Third Sunday After Epiphany
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES
Genesis, Chapter 35, Verse 7
When her labor was most intense,
the midwife said to her, “Do not FEAR,
for now you have another son.”
Rachel was the one love of Jacob (Israel). Due to her father, Lot’s, tricks on Jacob, he was forced to work for her for over 14 years to take Rachel, whom he dearly loved, as his bride. Rachel was barren and died in childbirth with her two sons Joseph and Benjamin. She was not afraid because after her long suffering with barrenness at last she had given birth to two healthy sons: a dying wish. Life at times can be hard.
God does not promise us perfect happiness in this life; for we are made for heaven and eternal happiness with Him. We are to do our best, but when our best is not sufficient; surrender it to Him. We must be humble; trusting with great confidence in Him that we may do His will in good seasons and bad. Pray that we may not forget this truth and complain as the Israelites did in the desert to such an extent that Moses cried out to God, “Where can I get meat to give to all these people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for our food.’ I cannot carry this entire people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face my distress.” (Nm 11:13-15)
Moses was despondent here, yet he did not give up; he gave it up. When things get tough; trust in Him. Knowing that, “One does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4) In retrospect when we are despondent let us remember to go to the great Mother of God, Mary for truly on the day of Christ’s death in some respects she died too-yet she did not fear for “now she had another son” reflecting her spiritual adoption of all of mankind.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
"Shabbat": The Creator's joyful rest
12. In the Creator's plan, there is both a distinction and a close link between the order of creation and the order of salvation. This is emphasized in the Old Testament, when it links the "shabbat" commandment not only with God's mysterious "rest" after the days of creation (cf. Ex 20:8-11), but also with the salvation which he offers to Israel in the liberation from the slavery of Egypt (cf. Dt 5:12-15). The God who rests on the seventh day, rejoicing in his creation, is the same God who reveals his glory in liberating his children from Pharaoh's oppression. Adopting an image dear to the Prophets, one could say that in both cases God reveals himself as the bridegroom before the bride (cf. Hos 2:16-24; Jer 2:2; Is 54:4-8).
As certain elements of the same Jewish tradition suggest, to reach the heart of the "shabbat", of God's "rest", we need to recognize in both the Old and the New Testament the nuptial intensity which marks the relationship between God and his people. Hosea, for instance, puts it thus in this marvelous passage: "I will make for you a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord" (2:18-20).
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.
THE Church, knowing that she cannot sufficiently love and praise God, at the Introit of the Mass invites all angels to praise Him: Adore God, all you His angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Juda rejoiced. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad (Ps. xcvi.).
Almighty and eternal God mercifully look upon our infirmities, and extend the right hand of Thy majesty to help and defend us. Amen.
EPISTLE. Rom. xii. 16-21.
Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits: to no man rendering evil for evil: providing good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as in you, having peace with all men. Not revenging yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge to Me: I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him drink; for doing this thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.
What is the meaning of the words, “Revenge to Me: I will repay, saith the Lord”?
They mean that God alone has the right to revenge. “Are you impatient”, says St. Ambrose, “then you will be conquered: but do you suffer in patience, then you will be conqueror.”
What must we do, then, when our honor is attacked?
When an injury by others brings serious consequences upon us, it is not only permissible, but even a duty, to defend our honor and good name. In matters of less importance, we should leave our assailants to God, according to the admonition of the Apostle.
Is it wrong to wish our neighbor the evil that he wished us?
Certainly, for it is contrary to the law of God, Who commands us to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that persecute and calumniate us (Matt, v. 44; Luke vi. 35).
How are we to “heap coals of fire on the heads of our enemies”?
When, according to the will of God, we render good for evil, thereby confounding our enemies and causing them to burn with shame; St. Augustine says: You will heap burning coals of love on his head, for nothing sooner begets love than to meet one with love.
Enable me, O heavenly Father, so to follow these admonitions of St. Paul in regard to the love of my enemies that I may be Thy child, Who makest Thy sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good.
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, marveled: 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 Messiah, 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.
Let us therefore take the advice of St. Francis and prepare ourselves for every communion.
St. Francis de Sales says that Our Savior can never be seen more amiable and more tender, in all that He has done for us, than in Holy Communion, in which He, so to say, annihilates Himself and becomes food, that He may unite Himself to the hearts and bodies of His faithful. Therefore, the learned Gerson used also to say, that there was no means more efficacious than Holy Communion whereby to enkindle devotion and the holy love of God in our souls. And, indeed, if we speak of doing something agreeable to God, what can a soul do more agreeable to Him than to receive communion?
St. Denis teaches us that love always tends towards perfect union; but how can a soul be more perfectly united with Jesus than in the manner of which He speaks Himself, saying: “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him” (John vi. 57) St. Augustine says that if every day you receive this sacrament, Jesus will be always with you, and that you will always advance in divine love. Again, if there be question of healing our spiritual infirmities, what more certain remedy can we have than Holy Communion, which is called by the sacred Council of Trent a remedy whereby we may be freed from daily faults, and be preserved from mortal sins?
Whence does it come, asks Cardinal Bona, that in so many souls we see so little fruit with such frequent communions, and that they constantly relapse into the same faults?
He replies: The fault is not in the food, but in the disposition of him who receives. Can a man, says Solomon, hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn? (Prov. vi. 27.)
God is a consuming fire. He comes Himself in Holy Communion to enkindle this divine fire; how is it, then, says William of Paris, that we see such a diabolical miracle as that souls should remain cold in divine love, in the midst of such flames?
comes from the want of proper dispositions, and especially from want of
preparation. Fire immediately inflames dry but not green wood; for this latter
is not disposed to burn. The saints derived great benefit from their communions
because they prepared themselves with great care. St. Aloysius Gonzaga devoted
three days to his preparation for Holy Communion, and three days he spent in
thanksgiving to his Lord. To prepare well for Holy Communion, a soul should be
disposed on two main points: it should
be detached from creatures and have a great desire to advance in divine love.
In the first place, then, a soul should
detach itself from all things, and drive everything from its heart which is not
God. He that is washed, saith Jesus, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is
clean wholly (John xiii. 10); which signifies, as St. Bernard explains it, that
in order to receive this sacrament with great fruit, we should not only be
cleansed from mortal sins, but that our feet also should be washed, that is, be
free from earthly affections; for being in contact with the earth they excite a
sort of repugnance in God, and soiling the soul prevent the effects of Holy
Communion. St. Gertrude asked Our Lord what preparation He required of her for
Holy Communion, and He replied I only ask that thou shouldst come empty of
thyself to receive. In the second place, it is necessary in Holy Communion to
have a great desire to receive Jesus Christ and His holy love. In this sacred
banquet, says Gerson, only those who are famishing receive their fill; and the
most Blessed Virgin Mary had already said the same thing: He hath filled the
hungry with good things (Luke i. 53). As Jesus, writes the venerable Father
Avila, only came into this world after He had been much and long desired, so does
He only enter a soul which desires Him; for it is not becoming that such food should be given him who has a loathing
for it. Our Lord one day said to St. Matilda: No bee flies with such
impetuosity to flowers, to suck their honey, as I fly to souls in Holy
Communion, driven by the violence of My love. Since then, Jesus Christ has so
great a desire to come into our souls, it is also right that we also should have a great desire to receive
Him and His divine love by Holy Communion. St. Francis de Sales teaches us that
the principal object which a soul should
have in view in communicating should
be to advance in the love of God; since He Who for love alone gives Himself to
us should be received for love.
Life First 9 Days for Life
9 Days for Life is a "digital pilgrimage" of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person's life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved! #9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter
Intercession: May God’s peace fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.
Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). Families
hoping to adopt children and mothers considering placing their children for
adoption often face many challenges along the way. We pray that all who are
involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and
“the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also
remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have
received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom
8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in His love today and open our
eyes of faith that we may see and rejoice in His love.
Acts of Reparation (Choose one.)
you have a sweet tooth? Or do you prefer salty snacks? Pick your favorite kind
of treat, and give it up for the day.
an act of faith, hope, or love (www.usccb.org/faith-hope-love).
some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for
Ditch the winter boots and grab your summer
flip-flops. Escape the winter cold at this ninth annual foodie
festival. Savor fresh Florida Keys seafood, fine
wines from around the world, and the laid-back tropical vibe of the island that
bears the festival’s name.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.