Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This report about Him

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The Community of Faith

When you read and study Scripture, you are not alone. You are part of an ancient and global community (Acts 2:42–47). It's more than an individual expression, because it also happens in and with the universal Church. Reading and studying Scripture is both an individual expression of love and trust for God, as well as a communal expression of our faith.

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before


"The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes."
— St. Teresa of Avila

"Prayer is the duty of every moment. We ought always to pray, said our Lord. And what He said, He did; therein lay His great power. Action accompanied His words and corresponded with them. We must pray always in order to be on our guard. Our life, both of body and soul, our natural and supernatural life, is like a fragile flower. We live surrounded by enemies. Ever since man rejected the Light that was meant to show him the way, everything has become for us an obstacle and a danger; we live in the shadow of death."
— Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 9
The Prayer of the Presence of God

"One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."
Psalm 27:4


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Saint Januarius

Saint of the Day for September 19

(c. 300)

Little is known about the life of Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian's persecution of 305. Legend has it that Januarius and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius' blood ultimately brought to Naples.

"A dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. Januarius, liquefies 18 times during the year…Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation…." [From the Catholic Encyclopedia]


It is defined Catholic doctrine that miracles can happen and are recognizable. Problems arise, however, when we must decide whether an occurrence is unexplainable in natural terms, or merely unexplained. We do well to avoid an excessive credulity but, on the other hand, when even scientists speak about "probabilities" rather than "laws" of nature, it is something less than imaginative for Christians to think that God is too "scientific" to work extraordinary miracles to wake us up to the everyday miracles of sparrows and dandelions, raindrops and snowflakes.

Saint Januarius is the Patron Saint of:

Blood Banks

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Reading 1 1 Tm 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil's punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil's trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 101:1b-2ab, 2cd-3ab, 5, 6

R. (2) I will walk with blameless heart.
Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart
I will not endure.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
"Do not weep."
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
"A great prophet has arisen in our midst,"
and "God has visited his people."
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.



Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

He stepped forward and touched the coffin. (Luke 7:14)

Caught doing something nice. So read the words on an award that teachers like to present to their students—an award given in the hope that the act of kindness being rewarded was a natural, rather than a solicited, response. This way of recognizing ordinary acts of unselfishness also helps reinforce in the students the truth that acts of compassion are always rewarded.

It's hard to imagine Jesus needing a sticker to remind him how important it is to be kind and generous. Seeing a widow grieving at her only son's funeral, he was moved with a pity that came from heartfelt mercy. Jesus felt this mother's sorrow through his very being, and just as he would bring us to new life through his resurrection, so he brought her son back to life. She didn't expect or even request such kindness, but he gave it anyway—just as he saved us by his death before it dawned on any of us to ask him.

It's amazing, but true: Jesus has taken the initiative to reveal his love to us. As we accept this love, we find ourselves wanting to turn to him for wisdom and help in our everyday situations. Without expecting him to prove himself, we begin to trust that he will turn our sorrow into joy—according to his wisdom and his timing. We begin to believe that he will take the areas of our lives that are "dead" and bring healing and renewed life to them.

Think about just one time in your life when you received Jesus' mercy without expecting it. It could be anything from having someone smile at you when you were feeling down to having a close friend to whom you could pour out your heart. Let this memory reassure you that Jesus is on your side regardless of your level of faith. He is always with you, ready to reveal his Father's love for you. He loves being "caught doing something nice."

"Jesus, help me to surrender myself to your perfect plan. Teach me to trust in you so deeply that I become your ambassador to those around me."

1 Timothy 3:1-13
Psalm 101:1-3, 5-6



From Bishop Barren "Friends, our Gospel today gives us Jesus' raising of the son of the widow of Nain. This is a prime exemplification of the key Gospel truth that everything Jesus said and did, in one way or another, is an anticipation of his resurrection. The God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, is a God of life, a God of the living. He hates death and the ways of death.

The death in today's Gospel goes beyond the tragic loss of a loved one, as awful as that is. In the context of Jesus' time and place this is a disaster for the widow. There is no social safety-net, no insurance, no guaranteed income. Unless she finds kindly neighbors who can support her, she is lost without her husband and, importantly, her "only son". This is why the heart of Jesus is especially moved with pity.

Notice please that the reaction of the bystanders is fear. This is the fear that comes from the turning upside down of a world. This is the reaction of the women at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. An evangelization that isn't a little scary is an inadequate evangelization."

What or how did the widow deserve...or the dead son...the young man...had he done to deserve the greatest gift....of life?
Not a thing...but God's love.
He can do what He pleases and when He sees fit...with His great love.
We ought to recognize this trembling with great fear and wonder....a miracle prepares the way to Him to those ready....empty of self and ready for All of Him.



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