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Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Thursday, June 29, 2017
FEAST OF ST PETER AND PAUL
Ester, Chapter 4D, Verse 5
She glowed with perfect beauty and her face was as joyous as it was lovely, though her heart was pounding with fear.
Ester after making a total and complete commitment to save the people and fasting for 3 days approached her husband the King. She was at peace. This verse reflects the joy of the woman in Mark’s chapter 5 whom Christ healed:
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. 28 She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” 29Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” 31But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32And he looked around to see who had done it. 33The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction. An unclean person in general had to avoid that which was holy and take steps to return to a state of cleanliness. Uncleanliness placed a person in a "dangerous" condition under threat of divine retribution, even death, if the person approached the sanctuary. Uncleanness could lead to expulsion of the land's inhabitants and its peril lingered upon those who did not undergo purification. Bodily discharges (blood for women, semen for men) represented a temporary loss of strength and life and movement toward death. Because decaying corpses discharged, so natural bodily discharges were reminders of sin and death. Physical imperfections representing a movement from "life" toward "death" moved a person ritually away from God who was associated with life. Purification rituals symbolized movement from death toward life and accordingly involved blood, the color red, and spring (lit. "living") water, all symbols of life. Christ also being clean took this woman’s uncleanliness and gave her his Holiness. Indeed she was filled with wonder and awe.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Christ did the same for the two princes of His church and He will do the same for you. Be clean!
Feast of Saint Peter and Paul
Today is the grand rejoicing of the two Princes of the Apostles and founders of the Church in Rome.
PETER, formerly called Simon, was a son of Jonas, of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and a brother of Andrew, by whom he was brought to Christ, Who at once changed his name and called him Peter. When, soon after, Jesus said to both of them on the Sea of Tiberias, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” they both left their nets and followed Him. From this time forward Jesus was constantly giving him particular proofs of His love. From the ship of Peter He taught the thronging multitude, and to him He promised that on him, as upon a rock, He would build His Church, against which the gates of hell should not prevail. Our Lord took Peter with Him at the raising of Jairus daughter from the dead; at His own transfiguration on Mount Tabor; at the beginning of His passion in the Garden of Gethsemani. To him He promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven; for him He specially prayed that his faith might not fail; and him He commanded to strengthen his brethren. After His resurrection He appeared particularly to Peter, and three times commanded him to feed His flock. But Peter had, above all the other apostles, made himself worthy of this preeminence by his living faith, his humility, his love, and his zeal for the honor of Jesus; for he it was who, before the other apostles, made the confession, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” He showed his humility when, at the miraculous draught of fishes, he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Out of love he desired to remain always with Christ on Mount Tabor to prevent Him from suffering; and out of love he declared himself ready with Christ to live or die; nay, he even declared most confidently that, though all should be scandalized in Christ, yet he would not be. When Jesus was taken prisoner, Peter showed himself to be most courageous by cutting off the ear of one of his Master’s enemies, and by following Him to the house of Caiphas. Three times, indeed, did he, as no one else did, deny his Lord out of fear; but the look of forgiving love which Jesus cast upon him forced from him tears of the deepest contrition, and three times afterwards, accordingly, he made that confession, “Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” After he had received the Holy Ghost, full of courage, he confessed Christ crucified, and preached Him in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Ionia, and Bithynia. At Jerusalem he was once already condemned to death, but was set free by an angel. In the year 54 he went to Rome, whence, after a nine years residence, he was banished, with many other Christians. Upon returning thither again he was confined in the Mamertine prison, and finally, on June 29, in the year A.D. 67, under the Emperor Nero, he was crucified; his head, by his own desire, hung downwards, because he thought himself unworthy to die like Christ.
Paul, before his conversion called Saul, was of the tribe of Benjamin, a native of Tarsus, in Cilicia, and a pupil of Gamaliel. Full of zeal for the law, he bitterly opposed the Christians. As he was travelling to Damascus to persecute them he was, on the way, converted by Christ. How indefatigably he thenceforward worked in the vineyard of the Lord, and what dangers and persecutions he underwent, no pen can describe. It is almost incredible with what zeal and perseverance he preached Christ, in chains and fetters, under blows and scourges, in hunger and thirst, and untold times at the peril of his life. And yet he was so humble that he counted himself the least of the apostles, and always praised God that He had thought him worthy to suffer for His name. After he had at last fought a good fight, and finished his course having everywhere zealously preached the Gospel, and still more zealously practiced it he received the crown of justice (n. Tim. iv. 6). The Emperor Nero caused him to be beheaded on the same day that Peter was crucified.
Of The Pope
What is the Pope to the Catholic? The representative of Jesus Christ, and the visible head, appointed by Him, for the government of His Church.
Did Christ actually appoint such a supreme head? Yes, and that in the person of St. Peter. He gave him the significant name Peter the rock, distinguished him always above the other apostles, and laid upon him the charge to feed His lambs, that is, the faithful, and His sheep, that is, the bishops themselves; and this power Peter uniformly exercised.
Why did Christ appoint a visible head for the Church? Because the Church is an outward, visible society, united together not only by inward faith in Christ, but also by outward, visible signs. Such a visible head is as necessary for the Church as for a body, a family, a society, a state, to prevent disunion, confusion, and the consequent destruction of the whole; this supreme head is the center of the whole, the final judge, the authoritative teacher.
Who is now this supreme head? The Bishop of Rome, or the Pope. It is undeniable that Peter occupied the bishop’s see at Rome, and that he died there. Equally indisputable is it that the successor of St. Peter entered upon possession of his rights, and, together with the episcopal see of Rome, inherited also the office possessed by him. From the first centuries this has ever been acknowledged by the faithful, who have accordingly called the Bishop of Rome Pope that is, the father of the faithful. And how clearly does history show that Peter and his successors are the rock upon which the Lord has immovably founded His Church! What storms have not broken upon the Church!
Persecutions from without and within, heresies and schisms without number, and infidelity in its most hideous form, have raged against the Church, and what has been the consequence? Nations have often fallen away from the Church, single bishops have proved betrayers of their flocks, the sees of the apostles themselves have been subject to the vicissitudes of time. And amid all these storms Rome alone has, for over eighteen hundred years, stood firm. She has come out of every contest victorious, has remained the center of faith and discipline, and has preserved the unbroken succession of bishops from Peter. Who does not see herein the assistance of Him Who forever fulfills that promise of His, “Upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” The Pope is, therefore, the visible supreme head of the Church, appointed by Christ for all time; the invisible, all-governing head is Christ Himself.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
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