Third Sunday after Epiphany
Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 21
See, the LORD, your God, has given this land over to you. Go up and take possession of it, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
God gave the land of Israel to the Israelites as an eternal possession; land could be leased to pay debts, but it always reverted back to the family who owned it. In a similar way Christ has given the possession of your eternal soul back over to you after you leased it out to the evil one. Do not fear or be dismayed to take possession of it.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
As children of God we must take possession of our soul just as the Israelites took possession of the land. A man in possession of his soul seeks to live in such a way that he does not lose possession of his soul. He strives to place first things first and he endeavors to follow God’s holy Will in his life. Conversion means turning to God and keeping the four last things in our mind when we are tempted: Death, Judgment, Heaven and hell. Immediately after death we will be judged, and our private judgment will be repeated on the Day of Judgment; when all men will know us for what we are. If we have done our best and followed Christ’s commandments (if you love me you will keep my commandments) we will join Him in Heaven but if we have ignored His commandments and refused to make use of His help (via the church sacraments) we shall be condemned to hell. .
Therefore; strive to love God in your daily life and make use of His grace. When you fall, immediately make a prayer in honor of the Wound of His Holy Shoulder making use of His grace in the sacrament of confession at the earliest opportunity and receive Holy Communion.
It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard asked our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering, and Our Lord answered: "I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound, which was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men. Honor this wound with thy devotion, and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins, and will no longer remember their mortal sins."
O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.
Imprimatur: Thomas D. Beven, Bishop of Springfield
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Under the traditional calendar the Church Christ cures the Jewish leper and the Roman centurion's servant, calling both Jew and Gentile to His flock.
GOSPEL. Matthew viii. 1-18
At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him: and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying: Lord, if Thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will. Be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man: but go show thyself to the priest and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when He had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion, making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this: Go, and he goeth: and to another: Come, and he cometh: and to my servant: Do this, and he doth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled: and said to them that followed Him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.
Why did the leper say to Jesus, “Lord, if Thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”? Because he believed Jesus to be the promised Messias, Who, as true God, had the power to heal him. When we pray, we must be careful not to prescribe to God what He shall give us, but begin by saying, “If it be pleasing to Thee, and advantageous to me, give me this or that grace.
Why did Jesus stretch forth His hand and touch him? So that he might understand that his leprosy was to be healed. Let us also imitate the example of Jesus by assisting each other in sickness, not shirking this work of charity from aversion or excessive delicacy.
Why did Jesus say, “I will, be thou made clean”? To reveal His almightiness, and to show that all things were subject to Him.
Why did Jesus say, “See thou tell no man”? To show His modesty and humility, and to teach us, when we do good works, not to speak of them, thus losing our reward (Matt. vi. 2, 3).
What does the Savior mean by saying, Go show thyself to the priest?
1. Christ wished to show His respect for the law of Moses, for lepers were required to show themselves to the priests, who were to decide whether they were clean or not. He also teaches us that priests should receive their proper respect.
2. He reminded him who was cleansed to give thanks to God by offering the gift which Moses commanded.
What does the solicitude of the centurion teach us? That masters and mistresses should take care of their sick servants and do what they can to restore them to health.
Why did Our Savior say, I will come and heal him? To show His profound humility, for although He was God, and the Lord of lords, He did not hesitate to visit a poor servant.
Why did the centurion say, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof? Out of humility, for he acknowledged Jesus to be Almighty God.
What is the meaning of the words, “That many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham”? Christ meant that many unbelievers shall receive the Gospel, and, living according to it, shall thereby gain the kingdom of heaven, while the Jews, who were the chosen people of God, shall, for their unbelief and sins, be cast out into the exterior darkness that is, into the most excruciating pains of hell.
International Day of Victims of the Holocaust
Holocaust Memorial Day is a day commemorating the millions of Jews and minority groups who were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust in the 1930s and 40s. The Holocaust, a systematic and state-planned program to kill millions of Jews and other minority groups in Europe, was one of the most horrific genocides in history with an estimated 11 million lives lost. The purpose of the day is to encourage discussion of this difficult subject in order to make sure that it never happens again. In 2005, Holocaust Memorial Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly. January 27, the remembrance date, is significant as it was the date that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most infamous Nazi extermination camp in Poland, was liberated in 1945. The Holocaust is marked by many different days around the world. In Israel, the day is known as Yom HaShoah and begins when the sun sets on May 4 and finishes in the evening of May 5.
International Day of Victims of the Holocaust Facts & Quotes
· Jewish people were excluded from public life on September 15th, 1935 when the Nuremberg Laws were issued, stripping German Jews of their citizenship and the right to marry Germans.
· The mass killings of Jews and undesirables in death camps was referred to as the Final Solution by the Nazis.
· If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example. ― Anne Frank, well-known Holocaust victim
· I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” ― Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor
Victims of the Holocaust Top Events and Things to Do
· Visit the largest extermination/concentration camp from the Holocaust. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, located in Poland, allows visitors to see the camp and learn more about the atrocities committed inside.
· Join social media campaigns that promote awareness of the Holocaust, try tweeting using the hashtag #holocaustmemorial or #remembranceday.
· Find a HMD activity near you by consulting their website. There are many different workshops and discussions held year-round. Or if there are none near you organize an activity yourself to mark HMD in your community. The HMD website has a selection of useful information on how to do this.
· Read one of the thought provoking, gripping and saddening accounts of the Holocaust. Some choice picks include:
1) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
2) Maus by Art Spiegelman
3) Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
1) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
2) Maus by Art Spiegelman
3) Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
· Watch a movie about the Holocaust. Some popular picks: Schindler's List (1993), Auschwitz (2011), The Boy in Striped Pajamas (2008), Life is Beautiful (1997) and The Pianist (2002).
Question: Are the babies in the womb considered human? At the Judgement Germany will have 11 million souls to account for: -and America now has 60 million and counting to account for---think about it.
Complete My Joy-
Louis and Zélie Martin: Sowing a Household of Saints through Suffering
114. The Church lifts up to us the lives of those who have lived heroically the vocations of marriage— and suffering—in order to be an inspiration and source of intercessory power in our own lives. I encourage you to find such an example in the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Louis and Zélie Martin, the first married saints of modern times and the only married couple to be canonized together. Their marriage was rich in suffering, but even richer in love.
115. Saints Louis and Zélie both had desired religious life, he to be a priest, she a nun. Louis, however, was unable to master Latin, and Zélie was turned away from the convent for unexplained reasons. God, in fact, had other plans. When He revealed that they were called to marriage, they embraced their vocation wholeheartedly and desired to have many children to “bring them up to heaven.”
116. Their marriage would bless the Church in a way far surpassing even their greatest hopes. They would raise five daughters, all destined for the convent, one of whom, Thérèse, would become one of the most beloved saints of all time, a Doctor of the Church, the patron saint of missions, and spiritual mother to millions—even though she died at 24 years of age, never having left the convent after her entrance at the young age of 15. Her Story of a Soul reveals that the spirituality of the Little Way which she made famous was really a discovery of the deeper meaning of her own childhood, lived within the circle of the devotion of her family.
117. Married in France in 1858, Louis and Zélie both worked hard as business owners, creating and selling a special lace for which their region was known. They lived modestly and prayerfully, staying close to the sacraments and never missing an opportunity to practice charity to their neighbors and raising their children to do the same.
118. But they knew the suffering of grief intimately. They would bury two infant sons, and thus surrender all their hopes for a priest in the family. Two daughters would also die, one in infancy, one at the age of five, causing Zélie to admit, “I thought I would die myself.”
119. The next sacrifice the Lord asked was that of Zélie’s life—she died of cancer when Thérèse (the youngest), was only four years old. Louis carried on with the help of his older girls. But one by one he would be asked to give them back to God, too, at the door of the convent, even Thérèse, his “Little Queen.” In the end he also would offer a final sacrifice in the form of an illness which took his health, his independence and his mind. At his last painful visit to his Carmelite daughters, Thérèse would never forget her father’s final words to them. Pointing his finger upwards, he exclaimed with great effort, “In heaven!”
120. Indeed, they are in heaven, but still always concerned with the Church militant below. In raising this married couple to the altars, the Church gives them to you, mothers and fathers, as witnesses to the joy of the restorative hope of the Resurrection, to the grace to bear the heaviest crosses, and to the sanctity of marriage and family life.
121. God’s generosity knows no bounds. With the simple faith of Thérèse and her parents, surrender all and allow Him to restore your family and marriage to wholeness in the way He knows best.
The Way Mortification
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
Give thanks, as for a very special favour, for that holy abhorrence you feel for yourself.
 Paone, Anthony J., S.J. My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.