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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 07-08-18, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time ^ | 07-08-18 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 07/07/2018 9:15:26 PM PDT by Salvation

July 8, 2018

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 2:2-5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 123:1-2, 2, 3-4

R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven —
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.

Reading 2 2 Cor 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Alleluia Cf. Lk 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; mk6; ordinarytime; prayer
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1 posted on 07/07/2018 9:15:26 PM PDT by Salvation
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KEYWORDS: catholic; mk6; ordinarytime; prayer;

2 posted on 07/07/2018 9:16:03 PM PDT 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; ...
Alleluia Ping

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3 posted on 07/07/2018 9:16:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

From: Ezekiel 2:2-5

The Prophet’s mission

[2] And when he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me upon my
feet; and I heard him speaking to me. [3] And he said to me, “Son of man, I send
you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me;
they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. [4] The
people also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them; and you shall say
to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ [5] And whether they ear or refuse to hear (for
they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among


2:1-3:3. The vision by the river Chebar is all about the grandeur and glory of God,
who is sovereign over all things; whereas the account given of the call of Ezekiel
tells us about the prophet and about the people of Israel, for whom the message
is meant. The prophet is described as a son of man, whom the Spirit moves, a
prophet among the people; and they are a rebellious people. The account takes
the form of an address by the Lord containing a command to pass his word on
to the people (2: 1-7) and a symbolic action in which Ezekiel eats the scroll gi-
ven to him by God (2:8-3:3).

2:1. “Son of man”: this title is used repeatedly in these opening chapters. It oc-
curs later on, too, more than ninety times; but it has special significance here,
which is the first time it is used. Because Ezekiel is living in exile in a foreign
and therefore unclean country, he cannot be given grand titles. He is an ordinary
mortal, one creature among many, on an infinitely lower level than the Lord; one
more among his people, like them an exile, a person brought low, but also some-
one who has hope in his heart. St Gregory the Great explains the title like this:
“He is brought up often into heaven and his soul rejoices at great and beautiful
mysteries which remain invisible to us. But it is fitting that he be called “son of
man” while he contemplates those hidden wonders, so that he will not forget who
he is or glory in the splendour that has been revealed to him” (”Homiliae in Eze-
chielem prophetam”, 1, 12, 22).

2:2. “The Spirit set me upon my feet”. In the vision of God’s glory, the word “spi-
rit” has three meanings. It is a natural thing — a stormy wind, breath, spirit (1:4;
cf. 13:11). From this comes the second meaning: “spirit” is an inner, superhu-
man strength which guides the actions of living creatures and cherubim, deciding
when they should move and where they should go (cf. 1:12, 20, 21). But in the
account of the call of Ezekiel, “spirit” has a third meaning: it is life-force, remini-
scent of the “breath of life” that God breathed into man at the moment of creation
(cf. Gen 2:7); this meaning will be seen more clearly in the vision of the bones
brought back to life (cf. 37:5, 6, 8, 10). As a life-force, every time that the spirit
affects Ezekiel, it is to “set him on his feet” (cf. 2:1; 3:20), to “lift him up’’ (cf. 3:
12, 14, 24), so that he is better able to hear the word of God and to see what is
happening in the temple of Jerusalem cf. 8:3; 11:1; 43: 5) or in Babylon (cf. 11:
24). It is therefore an inner energy that transforms the prophet and helps him to
hear or see things that he could not if left on his own, for he is a mere “son of

2:3. Israel is a “nation of rebels” or, as it is put a little further on in the text, a
“rebellious house” (2:8). The book defines the people of Israel in this negative
way (cf. 2:5, 6, 8; 3:9) because it sums up the sinful history of their forebears
and their own hostility towards God. Their rebelliousness involves arrogance to-
wards God, rejection of his commandments, and refusal to listen to what he
says. It makes them stubborn: one can even see it in their faces. Time and a-
gain Ezekiel tells them that their sin is grave, for they have freely chosen to adopt
this attitude. They “will not listen to you”, the Lord says to Ezekiel, “for they are
not willing to listen to me” (3:7). Precisely because sin requires a free act of the
will, the prophet puts special emphasis on personal responsibility. Each individual
will be punished for his or her sins, not for those of their forebears (cf. 18:1 32).
Because the people are so rebellious, God wants the prophet to he especially do-
cile: “Do not be rebellious” (2:8). The Lord asks him to listen carefully to the word
of God and to accept it joyfully. The gesture of eating the scroll shows what doci-
lity requires. Even though the scroll contains “words of lamentation and mourning
and woe” (2:10), the prophet will find it “sweet as honey” when he does what he
is told.

2:4. “Thus says the Lord God”: this makes it clear that the prophet is not speak-
ing on his own behalf. It is usually termed a “messenger formula” (words a mes-
senger uses to preface his message), and occurs often in other prophetical
books, particularly Isaiah and Jeremiah. However, in Ezekiel, where it appears
almost 130 times, the name of God is reinforced (”Lord God”), to signal the infi-
nite majesty of the Lord who speaks with full authority. The people’s stubborn-
ness in rejecting God’s word is an act of rebellion, and the docility shown by the
prophet is an almost obligatory act of submission. Ezekiel never resists the voice
of the Lord, never raises any personal objection or difficulty unlike Isaiah and Je-
remiah. On the contrary, knowing that he is passing on a divine message, not in-
venting one of his own, he must do this bravely, and never flag, even if the people
refuse to listen (cf. 2:6-7; 3:11). “True prophets are those who say the words that
God has spoken to them; the prophet of God is the one who delivers the words
of God to men who cannot or do not deserve to understand God himself” (St Au-
gustine, “Quaestiones in Heptateuchum”, 2, 17).

2:5. “They will know that there has been a prophet among them”: a formal con-
firmation that Ezekiel is indeed a prophet. At a time when there was no king (for
he was the prisoner of Nebuchadnezzar) and no temple (for it had been profaned
and destroyed) and no social or religious institutions among the Jews, prophets
acquired increased status. The prophet was God’s only representative among
the people; he was the only one with authority to demand that they listen to his

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 07/07/2018 9:18:53 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Visions and Revelations

[7] And to keep me [Paul] from being too elated by the abundance of revelations,
a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep
me from being too elated. [8] Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it
should leave me; [9] but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my po-
wer is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weak-
nesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] For the sake of Christ,
then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and ca-
lamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


7-10. Displaying admirable humility, St Paul now refers to the weakness God al-
lowed him to experience to ensure his supernatural gifts did not make him proud.
It is impossible to say what exactly the “thorn in his flesh” was. Some Fathers —
St Augustine, for example—and modern commentators think that it was some
particularly painful and humiliating physical ailment, possibly the same one as
he refers to in Galatians 4:13f, where he also speaks in general terms. Others,
like St John Chrysostom, are of the view that he is referring to the pain which
continual persecution caused him. Others—from St Gregory the Great onwards
— opt for an ascetical interpretation; they say he is referring to temptations to do
with conscience; but the supporters of the two other theses argue, for example,
that it is unlikely that St Paul would have mentioned anything of that kind, be-
cause it could have given his enemies ammunition for further attacks.

St Paul asked God to take this “thorn” away, but the heavenly answer he re-
ceived is very revealing: God’s grace is enough to enable him to cope with this
difficulty—which serves to reveal God’s power. And so it is that he boasts of and
is content with his weaknesses and the persecution he suffers: in these circum-
stances he is stronger than ever, thanks to God’s supernatural help.

When commenting on this passage, St Thomas explains that God sometimes
permits certain kinds of evil in order to draw out greater good: for example, in or-
der to protect people from pride—the root of all vices — he sometimes allows his
chosen ones to be humiliated by an illness, or a defect, or even by mortal sin, in
order that “the person who is humbled in this way might recognize that he cannot
stand firm by his own efforts alone. Hence it is said in Romans 8:28, ‘We know
that in everything God works for good with those who love him’—not of course that
God seeks the sin but [the sinner’s] turning to him” (”Commentary on 2 Cor, ad

7. “A messenger of Satan”, an angel of Satan: this is how he describes the hu-
miliating “thorn”. This suggests that the disability could have been seen as an
obstacle to his work of evangelization—which the devil, logically, would have been
keen to frustrate (cf. 2:11; 11:14f).

8-10. Christians can learn a great deal about the ascetical struggle from these
words. They remind us, on the one hand, of the need to ask the Lord to help us
when we experience difficulties, and at the same time to be full of trust and to
abandon ourselves to God, who knows what is best for us. “The Lord is good”,
St Jerome teaches, “because he often does not give us what we desire, in or-
der to give us something we would prefer” (”Epist. ad Paulinum”).

The passage also shows us what attitude we should take to our own weakness:
“We have to glory”, St Alphonsus says, “in the knowledge of our own weakness
in order to acquire the strength of Jesus Christ, which is holy humility”, without
“giving in to lack of confidence, as the devil wants, and falling into more serious
sins” (”Treasury of Preaching Material”, II, 6).

At the same time this passage teaches us that awareness of our personal short-
comings should lead us to put all our trust in God: “We have to cry out cease-
lessly with a strong and humble faith, ‘Lord, put not your trust in me. But I, I put
my trust in you. ‘ Then, as we sense in our hearts the love, the compassion, the
tenderness of Christ’s gaze upon us (for he never abandons us) we shall come
to understand the full meaning of those words of St Paul, “virtus in infirmitate per-
ficitur” (2 Cor 12:9). If we have faith in our Lord, in spite of our failings — or rather,
with our failings—we shall be faithful to our Father, God; his divine power will
shine forth in us, sustaining us in our weakness” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of
God”, 194).

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 07/07/2018 9:19:32 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Mark 6:1-6

No Prophet Is Honored In His Own Country

[1] He (Jesus) went away from there and came to His own country; and His dis-
ciples followed Him. [2] And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue;
and many who heard Him were astonished saying, “Where did this man get all
this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His
hands! [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and
Joses and Judah and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?” And they
took offense at Him. [4] And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without ho-
nor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
[5] And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands upon
a few sick people and healed them. [6] And He marvelled because of their un-


1-3. Jesus is here described by His occupation and by the fact that He is the
son of Mary. Does this indicate that St. Joseph is dead already? We do not
know, but it is likely. In any event, the description is worth underlining: in the
Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke we are told of the virginal conception of
Jesus. St. Mark’s Gospel does not deal with our Lord’s infancy, but there may
be an allusion here to His virginal conception and birth, in His being described
as “the son of Mary.”

“Joseph, caring for the Child as he had been commanded, made Jesus a crafts-
man, transmitting his own professional skill to him. So the neighbors of Naza-
reth will call Jesus both “faber” and “fabri filius”: the craftsman and the son of
the craftsman” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 55). This message of
the Gospel reminds us that our vocation to work is not marginal to God’s plans.

“The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God Himself,
his Creator, was ‘given particular prominence by Jesus Christ’ — the Jesus at
whom many of His first listeners in Nazareth ‘were astonished, saying, “Where
did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him?... Is not this the car-
penter?’” (Mark 6:23). For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost ful-
filled by His deeds the ‘Gospel’, the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been en-
trusted to Him. Therefore this was also ‘the gospel of work’, because ‘He who pro-
claimed it was Himself a man of work’, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth (cf.
Matthew 13:55). And if we do not find in His words a special command to work —
but rather on one occasion a prohibition against too much anxiety about work
and life—(Matthew 6:25-34)—at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ
is unequivocal: He belongs to the ‘working world’, He has appreciation and res-
pect for human work. It can indeed be said the ‘He looks with love upon human
work’ and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a
particular facet of man’s likeness with God, the Creator and Father” (Bl. John
Paul II, “Laborem Exercens”, 26).

St. Mark mentions by name a number of brothers of Jesus, and refers in general
to His sisters. But the word “brother” does not necessarily mean son of the same
parents. It can also indicate other degrees of relationship—cousins, nephews, etc.
Thus in Genesis 13:8 and 14:14 and 16 Lot is called the brother of Abraham (tran-
slated as “kinsman” in RSV), whereas we know that he was Abraham’s nephew,
the son of Abraham’s brother Haran. The same is true of Laban, who is called the
brother of Jacob (Genesis 29:15) although he was his mother’s brother (Genesis
29:15); there are other instances: cf. 1 Chronicles 23:21-22, etc. This confusion
is due to the poverty of Hebrew and Aramaic language: in the absence of distinct
terms, the same word, brother, is used to designate different degrees of relation-

From other Gospel passages we know that James and Joses, who are men-
tioned here, were sons of Mary of Clophas (John 19:25). We know less about Ju-
das and Simon: it seems that they are the Apostles Simon the Cananaean (Mat-
thew 10:4) and Judas the son of James (Luke 6:16), the author of the Catholic
Epistle, in which he describes himself as “brother” of James. In any event, al-
though James, Simon and Judas are referred to as brothers of Jesus, it is no-
where said they were “sons of Mary” — which would have been the natural thing
if they had been our Lord’s brothers in the strict sense. Jesus always appears as
an only son: to the people of Nazareth, He is “the son of Mary” (Matthew 13:55).
When He was dying Jesus entrusted His mother to St. John (cf. John 19:26-27),
which shows that Mary had no other children. To this is added the constant be-
lief of the Church, which regards Mary as the ever-virgin: “a perfect virgin before,
while, and forever after she gave birth” (Paul IV, “Cum Quorumdam”).

5-6. Jesus worked no miracles here: not because He was unable to do so, but as
punishment for the unbelief of the townspeople. God wants man to use the grace
offered him, so that, by cooperating with grace, he become disposed to receive
further graces. As St. Augustine neatly puts it, “He who made you without your
own self, will not justify you without yourself” (”Sermon” 169).

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 07/07/2018 9:20:12 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Liturgical Colour: Green.

First reading Ezekiel 2:2-5 ©
These rebels shall know that there is a prophet among them
The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me. He said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.’

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 122(123) ©
Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy.
To you have I lifted up my eyes,
  you who dwell in the heavens;
my eyes, like the eyes of slaves
  on the hand of their lords.
Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy.
Like the eyes of a servant
  on the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes are on the Lord our God
  till he show us his mercy.
Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
  We are filled with contempt.
Indeed all too full is our soul
  with the scorn of the rich,
  with the proud man’s disdain.
Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy.

Second reading
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ©
The Lord's power is at its best in weakness
In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

Gospel Acclamation Jn1:14,12
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word was made flesh and lived among us:
to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God.
Or: Lk4:18
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives.

Gospel Mark 6:1-6 ©
'A prophet is only despised in his own country'
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

7 posted on 07/07/2018 9:39:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray for Pope Francis.

8 posted on 07/07/2018 9:40:36 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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It's time to kneel down and pray for our nation (Sacramental Marriage)
9 posted on 07/07/2018 9:41:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
10 posted on 07/07/2018 9:41:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 07/07/2018 9:41:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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7 Powerful Ways to Pray for Christians Suffering in the Middle East
12 posted on 07/07/2018 9:42:23 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray the Rosary!

50 Boko Haram Islamic Radicals Killed; 1,000 Hostages, Women and Children, Rescued in Nigeria
Nigeria: In the Face of Ongoing Islamist Attacks, the Faith is Growing
US Promises to Help Nigeria Exterminate Boko Haram
Is This Bishop Right about the Rosary Conquering Boko Haram? [Catholic Caucus]
Why Boko Haram and ISIS Target Women
Report reveals scale of Boko Haram violence inflicted on Nigerian Catholics
Military evacuating girls, women rescued from Boko Haram
Echos of Lepanto Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Harm
After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram (Catholic Caucus)
Nigerian Bishop Says Christ Showed Him How to Beat Islamic Terror Group

13 posted on 07/07/2018 9:42:53 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Jesus, High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

14 posted on 07/07/2018 9:44:06 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

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.

6. 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]

15 posted on 07/07/2018 9:46:11 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

St. Michael the Archangel


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.

16 posted on 07/07/2018 9:46:37 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

July Devotion: The Precious Blood

July Devotion: The Precious Blood 
Like the Sacred Wounds of Jesus, His Precious Blood deserves special honor because of its close relation to the Sacred Passion. That honor was given to it from the beginning by the Apostles who praised its redeeming power. (Rom. 5:9 "we are justified by His blood"; Heb. 13:12 "and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate"; 1 John 1:7 "and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.") 
The Church has always held devotion to the Precious Blood in high esteem. We continue to recognize and publicly acknowledge the profound indebtedness of the whole human race to Christ, Priest and Victim. 
Standing at the foot of the cross, we see Jesus' head, hands, feet, and side pouring out streams of precious blood. It is precious because it: 
•      Redeems us and atones for our sins. Through His precious blood we are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Death ceases to be death and heaven's gates are opened to us.  
•      Cleanses us from all sin.  
•      Preserves us and keeps us safe from the grasp of evil.  When the Father sees us washed in the Blood of the Lamb we are spared.  
•      Comforts us. It is the constant reminder that Jesus - true God and true man suffered and died to save us and to open heaven to us because He loves us.  
•      Sanctifies us.  The same blood that justifies by taking away sin, continues to work within us.  Its action gives us the grace to continue on the path toward the Kingdom of God.  It assists us in achieving our new nature, leading us onward in subduing sin and in following the commands of God.  
Jesus shed His precious blood seven times during His life on earth.  They events were: 
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the Circumcision  
•      Jesus shed His Blood whilst praying in the Garden of Olives  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the scourging  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the crowning with thorns  
•      Jesus shed His Blood while carrying His cross  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the crucifixion  
•      Jesus shed His Blood and water when His side was pierced 
The Power of the Precious Blood 
"I adore You, O Precious Blood of Jesus, flower of creation, fruit of virginity, ineffable instrument of the Holy Spirit, and I rejoice at the thought that You came from the drop of virginal blood on which eternal Love impressed its movement; You were assumed by the Word and deified in His person. I am overcome with emotion when I think of Your passing from the Blessed Virgin's heart into the heart of the Word, and, being vivified by the breath of the Divinity, becoming adorable because You became the Blood of God." (St. Albert the Great)

At their recent meeting, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had continuous Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for "healing and peace."   They encouraged parishes and communities to have ongoing Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  In these dark months of woundedness, pain and violence we need to turn to the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, for healing, peace, and light.  
"What power we have in the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!  He is there to protect us, to be our refuge and our redemption.  (In Exodus 12, God told Moses to have His chosen people mark their door posts with the blood of an unblemished lamb, during the first Passover. Those who did this were spared when the Angel of the death passed by). This is why Archbishop Sheen said that we must call down the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  For, he warned, when we stop calling down the Blood of the Lamb, we start calling down the blood of each other."  (From our book Bread of Life)      
"And the Lamb on the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water" (Rev 7:17). 
"In the tumultuous events of our time, it is important to look to the Eucharist: it must be at the heart of the life of priests and consecrated people; the light and strength of spouses in putting into practice their commitment to fidelity, chastity and the apostolate; the ideal in education and in training children, adolescents and young people; the comfort and support of those who are troubled, of the sick and all who are weeping in the Gethsemane of life."  (Pope John Paul II)  
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! 
"The only time our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night when He went into His agony.  But as often in the history of the church since that time, evil was awake, but the disciples were asleep.  That is why there came out of His anguished and lonely Heart a sigh: 'Could you not watch one hour with Me?'" (Mt 26:40).  Not for an hour of activity did he plead, but for an hour of friendship (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen).  
St. Maria Goretti,  Patroness of Youth & Children of Mary, Feast-July 6 St. Maria of Italy (1890-1902), couldn't wait to make her First Communion.  She wanted to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist so that she could become more beautiful and pure like Him; she wanted Him to live in her, close to her heart.  After she received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the first time, she stayed in Church for a long time after Mass to talk to Him. Maria's family lived with and worked for a farmer. His son Alessandro kept trying to make Maria sin against purity.  One day, when everyone else was working, Alessandro grabbed Maria and tried to make her sin.  Maria kept crying out for him to stop, and each time she did, he stabbed her. Courageously,   Maria resisted him and was stabbed fourteen times. St. Maria died the next day.  
"Look at Maria Goretti....  Like her, be capable of defending your purity of heart and body.  Be committed to the struggle against evil and sin.  Always esteem and love, purity and virginity." (Pope John Paul II, 1990)      
A Prayer for Priests 
O my God, help those priests who are faithful to remain faithful; to those who are falling, stretch forth Your Divine Hand that they may grasp it as their support.  In the great ocean of Your mercy, lift those poor unfortunate ones who have fallen, that being engulfed therein they may receive the grace to return to Your Great Loving Heart.  Amen.  Precious Blood of Jesus, protect them!
The Eucharist is the fruit of our Lords Passion. Jesus gave up His Body on the cross so that He may give you His Body in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus poured out His very last drop of Blood on the cross so that He may fill you with His Divine Love each time that you receive Him in Holy Communion and visit Him in Eucharistic Adoration! 
"The Eucharist, in the Mass and outside of the Mass, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and is therefore deserving of the worship that is given to the living God, and to Him alone" (Pope John Paul II, September 29, 1979, Phoenix Park, Ireland) 
"The bread and wine, fruit of human hands, transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, become a pledge of the 'new heaven and new earth,' announced by the Church in her daily mission." "In Christ, whom we adore present in the mystery of the Eucharist, the father uttered his final word with regard to humanity and human history." "To live the Eucharist, it is necessary, as well, to spend much time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, something which I myself experience every day drawing from it strength, consolation and assistance."  "How could the Church fulfill her vocation without cultivating a constant relationship with the Eucharist, without nourishing herself with this food which sanctifies, without founding her missionary activity on this indispensable support?" "To evangelize the world there is need of apostles who are 'experts' in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist" (Pope John Paul II, World Mission Message 2004).
The Power of the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist  
"The Precious Blood belongs in an especial manner to men. Much more, therefore, does God invite them to come to its heavenly baths, and receive therein, not only the cleansing of their souls, but the power of a new and amazing life. Every doctrine in theology is a call to the Precious Blood.  Every ceremony in the Church tells of it . . . .  Every supernatural act is a growth of it. Everything that is holy on earth is either a leaf, bud, blossom or fruit of the Blood of Jesus. To its fountains God calls the sinner, that he may be lightened of his burdens. There is no remission of him in anything else.  Only there is his lost sonship to be found. The saints are no less called by God to these invigorating streams. It is out of the Precious Blood that men draw martyrdoms, vocations, celebacies, austerities, heroic charities, and all the magnificent graces of high sanctity.  The secret nourishment of prayer is from those fountains" (Father Faber, The Precious Blood).  

The Most Precious Blood of Jesus
July is traditionally associated with the Precious Blood of Our Lord. It may be customary to celebrate the votive Mass of the Precious Blood on July 1.

The extraordinary importance of the saving Blood of Christ has ensured a central place for its memorial in the celebration of this cultic mystery: at the centre of the Eucharistic assembly, in which the Church raises up to God in thanksgiving "the cup of blessing" (1 Cor 10, 16; cf Ps 115-116, 13) and offers it to the faithful as a "real communion with the Blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10, 16); and throughout the Liturgical Year. The Church celebrates the saving Blood of Christ not only on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also on many other occasions, such that the cultic remembrance of the Blood of our redemption (cf 1 Pt 1, 18) pervades the entire Liturgical Year. Hence, at Vespers during Christmastide, the Church, addressing Christ, sings: "Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo redempti sumus sanguine, ob diem natalis tui hymnum novum concinimus." In the Paschal Triduum, the redemptive significance and efficacy of the Blood of Christ is continuously recalled in adoration. During the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday the Church sings the hymn: "Mite corpus perforatur, sanguis unde profluit; terra, pontus, astra, mundus quo lavanturflumine", and again on Easter Sunday, "Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roesum gustando, Deo vivimus (194).

Catholic Word of the Day: LITANY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD, 09-25-12
ST. GASPAR: Founder of the Society of the Precious Blood
Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (London, 9/18)

Devotion to the Drops of Blood Lost by our Lord Jesus Christ on His Way to Calvary (Prayer/Devotion)
Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
Catholic Word of the Day: PRECIOUS BLOOD, 12-03-11
The Traditional Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Catholic Caucus)
Devotion to the Precious Blood
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,And More on the Precious Blood
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you"  (Jn 6:53).  

17 posted on 07/07/2018 9:47:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

July, 2018

The Holy Father's Prayer Intention

Evangelization – Priests and their Pastoral Ministry, That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

18 posted on 07/07/2018 9:47:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Year B - 14th Sunday in ordinary time

A prophet is despised in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.
Mark 6:1-6
1 And going out from there, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him.
2 And when the sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine, saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him.
4 And Jesus said to them: A prophet is despised in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.
5 And he could not do any miracles there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them.
6 And he wondered because of their unbelief, and he went through the villages round about teaching.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus
It was very disconcerting for me to see how many people would marvel temporarily about my miracles, about the words of wisdom they listened to and how even then they would not realize that God was doing wonders among them. All the prophets demonstrated that they were bringing a divine message and they deserved to be listened to, however they all perished because of the hypocrisy of those who heard them with doubts and contempt, they sinned by underestimating the gift of God, together with those who didn’t listen to me and don’t even listen now but reject my Word.

Who can have words like God, who can unite power to his word the way God does, who can speak perfectly without error, expressing himself directly from Wisdom, the way God does? There is only one who has been able to do that, and He is the same Word of God, He who is the Incarnate Word, the Wisdom of God that has come to the earth, Jesus, your friend, your heavenly doctor, the true way, the truth and the life.

How difficult it was for me to convince the humanity that listened to me, even demonstrating my power, so that they would see that the Holy Scriptures were being fulfilled before their eyes, many were called, but few were chosen.

Many expected the Messiah, but few recognized Him when he came, many sought Him, but few found Him, and even after finding Him and listening to His testimony, they rejected His teachings and preferred to put Him aside. For this reason, their hearts were filled with jealousy and evil, beginning with those who knew me since my childhood and could not accept what their eyes were seeing, those who studied the law of Moses and had been filled with human precepts that had nothing to do with the divine teachings. Finding something new, something unconventional, those people rejected me totally, they despised the gift that God had sent them and they closed their eyes so that they would not see the Light that descended from above.

For many souls who look for God, it is very difficult to recognize the spiritual encounter that I have with each one, many think, “I am not worthy to receive the Lord”, then, closed in their almost noble concepts, they don’t realize about my Presence, they reject the inspirations of my Holy Spirit, they despise the opportunities to do good, without knowing that I am providing them with ways to get close to Me. Eventually they become cold in the faith, they come to the point of even forgetting that I am really Present in the Church, just as I promised; doubts run through their minds, especially about my Sacramental Presence.

Many Christians ask themselves, who is this, of flesh and blood, who wears a robe, who is claiming to consecrate bread and wine and brings Jesus to the altar, how is it, that a man has the power to forgive sins and unite me to God? Well, these are doing exactly the same they did to me in my own land; they are despising me in those that I have anointed with my Divine Word, which is capable of doing anything. Those who reject my priests are rejecting Me, those who don’t open their spiritual ears because they are bound to their material world, are missing out on the gift that God is offering for the healing of all their evils.

If there was not faith before my corporal Presence here on earth, it is more difficult to believe in me now, when minds are saturating themselves daily with the rubbish of the world, this is why I have destined throughout all generations faithful instruments to my Word who are the means of reaching out to those who are about to be lost forever. Blessed are those who believe in me without seeing, those who without experiencing my miracles have faith, because they recognize the dignity of my Person and the unique value of my Word.

I have many blessings in store for those who have faith in me. My Peace and my Grace flow into their lives like rivers of Heavenly Light, their joy is continuous and secure, because they are walking firmly on my way.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

19 posted on 07/07/2018 9:56:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Poor Preaching Isn’t Only Due to the Preacher – A Homily For the 14th Sunday of the Year

July 7, 2018

The gospel today portrays the Lord Jesus as preacher and prophet, but even the greatest preacher in the world, Jesus, can find His powerful and precious words falling lifeless on the rock-hard surface of many a soul. Yes, even His words can meet with resistance and hostility, indifference and ridicule. Indeed, the gospel today shows the ruinous result of rejection.

My formal homily notes begin with the red text below, but first I’d like to provide some background reflections that may prove helpful.

We sometimes think that if only Catholic priests were better preachers, all would be well, but that is only half the battle. The Catholic faithful must also have ears to hear and hearts that are open and eager to receive the truth. A well-known preacher and fine Protestant teacher, William Barclay, has this to say:

There can be no preaching in the wrong atmosphere. Our churches would be different places if congregations would only remember that they preach far more than half the sermon. In an atmosphere of expectancy, the poorest effort can catch fire. In an atmosphere of critical coldness or bland indifference the most spirit-packed utterance can fall lifeless to the earth (Commentary on Mark, p. 140).

Yes, of this I am a witness. I have preached before congregations that were expectant and supportive, and saw my feeble words catch fire. I have also preached in settings where “I couldn’t hear nobody pray.” And oh, the difference!

I have been blessed to serve most of my priesthood in African-American parishes, where there is a deep appreciation that the preaching moment is a shared one, with shared responsibilities. The congregation does not consider itself a passive recipient of the Word, but rather an active sharer in the proclamation.

There is an air of expectancy as the faithful gather and listen and begin to sing and pray. This air of expectancy is sometimes called “the hum.” During the reading of the Word and the sermon there are nods. Hands may go up, a foot may stomp, and an acclamation or two fill the air: Amen! Yes, Lord! Go on now! Take your time! Make it plain, preacher! You don’t need to tell me! My, my, my!

As a preacher, I too can call for help: Are you praying with me Church? Somebody ought to say, Amen! Come on, can I get a witness? It’s kinda quiet in here today; can I get an Amen? Yes, together we craft the message, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. While it belongs to the priest to craft the content, it belongs to the congregation to affirm the truth and acknowledge the Spirit through prayerful attention and support.

The preaching task is both precious and necessary, but it involves more than just the preacher.

Before delving into the text of today’s gospel, I’d like to share a few more insights from Pope St. Gregory the Great.

First, on the obligation of the preacher and the solemnity of his task:

Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favor of men. As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears. The Lord reproaches them through the prophet: “They are dumb dogs that cannot bark.” On another occasion he complains, “You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord.” To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of this world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.

When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. … [But] they [who] are afraid to reproach men for their faults … thereby lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because [such preachers] fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.

The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop, He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For the same reason God tells us through Malachi, The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah, Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.

Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for he causes those whom he has filled, to speak out spontaneously [Gregory the Great, Pastoral Guide].

Second, on the reason for poor preaching:

Beloved brothers, consider what has been said: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. Pray for us so that we may have the strength to work on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, and that after we have accepted the office of preaching, our silence may not condemn us before the just judge.

For frequently the preacher’s tongue is bound fast on account of his own wickedness; while on the other hand it sometimes happens that because of the people’s sins, the word of preaching is withdrawn from those who preside over the assembly.

With reference to the wickedness of the preacher, the psalmist says: But God asks the sinner: Why do you recite my commandments? And with reference to the latter, the Lord tells Ezekiel: I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be dumb and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. He clearly means this: the word of preaching will be taken away from you because as long as this people irritates me by their deeds, they are unworthy to hear the exhortation of truth. It is not easy to know for whose sinfulness the preacher’s word is withheld, but it is indisputable that the shepherd’s silence while often injurious to himself will always harm his flock [Ibid].

Note well, then, the shared responsibility of the preacher and the people. Let these texts serve as a worthy background to what is now to come in today’s gospel, which we can see in three stages.

I. Real Rejoicing The text says, Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!”

Thus, the initial reaction of Jesus’ hometown crowd is positive. They are filled with amazement and joy. The text sets forth two sources of their joy:

His wise words – Many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him?” Yes, what a blessing it must have been to hear Jesus preach. And boy, could Jesus preach! Scripture says of His preaching,

His wonderful works – They also say, “What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!” Yes, Jesus had worked many miracles up to this point. He had

And so we see that the initial reaction to Jesus preaching is good. Their remarks and rejoicing are a sign that the Spirit is working and prompting them to belief.

Things are about to turn sour, however. The Word of God can fall on the rocky soil of hearts, where it springs up but soon withers because the soil is so shallow. Or His Word can be sown on the paths of hearts where the birds of the sky come and carry it off. Or the Word of the Lord can fall on divided hearts, where the thorns of worldliness and the anxieties of the world choke it off. And sometimes it falls on good soil, where it yields thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold (cf Matt 13:1-9).

II. Rude Rejection – The text says, [But some began to say] Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Notice how sudden their change is. There is an old spiritual that says, “Some go to church for to sing and shout, before six months they’s all turned out!”

They harden their hearts. Yes, the tide mysteriously and suddenly turns against Jesus. Sin has set in and hearts have hardened; the joy has been jettisoned. Though the Holy Spirit prompts them to faith and to call Jesus, “Lord,” they harden their hearts. It is a grim and tragic sin.

They also exhibit a kind of prejudice or unjust discrimination, dismissing Jesus as a mere carpenter and a “hometown boy.” It is odd that the poor and oppressed sometimes take up the voice of the oppressor. Thus, these simple people from a small town of only 300 take up the voice of the Jerusalemites, who regarded Galileans as “poor backwoods clowns” and as unlettered people. Yes, Jesus’ own townsfolk take up the voice of the oppressor and say to Him, in effect, “Stay in your place. You have no business being smart, talented, wise, or great. You’re just one of us and should amount to nothing.” It is the same sort of tragic rebuke that sometimes takes place among minority students who excel in school, when some of their fellow minority students accuse them of “going white.” It’s tragic.

They also exhibit the sin of envy. Envy is sadness or anger at the goodness or excellence of another person because we take it as diminishing our own. The text says, And they took offense at him. St. Augustine called envy the diabolical sin. This is because it seeks not to possess the good of another (as jealousy does), but rather to destroy what is good in others so that the destroyer can look better.

The result of these sins was that Nazareth was not a place where excellence was known, even among its own! Indeed, John 1:46 records Nathanael saying of Nazareth, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” It would seem that even the townsfolk of Nazareth would agree! (But Philip, who surrendered his prejudice, said to Nathanael, “Come and see.”)

But an even more awful result of these sins ensues.

III. Ruinous Result – The text says, Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Because they judge Him to be nothing, they get nothing. They have blocked their blessings.

Jesus says, He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward (Mat 10:41). When we banish or discredit God, however, we should not expect to see many of His works. These things come only from faith.

Miracles are the result of faith, not the cause of it. Thus, the text says, So [Jesus] was not able to perform any mighty deed there … He was amazed at their lack of faith.

There are some things that even God can’t do, not because He lacks the power but because He respects our choices. Pay attention. The Lord is offering us salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven. Either we reach out to take it or we don’t, but the choice is ours. If we take it, He’ll go to work, but if we refuse, He respects our freedom and will “not be able” to perform any mighty deeds.

What a ruinous result for Nazareth and for all who reject the prophetic utterances of our Lord and His saving help. Scripture says,

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would have none of me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last for ever. I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you” (Psalm 81:10-16).

Either we accept God’s word and yield to its healing and saving power or we can expect little or nothing but ultimate ruin. It is as if we are in a raging stream heading toward the falls and almost certain death, but then a hand is stretched out to save us—the hand of Jesus. Mysteriously, we reject that hand and ridicule its power. The ruinous result of our hideous and foolish rejection is our death. The text says, He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Pay attention! God is preaching the Word to you every Sunday—every day, in fact. Will you heed and be healed? Will you receive and be rescued? Or will you reject and be ruined? Will the Lord be able to do mighty deeds for you? Or will He be amazed at your lack of faith? The choice is yours; it is all yours.

What of our nation, once steeped in the Word of God? The Founding Fathers once wove Scripture freely into their discourse, but in recent decades a hostile secularism has insisted on marginalizing all references to God and scoffing at biblical morality. They talk “tolerance” yet file lawsuits against those who would dare speak of God, display a nativity, or call something a sin. There is no room in this post to present statistics that show our blessings ebbing away, but it is clear that as our families disintegrate, a nation that once led the world in almost every respect is now well back in the pack and fading fast. To forsake the preaching of Christ though His Scripture and His Church is to forfeit blessings. He can work no miracles here because of our lack of faith.

Even Jesus can have a bad day in the pulpit, but it is not really His bad day—it is ours. If we sinfully reject the Word of God, it is we who will forfeit blessings and miracles because of our lack of faith.

20 posted on 07/07/2018 10:04:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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