Readings & Reflections: Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, February 25,2017
“Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” When we live in a childlike way, we best recognize that in God’s “own image he made” us. We sense that God has created for us “an inventive heart.” And what that heart wants more than anything else is to remain close and dependent upon the One who has made “an everlasting covenant” with us, for “his eyes are even upon” our ways.
Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed Luke Belludi, February 24,2017
When a husband is joined to his wife, “they are no longer two but one flesh.” Each has found a faithful friend, and “a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter… is beyond price… is a life-saving remedy.” The spousal friends whom “God has joined together” in the Sacrament of Marriage “no human being must separate.”
“Lord Jesus, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life. Sanctify our lives — as married couples and as singles — that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you.”. In your Name, I pray. Amen.
Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & St. Polycarp, February 23,2017
Polycarp was one of the “Apostolic Fathers,” those Fathers of the Church who learned the Faith directly from the Twelve Apostles. In his youth, Polycarp heard the preaching of Saint John. During his years as bishop in Smyrna, he wrote many pastoral letters, only one of which survives, a missive to the faithful at Philippi. According to Saint Jerome, this letter was still being read in the churches of Asia almost three hundred years after Polycarp’s death. Of Polycarp, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons attested, “At all times he taught the things which he had learnt from the Apostles, which the Church transmits, which alone are true.” Polycarp suffered martyrdom around the year 155 A.D.
Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of Seventh Week of Ordinary Time & Peter Damian, February 21,2017
Ecclesiastical abuses and political intrigues characterized the 11th– century milieu of Peter Damian. Having embraced a life of prayer and penance at the hermitage of Fonte Avellana in northern Italy, Peter nevertheless took public stands against simony, the practice of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices, and clerical marriage. In 1057 A.D. he was named cardinal and bishop of Ostia, Italy. Peter urged the secular clergy to embrace monastic poverty. His many writings include letters written to influential Medieval personages, recommending detachment from worldly goods. He died in 1072 A.D., and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1828 A.D.
Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto, February 20,2017
A man face with an impossible problem – a possessed son whom even Christ’s disciples cannot liberate – refuses to give up. Instead, he goes to Jesus. “Everything is possible to the one who has faith.” There is a wisdom in the world greater than all the world’s agonies… and that Wisdom has become flesh. And God has lavished this wisdom upon his friends. Prayer is what unleashes it.
Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: Sunday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time A & St. Conrad of Piacenza, February 19,2017
The Lord says to Moses, “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” And Jesus says to his disciples, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We may at first be cowed by this daunting command. But that is a sign that we are judging by “the thoughts of the wise” – thoughts that “are vain.” In order to become perfect as the Father, we must first “become a fool, so as to become wise.” Only such foolishness makes us realize that we do not have what it takes to be perfect as the Father. That perfection is possible only if it is given to us. Holiness consists in such humble receptivity before God’s grace. We ask with absolute confidence because we “belong to Christ.”
Readings & Reflections: Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed John of Fiesole, February 18,2017
Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a high mountain for them to experience his Transfiguration. Until now, the radiance of Christ’s glory had been invisible. But as they witness the miracle, they come to realize that “what is visible came into being through the invisible.” Christ is transfigured in order to strengthen the disciples’ faith for the future, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, February 17,2017
The seven men who are honored on this date entered the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence from 1225 to 1227 A.D. On the feast of the Assumption, they shared a vision of Mary that led them to seek solitude together in a house outside the city. A second vision of Mary holding black robes, and an angel with a scroll emblazoned with the words “Servants of Mary,” gave them their habit and title. The Rule of Saint Augustine was adopted, and ecclesiastical approval was given in 1304. The Servites, as they came to be called, are especially devoted to the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are one of the five original mendicant orders.
Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gilbert of Sempringham, February 16,2017
Peter rebukes Jesus for speaking openly about his imminent Passion and Death. For Peter, such suffering does not correspond to the profession he has just made: “You are the Christ.” The Lord responds, “Get behind me, Satan.” To claim Christ without his cross is akin to Satanism. The sign of the unending covenant is the red of Christ’s shed blood.
Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time &St. Claude de la Colombiere, February 15,2017
The “plucked-off olive leaf” was the sign of the existence in the world of a living tree, which meant that the flood waters were receding and that life on earth could begin again. When Jesus heals the blind man, the first thing he sees is “people looking like trees and walking.” He glimpses what we will see on Good Friday: the man Jesus carrying his cross as if he were a tree walking. The sign of that tree is the promise of New Life on earth.
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