Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time & St. Fabian, January 19,2017
A large number of people followed Jesus from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon – that is, from all the world. Why? Because they recognized in “what he was doing” the One their hearts were waiting for: the One who is always able to save those who approach God through him.
Lord Jesus, In today’s Gospel, crowds followed You wherever You went. Lord, open our hearts and enable us to surrender our lives to You and follow You and to delight only in You, to exult and be glad that You are the High Priest, our Mediator and Salvation. May all who seek You exult and be glad in You, and may those who love your salvation say ever, THE LORD BE GLORIFIED! In your Name, we pray. Amen.
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.
It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
The main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For God says, “See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.
Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17
R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Alleluia See 2 Tm 1:10
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – Jesus Christ “Superstar”
Going back through my memory bank, I can still remember how the great masses of people within Metro Manila patronized a young movie star-singer. She came from very humble beginnings and became a big success in show business. Day in and day out people flocked into the plush home where she resided. On weekends when she will come out and meet her countless fans, one can hear loud screams from people and even their shrill voices. Stella and I were witnesses to this as our home was about one minute walk to her abode.
Today, I often wondered what the big crowds were really looking for. What did they have in mind? Did they see themselves in the person of the overnight success story? Was she an escape from their ordinary life? Or was it excitement they were after? Whatever it was they had in their hearts and minds, what one saw was a seething mass of humanity that was beyond control.
In today’s Gospel scenario, we have Jesus Christ “Superstar” as the focus of the mad hysteria. What were they looking for as they followed Jesus? Miracles and deliverance? Were they there for curiosity? Or did they find Jesus entertaining? These very questions still apply to us today as we all follow Jesus through the scripture.
Following Jesus through the gospels and the epistles, what do we really hope to hear and receive? Is it curiosity that drew us to Jesus? Or is it our deep love for our God and Savior that brought us to follow Him patiently everyday of our lives? Was it the heavy burden of life or was it our brokenness and sinfulness that caused us to search for Him? Have we followed Jesus in modern times or have we set Him aside for the world?
Jonathan was able to save David’s life as in today’s first reading.” Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed.” Jonathan, interceded on David’s behalf and convinced his father not to give in to his jealousy as David, his successor was receiving so much attention from everyone. Jonathan’s affection for David, and his sense of justice, saved David’s life and allowed the plan of God to move forward.
In the same light, Jesus, as our Intercessor with the Father, is beyond comparison and can always do better than anyone. He is our Lord and Savior.
Let us then follow Jesus as we walk back to our true home with the Father. Let us diligently appropriate our total selves solely for His purpose and present to Him all our cares and concerns allowing Him to direct our lives as “Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He lives forever to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Follow Jesus wherever He may lead us.
Heavenly Father, I always endeavor to do your will. Give me the grace to seek you and your plan so that I may glorify You in my words and in my deeds. In Jesus I pray, Amen.
Reflection 2 – Making good copies
Today’s first reading explains that Jesus raised the priesthood to a new level — a higher, holier level — when he fulfilled the old covenant and ushered in the new. Although the ancient Jewish priesthood is the foundation for the Christian priesthood, we no longer have high priests, because Jesus is the High Priest. And we all become priests.
In our baptisms, we all died to our earthly human nature and were resurrected as priests, prophets and kings joined to these important service-oriented functions of Christ. When we gather to worship God as a community, we, the common priests (the laity and consecrated religious) together with the ministerial priests (the ordained clergy), offer him our sacrifices and prayers.
Christ comes to earth today in the Sacraments through the ministerial priests. In Catholicism, because their ordinations connect all the way back directly to St. Peter’s, they become “in persona Christi”, i.e., they are simultaneously sinful man and the holy presence of Christ. Two thousand years ago, Jesus gave his holy orders to the Apostles (the meaning of ordination), who gave Christ’s holy orders to the next priests, who ordained the next, and so on to this very day; this is called the “apostolic succession of priests”.
Thus, Jesus our High Priest is fully present with us at every Catholic Mass in the Word of God, in the Eucharist, and in the priest (regardless of how sinful he is) through whom Jesus preaches the Word and through whom Jesus changes the bread and wine into the Eucharist.
When we — the common priests and the ministerial priests — eat his body and drink his blood, we are united to Christ’s sacrifice and the salvation that it gives us. Thus united to Jesus, we all become Christ’s body on earth for the continuation of his ministry. Are we continuing his ministry well?
Since everything earthly is temporary, right now we are only copies and shadows of the heavenly Christ. The sanctuaries in our churches, where the bread and wine become Christ’s actual body and blood, are copies and shadows of heaven where we will be consecrated to him forever in complete love and perfect holiness.
We who are temples of the Holy Spirit are the true tabernacles holding the true presence of Christ for all the world to see and consume. Do others see the true presence of Jesus in us? Yes — as long as we behave like the Body of Christ that we are. Whenever we sin, we hide Jesus from the world.
To be holy priests (common or ordained), we must imitate the examples of Jesus and continually learn from his teachings and purify our lives so that we more accurately represent his true presence on earth. This is what changes the world; this is how prayers get answered. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-01-19
Reflection 3 – All pressed upon Jesus to touch him
Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself to God without fear or reservation? Jesus offered freedom to everyone who sought him out. Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard about all the wonderful deeds and miracles which he performed. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Do you seek to lay hold of Jesus’ presence in your life that he may touch and heal you?
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) remarked:
“It is by faith that we touch Jesus. And far better to touch him by faith than to touch or handle him with the hands only and not by faith. It was no great thing to merely touch him manually. Even his oppressors doubtless touched him when they apprehended him, bound him, and crucified him, but by their ill-motivated touch they lost precisely what they were laying hold of. O worldwide church! It is by touching him faithfully that your ‘faith has made you whole’ (Isaiah 1:10-18; Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; Luke 8:48; John 20:29).” (excerpt from SERMONS, ON EASTER 148)
Why did Jesus perform so many countless miracles and signs during his earthly ministry? Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD) wrote that these signs and miracles showed that Jesus was truly God – the eternal Word who was made flesh for our salvation:
[Jesus] performed very many wonderful miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from incurable diseases whoever drew near to him, and displaying his own most divine power. He did these works so that both the Jews, who had run together to him, and those from the country of the Greeks might know that Christ was not some ordinary man of those in our degree but, on the contrary, God. He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate. He was the Word that was made man but retained nevertheless his own glory. “For power went forth from him and healed all.” Christ did not borrow strength from some other person, but being himself God by nature, even though he had become flesh, he healed them all, by the demonstration of power over the sick. (COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 25)
Why did the demons tremble in the presence of Jesus (Mark 3:11)? They recognized that his power and authority came from heaven and not from earth. But while they confessed Christ and trembled in his presence, they did not respond in love.
When you read God’s word and consider all that Jesus said and did, how do you respond? With indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with expectant faith, love, and willing obedience? Ask the Lord Jesus to draw you to himself with increasing faith, fervent love, and eager readiness to do his will.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from all that hinders me from drawing closer to you.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/jan19.htm
Reflection 4 – Fighting evil
How do you fight the evil spirits? A group of social activists came to get a blessing for their plan of action and the guru told them, “What you people need is light and not action.” He explained, “Fighting evil by action is like fighting darkness with your bear hands. What you all need is light and not force.” Jesus is our light in the midst of the darkness of evil. The fullness of evil, that is, the rejection and death of God was assumed by Jesus with the utmost love possible on earth. For God sent His Son, clothed in our flesh, in order that through His Son He might snatch men from the power of darkness and Satan and that in this Son He might reconcile the world to Himself.
In the Gospel, Jesus withdraws with his disciples to the sea. And the unclean spirit cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not make him known. In this situation, Jesus saw his liberating mission as a kind of power struggle with Satan, a warfare against the powers of evil in all its possible shapes and forms, and he proved that goodness is ultimately more powerful than evil.
The disastrous effect of original sin in us; the innate tendency to dominate, to lord it over, to oppress will turn into willingness to serve if we allow Jesus to conquer our hearts and offer us his new freedom from sinful brokenness, if we allow him to be the Lord of our lives. Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself unreservedly to Jesus? Ask the Lord to increase your faith in his saving power and grace.
Reflection 5 – The Gospel of Life
“The Christian is someone who thinks and acts in everyday life according to God’s will, someone who allows his or her life to be guided and nourished by the Holy Spirit, to be a full life, a life worthy of true sons and daughters. And this entails realism and fruitfulness. Those who let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit are realists; they know how to survey and assess reality. They are also fruitful; their lives bring new life to birth all around them.
“God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power, and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfillment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death. The wisdom of the Psalmist says: The precept of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes (Ps 19:9). Let us always remember: the Lord is the Living One, he is merciful. The Lord is the Living One, he is merciful.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us look to the Gospel as the God of life, let us look to his law, to the Gospel message, as the way to freedom and life. The Living God sets us free! Let us say “Yes” to love and not selfishness. Let us say “Yes” to life and not death. Let us say “Yes” to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say “Yes” to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints; let us say “Yes” to the God who is the Living One and the Merciful One” (Source: Pope Benedict XVI, Magnificat, Vol. 16, No. 11, January 2015, pp. 311-312).
Reflection 6 – St. Fabian (c. 250 A.D.)
Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity, and he was chosen unanimously.
He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius in 250 A.D.. St. Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an “incomparable” man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.
In the catacombs of St. Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian’s grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, “Fabian, bishop, martyr.”
We can go confidently into the future and accept the change that growth demands only if we have firm roots in the past, in a living tradition. A few pieces of stone in Rome are a reminder to us that we are bearers of more than 20 centuries of a living tradition of faith and courage in living the life of Christ and showing it to the world. We have brothers and sisters who have “gone before us with the sign of faith,” as the First Eucharistic Prayer puts it, to light the way for us.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Tertullian).
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1265
SAINT OF THE DAY
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|PAPACY BEGAN||10 January 236|
|PAPACY ENDED||20 January 250|
|DIED||20 January 250
Rome, Roman Empire
|FEAST DAY||20 January|
|VENERATED IN||Roman Catholic Church|
Fabian (Latin: Fabianus; c. 200 – 20 January 250) was the Bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death in 250,succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit‘s unexpected choice to become the next pope. He was succeeded byCornelius.
Most of his papacy was characterized by amicable relations with the imperial government, and Fabian could thus bring back to Rome the bodies of Pope Pontian and the antipope Hippolytus, both of whom had died in exile in the Sardinian mines, for Christian burial. It was also probably during his reign that the schism between the two corresponding Roman congregations of these leaders was ended. He was highly esteemed by Cyprian; Novatian refers to his nobilissima memoriae, and he corresponded with Origen. One authority refers to him as Flavian.
The Liber Pontificalis, a fourth-century document that survives in later copies, says that he divided Rome intodeaconates and appointed secretaries to collect the records of the martyrs. He is also said, probably without basis, to have baptized the emperor Philip the Arab and his son. More plausible is the report in the Liberian Catalogue that he sent out seven “apostles to the Gauls” as missionaries.
He died a martyr at the beginning of the Decian persecution, and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.Fabian’s feast day is commemorated on January 20, the same as Saint Sebastian, in whose church his sepulcher lies in Rome.
Early life and accession
According to the Liber Pontificalis, Fabian was a noble Roman by birth, and his father’s name was Fabius. Nothing more is known about his background. The legend concerning the circumstances of his election is preserved by the fourth-century writer Eusebius of Caesarea (Church History, VI. 29).
After the short reign of Pope Anterus, Fabian had come to Rome from the countryside when the new papal electionbegan. “Although present,” says Eusebius, Fabian “was in the mind of none.” While the names of several illustrious and noble churchmen were being considered over the course of thirteen days, a dove suddenly descended upon the head of Fabian. To the assembled electors, this strange sight recalled the gospel scene of the descent of the Holy Spirit onJesus at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist. The congregation took this as a sign that he was marked out for this dignity, and Fabian was at once proclaimed bishop by acclamation.
During Fabian’s reign of 14 years, there was a lull in the storm of persecution which had resulted in the exile of both Anterus‘ predecessor Pontian and the antipope (and later saint) Hippolytus. Fabian had enough influence at court to effect the return of the bodies of both of these martyrs from Sardinia, where they had died at hard labor in the mines. The report that he baptized the emperor Philip the Arab and his son, however, is probably a legend, although he did seem to enjoy some connections at court, since the bodies of Pontian and Hippolytus could not have been exhumed without the emperor’s approval.
According to the sixth-century historian Gregory of Tours Fabian sent out the “apostles to the Gauls” to Christiani Gaul in A.D. 245. Fabian sent seven bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatianus of Tours to Tours, Trophimus of Arles to Arles, Paul of Narbonne to Narbonne, Saturnin to Toulouse, Denis toParis, Austromoine to Clermont, and Saint Martial to Limoges. He also condemned Privatus, the originator of a new heresy in Africa.
The Liber Pontificalis says that Fabian divided the Christian communities of Rome into seven districts, each supervised by adeacon. Eusebius (VI §43) adds that he appointed seven subdeacons to help collect the acta of the martyrs—the reports of the court proceedings on the occasion of their trials. There is also a tradition that he instituted the four minor clerical orders: Porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte. However most scholars believe these offices evolved gradually and were formally instituted at a later date.
His deeds are thus described in the Liber Pontificalis:
Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit vii subdiacones, qui vii notariis imminerent, Ut gestas martyrum integro fideliter colligerent, et multas fabricas per cymiteria fieri praecepit. (“He divided the regiones into deaconships and made seven sub-deaconships which seven secretaries oversaw, so that they brought together the deeds of the martyrs faithfully made whole, and he brought forth many works in the cemeteries.”)
The Liberian Catalogue of the popes also reports that Fabian initiated considerable work on the catacombs, where honored Christians were buried, and where he also caused the body of Pope Pontian to be entombed at the catacomb of Saint Callixtus.
With the advent of Emperor Decius, the Roman government’s tolerant policy toward Christianity temporarily ended. Decius ordered leading Christians to demonstrate their loyalty to Rome by offering incense to the cult images of deities which represented the Roman state. This, of course, was unacceptable to many Christians, who, while no longer holding most of the laws of the Old Testament to apply to them, took the commandment against idolatry with deadly seriousness. Fabian was thus one of the earliest victims of Decius, dying as a martyr on 20 January 250, at the beginning of the Decian persecution, probably in prison rather than by execution.
|“||Fabian, Bishop, Martyr.||”|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fabianus.|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Meier, Gabriel (1909). “Pope St. Fabian” in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). “St. Fabian”. My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate – Quality Catholic Publications. p. 24. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.
- Cyprian’s letter to Fabian’s successor Pope Cornelius (Cyprian, Epistle 30) calls him “incomparable” and says that the glory of his martyrdom answered the purity and holiness of his life.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Fabian, Saint“. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Gross, Ernie. This Day in Religion. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. ISBN 1-55570-045-4
- Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
- Gregory, Historia Francorum I §30, giving as his source the Martyrdom of Saturnin.
- “Pope St. Fabian“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.