Fourth Sunday of Lent
John, Chapter 9, Verse 22
His parents said this because they were AFRAID of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue.
In like manner Amazon which I use to publish this work has just suppressed two of my books, with no explanation and will not allow them for sale-hmmm-I wonder if I have been expelled from the synagogue.
Christ had healed a man born blind to these parents on the Sabbath and in this verse the Jews questioned them about it and they were frightened as to the outcome.
The synagogue and the academy were the two institutions which preserved the essence of the Judaism of the Diaspora and saved it from annihilation. As the place of public worship, the synagogue became the pivot of each community, just as the Sanctuary at Jerusalem had been the center for the entire people. The synagogue, consequently, is the most important feature of the Jewish community, which is inconceivable without it.
This was the equivalent to a social and spiritual death. To be expelled was alike to being made a leper and having a life of living death.
It was worse than being defriended on Facebook!
“When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. (John 9: 35-38).
Do you belong to any human organizations that have blinded you to the truth? Are you afraid of being expelled by others if you truly believed? Walk into the light of Christ and “Be not afraid”.
Work, family life, and the ordinary events of each day are opportunities for drawing close to Christ and making Him known to others. As the Second Vatican Council taught, every baptized person is called to follow Christ closely, by living according to the Gospel and making its teachings known to others. The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to that evangelizing mission of the Church, by fostering among Christians of all social classes a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives and especially through the sanctification of their work. The following are some of the main features of the spirit of Opus Dei:
· “Divine filiation is the foundation of the spirit of Opus Dei,” said its founder, Saint Josemaría Escrivá. A Christian is a child of God by virtue of baptism. Thus, the formation provided by the Prelature seeks to foster among the Christian faithful a deep awareness of their being children of God, and helps them act accordingly. It fosters confidence in divine providence, simplicity in their dialogue with God, a deep awareness of the dignity of each human being and of the need for fraternity among all people, a truly Christian love for the world and for all human realities created by God, and a sense of calm and optimism.
· Ordinary life. “It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind,” said Saint Josemaría. The family, marriage, work – all of our activities – are opportunities for drawing close to and imitating Jesus, trying to practice charity, patience, humility, diligence, integrity, cheerfulness, and all the other human and Christian virtues.
· Sanctifying work means to work with the spirit of Christ, to work competently and ethically, with the aim of loving God and serving others, and thus to sanctify the world from within, making the Gospel present in all activities whether they be outstanding or humble and hidden. In the eyes of God what matters is the love that is put into work, not its human success.
· Prayer and sacrifice. The formation given by Opus Dei encourages prayer and sacrifice in order to sustain the effort to sanctify one’s ordinary occupations. Thus members strive to incorporate into their lives certain practices of Christian piety, such as prayer, daily Mass, sacramental confession, and reading and meditating on the Gospel. Devotion to our Lady occupies an important place in their hearts. Also, in striving to imitate Christ, they try to acquire a spirit of penance by offering up small sacrifices, particularly those that help them fulfill their duties faithfully and make life more pleasant for others, such as renouncing small pleasures, fasting, almsgiving, etc.
· Unity of life. Saint Josemaría explained that Christians working in the world should not live “a kind of double life. On the one hand, an interior life, a life of union with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life.” On the contrary: “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God.”
· Freedom. The members of Opus Dei are ordinary citizens who enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same obligations as any other citizen. In their professional, family, political, financial or cultural activities, they act with freedom and personal responsibility, not involving the Church or Opus Dei in their decisions, nor presenting those decisions as the only Catholic solutions. This implies respecting the freedom and the opinions of others.
· Charity. To meet Christ is to find a treasure that one cannot stop sharing. Christians are witnesses to Jesus and spread his message of hope among their companions, with their example and their words. “Side by side with our colleagues, friends and relatives and sharing their interests, we can help them come closer to Christ,” wrote Saint Josemaría. The wish to make others know Christ, which is a direct consequence of charity (that is, love of God above all things and of one’s neighbor as oneself), cannot be separated from the desire to contribute to finding solutions to the material needs and social problems of one’s surroundings.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The Day of the Risen Lord
and of the Gift
of the Holy Spirit
The day of the gift of the Spirit
28. Sunday, the day of light, could also be called the day of "fire", in reference to the Holy Spirit. The light of Christ is intimately linked to the "fire" of the Spirit, and the two images together reveal the meaning of the Christian Sunday. When he appeared to the Apostles on the evening of Easter, Jesus breathed upon them and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20:22-23). The outpouring of the Spirit was the great gift of the Risen Lord to his disciples on Easter Sunday. It was again Sunday when, fifty days after the Resurrection, the Spirit descended in power, as "a mighty wind" and "fire" (Acts 2:2-3), upon the Apostles gathered with Mary. Pentecost is not only the founding event of the Church, but is also the mystery which forever gives life to the Church. Such an event has its own powerful liturgical moment in the annual celebration which concludes "the great Sunday", but it also remains a part of the deep meaning of every Sunday, because of its intimate bond with the Paschal Mystery. The "weekly Easter" thus becomes, in a sense, the "weekly Pentecost", when Christians relive the Apostles' joyful encounter with the Risen Lord and receive the life-giving breath of his Spirit.
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent (a.k.a. Laetare, or Mid-Lent Sunday). A note of joy is struck, for having died to sin with Christ during Lent, we will rise again with Him and be part of His mystical Body, the Church which is the new Jerusalem. Thus, the Introit: "Rejoice, Jerusalem."
Wednesday after Laetare Sunday: end of Mid-Lent.
A note of joy is struck, for having died to sin with Christ during Lent, we will rise again with Him and be part of His mystical Body, the Church which is the new Jerusalem. Thus, the Introit: "Rejoice, Jerusalem."
BY the Introit of the Mass the Church reminds us of the joys of heaven, to encourage us to persevering zeal in penance and fasting, and to patience under persecution, crosses, and sorrows.
The Introit of the Mass begins with the word Laetare (rejoice),
from which the Sunday derives its name: Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together, all you that love her. Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. I was glad at the things that were said unto me: we shall go into the house of the Lord.
Prayer. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we, who are afflicted for our deeds as we deserve, may be relieved by the comfort of Thy grace.
EPISTLE. Gal. iv. 23-31.
Brethren: It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, and the other by a free-woman: but he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh: but he of the free-woman was by promise: which things are said by an allegory: for these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sina engendering unto bondage: which is Agar: for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now, we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to the flesh, persecuted him that was after the spirit: so also, it is now. But what saith the Scripture?
Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.
Explanation. The Jews, typified by Agar, served God like servants, from fear of punishment and in the hope of rewards. Christians, typified by Sara, lift up their hands to Him as their Father, and if they fulfil His will faithfully will become partakers of His glory in heaven.
Prayer. O Jesus, grant that by fasting, prayer, and patience under persecution I may partake in Thy sufferings, and be found worthy of Thy divine promises and Thy eternal consolations in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.
GOSPEL. John vi. 1-15.
At that time: Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias: and a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Pasch, the festival-day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up His eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to Him, He said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
And this He said to try him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to Him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are these among so many?
Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to them that were sat down: in like manner also of the fishes as much as they would. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus, therefore, when He knew that they would come to take Him by force and make Him king, fled again into the mountain Himself alone.
Why did Christ thus try St. Philip?
1. To try his faith and confidence.
2. To teach us to make use of natural and ordinary means before we have recourse to the supernatural.
3. So that the miracle would be the more striking to the people, when they were satisfied that the provisions, they had been quite small and insufficient.
4. That we might have confidence in God, Who is a helper in time of tribulation (Ps. ix. 10).
What ceremonies did Our Savior use at this miracle, and why?
He first looked up to heaven, to remind us that every good gift comes from above, and that it is God only Who opens His hand and fills all with benediction.
Second. He thanked His heavenly Father, to show us that we also should be careful to thank God for all His benefits. The table, says St. Chrysostom, which begins and ends with prayer shall never know want.
Thirdly He blessed the bread that we might learn that it is the Blessing of God which gives success.
Why did Jesus flee after this miracle?
1. To teach us to seek not the admiration and applause of men, but only the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.
2. To love solitude, that far from the noise of the world, we may with more freedom converse with God.
Consolation in Poverty.
To those poor who follow Christ this gospel is full of consolation, as it shows that from the very beginning of the world God has cared for His children. For the comfort and preservation of His chosen people He sent Joseph before them into Egypt (Gen. xlv. 5; Ps. civ. 4). He sustained the children of [Israel during forty years in the wilderness with bread from heaven He fed the prophet Elias, sending him bread and flesh by a raven (in. Kings xvii. 6). He remembered Daniel lying in the lion’s den (Dan. xiv. 37). In the New Testament also God has shown His care for His own by nourishing and feeding them in their greatest need, at times through the instrumentality of animals and at other times by that of angels and of men as we read in the lives of the saints.
Aspiration. In Thy power and goodness, O my God, I put my trust. I firmly believe if I fear Thee, and do what is right, I shall, though poor here, after this life have abundance of good things from Thee.
Aids in Battle Psalms and Supplications in Combat with Evil
A number of the Psalms and other scriptural canticles praise God for giving His people victory in battle and ask for God’s assistance.
· Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my mercy and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, and He in whom I take refuge. Ps 144: 1– 2
· And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.” Lk 1: 46– 47, 49, 51– 52
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE-THE REVELATION OF PRAYER - THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER
2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth."1 Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God.
2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.
· 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.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.