Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lifted up the lowly

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Instruments of Peace

How can we become instruments of peace? Fear, anger, bluster, or revenge do not overcome violence; they feed it—whether between people or nations.

Saint Francis of Assisi knew that only love will bring peace: a fierce, gentle love that gives us the courage to face suffering, a love whose power even death cannot defeat. As Christians, we claim this to be divine love, embodied in Jesus: in his ministry, on the cross, and in the resurrection.

Opening ourselves to this fierce love through prayer, and then acting out of it—personally and in our public policies—is the only pathway to peace.

—from the the blog "Saint Francis: An Instrument of Peace


✞ "This bread is bread before the words of the Sacrament. But when the words of Christ come to it, it is the body of Christ ... Before the words of Christ it is a cup full of wine and water. When the words of Christ become operative, the blood which has redeemed the people is caused to be there."
— St. Ambrose

"To become holy, to become saints, we must of course try as hard as we can to do God's will as it comes to us in a general way that is valid for everyone: through Scripture, the Commandments, and so on. It is also indispensable, as has just been said, to go further: to aspire to know not only what God demands of everyone in general, but also what he wants more specifically of us individually."
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 19
In the School of the Holy Spirit

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Romans 5:1-5


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Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: "We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.

We find homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. In following centuries, the Eastern Churches held steadily to the doctrine, but some authors in the West were hesitant. However by the 13th century there was universal agreement. The feast was celebrated under various names–Commemoration, Dormition, Passing, Assumption–from at least the fifth or sixth century. Today it is celebrated as a solemnity.

Scripture does not give an account of Mary's Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God's people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testaments, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman's victory.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul speaks of Christ's resurrection as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus' life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to believe in Mary's share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven.


In the light of the Assumption of Mary, it is easy to pray her Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) with new meaning. In her glory she proclaims the greatness of the Lord and finds joy in God her savior. God has done marvels to her and she leads others to recognize God's holiness. She is the lowly handmaid who deeply reverenced her God and has been raised to the heights. From her position of strength she will help the lowly and the poor find justice on earth, and she will challenge the rich and powerful to distrust wealth and power as a source of happiness.

Screenshot 20170815-072242

Reading 1 Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

God's temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R. (10bc) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father's house.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Reading 2 1 Cor 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for "he subjected everything under his feet."

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever."

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


Luke 1:39-56

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

The Almighty has done great things for me. (Luke 1:49)

Have you ever noticed how the world tries to convince us that nothing is ever good enough? If we're unhappy at work, we should leave and get another job. Even if we like our jobs, we should still be searching for better opportunities. If we're having problems with our marriage, we should simply call it a loss and go look for another spouse. The problem with this approach is that we will never find contentment. What we're really looking for is something that can't be found on earth—godly perfection.

Mary certainly didn't find perfection on earth. She endured her neighbors' suspicions when she became pregnant and had to give birth to her child in a stable. She and Joseph certainly weren't the wealthiest couple in Nazareth, and life must have been a challenge after Joseph died. Yet from her words, we can see that Mary was as grateful as any human being ever has been. That's because her gratitude was for the work that God had promised to accomplish through her. By saying yes to God's plan, she had the privilege of participating in the salvation of the entire human race!

We can achieve much in this life, and of course, God wants us to aim high. But like Mary, we also have to recognize when God has given us something great and thank him for it. As Paul said, "What do you possess that you have not received?" (1 Corinthians 4:7). The most precious of God's gifts is eternal life. At least once a day, we should stop and think about the fact that Jesus died for us so that we could live with him forever.

Today, try to make Mary's words your own: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:47). If you are angry at someone or if you are unhappy with your situation or if someone has hurt you recently, believe that Jesus is still with you, offering you divine wisdom. Remember that he has secured a place in his eternal kingdom just for you. Ask him to help you see your situation through his eyes of mercy, kindness, and grace.

"Lord, I put aside my worries, and I rejoice in you. Help me to praise you for all that you have done for me."

Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Psalm 45:10-12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27



We heard the Word speak: "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet," This revelation was fulfilled in 1532 in old Mexico. Our Lady of Guadalupe appears in this image to a poor Indian man named Juan Diego. The tilma he wore miraculously had her image imprinted on a material that should have turned to dust by now....but it exists to illuminate the faithful to this day. The nessage....its all about Jesus...salvation.

We pray today " The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty; for he is your lord." The beauty He desires is the true love for Him in our hearts.

In the Holy Gospel Mary begins her magnificat with ""My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"
This is how Mary was...and is. She gave all honor and glory to God. In the tilma, all the image and her vestments spoke volumes about who she was before God. The Indians understood that she was the one to bear the light greater than all gods. And the message converted millions of Indians in a few years...something the Spaniards could not do in decades. And to you? What does the message say?
Bishop Barren ends his reflection today with "Mary is the true Israel, she knows what to do and she does it with enthusiasm. No dawdling, back-pedaling, straying and complaining: she moves, she goes. And she goes upon the heights, which is exactly where God had always summoned Israel, so that it could be a light to the nations."

We too are called to be light bearers.....


Bless God

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