voice).

3:4-10. The calling of Moses is described in this powerful dialogue in four stages:
God calls him by his name (v. 4); he introduces himself as the God of Moses’ an-
cestors (v. 9); he makes his plan of deliverance known in a most moving way (vv.
7-9); and, finally, he imperiously gives Moses his mission (v. 10).

The repetition of his name (”Moses, Moses!’’) stresses how important this event
is (cf. Gen 22:11; Lk 22:31). Taking one’s shoes off is a way of showing venera-
tion in a holy place. In some Byzantine communities there was a custom for a
long time of celebrating the liturgy barefoot or wearing different footwear from nor-
mal. Christian writers have seen this gesture as being an act of humility and de-
tachment in the face of the presence of God: “no one can gain access to God or
see him unless first he has shed every earthly attachment” (”Glossa Ordinaria In
Exodum”, 3, 4).

The sacred writer makes it clear that the God of Sinai is the same as the God of
Moses’ ancestors; Moses, then, is not a founder of a new religion; he carries on
the religious tradition of the patriarchs, confirming the election of Israel as people
of God. Four very expressive verbs are used to describe this election, this choice
of Israel by God: I have seen..., I have heard..., I know..., I have come down to de-
liver (v. 8). This sequence of action includes no human action: the people are op-
pressed, they cry, theirs is a sorry plight. But God has a clear aim in sight — “to
deliver them and to bring them up [...] to a good and broad land” (v. 8). These two
terms will become keynotes of God’s saving action. To bring up to the promised

land will come to mean, not only a geographical ascent but also a journey to-
wards plenitude. St Luke’s Gospel will take up the same idea. (cf. “The Navarre
Bible: The Gospel of Saint Luke”, pp 22). God’s imperative command is clear in
the original text (v. 10): “...bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt”.
This is another way of referring to the salvific event which gives its name to this
book; according to Greek and Latin traditions “exodus” means “going out”.

3:8. This description of the promised land is meant to show that it is extensive
and fertile. Its fertility can be seen from its basic products — milk and honey
(Lev 20:24; Num 13:27, Deut 26:9, 15; Jer 11:5; 32:22; Ezek 20:15) — the ideal
desert food; a land which produces them in abundance is a veritable paradise.

The number of nations inhabiting the promised land and disputing over it gives
an indication as to its extent and desirability. The Pentateuch often lists the pre-
Israelite peoples (with small variations from one list to the other): cf. Gen 15:19-
20; Ex 3:17; 13:5; 23:23; 28; 32:2; 34:11. Mentions like this probably act as a
reminder of the difficulties the Israelites had in settling the land, and the count-
less ways in which God intervened on their behalf.

3:13-15. Moses now raises another difficulty: he does not know the name of the
God who is commissioning him. This gives rise to the revelation of the name
“Yahweh” and the explanation of what it means — “I am who I am”.

According to the tradition recorded in Genesis 4:26, a grandson of Adam, Enosh,
was the first to call upon the name of the Lord (Yahweh). Thus, the biblical text
is stating that a part of mankind knew the true God, whose name was revealed to
Moses in this solemn way (Ex 35:15 and 6:2). The patriarchs invoked God under
other names, to do with the divine attributes, such as the Almighty (”El-Shaddai”:
Gen 17:1; Ex 6:2-3). Other proper names of God which appear in very ancient
documents lead one to think that the name Yahweh had been known from a long
time back. The revelation of the divine name is important in salvation history be-
cause by that name God will be invoked over the course of the centuries.

All kinds of suggestions have been put forward as to the meaning of Yahweh; not
all are mutually exclusive. Here are some of the main ones: a) God is giving an
evasive answer here because he does not want those in ancient times, contamina-
ted as they were by magic rites, to think that because they knew the name they
would have power over the god. According to this theory, “I am who I am” would
be equivalent to “I am whom you cannot know”. “I am unnameable”. This solution
stresses the transcendence of God. b) What God is revealing is his nature — that
he is subsistent being; in which case “I am who I am means I am he who exists
“per sibi”, absolute be-ing. The divine name refers to what he is by essence; it
refers to him whose essence it is to be. God is saying that he “is”, and he is gi-
ving the name by which he is to be called. This explanation is often to be found
in Christian interpretation. c) On the basis of the fact Yahweh is a causative form
of the ancient Hebrew verb “hwh” (to be), God revealing himself as “he who cau-
ses to be”, the creator, not so much in the fullest sense of the word (as creator
of the universe) but above all the creator of the present situation — the one who
gives the people its being and who always stays with it. Thus, calling upon
Yahweh will always remind the good Israelite of his reason-for-being, as an indi-
vidual and as a member of a chosen people.

None of these explanations is entirely satisfactory. “This divine name is myste-
rious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like
the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is — infini-
tely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the ‘hidden God’ (Is
45:15), his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to
men (cf. Judg 1.3:18)” (”Catechism of the Catholic Church”, 206).

At a later time, around the 4th century BC, out of reverence for the name of
Yahweh the use of the word was avoided; when it occurred in the sacred text it
was read as “Adonai”, my Lord. In the Greek version it is translated as “Kyrios”
and in the Latin as “Dominus”. “It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will
be acclaimed: ‘Jesus is Lord’” (ibid., 209). The RSV always renders “Yahweh”
as “the Lord”. The medieval form Jehovah was the result of a misreading of the
Hebrew text into which vowels were inserted by the Massoretes; it is simply a
mistake and there is no justification for the use of “Jehovah” nowadays (cf. ibid.,
446).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 03/02/2013 7:50:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

The Lessons of Israel’s History


[1] I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea, [2] and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in
the sea, [3] and all ate the same supernatural food [4] and all drank the same su-
pernatural drink. For they drank them from the supernatural Rock which followed
them, and the Rock was Christ. [5] Nevertheless with most of them God was not
pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

[6] Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did; [10] nor
grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. [11] Now
these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our
instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. [12] Therefore let any one
who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-33. St Paul now points to the lessons which the self-assured and proud Corin-
thians might draw from certain events in the history of Israel (vv. 1-13). He focu-
ses mainly on the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land: during this journey
God worked many wonders (vv. 1-4), but because of their frequent infidelity most
of the Israelites died before the journey was over (vv. 5-10); this, the Apostle con-
cludes, should serve as a lesson to us: if we rely too much on ourselves we run
the risk of being unfaithful to God and deserving rejection, like those Israelites (vv.
11-13).

St John Chrysostom says that “God’s gifts to the Hebrews were figures of the
gifts of Baptism and the Eucharist which we were to be given. And the punish-
ments meted out to them are figures of the punishment which our ingratitude
will deserve; hence his reminder to be watchful” (cf. “Horn, on 1 Cor”, 23).

In the second part of the chapter (vv. 14-33), St Paul gives the final part of his
reply to the question about food offered to idols, with advice as to how to act in
certain situations.

1-4. The Exodus of the Israelites was marked by many prodigies. St Paul recalls
some of these—God leading the way by day in the form of a pillar of cloud (cf. Ex
13:21-22), the crossing of the Red Sea (cf. Ex 14:15-31); the feeding with man-
na (cf. Ex 16:13-15) and the drinking water which Moses caused to flow out of a
rock (cf. Ex 17:1-7; Num 20:2-13).

St Paul sees the land and the sea as symbolizing two basic elements in Chris-
tian Baptism—the Holy Spirit and the water (cf. “St Pius V Catechism”, II, 2, 9).
By following Moses in the cloud and through the sea, the Israelites were some-
how linked to him, into anticipating the way the Christian is fully incorporated in-
to Jesus through Baptism (cf. Rom 6:3-11).

St Paul calls the manna and the water from the rock “supernatural” food and
drink because these are symbols of the Eucharist (cf. Jn 6:48-51). The Fathers,
in commenting on these verses, stress the superiority of the Eucharist over what
prefigures it: “Consider now which of the two foods is the more sublime [...]. The
manna came down from heaven, it [the Eucharist] is to be found higher than hea-
ven; the manna belonged to heaven, (the Eucharist) to the Lord of heaven; the
manna rotted away if it was kept for another day, (the Eucharist) knows no cor-
ruption because whoever tastes it with the right dispositions will never experience
corruption. For them [the Israelites] the water sprang up from the rock; for you
blood flows from Christ. The water quenched the (Israelites’) thirst for a short while;
the blood cleanses you forever. The Jews drank and were thirsty; you, once you
have drunk, can no longer feel thirst. In their case everything that happened was
symbolic; in yours it is real. If you are amazed by it and yet it was no more than
a shadow, how much more awesome must that reality be whose mere shadow
amazes you” (St Ambrose, “Treatise on the Mysteries”, I, 8, 48).

“The rock was Christ”: in the Old Testament Yahweh was at times described as
the rock (cf. Deut 32:4, 15, 18: 2 Sam 22:32; 23:3; Is 17:10; etc.); as he does
elsewhere (cf., e.g., Rom 9:33; 10:11-13; Eph 4:8). St Paul here applies to Jesus
Christ the prerogatives of Yahweh, thereby showing his divinity. Elsewhere in the
New Testament our Lord is spoken of as the cornerstone (cf. Mt 21:42; Acts 4:
11; Eph 2:20). By referring to the rock as “following them” St Paul may be citing
—without accepting it—a rabbinical legend which claimed that the rod from which
the water gushed continued to stay with the Israelites in the desert.

5-10. In spite of all the marvels God kept doing for the Israelites during the Exo-
dus, only a few of those who left Egypt managed to enter the Promised Land (cf.
Num 26:65). St Paul lists some of the repeated infidelities of the people of Israel
which brought God’s punishment upon them—idolatry (cf. Ex 32), sexual immora-
lity (cf. Num 25), grumbling against God and Moses (cf., for example, Ex 15:23-
25; 16:2-3; 17:2-7; Num 21:4-9; 17:6-15).

11-13. The events in the history of Israel mentioned in the Old Testament foretell
things which will happen when Christ comes (cf. note on 1 Cor 10:1-4); they are
also instructive for us. Here St Paul emphasizes that however many benefits God
showers on us, no one should think that his eternal salvation is assured. “The
greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the
sight of the Lord” (Sir 3:20); one must continually implore God’s help and not re-
ly on one’s own strength.

At the same time St Paul recalls God’s faithfulness (cf. also Phil 1:6; 1 Thess 5:
24; 2 Thess 3:3): God never allows us to be tempted beyond our strength, he al-
ways gives us the graces we need to win out. “If anyone plead human weakness
to excuse himself for not loving God, it should be explained that he who demands
our love pours into our hearts by the Holy Spirit the fervor of his love (cf. Rom 5:5);
and this good spirit our heavenly Father gives to those that ask him (cf. Lk 9:13).
With reason, therefore, did St Augustine pray: “Give what thou commandest, and
command what thou pleasest” (”Confessions”, X, 29,31 and 37). As, then, God
is ever ready to help us, especially since the death of Christ the Lord, by which
the prince of this world was cast out, there is no reason why anyone should be
disheartened by the difficulty of the undertaking. To him who loves, nothing is dif-
ficult” (”St Pius V Catechism”, III, 1, 7).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 03/02/2013 7:53:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 13:1-9

The Need for Repentance


[1] There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. [2] And he answered them,
“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Gali-
leans, because they suffered thus? [3] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you
will all likewise perish. [4] Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell
and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others
who dwelt in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all like-
wise perish.”

Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


[6] And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and
he came seeking fruit on it and found none. [7] And he said to the vinedresser,
‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none.
Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ [8] And he answered him, ‘Let it
alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. [9] And if it bears
fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-5. Our Lord used current events in his teaching. The Galileans referred to here
may be the same as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (5:37). The episode
was fairly typical of the times Jesus lived in, with Pilate sternly suppressing any
sign of civil unrest. We do not know anything about the accident at Siloam other
than what the Gospel tells us.

The fact that these people died in this way does not mean that they were worse
than others, for God does not always punish sinners in this life (cf. Jn 9:3). All
of us are sinners, meriting a much worse punishment than temporal misfortune:
we merit eternal punishment; but Christ has come to atone for our sins, he has
opened the gates of heaven. We must repent of our sins; otherwise God will not
free us from the punishment we deserve. “When you meet with suffering, the
Cross, your thought should be: what is this compared with what I deserve?” (St.
J. Escriva, “The Way”, 690)

3. “He tells us that, without Holy Baptism, no one will enter the Kingdom of
heaven (cf. Jn 3:5); and, elsewhere, that if we do not repent we will all perish (Lk
13:3). This is all easily understood. Ever since man sinned, all his senses rebel
against reason; therefore, if we want the flesh to be controlled by the spirit and
by reason, it must be mortified; if we do not want the body to be at war with the
soul, it and all our senses need to be chastened; if we desire to go to God, the
soul with all its faculties needs to be mortified” (St John Mary Vianney, “Selec-
ted Sermons”, Ash Wednesday).

6-9. Our Lord stresses that we need to produce plenty of fruit (cf. Lk 8:11-15) in
keeping with the graces we have received (cf. Lk 12:48). But he also tells us that
God waits patiently for this fruit to appear; he does not want the death of the sin-
ner; he wants him to be converted and to live (Ezek 33:11) and, as St Peter tea-
ches, he is “forbearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that
all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). But God’s clemency should not lead us
to neglect our duties and become lazy and, comfort-seeking, living sterile lives.
He is merciful, but he is also just and he will punish failure to respond to his
grace.

“There is one case that we should be especially sorry about—that of Christians
who could do more and don’t; Christians who could live all the consequences of
their vocation as children of God, but refuse to do so through lack of generosity.
We are partly to blame, for the grace of faith has not been given us to hide but
to share with others (cf. Mt 5:15f). We cannot forget that the happiness of these
people, in this life and in the next, is at stake. The Christian life is a divine won-
der with immediate promises of satisfaction and serenity—but on condition that
we know how to recognize the gift of God (cf. Jn 4:10) and be generous, not
counting the cost” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 147).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


6 posted on 03/02/2013 7:54:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading Exodus 3:1-8,13-15 ©
Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’ Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.
  And the Lord said, ‘I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow, the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.’
  Then Moses said to God, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.’

Psalm Psalm 102:1-4,6-8,11 ©
The Lord is compassion and love.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
  all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
  and never forget all his blessings.
The Lord is compassion and love.
It is he who forgives all your guilt,
  who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
  who crowns you with love and compassion,
The Lord is compassion and love.
The Lord does deeds of justice,
  gives judgement for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses
  and his deeds to Israel’s sons.
The Lord is compassion and love.
The Lord is compassion and love,
  slow to anger and rich in mercy.
For as the heavens are high above the earth
  so strong is his love for those who fear him.
The Lord is compassion and love.

Second reading 1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12 ©
I want to remind you, brothers, how our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in this cloud and in this sea; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them as they went, and that rock was Christ. In spite of this, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.
  These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain: some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.
  All this happened to them as a warning, and it was written down to be a lesson for us who are living at the end of the age. The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.

Gospel Acclamation Mt4:17
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Repent, says the Lord,
for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!

Gospel Luke 13:1-9 ©
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
  He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

7 posted on 03/02/2013 8:00:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Pray with Pope Benedict

Benedict XVI's Final General Audience
On Ash Wednesday
On God As Creator of Heaven and Earth
On Abraham's Faith
On Christ As Mediator Between God and Man
On the Incarnation
On God the Almighty Father
Year of Faith: Indulgences and Places of Pilgrimage [Ecumenical]
On the Identity of Jesus

On the Faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon (Catholic Caucus)
On The Unfolding of God's Self-Revelation
On the Beauty of God's Plan of Salvation
On Bearing Witness to the Christian Faith
On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced

On the Desire for God
On the Ecclesial Nature of Faith
On the Nature of Faith
Catechism's benefits explained for Year of Faith (Catholic Caucus)
A Life of Faith: Papal Theologian Speaks on the Grace of Faith
ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith

Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
Highlights in the Plan for Year of Faith: Traditional Events Will Take on Special Perspective
Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Miami Prelate Recalls Pope's Visit to Cuba, Looks to Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith

8 posted on 03/02/2013 8:06:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Your Guide To A Catholic Lent
Following the Truth: Lent: Becoming Uncomfortable About Being Comfortable [Catholic and Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Exercises – Week One [of Lent] In Review
Clerical Narcissism and Lent
Content of Pope's Lenten spiritual exercises revealed
How Lent Can Make a Difference in Your Relationship with God (Ecumenical Thread)
A Call from the FSSP French District: offer up your Lent for Catholic Unity [Catholic Caucus]
A Call from the FSSP French District: offer up your Lent for Catholic Unity [Catholic Caucus]
On the 40 Days of Lent
Christians Tailor Lent Outside Catholic Traditions
Christians Tailor Lent Outside Catholic Traditions
Lent, A Time to Shoulder Our Christian Responsibilities
Consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [Catholic Caucus]
Opinion: Lent for Redacted [Ekoomenikal]

Ash (or Clean) Monday - Lent Begins (for some Catholics) - February 20, 2012
[Why I Am Catholic]: Lent And Holy Week (A Primer) [Catholic Caucus]
Lent, A Time to Give from the Heart [Catholic caucus}
Learning the beatitudes during Lent -- use your Rosary to learn the Beatitutdes [Catholic Caucus]
Lenten Ember Days: March 16th, 18th, and 19th, 2011 (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. Vincent Ferrer - Sermon for the First Sunday of Lent [Ecumenical]
Pope describes ‘Lenten road’ that leads to renewal
St. Andrew of Crete, Great Canon of Repentance - Tuesday's portion (Orthodox/Latin Caucus)
The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (Monday's portion) [Orth/Cath Caucus]
Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
For Lent - Top 10 Bible Verses on Penance
Cana Sunday: Entrance into Great Lent
2011 Catechetical Homily on the opening of Holy and Great Lent
8 Ways to Pray During Lent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Baptists, Lent, and the Rummage Sale
So What Shall We Do during These Forty Days of Lent? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Lenten Traditions (Catholic Caucus)
Are You Scrupulous? A Lenten Homily by John Cardinal O’Connor
Blow the Trumpet! Call the Assembly! The Blessings of Fasting
Lenten Challenges

Lent and the Catholic Business Professional (Interview)
Temptations Correspond to Our Vulnerabilities: Biblical Reflection for 1st Sunday of Lent
A Lenten “Weight” Loss Program
On the Lenten Season
Lent 2010: Pierce Thou My Heart, Love Crucified [Catholic Caucus]
US seminarians begin Lenten pilgrimage to Rome's ancient churches
Conversion "is going against the current" of an "illusory way of life"[Pope Benedict XVI for Lent]
vanity] Hope you all make a good Lent [Catholic Caucus]
Lent -- Easter 2010, Reflections, Prayer, Actions Day by Day
Stational Churches (Virtually visit one each day and pray)
40 Ways to Get the Most Out of Lent!
What to Give Up (for Lent)? The List
On the Spiritual Advantages of Fasting [Pope Clement XIII]
Christ's temptation and ours (Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent)
Pope Benedict XVI Message for Lent 2010 (Feb 15 = Ash Monday & Feb 17 = Ash Wednesday)
Whatever happened to (Lenten) obligations? [Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving]Archbishop John Vlazny
Vatican Presents Lenten Website: LENT 2009
A Scriptural Way of the Cross with Meditations by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Lenten Prayer/Devotional)
Prayer, Fasting and Mercy by St. Peter Chrysologus, Early Church Father [Catholic Caucus]
History of Lent (Did the Church always have this time before Easter?)

Beginning of Lent
Lent (Catholic Encyclopedia - Caucus Thread)
At Lent, let us pray for the Pope (converts ask us to pray for the pope)
Daily Lenten Reflections 2009
LENTEN STATIONS [Stational Churches for Lent] (Catholic Caucus)
40 Days for Life campaign is now under way (February 25 - April 5]
This Lent, live as if Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of your life
Reconciliation, forgiveness, hope – and Lent
Intro to Fast and Abstinence 101
Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself (with Scriptural references)
40 Ways to Improve Your Lent
Everything Lent (Lots of links)
The Best Kind of Fasting
Getting Serious About Lent
Lent Overview
Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ [Devotional]
On Lent... and Lourdes (Benedict XVI's Angelus address)
Lent for Newbies
Lent -- 2008 -- Come and Pray Each Day
Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself

Lenten Workshop [lots of ideas for all]
Lent and Reality
Forty Days (of Lent) [Devotional/Reflections]
Pope Benedict takes his own advice, plans to go on retreat for Lent
GUIDE FOR LENT - What the Catholic Church Says
Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2008
40 Days for Life: 2008 Campaigns [Lent Registration this week]
Vatican Web Site Focuses on Lent
Almsgiving [Lent]
Conversion Through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving [Lent]
Lenten Stations -- Stational Churches - visit each with us during Lent {Catholic Caucus}
Something New for Lent: Part I -- Holy Souls Saturdays
Reflections for Lent (February, March and April, 2007)
Lent 2007: The Love Letter Written by Pope Benedict
Pre-Lent through Easter Prayer and Reflections -- 2007
Stations of the Cross [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
For study and reflection during Lent - Mind, Heart, Soul [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Fast-Family observance Lenten season [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Pre-Lenten Days -- Family activities-Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras)[Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
40 Ways to Get the Most Out of Lent! [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

Lenten Fasting or Feasting? [Catholic Caucus]
Pope's Message for Lent-2007
THE TRUE NATURE OF FASTING (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
The Triduum and 40 Days
The Three Practices of Lent: Praying, Fasting. Almsgiving
Why We Need Lent
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI FOR LENT 2006
Lent a Time for Renewal, Says Benedict XVI
Why You Should Celebrate Lent
Getting the Most Out of Lent
Lent: A Time to Fast >From Media and Criticism Says President of Pontifical Liturgical Institute
Give it up (making a Lenten sacrifice)
The History of Lent
The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence
The Holy Season of Lent -- The Stations of the Cross
Lent and Fasting
Mardi Gras' Catholic Roots [Shrove Tuesday]
Kids and Holiness: Making Lent Meaningful to Children
Ash Wednesday
All About Lent

9 posted on 03/02/2013 8:07:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
40 Days for Life: Vision and Mission, February 13 - March 24, 2013
10 posted on 03/02/2013 8:09:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 03/02/2013 8:25:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
12 posted on 03/02/2013 8:27:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Prayer for the Election of a New Pope

13 posted on 03/02/2013 8:28:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


14 posted on 03/02/2013 8:30:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

15 posted on 03/02/2013 8:32:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


16 posted on 03/02/2013 8:33:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
March Devotion: Saint Joseph

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Due to the solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19, this month is devoted to this great saint, the foster father of Christ. "It greatly behooves Christians, while honoring the Virgin Mother of God, constantly to invoke with deep piety and confidence her most chaste spouse, Saint Joseph. We have a well grounded conviction that such is the special desire of the Blessed Virgin herself." --Pope Leo XIII

FOR OUR WORK
Glorious Saint Joseph, pattern of all who are devoted to toil, obtain for me the grace to toil in the spirit of penance, in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to toil conscientiously, putting devotion to duty before my own inclinations; to labor with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to employ and to develop, by my labor, the gifts I have received from Almighty God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties; to work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill-spent, of talents unemployed, of good undone, and of my empty pride in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of thee, 0 Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my motto in life and in death. Amen.

FOR THE INTERCESSION OF SAINT JOSEPH
O Joseph, virgin-father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray every day for us to the same Jesus, the Son of God, that we, being defended by the power of His grace and striving dutifully in life, may be crowned by Him at the hour of death.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

St. Joseph
St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, "Foster-father of Jesus." About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God's greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary's pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah's virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

Of St. Joseph's death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ's public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history. Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honor. Liturgical veneration of St. Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts. Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena. St. Teresa, too, did much to further his cult.

At present there are two major feasts in his honor. On March 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption, while on May 1 we honor him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

St. Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters, and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; California; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; Church; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; Mexico; Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; pregnant women; protection of the Church; Diocese of San Jose, California; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin Italy; Tyrol Austria; unborn children Universal Church; Vatican II; Viet Nam; Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.

Symbols: Bible; branch; capenter's square; carpenter's tools; chalice; cross; hand tools; infant Jesus; ladder; lamb; lily; monstrance; old man holding a lily and a carpenter's tool such as a square; old man holding the infant Jesus; plane; rod.

 

 
Prayer to St. Joseph

Pope Pius X composed this prayer to St. Joseph, patron of working people, that expresses concisely the Christian attitude toward labor. It summarizes also for us the lessons of the Holy Family's work at Nazareth.

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who devote their lives to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, setting devotion to duty in preference to my own whims; to work with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to employ and to develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties; to work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill spent, of talents wasted, of good omitted, and of vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of you, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my motto in life and in death, Amen.

Litany of Saint Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Joseph,
pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Light of the Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-Father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Faithful Protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most courageous, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of working men, pray for us.
Ornament of the domestic life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of the family, pray for us.
Consoler of the miserable, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church,
pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house.
R. And ruler of all His possessions.

Let us pray.
O God, who in Thy ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may have him for our intercessor in Heaven, whom on earth we venerate as out most holy Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Was St. Joseph a tzadik?
St. Joseph: Patron saint of three Popes [Catholic Caucus]
St. Joseph and the Staircase
St. Joseph, Foster Father, Novena [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Patron of a “Happy Death” A Special Role for St. Joseph [Catholic/Orhtodox Caucus]
Lists Every Catholic Should be Familiar With: The 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. Joseph
Catholic Group Blasts Pelosi For Invoking St. Joseph on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
THE SEVEN SORROWS AND SEVEN JOYS OF ST. JOSEPH
Joseph, Mary and Jesus: A Model Family
Season of Announcement - Revelation to Joseph

In hard times, don't forget about the humble carpenter Joseph
Saint Joseph: Complete submission to the will of God (Pope Benedict XVI) (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. Joseph, Patron of a Peaceful Death [Catholic Caucus]
Octave: St. Joseph, A 'Man’s Man', Calling Men to Jesus
St. Teresa de Avila's Devotion to St. Joseph (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Men's National Day of Prayer, MARCH 15, 2008, The Solemnity of St. Joseph (Catholic Caucus)
The Role and Responsibility of Fatherhood - St. Joseph as Model
St. Joseph - Foster Father of Jesus
Some divine intervention in real estate-[Bury St. Joseph Statues in Ground]

Many Turn To Higher Power For Home Sales
St. Joseph the Worker, Memorial, May 1
Catholic Devotions: St. Joseph the Worker
Nothing Will Be Denied Him (St. Joseph)
The Heart of a Father [St. Joseph]
St. Joseph's DAY
Quemadmodum Deus - Decree Under Blessed Pius IX, Making St. Joseph Patron of the Church
Father & Child (Preaching on St. Joseph)
March 19 - Feast of St. Joseph - Husband of Mary - Intercessor of civil leaders
St. Joseph's Spirit of Silence

St. Joseph's Humility (By St. Francis de Sales)
St. Joseph [Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary], Solemnity, March 19
St Joseph’s Paternal Love
The Heart of St. Joseph
MORE THAN PATRON OF HOMES, IT'S TIME FOR ST. JOSEPH TO GAIN HIGHEST OF RECOGNITION [Fatherhood]
The Importance of Devotion to St. Joseph
St. Francis de Sales on St. Joseph (Some Excerpts for St. Joseph's Day 2004)
St. Joseph: REDEMPTORIS CUSTOS (Guardian Of The Redeemer)
(Saint) Joseph the Patriarch: A Reflection on the Solemnity of St. Joseph
How I Rediscovered a "Neglected" Saint: Work of Art Inspires Young Man to Rediscover St. Joseph


Novena to Saint Joseph

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath, Amen.

O Saint Joseph, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. O Saint Joseph, pray for me. (mention your intention)

St. Joseph Novena

O good father Joseph! I beg you,  by all your sufferings, sorrows and joys, to obtain for me what I ask.

(Here name your petition).

Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers, everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Be near to me in my last moments, that I may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)


17 posted on 03/02/2013 8:34:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

The Pope's Intentions are set up a year ahead.  By the end of March we should have a Pope who can then take ownership of these prayers.

March 2013

Pope's Intentions

Respect for Nature

 That respect for nature may grow with the awareness that all creation is God's work entrusted to human responsibility.

Clergy

That bishops, priests, and deacons may be tireless messengers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.


18 posted on 03/02/2013 8:35:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY LK 13:1-9
Pleasure and pain
Fr. Jerry J. Pokorsky

At first glance it may seem that pleasure and pain are by nature polar opposites and form the basis of good morality: Avoid pain and seek pleasure. But a close inspection of pleasure and pain experiences reveals mysterious anomalies. Often the choice to pursue unlimited pleasure results in horrible pain. And curiously there is always a definite limit on one’s experience of pleasure, but apparently no comparable limit in the experience of pain.

The pains caused by certain pleasure-seeking violations of the Sixth Commandment, for example, a commandment intended to regulate the sexual appetite, are numerous, embarrassing and, as detailed by medical authorities, are not for the faint of heart. (This makes one wonder why medical professionals are not more vocal in promoting — if not good morality — good health practices that naturally coincide with good morality.) Conversely many painful medical procedures are necessary to bring healing and, if not pleasure, at least the absence of pathological pain.

We may be disheartened to realize the experience of pleasure is not only limited, but can easily be diminished. A child gobbling chocolate Easter eggs soon learns to limit his pursuit of pleasure.

There are numerous stories of NFL players, upon winning the Super Bowl, experiencing a depressing sense of emptiness after the game.

Even devoted fans are not satisfied in the moment of victory: During the celebrations they start discussing their team’s chances next year.

(St. Augustine summed up the futility of earthly treasures when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”)

But the experience of pain seems to have no limit, except the limit brought on by death. Chronic back pain, for example, the result of nerve damage, is greatly feared because of the difficulty in treating neurological breakdown with pain-killing drugs. The pain of heart that comes with the loss of a loved one cannot be wished away. It is no wonder that in the writings of St. Ambrose, death is offered as a gift from God because only death offers ultimate relief from the pain and sorrows of this life.

The meaning of pain and suffering in God’s providence is indeed mysterious. But insight can be gained by considering the interplay between God’s revelation and human reason. We know from the Book of Wisdom that we were not made by God to suffer and die: “Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being, and the creatures of the world are wholesome; there is not a destructive drug among them” (Wis 1:13-14). God is not the author of suffering and death. As the Book of Genesis reveals, suffering and death entered the world because of the sin of Adam.

Compounding the original sin of Adam and Eve, we often have our personal sins to blame for our suffering. Before we embark on lives of hedonism, we would do well to call to mind this old homespun insight: God always forgives; man sometimes forgives; nature never forgives. When disease strikes because of our sinful behavior in pursuit of worldly pleasures, the pain should remind us we have ourselves to blame, a self-accusation that ought to lead to repentance.

Of course, not all suffering is the result of our personal sins. A good deal of human suffering is completely innocent, or the result of the sins of others. We call to mind starving children and victims of wars, or even the suffering related to a failing body in old age. We must insist God does not delight in our suffering, but in union with the sufferings of Christ our suffering can be used, however mysteriously, for the sanctification of ourselves and others. We take at face value those enigmatic words of St. Paul: “Rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). The true and tried practice of “offering up our sufferings” is not merely a pious practice; it can be truly heroic.

The memory of Pope John Paul II’s unabashed suffering in union with Christ continues to be an inspiration for all of us.

But there is another kind of suffering that is not innocent and is not the result of sinful violations of nature (not all sin has a direct impact on physical health). In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear of an atrocity committed by Pontius Pilate against Galileans. Although the details of the murders are not clear, Christ asks, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means.” But Christ continues with a revelation about the terrible consequences of our sinful transgressions. He says, “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.”

The revelation points to the gravity of sin, a gravity that is easy to overlook in our hedonistic culture. A serious reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel ought to have a sobering — even chilling — effect on us and ought to fuel our resolve for true repentance for all our sins.

Our rule of life had better not be, “Choose pleasure; avoid pain.”

The only rule of life that leads to eternal life is, “Do good; avoid evil.”

May we respond to this Lenten season of grace with heartfelt repentance.

Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Parish in Annandale.


19 posted on 03/02/2013 8:46:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
The Work of god

I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year C

 -  3rd Sunday of Lent

I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.

I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Luke 13:1-9

1 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them -- do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.
7 So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?'
8 He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.
9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.' " (NRSV)

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

3rd Sunday of Lent - I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Nothing happens in this world unless I allow it to happen, good and evil occur as part of my plan. There are many secret things stored in my will for all of you, I can bring fortune or disaster because I am the Supreme Being in full control of my creation.

Yet many times some count themselves fortunate at the expense of others who are receiving bad fortune. It does not mean that some are better than others and escape the power of the will of God; it simply means that there is a time for good fortune but there is also a time for disaster.

What I expect from the man who is doing well in his life is appreciation for my gifts. I have given him a life full of talents, so that he will have to render an account for them. The man who remembers me and praises me with thanksgiving is very fortunate indeed, he becomes my favorite son and my blessings flow daily upon his life. When disaster strikes, he is fully prepared. On the other hand the man who turns away from me and does what is displeasing in my sight is defying me and asking for divine retribution. When disaster comes he will perish not only physically but also spiritually.

When I started preaching the Good News of my Kingdom I called everyone to repent, to turn away from evil, to appreciate the goodness of God in their lives and to come to Him with a humble and contrite heart. Those who hear my word and keep it are doing that exactly; they are given the wisdom to appreciate the gifts of God and to praise him daily with a grateful heart.

The lesson of the fig tree serves to teach man about the power of God over creation and about the weakness of humanity before the Almighty. It is also a reminder of my mercy, which patiently waits for a change of heart.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


20 posted on 03/02/2013 8:54:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

oops.

Work of God


21 posted on 03/02/2013 8:56:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Archdiocese of Washington

Mercy and Patience Now, but sooner or later, Judgement must come. Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

By:

There’s an old Johnny Cash song that is rooted in today’s Gospel, a song that says,

You can run on for a long time, But sooner or later God will cut you down. Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider, tell the rambler, the gambler, the back-biter, tell em that God’s gonna cut em down, sooner or later God’ll cut em down.

Now of course these verses of the song go right to the end point of judgement. But there is more to the story, a story of offered mercy and patience, but in the end there is a judgment.

We live in times that are dismissive of judgment, or that the judgment will result in anything but instant entrance to glory.

Today’s gospel contains a kind of necessary balance that speaks of God’s patience and care now, but also speaks of the day of reckoning, the day of judgment that must finally come when our decision is final and also adjudicated by God, and there will be no turning back.

Let’s look at this Gospel in two main parts:

I. The Proclamation of the Problem - The Gospel opens with the following lines:

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!

In effect what Jesus is saying is that is so easy for us to focus on the sins of others and fail to discern our own need for repentance and mercy. Before God we are all beggars, all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (cf Romans 3:23). Every one of us is in need of boatloads of grace and mercy. And while we may rightly distinguish that there is a difference here on earth in the sanctity of a Mother Theresa and the wretchedness of Hitler, yet before God we are all far short of the glory and holiness of God. We are all beggars.

Sin surely does have its effects in the lives of others and we are not asked to be blind to that. There is important truth in learning from the example of others, and we can learn form good example as well as bad example. But the point is to learn! We miss the point if all we do is stand around when someone suffers the effects of sin and say, “My, my my, God don’t like ugly!” Well then, if that be the case, what about the ugly in us? What about our own sin?

And thus to our all-too-eager question, “What about them O Lord!?” Jesus replies, “What about you? Stay in your own lane and work on your issues and leave their final fate to me. Judgement and punishment don’t just come others, if you don’t watch out, they will come to you as well.” And just to make sure we get it the Lord adds: [And] I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!

In effect, the Lord tells us to get serious about our sin and what it can do to us. The most serious problem in life is not the manner of our death, or even that we physically die. The most serious problem we face is not Pilate, or any political misfortune; it is not falling towers or any physical threat; it is not financial setback, or suffering, or losing our job, or losing our possessions. The most serious problem we face is our sin.

Now we don’t think like this. We minimize the maximum and maximize the minimum. We get all worked up about lesser things, and often completely ignore greater things. We are forever worked up about passing things like health and money, and give little heed to the things of eternity and to getting ready to go and meet God. Let our physical health be threatened even for a moment and we are instantly on our knees begging God for deliverance. But let our sins pile up and sinful drives be eating at our very soul and we take little notice and have little care to be delivered from things that are far more serious than mere cancer.

The Lord says, If your right hand causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body cast into hell (Matt 5:30). Pay attention, the Lord is saying that it is more serious to sin than to lose my right hand.

Again, we don’t think like this. If I were to lose my right hand I would lament this day for the rest of my life. The very thought of losing my hand gives me stabbing grief. But then why don’t we think of our sin this way? See how obtuse we are? See how distorted our priorities are?

One day the Lord looked at a paralyzed man and decided to cure his most serious problem. And thus he said to the quadriplegic, Your sins are forgiven. Could his sins have been more serious than his paralysis? Yes!

And thus the Lord warns us that we ought to be more serious about our sins lest we perish, not merely losing our earthly life, but more so, our eternal life. . The very fact that the solution to our problem required the death of the Son of God, indicates that we are evidently in worse shape than we think and that without our repentance and the magnificent mercy of God, something far worse than having a tower fall on us, or our enemies kill us might happen. Elsewhere the Lord says: I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Lk 12:4-5). Now, to be sure, the Lord does not counsel here a cringing and avoidant fear, but a respectful fear that is willing to be serious about judgement day, and realize that its effect is eternal unlike the passing quality of any earthly encounter.

Having portrayed the problem and underscored its seriousness both here and in other places, the Lord them reminds us that he is willing to help us to get ready with his grace and mercy. And, hence, he sets forth a process in which we must cooperate, for the day of judgment will surely come. Lets look at the Process.

II. The Portrayal of the Process - And thus the Lord tells a parable that sets forth the process in which we are currently engaged, a process of patience and mercy but leading ultimately to the finality of judgment. Note the following steps:

1. ASSESSMENT - There was once a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard and when he came in search of fruit on it and found none said to the gardener, “For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this tree and have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?

Faith is a fruit bearing tree. It is to bear the fruits of love, of justice, of the keeping of the commandments. Now the Lord looks for these fruits and often, through our conscience and by his Word, and He assesses if such fruits are present.

Many claim to have faith, many claim to be fruitful in what the Lord seeks. But, as owner of the field, it is He who sets the terms. We are not a judge in our own case. It is the Lord’s on-going work to assess our progress and and fruitfulness and it is he who has the right to determine if the necessary fruits are present.

Yet many today in this proud age claim the right to assess their own status, and many make bold proclamations that God would not “dare” find in them anything substantial to be lacking. And in presumption many declare themselves to be safe, fruitful and righteous.

But this is not for us to say. In the parable it is the owner, the Lord, who makes the assessment. And note that in this parable he proposes that something significant is lacking.

And yet, some interlocutor, here called the gardener, but let us call her the Church, asks mercy and time. And as we shall see such mercy and time is granted along with necessary supplies (grace) to help accomplish what is sought, namely the fruit of faith. And this leads us to stage two in the process.

2. ASSISTANCE - The text goes on to describe the prayers and requests of the gardener, in this case Mother Church: Sir leave it for this year also. I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it. It may bear fruit in the future.

And thus we see that the Lord, the owner of the garden not only grants the request but will also be the one to supply the necessary helps to draw forth the fruits patiently awaited.

Indeed, the Lord sends us help and graces in so many ways:

  1. He speaks in our conscience, has written his law in our hearts
  2. He gave us the law
  3. He sent us prophets
  4. He punishes our wrong doings to bring us to repentance. Before I was afflicted I strayed. But now I have kept your word. (Ps 119:67) And again,  But God disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:10)
  5. Sent us his Son!
  6. Who established the Church
  7. And gave us the grace and the Sacraments
  8. And It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. [That we be] no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Eph 4: 11-17)

Yes, see how much God has done for us! He has graced us in every way and entrusted to the Church, in answer to here pleas, every necessary grace to bear fruit. And now he patiently awaits. Looking to return again to seek the fruits that are necessary for those who claim to have saving faith, fruits that are necessary to be able to endure the day of his comings, fruits which are necessary that we have the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14)! Indeed we cannot see or endure his presence without the fruit of holiness by his grace. For as Scripture says, Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or Who may stand in his holy place?Only he who has clean hands and a pure heart (Ps 24:3-4). And only God can accomplish this. But he who made us without us will not save us without us, and thus we must, by his grace, renounce our sin and accept his grace.

3. ACCEPTANCE - The parable ends simply with this line:  If not you can cut it down.

The word “acceptance” is chosen carefully here, for judgement is not so much God’s decision, but rather, is his acceptance of our decision to bear fruit or to refuse to bear fruit, to accept or refuse his offer of the bearing the fruits of faith such as chastity, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, love of the poor, appreciation of the truth and so forth.

The day of judgement amounts to the day when God accepts our final choice. Our judgment is not so much a passing of sentence on us but is rather the recognition of the final and absolute choice we have made.

Mysteriously it would seem that there comes a day when change for us is no longer possible. What we are remains fixed forever. Even as we get older we note how it is harder to change. We are like concrete that sets, and becomes ever harder. We are like pottery which begins moist and malleable but when subjected to the fire has a shape that is forever fixed.

And thus the Lord teaches us to be serious about sin and about the day of judgement. For now there is mercy and every grace available to us, thank you Jesus! But there comes a day when our decision is finally called, and forever fixed.

The Gospel today teaches beautifully of God’s patience, but ultimately of our need for mercy, (we are all beggars before God), and warns us that our decision will finally be called. Yes, there is a Day of Judgement and it closes in on us all.

Talking about how we sang “Kum bah ya” etc., will not suffice. St. Paul also warns in today’s second reading against presumption and of us trying to serve as a judge in our own case:

Our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. (1 Cor 10:1:ff)

For now there is mercy! But there comes a day of ratification, of judgement, when the question is called and the lasting answer is supplied, not so much by God as by us.

Be careful, your flesh says, “No worries!” But the Lord says “Repent!”

This song by Johnny Cash rooted in the image from today’s parable warns:

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time,
run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Well, you may throw your rock
and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.

Go tell that long tongue liar,
go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler,
the back biter
Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut you down


22 posted on 03/02/2013 9:02:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Lent
Reading I:
Exodus 3:1-8,13-15 II: 1Cor 10:1-6,10-12
Gospel
Luke 13:1-9

1 There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus?
3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silo'am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
6 And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
7 And he said to the vinedresser, 'Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?'
8 And he answered him, 'Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure.
9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"


Interesting Details
  • (vv.1-5) Luke alone records these incidents. In this highly politically charged atmosphere of Roman-occupied Palestine, Jesus faces yet another trap. If He ignores this event, He will be accused of insensivity to His people. But if He criticizes Pilate, He will probably be reported to the Roman authorities and be punished by them.
  • The fig tree would have three years to grow after planting. From then, the tree bears fruit ten months out of the year, and so one can reasonably expect to find fruit at almost any time. The fruit of the next three years is considered forbidden (Lev 19:23). The fruit of the seventh year is considered clean and ought to be offered to the Lord (Lev 19:24). The owner in this parable has come seeking fruit for three years, hence it is nine years since planting, and yet it is still barren.
  • The parable is not about trees but about the nation's leadership: the scribes and the chief priests. They (= the fig trees) are stealing life from the people (= the vineyard; Isa. 5:7). Jesus accuses them as fruitless and should be rooted out. Later, in 20:19, they understand that the vineyard parables are directed to them.
  • Luke's approach of the fig tree stories is particularly interesting. Unlike Matthew & Mark which relate an encounter between Jesus and a fig tree bearing no fruit. But in Luke, the fig tree is allowed to have more time; indeed, it has already had its time.

One Main Point

What took place in Galilee and at Siloam were not judgments of God. But a severe judgment lies ahead for another place, Jerusalem, where God established a dwelling place among the chosen people.


Reflections
  1. Am I so often focused on the evils to be uprooted that I neglect the need for personal reform as well?
  2. If I learned that I will die tomorrow, what is the one thing that I would have done differently? How hard would it be for me to do that every day?

23 posted on 03/02/2013 9:08:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Third Sunday of Lent
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9

Fidélium ánimae per misericordiam Dei requiéscant in pace. Amen May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

-- Fidélium ánimae


24 posted on 03/02/2013 9:11:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

25 posted on 03/02/2013 9:13:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Daily Gospel Commentary

Third Sunday of Lent - Year C
Commentary of the day
Asterius of Amasea (?-c.410), Bishop
Homily no.13, on conversion ; PG 40, 356-357,361 (trans. breviary 1st Thursday of Lent rev.)

Imitating God's patience

If you want to live up to the standard set by God, you must imitate his example in whose likeness you are made. You are Christians and that very name means that “friend of man” (cf. Wsd 1,6). You must imitate the charity and love of Christ. Meditate carefully on the richness of Christ's charity...  Look at how he received those who listened to his voice. He gave them a ready pardon for their sins and in a moment he quickly freed them from those who troubled them...  Let us be shepherds after the style of our Lord...

Sketched out in the gospel in parables and hidden sayings, I find a man who is shepherd of a hundred sheep (Lk 15,4). When one of them left the flock and wandered off the shepherd did not stay with those who stayed grazing in the flock without wandering. On the contrary, he went off to search for the single stray. He followed it through countless valleys and ravines, climbed many difficult mountains, searched with great trouble in lonely places, until he found it. When he had found the lost sheep, far from beating it or driving it to return to the flock, he laid it on his shoulders and gently carried it back and returned it to its fellows. The Good Shepherd rejoiced more over this one that was found, than over all the others.

Let us think over the hidden meaning of this parable... The whole story has a sacred meaning and it warns us not to think of any man as lost or beyond hope. We must not easily despair of those who are in danger or be slow to help them. If they stray from the path of virtue, we should lead them back and rejoice in their return and make it easy for them to rejoin the community of those who lead good and holy lives.


26 posted on 03/02/2013 9:16:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


27 posted on 03/02/2013 9:18:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Please see your FR mail.


28 posted on 03/02/2013 9:54:00 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: Salvation

Thank you so much, dearest Salvation.


29 posted on 03/02/2013 9:55:07 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: Salvation
Luke
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 13
1 AND there were present, at that very time, some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Aderant autem quidam ipso in tempore, nuntiantes illi de Galilæis, quorum sanguinem Pilatus miscuit cum sacrificiis eorum. παρησαν δε τινες εν αυτω τω καιρω απαγγελλοντες αυτω περι των γαλιλαιων ων το αιμα πιλατος εμιξεν μετα των θυσιων αυτων
2 And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things? Et respondens dixit illis : Putatis quod hi Galilæi præ omnibus Galilæis peccatores fuerint, quia talia passi sunt ? και αποκριθεις ο ιησους ειπεν αυτοις δοκειτε οτι οι γαλιλαιοι ουτοι αμαρτωλοι παρα παντας τους γαλιλαιους εγενοντο οτι τοιαυτα πεπονθασιν
3 No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Non, dico vobis : sed nisi pœnitentiam habueritis, omnes similiter peribitis. ουχι λεγω υμιν αλλ εαν μη μετανοητε παντες ωσαυτως απολεισθε
4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them: think you, that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? Sicut illi decem et octo, supra quos cecidit turris in Siloë, et occidit eos : putatis quia et ipsi debitores fuerint præter omnes homines habitantes in Jerusalem ? η εκεινοι οι δεκα και οκτω εφ ους επεσεν ο πυργος εν τω σιλωαμ και απεκτεινεν αυτους δοκειτε οτι ουτοι οφειλεται εγενοντο παρα παντας ανθρωπους τους κατοικουντας εν ιερουσαλημ
5 No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Non, dico vobis : sed si pœnitentiam non egeritis, omnes similiter peribitis. ουχι λεγω υμιν αλλ εαν μη μετανοητε παντες ομοιως απολεισθε
6 He spoke also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. Dicebat autem et hanc similitudinem : Arborem fici habebat quidam plantatam in vinea sua, et venit quærens fructum in illa, et non invenit. ελεγεν δε ταυτην την παραβολην συκην ειχεν τις εν τω αμπελωνι αυτου πεφυτευμενην και ηλθεν ζητων καρπον εν αυτη και ουχ ευρεν
7 And he said to the dresser of the vineyard: Behold, for these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it done therefore: why cumbereth it the ground? Dixit autem ad cultorem vineæ : Ecce anni tres sunt ex quo venio quærens fructum in ficulnea hac, et non invenio : succide ergo illam : ut quid etiam terram occupat ? ειπεν δε προς τον αμπελουργον ιδου τρια ετη ερχομαι ζητων καρπον εν τη συκη ταυτη και ουχ ευρισκω εκκοψον αυτην ινα τι και την γην καταργει
8 But he answering, said to him: Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it, and dung it. At ille respondens, dicit illi : Domine dimitte illam et hoc anno, usque dum fodiam circa illam, et mittam stercora, ο δε αποκριθεις λεγει αυτω κυριε αφες αυτην και τουτο το ετος εως οτου σκαψω περι αυτην και βαλω κοπρια
9 And if happily it bear fruit: but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. et siquidem fecerit fructum : sin autem, in futurum succides eam. καν μεν ποιηση καρπον ει δε μηγε εις το μελλον εκκοψεις αυτην

30 posted on 03/03/2013 7:13:35 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
1. There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2. And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3. I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
4. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5. I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

GLOSS. As He had been speaking of the punishments of sinners, the story is fitly told Him of the punishment of certain particular sinners, from which He takes occasion to denounce vengeance also against other sinners: as it is said, There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

CYRIL; For these were followers of the opinions of Judas of Galilee, of whom Luke makes mention in the Acts of the Apostles, who said, that we ought to call no man master. Great numbers of them refusing to acknowledge Caesar as their master, were therefore punished by Pilate. They said also that men ought not to offer God any sacrifices that were not ordained in the law of Moses, and so forbade to offer the sacrifices appointed by the people for the safety of the Emperor and the Roman people. Pilate then, being enraged against the Galileans, ordered them to be slain in the midst of the very victims which they thought they might offer according to the custom of their law; so that the blood of the offerers was mingled with that of the victims offered. Now it being generally believed that these Galileans were most justly punished, as sowing offences among the people, the rulers, eager to excite against Him the hatred of the people, relate these things to the Savior, wishing to discover what He thought about them. But He, admitting them to be sinners, does not however judge them to have suffered such things, as though they were worse than those who suffered not. Whence it follows, And he answered an said to them, Suppose you that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, &c.

CHRYS. For God punishes some sinners by cutting off their iniquities, and appointing to them hereafter a lighter punishment, or perhaps even entirely releasing them, and correcting those who are living in wickedness by their punishment. Again, he does not punish others, that if they take heed to themselves by repentance they may escape both the present penalty and future punishment, but if they continue in their sins, suffer still greater torment.

TIT. BOST. And he here plainly shows, that whatever judgments are passed for the punishment of the guilty, happen not only by the authority of the judges, but the will of God. Whether therefore the judge punishes upon the strict grounds of conscience, or has some other object in his condemnation, we must ascribe the work to the Divine appointment.

CYRIL; To save therefore the multitudes, from the intestine seditions, which were excited for the sake of religion, He adds, but unless you repent, and unless you cease to conspire against your rulers, for which you have no divine guidance, You shall all likewise perish, and your blood shall be united to that of your sacrifices.

CHRYS. And herein he shows that He permitted them to suffer such things, that the heirs of the kingdom yet living might be dismayed by the dangers of others. "What then," you will say, "is this man punished, that I might become better?" Nay, but he is punished for his own crimes, and hence arises an opportunity of salvation to those who see it.

BEDE; But because they repented not in the fortieth year of our Lord's Passion, the Romans coming, (whom Pilate represented, as belonging to their nation,) and beginning from Galilee, (whence our Lord's preaching had begun,) utterly destroyed that wicked nation, and defiled with human blood not only the courts of the temples, where they were wont to offer sacrifices, but also the inner parts of the doors, (where there was no entrance to the Galileans.)

CHRYS. Again, there had been eighteen others crushed to death by the falling of a tower, of whom He adds the same things, as it follows, Or those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay, For he does not punish all in this life, giving them a time meet for repentance. Nor however does he reserve all for future punishment, lest men should deny His providence.

TIT. BOST. Now one tower is compared to the whole city, that the destruction of a part may alarm the whole. Hence it is added, But, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish; as if He said, The whole city shall shortly be smitten if the inhabitants continue in impenitence.

AMBROSE; In those whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, there seems to be a certain mystical type, which concerns all who by the compulsion of the Devil offer not a pure sacrifice, whose prayer is for a sin, as it was written of Judas, who when he was amongst the sacrifices devised the betrayal of our Lord's blood.

BEDE; For Pilate, who is interpreted, "The mouth of the hammerer," signifies the devil ever ready to strike. The blood expresses sin, the sacrifices good actions. Pilate then mingles the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices when the devil stains the alms and other good works of the faithful either by carnal indulgence, or by courting the praise of men, or any other defilement. Those men of Jerusalem also who were crushed by the falling of the tower, signify that the Jews who refuse to repent will perish within their own walls. Nor without meaning is the number eighteen given, (which number among the Greeks is made up of I and H, that is, of the same letters with which the name of Jesus begins.) And it signifies that the Jews were chiefly to perish, because they would not receive the name of the Savior. That tower represents Him who is the tower of strength. And this is rightly in Siloam, which is interpreted, "sent;" for it signifies Him who, sent by the Father, came into the world, and who shall grind to powder all on whom He falls.

6. He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7. Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it down: why cumbers it the ground?
8. And he answering; said to him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9. And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.

TIT. BOST. The Jews were boasting, that while the eighteen had perished, they all remained unhurt. He therefore sets before them the parable of the fig tree, for it follows, He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard.

AMBROSE; There was a vineyard of the Lord of hosts, which He gave for a spoil to the Gentiles. And the comparison of the fig tree to the synagogue is well chosen, because as that tree abounds with wide and spreading foliage, and deceives the hopes of its possessor with the vain expectation of promised fruit, so also in the synagogue, while its teachers are unfruitful in good works, yet magnify themselves with words as with abundant leaves, the empty shadow of the law stretches far and wide. This tree also is the only one which puts forth fruit in place of flowers. And the fruit falls, that other fruit may succeed; yet some few of the former remain, and do not fall. For the first people of the synagogue fell off as a useless fruit, in order that out of the fruitfulness of the old religion might arise the new people of the Church; yet they who were the first out of Israel whom a branch of a stronger nature bore, under the shadow of the law and the cross, in the bosom of both, stained with a double juice after the example of a ripening fig, surpassed all others in the grace of most excellent fruits; to whom it is said, You shall sit upon twelve thrones. Some however think the fig tree to be a figure not of the synagogue, but of wickedness and treachery; y et these differ in nothing from what has gone before, except that they choose the genus instead of the species.

BEDE; The Lord Himself who established the synagogue by Moses, came born in the flesh, and frequently teaching in the synagogue, sought for the fruits of faith, but in the hearts of the Pharisees found none; therefore it follows, And came seeking fruit on it, and found none.

AMBROSE; But our Lord sought, not because He was ignorant that the fig tree had no fruit, but that He might show in a figure that the synagogue ought by this time to have fruit. Lastly, from what follows, He teaches that He Himself came not before the time who came after three years. For so it is said, Then said he to the dresser of the vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none. He came to Abraham, He came to Moses, He came to Mary, that is, He came in the seal of the covenant, He came in the law, He came in the body. We recognise His coming by His gifts; at one time purification, at another sanctification, at another justification. Circumcision purified, the law sanctified, grace justified. The Jewish people then could not be purified because they had not the circumcision of the heart, but of the body; nor be sanctified, because ignorant of the meaning of the law, they followed carnal things rather than spiritual; nor justified, because not working repentance for the their offences, they knew nothing of grace. Rightly then was there no fruit found in the synagogue, and consequently it is ordered to be cut down; for it follows, Cut it down, why cumbers it the ground? But the merciful dresser, perhaps meaning him on whom the Church is founded, foreseeing that another would be sent to the Gentiles, but he himself to them who were of the circumcision, piously intercedes that it may not be cut off; trusting to his calling, that the Jewish people also might be saved through the Church.

Hence it follows, And he answering said to him, Lord, let it alone this year also. He soon perceived hardness of bears and pride to be the causes of the barrenness of the Jews. He knew therefore how to discipline, who knew how to censure faults. Therefore adds He, till I shall dig about it. He promises that the hardness of their hearts shall be dug about by the Apostles' spades, lest a heap of earth cover up and obscure the root of wisdom. And He adds, and dung it, that is, by the grace of humility, by which even the fig is thought to become fruitful toward the Gospel of Christ. Hence He adds, And if it bear fruit, well, that is, it shall be well, but if not, then after that you shall cut it down.

BEDE; Which indeed came to pass under the Romans, by whom the Jewish nation was cut off, and thrust out from the land of promise.

AUG. Or, in another sense, the fig tree is the race of mankind. For the first man after he had sinned concealed with fig leaves his nakedness, that is, the members from which we derive our birth.

THEOPHYL. But each one of us also is a fig tree planted in the vineyard of God, that is, in the Church, or in the world.

GREG. But our Lord came three times to the fig tree, because He sought after man's nature before the law, under the law, and under grace, by waiting, admonishing, visiting; but yet He complains that for three years he found no fruit, for there are some wicked men whose hearts are neither corrected by the law of nature breathed into them, nor instructed by precepts, nor converted by the miracles of His incarnation.

THEOPHYL. Our nature yields no fruit though three times sought for; once indeed when we transgressed the commandment in paradise; the second time, when they made the molten calf under the law; thirdly, when they rejected the Savior. But that three years' time must be understood to mean also the three ages of life, boyhood, manhood, and old age.

GREG. But with great fear and trembling should we hear the word which follows, Cut it down, why cumbers it the ground. For every one according to his measure, in whatsoever station of life he is, except he show forth the fruits of good works, like an unfruitful tree, cumbers the ground; for wherever he is himself placed, he there denies to another the opportunity of working.

PSEUDO-BASIL; For it is the part of God's mercy not silently to inflict punishment, but to send forth threatenings to recall the sinner to repentance, as He did to the men of Nineveh, and now to the dresser of the vineyard, saying, Cut it down, exciting him indeed to the care of it, and stirring up the barren soil to bring forth the proper fruits.

GREG. NAZ. Let us not then strike suddenly, but overcome by gentleness, lest we cut down the fig tree still able to bear fruit, which the care perhaps of a skillful dresser will restore. Hence it is also here added, And he answering said to him, Lord, let alone, &c.

GREG. By the dresser of the vineyard is represented the order of Bishops, who, by ruling over the Church, take care of our Lord's vineyard.

THEOPHYL. Or the master of the household is God the Father, the dresser is Christ, who will not have the fig tree cut down as barren, as if saying to the Father, Although through the Law and the Prophets they gave no fruit of repentance, I will water them with My sufferings and teaching, and perhaps they will yield us fruits of obedience.

AUG. Or, the husbandmen who intercedes is every holy man who ho within the Church prays for them that are without the Church, saying, O Lord, O Lord, let it alone this year, that is, for that time vouchsafed under grace, until I dig about it. To dig about it, is to teach humility and patience, for the ground which has been dug is lowly. The dung signifies the soiled garments, but they bring forth fruit. The soiled garment of the dresser, is the grief and mourning of sinners; for they who do penance and do it truly are in soiled garments.

GREG. Or, the sins of the flesh are called the dung. From this then the tree revives to bear fruit again, for from the remembrance of sin the soul quickens itself to good works. But there are very many who hear reproof, and yet despise the return to repentance; wherefore it is added, And if it bear fruit, well.

AUG. That is, it will be well, but if not, then after that you shall cut it down; namely, when you shall come to judge the quick and the dead. In the mean time it is now spared.

GREG. But he who will not by correction grow rich to fruitfulness, falls to that place from whence he is no more able to rise again by repentance.

Catena Aurea Luke 13
31 posted on 03/03/2013 7:14:16 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree (Left of diptych)

Alexey Pismenny

Oil on canvas, 20" x 16" (50 cm x 41 cm)
2008

32 posted on 03/03/2013 7:15:38 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
Saint Katharine Drexel, virgin

Saint Katharine Drexel, virgin
Optional Memorial
March 3rd


Saint Katharine Drexel
Photographer unknown

Collect:

God of love,
you called Saint Katharine Drexel
to teach the message of the Gospel
and to bring the life of the Eucharist
to the Native American and African American peoples;
by her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice
among the poor and the oppressed,
and keep us undivided in love
in the eucharistic community of your Church.
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.

(Readings are from the Common of Virgins or of Holy Women.)

On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Katharine Drexel, an American heiress who devoted her life (and her considerable fortune) to establishing missions, schools and homes for African-American and Native American children in this country. She was beatified November 20, 1988

Katharine was born in Philadelphia November 26, l858, barely three years before the outbreak of the Civil War. So deeply divided was the country over the issue of slavery, with all its heavy moral, ethical, cultural, economic and emotional considerations (not unlike those which attend the abortion issue today), that the young nation was forced to undergo this terrible war to determine whether any nation "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" could "long endure", as President Lincoln so concisely expressed it at Gettysburg.

Katharine Drexel grew to maturity in the shadow of the agony of that great war and its aftermath of bitterness and confusion. Although the war to abolish slavery was won and the union of the States preserved, deep and lasting damage had been done. Not only were many thousands of lives destroyed, not only was a culture virtually demolished, but even those who had been "liberated" -- the emancipated slaves -- were subject to continued humiliation and brutal poverty.

Katharine's wealthy and socially prominent family were deeply religious Catholics who conducted a Sunday school for black children in their home. Her parents' example of devotion to their faith and to the needs of others had an indelible formative effect on Katharine. At the age of thirty-three, she founded a separate order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament which was entirely devoted to the active care of African-Americans and Native Americans. She spent the rest of her long life tirelessly and courageously evangelizing and educating these "poorest of the poor". She died Marcn 3, 1955.

Like Saint Philippine Duchesne, who preceded her in work with the Indians of America (and who was canonized in 1988), and like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Katharine's example shows us that the path to holiness can be found in our willing response to Christ's voice heard in the cries of the most lowly and needy of His people.

Through the strength of their faith and their valiant perseverence in spite of conflict and hardships; through their vigorous and unselfish consecration of all their womanly energies and talents and gifts to serving others; through their whole-hearted obedience to God's will for them, all these women have carried the Light of Christ into the darkest corners of the Earth. They have given strength to the weak with the love and the prayers of their "maternal hearts"; they have sheltered and comforted the forsaken in the warm embrace of their "maternal arms."

Excerpt from Valiant Women, Vigorous Faith, by Helen Hull Hitchcock


KATHARINE DREXEL (1858-1955)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America, on November 26, 1858, Katharine Drexel was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth. Her father was a well known banker and philanthropist. Both parents instilled in their daughters the idea that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

When the family took a trip to the Western part of the United States, Katharine, as a young woman, saw the plight and destitution of the native Indian-Americans. This experience aroused her desire to do something specific to help alleviate their condition. This was the beginning of her lifelong personal and financial support of numerous missions and missionaries in the United States. The first school she established was St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1887).

Later, when visiting Pope Leo XIII in Rome, and asking him for missionaries to staff some of the Indian missions that she as a lay person was financing, she was surprised to hear the Pope suggest that she become a missionary herself. After consultation with her spiritual director, Bishop James O'Connor, she made the decision to give herself totally to God, along with her inheritance, through service to American Indians and African-Americans.

Her wealth was now transformed into a poverty of spirit that became a daily constant in a life supported only by the bare necessities. On February 12, 1891, she professed her first vows as a religious, founding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament whose dedication would be to share the message of the Gospel and the life of the Eucharist among American Indians and African-Americans.

Always a woman of intense prayer, Katharine found in the Eucharist the source of her love for the poor and oppressed and of her concern to reach out to combat the effects of racism. Knowing that many African-Americans were far from free, still living in substandard conditions as sharecroppers or underpaid menials, denied education and constitutional rights enjoyed by others, she felt a compassionate urgency to help change racial attitudes in the United States.

The plantation at that time was an entrenched social institutionin which the coloured people continued to be victims of oppression. This was a deep affront to Katharine's sense of justice. The need for quality education loomed before her, and she discussed this need with some who shared her concern about the inequality of education for African-Americans in the cities. Restrictions of the law also prevented them in the rural South from obtaining a basic education.

Founding and staffing schools for both Native Americans and African-Americans throughout the country became a priority for Katharine and her congregation. During her lifetime, she opened, staffed and directly supported nearly 60 schools and missions, especially in the West and Southwest United States. Her crowning educational focus was the establishment in 1925 of Xavier University of Louisiana, the only predominantly African-American Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States. Religious education, social service, visiting in homes, in hospitals and in prisons were also included in the ministries of Katharine and the Sisters.

In her quiet way, Katharine combined prayerful and total dependence on Divine Providence with determined activism. Her joyous incisiveness, attuned to the Holy Spirit, penetrated obstacles and facilitated her advances for social justice. Through the prophetic witness of Katharine Drexel's initiative, the Church in the United States was enabled to become aware of the grave domestic need for an apostolate among Native Americans and African-Americans. She did not hesitate to speak out against injustice, taking a public stance when racial discrimination was in evidence.

For the last 18 years of her life she was rendered almost completely immobile because of a serious illness. During these years she gave herself to a life of adoration and contemplation as she had desired from early childhood. She died on March 3, 1955.

Katharine left a four-fold dynamic legacy to her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue her apostolate today, and indeed to all peoples:

– her love for the Eucharist, her spirit of prayer, and her Eucharistic perspective on the unity of all peoples;
– her undaunted spirit of courageous initiative in addressing social iniquities among minorities — one hundred years before such concern aroused public interest in the United States;
– her belief in the importance of quality education for all, and her efforts to achieve it;
– her total giving of self, of her inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of the victims of injustice.

Katharine Drexel was  beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1980.


33 posted on 03/03/2013 7:46:45 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
A Saint's Day is always superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

Calling. The Story of Saint Katharine Drexel
Drexel - St. Katharine's 2 living miracles pay tribute
Blessed to have met St. Katharine Drexel
Saint Katharine Drexel-A Woman Of The 19th And 20th Century

34 posted on 03/03/2013 7:48:01 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Katharine Drexel

Feast Day: March 03
Born: 1858 : : Died: 1955


Katharine was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, to Francis Anthony and Hanna Langstroth Drexel. Katharine's mother Hanna died when she was just a month old. Two years later, her father who was a rich industrialist and patron of railroads married a wonderful woman named Emma.

Emma was a loving mother to Elizabeth and Katharine. She then had another daughter Louise and the girls had a happy childhood together. Although their family was wealthy, they were taught to love their neighbors and be especially concerned about the poor.

Their wealth was used for the benefit of others to show their love for God. Her parents even opened their home to the poor several days a week. Elizabeth and Katharine taught at the Sunday School that Emma began for the children of employees and their neighbors.

Later Elizabeth started a Pennsylvania trade school for orphans and her younger sister Louise started a liberal arts and vocational school for poor blacks in Virginia.

Katharine nursed her mother who suffered from cancer for three years before she died in 1883. After her mother’s death, Katharine set out and looked for ways to make herself useful. She was a very active Catholic and generous with her time and her money. She realized that the Church had many needs.

She turned her energies and her fortune to the poor and the forgotten. Her work for Jesus was among the African American and Native American people. She visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux chief and began her systematic aid to the Indian (Red Indian) missions, spending millions of the family fortunes. She began to build schools, supply food and clothing, furnishings and salaries for teachers. She was also able to find priests to serve the spiritual needs of the people

In 1891, Katharine became a nun and took the name of Sister Mary Katharine, she then began a new religious community of missionaries in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored (now known simply as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament).

She was later known as Mother Katharine. The sisters of her order center their life around Jesus in the Eucharist. She and her sisters started schools, convents and missionary churches. In 1925, they established Xavier University in New Orleans. During her long, fruitful lifetime, Mother Katharine she and her sisters accomplished many wonderful works for the poor.

She believed that she found Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. So, too, she found him in the African and Native Americans whom she lovingly served. Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955, at the age of ninety-seven.

35 posted on 03/03/2013 7:57:59 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information:
St. Katharine Drexel

Feast Day: March 3
Born:

November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania

Canonized:

2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine: Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of: philanthropists, racial justice



36 posted on 03/03/2013 7:59:27 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Catholic
Almanac:

Sunday, March 3

Liturgical Color: Violet


Today is the optional memorial of St. Katherine Drexel, virgin. In 1891, she founded an order ministering to poor Native and African Americans. She funded her work with her inheritance; as a child her parents taught her that wealth was to be shared.


37 posted on 03/03/2013 7:24:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: March 03, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. 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.

Lent: March 3rd

Third Sunday of Lent

Old Calendar: Third Sunday of Lent

"Sir," the man replied "leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down." (Lk. 13:9) "In the Christian life, faith has consequences, that to 'serve God' we must renounce 'Mammon,' that to be free for God we must break the hold that the world has on us. Faith demands a reconstruction of the inner life, a reforming that can be brought about only by overcoming.

The Conversion of Augustine, Romano Guardini

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Stational Church


Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from the book of Exodus, 3:1-8, 13-15. The story of the salvation of God's people continues during this Lenten season. Today we hear of Moses' encounter with God at the burning bush.

The second reading is from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, 10:1-6, 10-12. St. Paul establishes a parallel between the situation of the Israelites in the desert and the Corinthians. "Paul wants to remind us that we are not saved merely because we happen to have been the recipients of God's free grace. We have to demonstrate that we are willing recipients of that free gift. The children of Israel received it, but they proved to be unworthy of it, and so they were not saved." (Origin (ca. A.D. 240, Commentary on First Corinthians 4, 45, 205)

The Gospel is from St. Luke, 13:1-9. Our Lord stresses that we need to produce plenty of fruit (cf. Lk 8:11-15) in keeping with the graces we have received (cf. Lk 12:48). But he also tells us that God waits patiently for this fruit to appear; he does not want the death of the sinner; he wants him to be converted and to live (Ezek 33:11) and, as St Peter teaches, he is "forebearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). But God's clemency should not lead us to neglect our duties and become lazy and comfort-seeking, living sterile lives. He is merciful, but he is also just and he will punish failure to respond to his grace.

"There is one case that we should be especially sorry about — that of Christians who could do more and don't; Christians who could live all the consequences of their vocation as children of God, but refuse to do so through lack of generosity. We are partly to blame, for the grace of faith has not been given us to hide but to share with others (cf. Mt 5:151). We cannot forget that the happiness of these people, in this life and in the next, is at stake. The Christian life is a divine wonder with immediate promises of satisfaction and serenity — but on condition that we know how to recognize the gift of God (cf. Jn 4:10) and be generous, not counting the cost" (J. Escriva, Christ is passing by, 147). — The Navarre Bible - St. Luke

Things to Do:

  • Truly observe this Sunday in Lent with your family — Make it relaxing as befits the Lord's Day. Remember that the Sundays of Lent are not counted in the total forty days of this holy season, so you are not expected to continue your penances and fasting on this day. Reread the Gospel together and discuss it as a family, play games, cook a nice meal. We especially recommend the Late Spring Special Menu, with chicken stew and dumplings as the main dish, or the Spring, Fall, or Winter Sunday Dinner Menu, with the "best-ever meat loaf!"

  • Read this document by our Holy Father, On Keeping the Lord's Day Holy.

  • Begin to pray the Prayer for the Third Week of Lent with your family.

The Station is in the basilica of St. Lawrence outside the walls. The name of this, the most celebrated of the martyrs of Rome, would remind the catechumens that the faith they were about to profess would require them to be ready for many sacrifices. In the primitive Church, the third Sunday in Lent was called Scrutiny Sunday, because it was on this day that they began to examine the catechumens, who were to be admitted to Baptism on Easter night.


38 posted on 03/03/2013 7:37:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 13:1-9

3rd Sunday of Lent

I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it. (Luke 13:8)

The parable of the fig tree tells us that God is constantly at work pruning and watering and fertilizing us so that we can produce fruit. So often during Lent, we focus on our need to repent. While this is a good thing to think about, we also need to remember that our God is a God of consolation and love. He is always encouraging us. He never gives up on us. He never condemns or rejects us.

Jesus knows who we are. He knows everything about us. So it’s comforting to know that even with all of our weakness and failures, he will still work in us to make us more fruitful. In fact, his compassion is one of the most effective fertilizers around. It’s capable of feeding us and strengthening us. It has the power to lift us out of the pain and setbacks we can experience in our lives and encourage us to take the next step forward to a fruitful, peaceful life.

On one occasion, Jesus saw a large crowd, and his heart was moved with compassion for them because they were “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). If you ever find yourself feeling this way, stand up and tell yourself that Jesus is with you. Believe that he knows your troubles and is showering you with his compassion and his love. You are not alone!

The Jesus who had compassion for this crowd is the same Jesus who walked out of the tomb on Easter Sunday. It’s the same Jesus we receive every time we take Communion. It’s the same Jesus who lives in your heart. It’s the same Jesus who lives in the hearts of your family members, your neighbors, your co-workers, even your enemies.

As you ponder these truths today, don’t just let his compassion encourage and console you. Let it melt your heart as well. Let it move you to share this compassion with everyone you meet.

“Jesus, I want to be more like you. Teach me how to cultivate your presence in the people around me.”

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

 

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

1. In the first reading, God comes down to Moses and recommits himself to his people for the purpose of “rescuing them.” In what ways has God, through Jesus Christ, “come down” and rescued you from the power of sin and the devil? What areas of your life still need God’s intervention?

2. The Responsorial Psalm tells us that God is “kind and merciful.” As Christians we are called to be imitators of Christ who “pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion” (Psalm 103:3-4). Since Christ has done this for you, what are some ways you can show “kindness and compassion” to others, and pardon their iniquities, especially those who have wronged you?

3. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians not to “grumble”, which for us can often be a cause of disunity and harm to others. What practical steps during Lent can you take, individually and corporately, to encourage and build up the faith of your families or your fellow parishioners?

4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus warns the people of the danger of assuming that the sufferings or misfortunes of others are caused by their sin. He also reminds them of their need to repent. Are you judgmental of the weaknesses of others, rather than looking at your weaknesses? Knowing that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy, how can you reach out more to others who are suffering no matter what the cause?

5. Also in the Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable on the importance he attaches to our lives’ bearing fruit. How would you describe the fruits you are bearing for Jesus? What additional fruits may Jesus be asking you to bear this Lent?

6. After describing the depth of Jesus’ compassion, the meditation ends with these words: “As you ponder these truths today, don’t just let his compassion encourage and console you. Let it melt your heart as well. Let it move you to share this compassion with everyone you meet.” What steps can you take to apply these words in a greater way to your life?

7. Take some time now to pray and ask Jesus for the grace to be transformed more and more into his likeness, so you can give to others the compassion and love the Lord has given you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.


39 posted on 03/03/2013 7:39:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

THE PATIENCE OF GOD

(A biblical reflection on the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C – March 3, 2013)

Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9

First Reading: Ex 3:1-8,13-15; Psalms: Ps 103:1-4,6-8,11; Second Reading: 1Cor 10:1-6,10-12

RABI DARI NAZARET - 1

The Scripture Text

There were some present at that very time who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No: but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” 

And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig it about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Lk 13:1-9) 

A number of Jesus’ stories are about gardening, farming, things growing. The people of an earlier age were nomadic flock-people. Flock-people can live off nature: their flocks graze and move on: nothing is put back into the land. They could think strongly of a God who provides. By the time of Jesus the people had settled down. And this had seen the change from the totally pastoral life to the development of horticulture and agriculture. They had learned to live more in co-operation with nature. And this demanded humility and patience. Jesus could see the patient approach of God mirrored in the fields and gardens before His eyes. A farmer plants seeds and waits. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing. He waits and wonders and hopes that all will go well. One farmer has a serious problem with weeds growing with the wheat. Lest the good roots be disturbed he waits until the proper time to harvest. Such is the patience of God. So it is that God makes His sun to shine and rain to fall on good and bad, honest and dishonest alike (Mt 5:45). The story of the fig tree that gets another chance, even after three years care, is a picture of the ministry of Jesus. “Think of the patience of Christ as your opportunity to be saved.” A false idea of perfection can trap one in unnecessary anxieties and fears.

POHON ARA - 4 - SUBUR

There are people who are afraid to confess because they know that they are likely to fall again after confession. But who ever said that all faults would be healed instantly, that the weeds would we instantly rooted out from the wheat? The way of Jesus is patient growth.

Perfectionism makes it impossible for some people to forgive themselves. They seem to thing that they have to impress God with success and faultlessness before they deserve to be loved. But love surely is free: it does not have to be deserved or earned.

All must learn from the growing of things. Plants which sprout rapidly from seed to stalk last but a short life span. The seed of a hardwood tree can take up to two years to sprout above soil. But this slow grower will develop mightily and last for hundreds of years. Lasting growth is usually a slow and gradual process. The patience of God as picture in our gardens and fields is a saving thought.

Short Prayer: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103:8). Praise the Lord! Amen.


40 posted on 03/03/2013 7:42:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

ONE MORE CHANCE

 (A biblical reflection on the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C – 3rd of March 2013)

First Reading: Ex 3:1-8,13-15; Psalms: Ps 103:1-4,6-8,11; Second Reading: 1Cor 10:1-6,10-12; Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9  

HATI KUDUS YESUS - KASIHANILAH KAMI

Today’s Gospel gives us two other examples of disasters that occurred in Christ’s lifetime. One of the incidents was the ruthless murder of some Galileans while they were in the middle of their Temple sacrifices. The victims were probably political agitators and this was Pilate’s way of silencing them.

The other incident was a construction accident which happened near the Temple during the building of a water aquaduct. Apparently it was a project hated by the Jews because Temple funds were stolen by Pilate to finance it.

These two incidents are brought up because the Jews presumed that those who were killed were being punished by God for their sins. But Jesus denies this. Instead, He asserts that what really destroys life is our unwillingness to repent and change our lives.

Jesus says, not once, but twice by way of emphasis: “Unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” The repetition of this teaching is followed by a parable about a fig tree.

Usually it takes a fig tree three years to mature and bear fruit. If it is not producing fruit by that time, it likely never will and so it can be cut down. But this fig tree had already been given twice the allotted number of years it takes to produce fruit, for the owner of the vineyard had allowed three more years to pass in fruitless expectation.

And yet, the owner will give the fig tree still one more chance. His vinedressers will do even more than is necessary to help by hoeing and maturing it. All this on the grounds of a perhaps or a maybe. 

POHON ARA - 4 - SUBUR

This parable is a perennial one for us. Every Lent God gives us one more chance to produce more fruit in our lives. God is more than generous with the opportunities He gives us to reform our lives.

All of us have some areas that need changing: maybe we watch too much television, smoke too often or eat the wrong kind of food; perhaps we criticize too much, are too impatient or too demanding; maybe we waste too much time, neglect our work or avoid unpleasant tasks.

But if year after year our lives are fruitless in personal growth, sterile in prayer and empty of good works, then we are a barren fig tree. We can’t blame accidents or sickness or other people for our condition. We have to take responsibility for our own lives.

Even terminal cancer patients can cultivate the will to live productively with the time they have left. For example, before she died, Jory Graham wrote a newspaper column to encourage other victims of cancer. Even amputes can take on new challenges. For example, Ted Kennedy, Jr. relearned how to ski.

What destroys life in us then are not accidents or tragedies, but our unwillingness to accept difficulties and overcome them; to accept suffering and transform it. What makes our lives fruitless are not their circumstances or limitations, but our refusal to give it one more try and hoe our ground for one more year.

This Lent is a season of grace. It may be our last one as it was for the people who died since last Easter. Now is the time for us to reform our lives so that they will be more productive. Now is the time to make whatever changes are necessary so that our fig tree in the Lord’s vineyard will bear more fruit in personal growth, prayer and community service.

Note: Taken from Fr. Albert Cylwicki CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: ST. PAUL PUBLICATIONS, 1991, pages 220-221.


41 posted on 03/03/2013 7:44:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for March 3, 2013:

The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-42) is about secrets and conundrums: how to get water, how many husbands, secret food. Spouses should keep no secrets from each other. Is there something you don’t understand about your beloved?


42 posted on 03/03/2013 7:46:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Scripture Study

Third Sunday of Lent - Cycle C

March 3, 2013

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Exodus 3:1-8a,13-15

Psalm: 103:1-4,6-8,11

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12

Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9

  • In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus has just finished a long discourse on the need to be prepared for his Coming (Luke 12). He then uses two incidents from the current events of his day—the slaughter of a group of Galileans by Pontius Pilate, and the deadly collapse of a tower, killing 18 bystanders—to emphasize the urgency of repentance.
  • Though neither event is recorded outside the Scriptures, the first tragedy, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, would not be out of character for the Roman governor of Judea Pontius Pilate as he was known to have committed similar atrocities. As for the Tower of Siloam, the ruins can be seen in Jerusalem to this day. In Jesus’ time it was common belief that most misfortune experienced by people was punishment for sin (Job 31:3; Proverbs 10:24, John 9:24-34), a view Jesus did not share (John 9:1-3).
  • What Jesus wishes to emphasize is that just like the owner of the fig tree in the parable, God out of his great mercy (Ezekiel 33:11; Romans 2:14; 2 Peter 3:1-16), gives us ample— although not unlimited —time to, as John the Baptist says in Matthew 3:8, “bear fruit that befits repentance” (in New Testament Greek, metanoeo—literally, to change one’s mind for the better).

 

QUESTIONS:

  • In the First Reading, God reveals very clearly to Moses who he is and how it is his people can come to know him. How do you keep before you the identity of God and his holiness, and your need of repentance before him? How can you do this better?

  • In verses 6-9, whom does the fig tree represent? The owner? The gardener?

  • How do the incidents of Pilate’s bloodshed (verse 1) and the collapsing tower of Siloam (verse 4) provide examples of the urgency of repentance?
  • What is the danger of associating someone’s misfortune with sin (verses 2, 4)?
  • How do you treat newspaper accounts of tragic deaths? How often do they remind you of your mortality and of your own need of repentance? If they have not, how should you take advantage of Jesus’ admonition (verses 3, 5)?
  • If you had one more year like the fig tree to turn your life around, what would you do? What fruit do you want to be producing by this time next year?

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 1427--1439

 

Your duty is to sanctify yourself. Yes, even you. Who thinks that this task is only for priests and religious? To everyone, without exception, our Lord said: ‘Be ye perfect, as My Heavenly Father is Perfect.’                                                                                                         --St. Josemaria Escriva


43 posted on 03/03/2013 7:48:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
“Why Did This Happen?”
Pastor’s Column
3rd Sunday of Lent
March 3, 2013
 
          Haven’t we all at times wanted to ask God, “Why did this happen?” This is precisely what Jesus is asked in this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 13:1-9). “Why did all those people die when the tower in Siloam collapsed? Why were those Jews put to death by Pilate? Were their sins greater than others? Did they somehow ‘deserve’ what happened to them?” Often enough, we have similar questions for God! One has only to read the daily papers to see some perceived injustice done to someone, and we want to know why? Did they deserve it? Or, “Why did this happen to me? Did I somehow deserve this?”
 
          I asked myself this very question recently. “Why,” I asked God, “must I get the flu, and then such a backache (from coughing) that I have to be sick two Sundays in a row? Did I do something to ‘deserve’ this, Lord?” I admit, it’s a trivial question compared to many others, such as the death of a loved one or other grave losses we all must face periodically. We find that Jesus gives a partial answer to questions like this in our gospel today.
 
          The Jews of Jesus’ time felt that there must have been a direct connection between the sins of these people (or their families) and their violent deaths, but Jesus doesn’t draw this connection directly. It is true, of course, that many sins we commit do have grave consequences that we have no trouble recognizing. For example, if someone commits adultery, that should not be surprised if their marriage dissolves. If one is impaired by alcohol or drugs and gets behind the wheel of a car, they should not be surprised if a tragic accident follows. A person who steals from their employer ‘deserves’ to be fired.
 
          Jesus’ answer here is very instructive: he points out that just because all these people died when a tower fell, doesn’t mean they were bigger sinners than anyone else. Instead, when we are confronted by such tragedies, the proper way of looking at it, according to Jesus, is to realize that this could have been me. This could have happened to me. I need to repent because it may be later than I think! 
 
          Sometimes we need to remember that heaven is the time when every question will be answered. Jesus himself said of heaven, “On that day, you will have no more questions to ask me” (John 16:23). Either we will know everything then, or it won’t matter anymore! But here on earth, Jesus continually directs the focus of our lives on the one thing that really does matter: saving our souls; keeping our faith in Jesus. This means loving God and watching very carefully how we treat our neighbor. 
 
          Sometimes we can come to understand why things happen in the world we live in, and sometimes we must wait for the answers, but when the focus of our lives is on pleasing God and keeping his commandments, we will always find the right answers in the end.
                                                                                    Father Gary

44 posted on 03/03/2013 7:49:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
St. Paul Center Blog

Fruits of the Fig: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 03.01.13 |


Parable of Fig tree

Exodus 3:1-8,13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9

In the Church, we are made children of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the God who makes known His name and His ways to Moses in today’s First Reading.

Mindful of His covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24), God came down to rescue His people from the slave-drivers of Egypt. Faithful to that same covenant (see Luke 1:54-55, 72-73), He sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction, as today’s Psalm tells us.

Paul says in today’s Epistle that God’s saving deeds in the Exodus were written down for the Church, intended as a prelude and foreshadowing of our own Baptism by water, our liberation from sin, our feeding with spiritual food and drink.

Yet the events of the Exodus were also given as a “warning” - that being children of Abraham is no guarantee that we will reach the promised land of our salvation.

At any moment, Jesus warns in today’s Gospel, we could perish - not as God’s punishment for being “greater sinners” - but because, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we stumble into evil desires, fall into grumbling, forget all His benefits.

Jesus calls us today to “repentance” - not a one-time change of heart, but an ongoing, daily transformation of our lives. We’re called to live the life we sing about in today’s Psalm - blessing His holy name, giving thanks for His kindness and mercy.

The fig tree in His parable is a familiar Old Testament symbol for Israel (see Jeremiah 8:3; 24:1-10). As the fig tree is given one last season to produce fruit before it is cut down, so too Jesus is giving Israel one final opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance (see Luke 3:8).

Lent should be for us like the season of reprieve given to the fig tree, a grace period in which we let “the gardener,” Christ, cultivate our hearts, uprooting what chokes the divine life in us, strengthening us to bear fruits that will last into eternity.


45 posted on 03/03/2013 8:06:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
3rd Sunday of Lent -- Awe and Wonder before God

 


"I am who am"
 
Sunday Word: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/030313-third-sunday-lent.cfm

Ex 3: 1-8, 13-15
1 Cor 10: 1-6, 10-12
Lk 13: 1-9

The ever popular movie, The Wizard of Oz is a story essentially about a quest for identity. The virtues of courage (the lion), compassion (the heart of the tin man), and intelligence (a brain for the scarecrow), and Dorothy’s desire for “home,” all engage us in our own self-awareness. 

Ultimately, they travel to the mythical kingdom of Oz in search for these virtues from the wizard who they assume can grant them these traits.  Once they enter his throne room, they encounter a blazing ball of fire and an over powering voice which states “Come no closer. I am the great and powerful Wizard of Oz!” 

Frightened, the three strange companions of Dorothy scatter in fear but Dorothy herself boldly approaches the smoke and fire of the Wizard and dares him to grant their request. She displays courage, wisdom, and compassion for her friends and meets the wizard on his own terms.  Once she returns home, was it all a dream she wonders, she recognizes that the three companions were symbolic of character traits she could find among her own friends and family. In the end we discover that the wizard himself is all show. His awesome display of power, however, was convincing.

By contrast, this Sunday we are confronted with a less frightening display of power and a real presence that is anything but an illusion. There are no balls of fire or grand displays of command but a mysterious burning bush. The book of Exodus relates the familiar story of Moses and the bush which burns but is not consumed. Unlike the smoke and mirrors of the “Great and powerful Wizard of Oz” this fire is a living presence.

Moses, it seems, is not in search of any particular quest but rather, “. . . tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro . . . leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb . . . (Ex 31-2). While tending to his sheep, he spots a strange burning bush and forever his life changes. Moses approaches with feet unshod for he hears the voice from the bush say: “Remove the sandals from your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers . . .” (Ex 3) He confronts the living God; a God who invites us into a relationship with him; a God of mercy, and love.

This season of Lent can be for us a new recognition of God’s presence in our lives. While his presence is a constant, ours often is not.  We’d sometime rather search for that “yellow brick road” rather than stay on task.  Looking for God in all the wrong places or simply not at all rather than encountering him right at home.

God hides in the sign of the fire but the fire is not God, nor is the bush, but through his own creation – with a sign of consuming energy – God reveals himself to Moses and through Moses to . . . my people . . . (Ex 3)   God is not satisfied with remaining distant and unapproachable.  He desires a relationship with us.

The great theologian of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote a great deal on the nature of God. That God is existence itself. That God’s existence is what sustains every living being, creation itself. Because God has created all to be good, each being has its purpose and contributes to the good of creation. Humankind, of course, is of the greatest good and contributes to moral goodness in the world. Love, like God himself, is best when it is a self-giving love that mirrors its creator.

To encounter the living God, as we do in Word and Sacrament every time we gather at the Mass, may not be a burning bush or a ball of fire who tries to overwhelm us with illusory power but it is the silent yet life sustaining presence of the God who lifted the veil off his face for us in the person of Christ Jesus.  He seeks our response; our loyalty to him, as did Jesus so often with his own disciples.

Yet, has the Mass and our faith in general become all about the “me” or all about this sacred encounter as a conscious response to God’s invitation of love? It is a balance between a gathering of family and friends for that sake alone and a gathering on sacred ground before the living and life-sustaining God who comes to us under the signs of word, bread and wine. Yet, have we lost a sense of the sacred and lost a sense of awe and wonder these days?

We have a diminshed respect for human life and have set up an entire class of the unborn human being which we have decided has no rights or legal protection. This has rippled out to the prevailing culture like water when a rock is thrown in. The single-minded effort to redefine marriage, the family, and the role of a parent has reduced the sacred to a level of distorted politics and bigotry. This Lent is a call to reclaim our stand before God, as Moses, with bare feet, on holy ground, with humility and wonder - to once again make room for God and his voice in my life.  

Those who encounter us as believers who sometimes walk a different road should feel welcome to journey with us.   Is your faith contagious to others? As we become living signs of Christ to others they should feel in us a faith reflected.  God longs for relationship with him.  How can I seek to deepen that truth in my life?

A Prayer for Communion
Son of the Living God,
Lord Jesus Christ,
Whose death
Willed by the Father,
Empowered by the Holy Spirit,
Restored the life of the world,
Deliver me from all my iniquities and from every evil
Through this most sacred Body and blood of yours.
Keep me always close to your commandments
And never allow me be separated from you.

(9th century)
Fr. Tim

46 posted on 03/03/2013 8:19:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Insight Scoop

The Divine Name and the Mystery of God

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, March 3, 2013, the Third Sunday of Lent | Carl E. Olson

Readings:
• Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15
• Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11
• 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12
• Lk 13:1-9

When asked why they climb, professional mountaineers often give varied but interconnected reasons. They mention the challenge of doing something difficult and demanding, a deepening understanding of themselves, and, paradoxically, a loss of self-centeredness. In a similar way, those who spend time living alone in the wilderness can experience the same contemplative moments leading to a more honest and truthful view of themselves and others.

Mountains and desert play a prominent role throughout the Bible, not just on a physical plane, but on a spiritual level as well. Mountains were considered holy, ancient, and eternal; they were where God often met His prophets and people, as seen in last week’s Gospel reading describing the Transfiguration. The desert, as harsh as it was, often represented a place of safety, discipline, and waiting for the promises of God to come to fulfillment. If the mountain was where God would sometimes reveal Himself, the desert was where man’s trust in God was tested and increased.

Today’s reading from Exodus describes Moses, many years after leaving the Pharoah’s court in disgrace, tending sheep in the desert. Like another shepherd, David, he was toiling in anonymity—until he received the call of God at Horeb, the mountain of God. Also known as Mount Sinai, this was the same mountain that would shelter the prophet Elijah when he fled from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:8) and would, of course, be where Moses received the Commandments from God (Ex 19-20)

Moses’s encounter with the burning bush was as dramatic as it was mysterious. At first he was curious and then, upon realizing whose presence he was in, overcome with awe and fear, hiding his face. In remarking upon this encounter, the Catechism provides a simple but urgent lesson perfectly suited for Lent: “Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance” (CCC 208). If there is anything clear about the name uttered before Moses, it is its mysterious nature: “In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (‘I AM HE WHO IS’, ‘I AM WHO AM’ or ‘I AM WHO I AM’), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is—infinitely above everything that we can understand or say…” (CCC 206). 

Although God is mystery, in giving His name He reveals that He is personal, loving, and faithful. Having revealed His name to Moses, “He has made known his ways to Moses”, as today’s Psalm proclaims. He desires the salvation of His people and He provides a means for that salvation. And so Moses is called from tending the sheep of his father-in-law to tending a new flock, the people of God, leading them out of Egypt, through the desert, and, after forty years, to the edge of the Promises Land. 

Today’s epistle makes a sacramental connection between the prophet Moses and the greatest prophet, Jesus Christ. The Israelites had experienced a sort of baptism (crossing the Red Sea) and Eucharist (miraculous manna and water); these prefigured the sacraments of the New Covenant established by Jesus, the New Moses. And yet the Israelites kept succumbing to idolatry. Saint Paul exhorted his readers in Corinth—who belonged to a church that was struggling with every type of scandal and sin—to learn from the mistakes made by the Israelites, for “these things happened as examples for us…” The lessons of the desert, if not learned and heeded, go to waste when those who think they are standing securely do not take care of their spiritual lives.

Lent is a microcosm of the mountains and deserts that every Christian travels between baptism and death. As the Holy Spirit helps us to understand ourselves better, we begin to recognize that our worth can be found in nothing else but the person of Jesus Christ. And He asks that we, in turn, bear the fruit of His life in us, so that we might give witness to the mystery of the God who is.

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the March 11, 2007, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)


47 posted on 03/03/2013 8:23:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Regnum Christi

Finding Fruit
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Third Sunday of Lent

Luke 13:1-9

At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them -- do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!" And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ´For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?´ He said to him in reply, ´Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.´"

Introductory Prayer: My Lord and my God! I believe that you came as my Savior. I know you wish to save me from everlasting harm. Thank you. I place all my trust in you. I love you, Lord, and I offer myself as an instrument for you to help others to know and love you, too.

Petition: Teach me, Lord, to repent, to turn to you and to spread your Good News.

1. Scandalized by Evil: It can happen that people become scandalized or doubt God because of the evil and suffering they see in the world around them. Christ shows us that this attitude is mistaken because God says, “I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man´s conversion, that he may live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!” (Ezekiel 33:11). God does no evil. It is we, his creatures, who do evil, and God suffers the consequences twice: He suffers when we reject him through our sins, and he then takes our sins upon himself and suffers on the Cross so that we might be redeemed. If anyone has a right to complain about the evil in the world, it is God. However, it is through forgiveness that God shows his power and his love. We should not be scandalized by evil, but examine our souls and repent of our own sinful deeds.

2. Wrath of God or Wrath of Man? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).   I am that tree which so far has given little or no fruit. Jesus is the gardener who sticks up for me and pleas to “fertilize me” instead of cutting me down. The fertilizer is Christ’s Body and Blood, which he sacrificed so that I might have life to the fullest. He wishes to give me his very self and to fill me with grace and thus “reconstruct” my weak, worn heart and person. What does he ask of me? I need to turn to him with both contrition for my sins and confidence in his healing love. I need to open myself to his saving grace. Am I fully aware of my need for Christ, and do I turn to him hungrily? If not, why not?

3. Finding Figs: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). After three years of public ministry, we see in today’s Gospel that Jesus is ready to put his life on the line for me – but does the Son of Man find any faith or love in my heart? “God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). He will soon shed his blood under Pontius Pilate – for my sins. Will he find my tree barren and grant me this one last “year” of mercy? Or will he find my tree blooming with sweet-smelling fruits in good works performed out of love for him? He will hang from a dead tree on Good Friday, and his corpse, given out of love for me, will become real fruit, real moisture and fertilizer to my arid soul. Let him make of me a fruitful fig tree, so that others, too, may come to repentance on my account.

Conversation with Christ: Teach me, Lord, to repent, to turn to you, and to spread your Good News. I believe in your mission of saving souls, including mine. I hope in you because of the time of mercy that you grant me. I want to love by spreading the Good News of your salvation. Let me be a messenger of your love.

Resolution: I will serve others by voicing Christian hope in my conversations today.


48 posted on 03/03/2013 8:35:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 


<< Sunday, March 3, 2013 >> Third Sunday of Lent
 
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

View Readings
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
Luke 13:1-9

 

THE VIEW FROM THE CROSS

 
"I want you to remember this..." —1 Corinthians 10:1
 

When you're talking with Jesus, it seems like He's always changing the subject to repentance. You might mention how tragic the destruction of the Twin Towers was (see Lk 13:4). Jesus somehow maneuvers the conversation to our need to reform (see Lk 13:4-5). You might mention to Him how pretty your Church building looks (see Mk 13:1ff). But Jesus turns the conversation into the need to be watchful and on guard against tragedy and sin. You're hard at work, and Jesus talks about reforming your life (Mt 4:17). Why is repentance always on the tip of His tongue?

The answer to this question lies in trying to put yourself into Jesus' sandals. Imagine walking around for at least three years knowing that you would stretch out your hands and have them nailed to a cross so that others would repent. Picture yourself tied to a pillar and being cruelly whipped until you pass out — to pay the penalty for other people's sins. Imagine hanging in excruciating agony in place of people who could care less whether they sin or not. Now imagine having a heart of passionate love for each person who has no interest in repentance. You're getting a glimpse of Jesus' perspective on the importance of repentance.

If you had to suffer all this, you'd change the subject too. You wouldn't want even one person to lose their soul if you had suffered that much so they could be saved. Be like Jesus and "proclaim this theme: 'Reform your lives!' " (Mt 4:17)

 
Prayer: Jesus, may Your death never be in vain for anyone. I will spend my life leading others to You and to repentance.
Promise: "He pardons all your iniquities, He heals all your ills." —Ps 103:3
Praise: Praise Jesus, obedient Son of the Father, and risen Lord!

49 posted on 03/03/2013 8:41:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Tiny Life, 12 Week Old Resin
 
How can people say that a three inch fetus isn't a baby?
 
Pray for an end to abortion!
 

50 posted on 03/03/2013 8:46:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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