Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (13th S. Ord. Time)
OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
Mark, Chapter 5, Verse 33
The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in FEAR and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
The woman in the chapter had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years and was ritually unclean by Jewish laws.
An unclean person in general had to avoid that which was holy and take steps to return to a state of cleanness. Uncleanness 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.
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 also being clean took this woman uncleanliness and gave her his Holiness. Indeed, she was filled with wonder and awe.
This day emulate our Lord by reflecting and living the prayer of St. Francis.
The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Amoris Lætitia Love in Marriage Love is not boastful (95-96)
The word, perpereúetai, denotes vainglory, the need to be haughty, nit-picking and somewhat pushy. Those who love not only to refrain from speaking too much about themselves, but are focused on others; they do not need to be the center of attention. The word that comes next – physioútai – is similar, indicating that love is not arrogant. Literally, it means that we do not become “puffed up” before others. It also points to something more subtle: an obsession with showing off and a loss of a sense of reality. Such people think that, because they are more “spiritual” or “wise”, they are more important than they really are. Paul uses this verb on other occasions, as when he says that “knowledge puffs up”, whereas “love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1). Some think that they are important because they are more knowledgeable than others; they want to lord it over them. Yet what really makes us important is a love that understands, shows concern, and embraces the weak. Elsewhere the word is used to criticize those who are “inflated” with their own importance (cf. 1 Cor 4:18) but in fact are filled more with empty words than the real “power” of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 4:19). It is important for Christians to show their love by the way they treat family members who are less knowledgeable about the faith, weak or less sure in their convictions. At times the opposite occurs: the supposedly mature believers within the family become unbearably arrogant. Love, on the other hand, is marked by humility; if we are to understand, forgive and serve others from the heart, our pride has to be healed and our humility must increase. Jesus told his disciples that in a world where power prevails, each tries to dominate the other, but “it shall not be so among you” (Mt 20:26). The inner logic of Christian love is not about importance and power; rather, “whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20:27). In family life, the logic of domination and competition about who is the most intelligent or powerful destroys love. Saint Peter’s admonition also applies to the family: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet 5:5).
ON KEEPING THE LORDS DAY HOLY
The Day of the Risen Lord
and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit
The day of faith
29. Given these different dimensions which set it apart, Sunday appears as the supreme day of faith. It is the day when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the Church's living "memory" (cf. Jn 14:26), the first appearance of the Risen Lord becomes an event renewed in the "today" of each of Christ's disciples. Gathered in his presence in the Sunday assembly, believers sense themselves called like the Apostle Thomas: "Put your finger here, and see my hands. Put out your hand, and place it in my side. Doubt no longer, but believe" (Jn 20:27). Yes, Sunday is the day of faith. This is stressed by the fact that the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy, like the liturgy of other solemnities, includes the Profession of Faith. Recited or sung, the Creed declares the baptismal and Paschal character of Sunday, making it the day on which in a special way the baptized renew their adherence to Christ and his Gospel in a rekindled awareness of their baptismal promises. Listening to the word and receiving the Body of the Lord, the baptized contemplate the Risen Jesus present in the "holy signs" and confess with the Apostle Thomas: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28).
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
The importance of forgiving injuries. Again, there is a Petrine motif because of the proximity to the feast. (This Sunday was originally known as the "First Sunday after the Feast of the Apostles.")
WITH the priest in the Introit of the Mass, let us implore God’s assistance, and say: “Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to Thee; be Thou my helper, forsake not, do not Thou despise me, O God, my Savior. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Ps. xxvi. 7, 9, 1.)
Prayer. O God, Who hast prepared invisible goods for them that love Thee, infuse into our hearts the affection of Thy love, that loving Thee in all things and above all, we may obtain Thy promises which surpass every desire.
EPISTLE, i. Peter iii. 8-15.
Dearly Beloved: Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble: not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace, and pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things. And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer anything for justice sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled; but sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts. How may and ought we to sanctify the Lord Jesus in our hearts? By faithfully imitating Him; for thereby we become His true and faithful disciples, honor Him, sanctify ourselves and edify others, who by our good example are led to admire Christianity, and Christ its founder, and to become His followers.
GOSPEL. Matt. v. 20-24.
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: I tell you, unless your justice abounds more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you: that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whoso ever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee: leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.
In what did the justice of the Pharisees consist? They were very pious in outward appearance, and avoided those vices which caused temporal disgrace and injury; but, on the other hand, they were full of malice in their hearts, and this Christ often reproached them with, calling them hypocrites.
How are we to understand what Christ says about anger and using abusive words? The meaning of His words is, “You have heard from your teachers and doctors of the law, that whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of men; but I say to you, who think it no sin to be angry or envious, that whosoever is angry with his brother without cause, shall be in danger of the judgment of God. You have heard that whosoever calls his brother fool, shall be brought before the council and punished; but I say to you, that God punishes with hell fire every grievous offence against your neighbor, as also the hatred and enmity of your heart towards Him.”
Why must one first be reconciled to his brother before he offers his gift at the altar, or undertakes any good work? Because no offering, or other good work, can be pleasing to God so long as we are living in enmity, hatred, and strife with our neighbor, and thereby going directly against His will and example.
Remedies for Anger.
The first and best means to overcome anger is humility; to become thus humble, gentle, and patient, one must often consider the example of Christ, Who endured so many contradictions, persecutions, and insults, without reviling again when reviled Himself, and without threatening vengeance to any one for all He suffered. An excellent preventive to anger is, to think over in the morning what causes will be likely to draw us into anger at any time during the day, and to guard ourselves against them beforehand, by a firm resolution to bear everything patiently for the love of God; and then, when anything vexatious occurs and excites our anger, to say and do nothing so long as the anger lasts.
How shall we be reconciled with our enemies? Not only with the lips but from the heart, and with sincerity and promptness. “Is he absent whom you have wronged,” says St. Augustine, “so that you cannot easily reach him? humble yourself then before God, and ask His pardon before you offer your gift, with a firm resolution to be reconciled with your enemy as soon as possible.”
INSTRUCTION ON SWEARING.
To swear is to call upon God, upon His truth, His justice, or other attributes, or upon His creatures, in the name of God, as witnesses of the truth.
Is swearing lawful, and when? Yes, when necessity demands it, and when the matter sworn to is true and just: when a man thus swears he imitates God, honors Him as all-holy, all-wise, all-just, and contributes to the triumph of justice and innocence. On the other hand, great sins are committed:
1. By those who swear in a false and unjust cause, which may be, besides, of little moment; for they call upon God as a witness to falsehood and wrong, thus violating His truth and justice.
2. By those who swear in a good cause, but without necessity or a sufficient reason; for it is certainly unseemly to call God as witness on every trivial occasion.
3. In like manner, they sin grievously and constantly who have become so habituated to swearing as to break out into oaths, without so much as knowing or thinking whether the thing is true or false, whether they will keep their word or not; where by they expose themselves to great danger, both because they run the risk of swearing falsely, and also because they frivolously abuse the name of God, of His saints, and of His works.
Everyone, says St. Chrysostom, who swears often sometimes swears falsely; just as lie who talks a great deal sometimes utters things unseemly and improper. For this reason, according to the opinion of St. Augustine, the Savior forbade Christians to swear at all (Matt. v. 34), that they might not fall into a habit of swearing, and, by reason of that, into swearing falsely. Whoever has this habit should take the greatest pains to overcome it. To accomplish which, it will be useful to him to reflect:
1. That if we have to render an account for every idle word we speak, how much more strictly will we be judged for needless, idle, and false oaths! “Remember thy last end, and thou shalt not sin,”
2. To remember that persons who swear so lightly are generally less believed than others.
3. To repent each time that he swears, and to punish himself by a penance.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, is celebrated on June 27 by the universal Church.
The devotion to this Marian advocation revolves around the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, painted on wood, with background of gold. It is Byzantine in style and is supposed to have been painted in the thirteenth century. It represents the Mother of God holding the Divine Child while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel presenting Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures in the picture are some Greek letters which form the abbreviated words Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel respectively.
· The icon was brought to Rome towards the end of the fifteenth century by a pious merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo in the famous Roman street of Via Merulana, which connects the basilicas of Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The picture was then popularly called the Madonna di San Matteo. The church was served for a time by the Hermits of Saint Augustine. These Augustinians were still in charge when the French invaded Rome (1812) and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared; it remained hidden and neglected for over forty years, but a series of providential circumstances between 1863 and 1865 led to its rediscovery in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula.
· Pope Pius IX, who as a boy had prayed before the picture in San Matteo, became interested in the discovery. But at that time, the ruins of San Matteo were in the grounds of a convent of the Redemptorists -- the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer -- founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). The Father General of the Redemptorists, Most Rev. Nicholas Mauron, decided to bring the whole matter to the attention of the Pope. The Pope listened attentively and felt sure it was God’s will that the icon should be gain exposed to public veneration and the logical site was their church of St. Alphonsus, standing as it did between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The Holy Father at once took a piece of paper and wrote a short memorandum ordering the Augustinian Fathers of St. Mary in Posterula to surrender the picture to the Redemptorists, on condition that the Redemptorists supply the Augustinians with another picture of Our Lady or a good copy of the icon of Perpetual Help.
· The Icon meant much to the Augustinians, but when the two Redemptorists came armed with the Pope’s signed memorandum, what could they do but obey? On January 19, 1866, Fathers Marchi and Bresciani brought the miraculous picture to St. Alphonsus’ church. Preparations were now made to inaugurate the new public reign of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. On April 26th, a great procession was staged in which the picture was carried throughout the Esquiline region of Rome. Upon returning to the church, the picture was enthroned over the high altar, in a resplendent shrine-niche especially constructed for it.
· The report of marvelous healings spread rapidly throughout the city of Rome and people came by the hundreds to visit the shrine. Soon the whole area around the altar was filled with abandoned crutches and canes and several whole glass-covered cabinets were filled with gold and silver thanksgiving offerings in the shapes of miniature hearts, arms, legs and other votive offerings. Scarcely two weeks after the solemn exposition of the picture, Pope Pius IX himself came to visit the shrine. He stood quietly before it for a long time and then exclaimed: “How beautiful she is!”.
· Pope Leo XIII, the next pontiff, had a copy of the picture on his desk so that he might see it constantly during his working day. St. Pius X sent a copy of the icon to the Empress of Ethiopia and granted an indulgence of 100 days to anyone who repeated the phrase: “Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.”
· Pope Benedict XV had the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help placed immediately over his chair of state in the throne room. Here it could be seen by all just over his head, as if to say: “Here is your true Queen!”.
· Pope Pius IX told the Redemptorists, in speaking to them of the treasure he had committed to their care: “Make her known!” It seems as though they hardly needed the exhortation. In the United States, they built the first Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in the Roxbury section of Boston, and it was eventually raised to the honor of a “Papal Basilica” by Pope Pius XII.
Things to Do:
- Read the History of the Icon.
- Visit Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio site to see an explanation of the symbols of the Icon.
- See also Women for Faith & Family page on Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
· Fight like a knight, so I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone. Trust is victorious. Do not fear struggle; courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us. Courage, God is.
· 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.
 Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.