Daily Homilies — January 16-21, 2023

Daily Homilies

MONDAY 16TUESDAY 17WEDNESDAY 18THURSDAY 19FRIDAY 20SATURDAY 21

JANUARY

MONDAY


16

Heb 5:1-10
Mk 2:18-22

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “A different exercise of devotion is required of each. Such practice must be modified according to the strength, the calling, and the duties of each individual.” (Saint Francis de Sales)
  • “The word of God is living and is free. The Gospel is newness. Revelation is newness. Jesus is very clear: new wine in fresh wine skins. God must be received with openness to what is new. And this disposition is called docility.” (Francis)
  • “Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice (…). The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor. Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’ (Mt 9:13).” Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2100)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
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SOURCE: USCCB

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ reply to the question raised, perhaps by some well-meaning Pharisees who were disciples of John the Baptist, asking why Jesus’ disciples ate and drank and feasted, while they (John the Baptist’s disciples), and the Pharisees in general, fasted and prayed.  Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving were the three cardinal religious practices — the “good deeds”– of Jewish religious life.

Jesus’ reply: Jesus responded to their sincere question using three metaphors: the metaphor of the “children of the bridal chamber,” the metaphor of patching torn clothing, and the metaphor of wineskins. First, Jesus compared his disciples with the children of the bridal chamber. These were the selected friends of the bride and groom who feasted in the company of the bride and groom during a week of honeymoon. Nobody expected them to fast. Jesus assured the questioners that his disciples would fast when he, the Bridegroom, was taken away from them. In other words, fasting is necessary when we sin, and our union with Christ begins to fade, as happens when we get addicted to evil habits and evil tendencies, leading us to sin. As Catholic Christians, we are uniquely blessed to experience Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. In the same way, we are to welcome both the joys of Christian life and the crosses it offers us. But Joy is the chief characteristic of a Christian – joy even in tribulation. Using the comparisons of the danger of using new, unshrunken cloth to make a patch for an old garment, or old wineskins to store new, still-fermenting wine, Jesus told the questioners that they must have more elastic and open minds and larger hearts to understand and follow his new ideas which were, in many cases, different from traditional Jewish teachings. Jesus is challenging us  to be open to radical transformation so that we may  receive him and, with his grace, reflect  his love, mercy, and forgiveness  to others. 

Life Messages

1) We need to be adjustable Christians with open and elastic minds and hearts. The Holy Spirit, working actively in the Church and guiding the Church’s teaching authority (the Magisterium), enables the Church to put into practice new visions, new ideas, new adaptations, and new ways of worship in place of old ones. So, we should have the generosity and good will to follow the teachings of the Church.

2) At the same time, we need the Old Testament revelations, the New Testament teachings, and the Sacred Tradition of the Church as main sources of our Christian Faith.

3) We need to gain spiritual strength by fasting, prayer, and penance, especially  when we separate ourselves from Christ by our sins

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE COMMENTARY
  • The five conflicts between Jesus and the Religious authority. In Mark 2: 1-12 we have seen the first conflict. It was about the forgiveness of sins. In Mark 2: 13-17, the second conflict is on communion around the same table, with sinners. Today’s Gospel presents the third conflict concerning fasting. Tomorrow, we have the fourth conflict, concerning the observance of the Sabbath (Mk 2: 13-28). Day after tomorrow, the last conflict concerning the cure on the Sabbath (Mk 3: 1-6). The conflict concerning fasting has a central place. For this reason, the words on sewing a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak and the new wine into fresh skins (Mk 2: 21-22) should be understood in the light which radiates clearly also on the other conflicts, two before and two after.
  • Jesus does not insist on the practice of fasting. Fasting is a very ancient practice, practiced by practically all religions. Jesus himself practiced it during forty days (Mt 4: 2). But he does not insist with his disciples so that they do the same thing. He leaves them free. This is why the disciples of John the Baptist and those of the Pharisees, who were obliged to fast, want to know why Jesus does not insist on fasting.
  • When the bridegroom is with them, they do not have to fast. Jesus responds with a comparison. When the bridegroom is with the friends of the bridegroom, that is, during the wedding feast, they do not need to fast. Jesus considers himself as the bridegroom. The disciples are the friends of the bridegroom During the time in which Jesus is with the disciples, there is the wedding feast. A day will come in which the bridegroom will be absent and then, if they wish they can fast. Jesus refers to his death. He knows and feels that if he wishes to continue on this path of freedom, the religious authority will want to kill him.
  • To sew a new piece of cloth on an old cloak, new wine in new skins. These two affirmations of Jesus, which Mark places here, clarify the critical attitude of Jesus before religious authority. One does not sew a piece of new cloth on an old cloak. When the cloak is washed, the new piece of cloth tears the cloak and the tear becomes bigger. Nobody puts new wine in old skins, because the fermentation of the new wine will tear the old skins. New wine in new skins! The religion defended by the authority was like an old cloak, like an old skin. It is not necessary to want to change what is new and brought by Jesus, for old customs. The novelty brought by Jesus cannot be reduced to fit the measure of Judaism. Either one or the other! The wine which Jesus brings tears the old skins. It is necessary to know how to separate things. Jesus is not against what is “old.” What he wants to avoid is that the old imposes itself on the new and, thus he begins to manifest it. It would be the same as reducing the message of the Vatican Council II to the catechism of the time before the Council, as some are wanting to do.
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Why do your disciples not fast?

Bronze statuette of a satyr with a wineskin,
Greece,
3rd–2nd century B.C.,
Bronze
© Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In Jesus’ times, wine was stored in wineskins, not bottles. New wine was still fermenting when it was poured into skins.  The gases exerted pressure on the skins. New wine skins were elastic enough to take the pressure, but old wine skins easily burst because they were hard. So, what did Jesus mean by this comparison?  Is it as simple as Jesus prompting us to reject the old in place of the new?  No, again he is asking us to find a balance. Just as there is a right place and a right time for fasting and for feasting, so there is a right place for the old as well as the new. Look at Scripture for example. How impoverished we would be if we had only the Old Testament or only the New Testament, rather than both. In order to do this balancing act to which we are called, we need wisdom. We can find this wisdom through prayer and with the Holy Spirit helping us.

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

by Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P., 2017

When the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and companions called the bus strike in Montgomery, Alabama, many African-Americans there walked to work.  It was no small sacrifice since the walkers often stood on their feet all day at their jobs.  Yet they were willing to make it because the strike showed their children and anyone else who cared to notice that they had dignity.  One elderly lady who had participated in the strike expressed her satisfaction at day’s end. “My feet are tired,” she said, “but my soul’s at rest.”  The gospel today hints at a similar satisfaction from knowing Jesus.

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RELATED: Dominican Friars – Province of St. Martin de Porres

Daily Homilies

Jesus, the Bridgroom

Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My PhotoToday’s gospel reveals Jesus’ humility more clearly. It’s not just a pretense of piety. Jesus knows “the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away.” 
He is most certainly the “bridegroom” who deserves all honor. As we feast on Christmas after the fasting of Advent, so do we eat heartily in the presence of Christ. During the Mass we do not hesitate to eat and drink, receiving the Body and the Blood of Jesus. The Bridegroom has placed this banquet before us; only rudeness would turn away from it.

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

A Life of Love

“How can the guests at a wedding fast as long as the groom is still among them?” —Mark 2:19

PRESENTATION MINISTRIES INC - GuideStar Profile

Jesus is our Bridegroom (Mk 2:19). First and foremost, our relationship with Him is to be a love relationship. We live our Christian lives not by compulsion, but by love. “We, for our part, love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).

We do everything as a loving response to Jesus. He is our Spouse, our Bridegroom. We live our Christian life as though we are in a wedding feast. We love others and forgive them because Jesus loved us first (1 Jn 4:19) and so we are in love with Jesus. Every day is a rich opportunity to drink more deeply of the fountain of the love of Jesus.

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies

JANUARY

TUESDAY


17

Heb 6:10-20
Mk 2:23-28

Divine
Office

About

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “Those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death.” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)
  • “Sabbath intends to participate in the rest and with the peace of God. But when man refuses the ‘leisure of God’ (worshipping) then he becomes a ‘business slave’.” (Benedict XVI)
  • “Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2175)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
YouTube player


Michael Rossmann, SJ preaches about the virtue of hope. January 17, 2017

SOURCE: The CatholicTV Network

Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ teaching on the purpose of the Sabbath and on its proper observance. This was his response to a criticism and a silly accusation made by Pharisees against his disciples. On a Sabbath, to satisfy their hunger, the disciples had plucked ears of grain from a field, removing the husks by rubbing the grain between their palms and blowing away the chaff. The Pharisees accused them of violating Sabbath laws by performing three items of work forbidden on the Sabbath, namely, harvesting, threshing, and winnowing. God Himself, the originator of the Sabbath (Gn 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Ex 20:8-11; 21:13; Dt 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God.  As time went by, the rabbis complicated this Divine precept. By Jesus’ time they had extended the list to 39 kinds of forbidden work (Navarre Bible Commentary).

Counter-arguments: According to Matthew, Jesus gives three counter-arguments from Holy Scripture defending the apostles. But Mark gives only one of those arguments.   Jesus argues that basic human needs, like hunger, take precedence over Divine worship and Sabbath observance. In other words, the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy does not come before the duty to seek basic sustenance.  Jesus cites from Scripture the example of hungry David and his selected soldiers. They approached Abiathar (Mk 2: 26), the high priest of Nob (or his father, priest  Ahimelech — 1 Sm 21:1-6)  who gave them for food the “bread of the Presence” which only the priests were allowed to eat. The bread of the Presence consisted of twelve loaves or cakes placed each morning on the table in the sanctuary, as homage to the Lord from the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Lv 24:5-9).  The loaves withdrawn to make room for the fresh ones were reserved to the priests (Navarre Bible Commentary).

Life Messages

Like the Jewish Sabbath, the Christian Sunday is to be:

1) a day of rest and refreshment with members of the family;

2) a day for thanksgiving and the recharging of spiritual batteries through participation in the Eucharistic celebration (for Catholics);

3) a day for parents to teach religious Faith and Bible to their children;

4) a day to do works of charity in the neighborhood and in the parish;

5) a day for socializing with family members, neighbors, and fellow-parishioners.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE COMMENTARY
  • The Law exists for the good of persons. One day on the Sabbath, the disciples passed by a cornfield, and they opened a path by plucking ears of corn. In Matthew 12: 1 it is said that they were hungry. Quoting the Bible, the Pharisees criticized the attitude of the disciples. It would be a transgression of the law of the Sabbath (cf. Ex 20: 8-11). Jesus responded quoting the Bible also to indicate that the arguments of the others have no meaning, no reason for being. He recalls that David himself did something which was prohibited, because he took the sacred bread of the temple and gave it to the soldiers to eat because they were hungry (I Sam 21: 2-7). And Jesus ends with two important phrases: • (a) the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath, (b)) The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath! 49
  • The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath. For more than fivehundred years, since the time of the Babylonian captivity to the time of Jesus, the Jews had observed the law of the Sabbath. This secular observance became for them a strong sign of identity. The Sabbath was rigorously observed. At the time of the Maccabees, toward the end of the second century before Christ, this observance had reached a critical point. Attacked by the Greeks on Sabbath, the rebellious Maccabees preferred to allow themselves to be killed rather than to transgress the law of the Sabbath using arms to defend their own life. For this, one thousand persons died (I Mac 2: 32-38). Reflecting on the massacre the Maccabee leaders concluded that they should resist and defend their own life, even on the Sabbath (I Mac 2: 39-41) Jesus used the same attitude: to consider the law of the Sabbath in a relative way in favor of the human life, because the law exists for the good of human life, and not vice-versa!
  • The Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath! The new experience of God as Father/Mother makes Jesus, the Son of Man, to have the key to discover the intention of God who is at the origin of the Law of the Old Testament. For this reason, the Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath. Living with the people of Galilee during thirty years and feeling in his own person the oppression and the exclusion to which so many brothers and sisters were condemned in the name of the Law of God, Jesus perceives that this could not be the significance of that law. If God is Father, then he accepts all as sons and daughters. If God is Father, then we should be brothers and sisters to others.
  • And this is what Jesus lived and preached, from the beginning to the end. The Law of the Sabbath must be at the service of life and of fraternity. If was precisely because of his fidelity to this message that Jesus was condemned to death. He disturbed the system, he was uncomfortable for them, and the system defended itself, using force against Jesus, because he wanted the Law itself to be at the service of life and not vice-versa.
  • Jesus and the Bible. The Pharisees criticized Jesus in the name of the Bible. Jesus responds and criticizes the Pharisees using the Bible. He knew the Bible by heart. At that time, there were no printed Bibles as we have today! In every community there was only one Bible, handwritten which remained in the Synagogue. If Jesus knew the Bible so well, it means that during 30 years of his life in Nazareth, he participated intensely in the life of the community, where the Scripture was read every Saturday. We still lack very much in order to have the same familiarity with the Bible and the same participation in the community!
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

David went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest

Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David,
Painting by Aert de Gelder (1645-1727),
Painted in the 1680’s,
Oil on canvas
© John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Jesus is saying in today’s reading that he and his followers are like David and his men. Actually, seventeen verses in the New Testament describe Jesus as the ‘Son of David’. The title ‘Son of David’ is more than a statement of physical genealogy. When the New Testament refers to Jesus as the Son of David, they mean that he was the long-awaited Messiah, the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies. ‘Son of David’ is a Messianic title.

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Fulfillment of Sabbath Law

by Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P.

When Fr. Dan gave retreats for priests, he insisted that they take seriously the “Sabbath.”  He explained that God designated one day of the week for complete rest.  Jewish Law designates the seventh day – Saturday – as the Sabbath.  In this way it conforms the practice of the people to the Book of Genesis where God rests after six days of creation.  Christians have transferred the Sabbath to the eighth day — Sunday – on which Christ’s resurrection recreated the universe.  Fr. Dan recognized that priests work on Sunday in performing their ministry.  So he told them to find and stick to another day for rest.  He was applying the same kind of flexibility that Jesus shows in today’s gospel passage.

The Pharisees perform an invaluable service when they promote fulfillment of the Sabbath Law.  Too often people abuse their own good and do not give God His due by foregoing Sabbath ritual.  But the Pharisees were too strict in their interpretation.  They were unable to see exceptions even in the case of extreme need.  Jesus is more flexible.  He admits that in the case of hunger one might pick grain to eat: “’The Sabbath,” he says, “’was made for man.’”  He makes another crucial point when he says, “’…the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.’”  This indicates his divinity.  Since God instituted the Sabbath law, only He might alter it.

The Sabbath principle, as observing one day of worship and rest each week is sometimes called, causes difficulty today.  We want to take weekends off with no concern about attending mass.  We also have work obligations every day, including Sundays. We should follow Jesus’ pointers in today’s gospel.  Some slack may be given for work because the Sabbath is made for human good.  But we should make a reasonable attempt to attend mass as a way to give due praise to “’the lord of the Sabbath.’”

RELATED: Dominican Friars – Province of St. Martin de Porres

Daily Homilies

Liturgy: The Anchor of Our Faith

This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My Photo

I went fishing with two old buddies of mine several years ago. Reaching a promising spot, Leo asked me to throw the anchor into the water, which I did with all competence. A half-hour later, finding that the fish weren’t biting here, Leo told me to pull the anchor up. But there was no rope. The anchor and rope were lost in six feet of water. Leo could hardly believe I tossed the anchor without checking to see if it was tied to the gunwale. I was equally surprised that it hadn’t been. Apparently he didn’t keep it in the boat at night. In any case I was the goat and we were adrift. Denizens of the Mediterranean world were far more familiar with anchors than this midwestern kid. At that time, without so much as a compass to navigate, sailors kept in sight of the shore as they sailed. When there was a friendly city nearby they went into port at night; if there wasn’t they anchored the craft and waited for sunrise.

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

They do Run, Run, Run…

“Our desire is that each of you show the same zeal to the end.” —Hebrews 6:11

PRESENTATION MINISTRIES INC - GuideStar ProfileLife in Christ is like running a race (see 2 Tm 4:7; Phil 3:12; 1 Cor 9:24). We must “show the same zeal to the end” and “not grow lazy” (Heb 6:11, 12). We are able to keep running no matter what because we are loved by God and fully assured of inheriting God’s promises (Heb 6:11-12). Love keeps us running for God (see 2 Cor 5:14), and we love because God first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). He sent His Son to die for us, gave us a new nature, adopted us into His family, and made us His heirs.

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies

JANUARY

WEDNESDAY


18

Heb 7:1-3, 15-17
Mk 3:1-6

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “For as there was in Him a true human body and a true human soul, so was there also a true human emotion. When, therefore, we read in the Gospel that the hard-heartedness of the Jews moved Him to sorrowful indignation, these emotions are certainly not falsely ascribed to Him.” (Saint Augustine)
  • “Another reason the heart becomes hardened is becoming closed inside oneself: making a world within oneself. These “religious narcissists” have hard hearts, they try to protect themselves with these walls they build around themselves.” (Francis)
  • “The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day (Cf. Mk 1:21; Jn 9:16). He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath’ (Mk 2:27).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2173)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
YouTube player


Father Charles Connolly, SJ preaches about letting the Lord into your heart to answer your prayers. January 18, 2017

SOURCE: The CatholicTV Network

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Today’s Gospel describes a miraculous healing done by Jesus on one Sabbath as a public violation of Sabbath law to prove that God’s intention for the Sabbath was to do good and to save liferather than to do evil or to destroy life.

 The incident and the reaction: Ex 20:8 and Dt 5:12 instructed the Jews to keep the Sabbath holy. But the Scribes and the Pharisees had amplified God’s law on the Sabbath by misinterpreting it and had made it burdensome for the common people through man-made laws. Jesus wanted to demonstrate in public the original intention of God in declaring the Sabbath holy. For Jesus, the Sabbath was a day of rest to be used in adoring God, learning and teaching His laws, and doing good to/for others. Hence, Jesus took the liberty of granting healing to a man with a withered hand in the local synagogue immediately after the worship service, thus infuriating the scribes and the Pharisees.

Life Messages

1) Our Christian Sabbath, that is, our Sunday, observance of participating in the Eucharistic celebration is meant to recharge our spiritual batteries for doing good to/for others and avoiding evil.

2) Our Sunday observance is also meant to be an offering of our lives to God on the altar, to ask God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins, to present our needs before the Lord and to participate in the Divine Life by Holy Communion.

3) Sunday is also a day for us to spend time with the members of the family and to participate in the activities of our parish and neighborhood.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE COMMENTARY
  • In today’s Gospel we meditate on the last of the five conflicts which Mark presents at the beginning of his Gospel (Mk 2: 1 to 3: 6). The four previous conflicts were provoked by the enemies of Jesus. This last one is provoked by Jesus himself and reveals the seriousness of the conflict between him and the religious authority of his time. It is a conflict of life or death. It is important to note the category of enemies which has arisen in this conflict. It is a question of the Pharisees and the Herodians, that is of the religious and the civil authority. When Mark wrote his Gospel in the year 70, many of them still remembered very well the terrible persecution of the 60’s, perpetuated by Nero against the Christian communities. In hearing that Jesus himself had been threatened to death and how he behaved in the midst of these dangerous conflicts, the Christians found a source of courage and orientation so as not to be discouraged along the journey.
  • Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus enters into the Synagogue. He had the habit of participating in the celebrations of the people. A man was there who had a withered hand. A physically disabled person who could not participate fully, because he was considered to be impure. Even if he was present in the community, he was marginalized. He had to remain far away from the rest.
  • The concern of the enemies of Jesus. The enemies were observing him to see if Jesus would cure on Saturday. They wanted to accuse him. The second commandment of the Law of God ordered to “sanctify the Sabbath.” It was prohibited to work on that day (Ex 20, 8-20). The Pharisees said that to cure a sick person was the same as working. And for this reason they taught: “It is prohibited to cure on the Sabbath!” They placed the law above the well-being of persons. Jesus was an uncomfortable person for them, because he placed the well-being of persons above the norms and the laws. The concern of the Pharisees and of the Herodians was not the zeal for the Law, but rather the will, the desire to accuse and get rid of Jesus. 51
  • Get up and stand in the middle! Jesus asks two things of the physically disabled person: Get up and stand in the middle! The word “get up” is the same one which the communities of Mark also used to say “rise, resurrect.” The disabled person has to “resurrect,” to get up, to live in the middle and to take his place in the centre of the community! The marginalized, the excluded, have to live in the middle! They cannot be excluded. They must be together with the others! Jesus calls the excluded one to stand in the middle. • The question of Jesus leaves the others without knowing what to say. Jesus asks: Is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good or to do bad? To save life or to kill? He could have asked: “On the Sabbath is it permitted to cure: yes or no?! And in this way all would have answered: “No, it is not permitted!” But Jesus changed the question. For him, in that concrete case, “to cure” was the same as “to do good” or “to save a life,” and not “to kill!” With his question Jesus put the finger on the wound. He denounced the prohibition of curing on the Sabbath considering this to be a system of death. A wise question! The enemies remain without knowing what to answer.
  • Jesus looked angrily around at them, grieved to find them so obstinate. Jesus reacts with indignation and sadness before the attitude of the Pharisees and the Herodians. He orders the man to stretch out his hand, and he cures him. By curing the disabled man, Jesus shows that he does not agree with the system which places the law above life. In response to the action of Jesus, the Pharisees and the Herodians decide to killhim.With this decision they confirm that, in fact, they are defenders of a system of death! They are not afraid to kill in order to defend the system against Jesus who attacks and criticizes it in the name of life.
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

There was a man in the synagogue who had a withered hand

The Man with the Withered Hand (L’homme à la main desséchée),
Painted by James Tissot (1836-1902),
Opaque watercolour over graphite on grey wove paper,
Painted circa 1890
© Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.95

Today’s reading tells how the Pharisees are out to trick Jesus and condemn him for healing on the Sabbath. Whilst in yesterday’s reading Jesus explained that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, we see a different side to Jesus today. As the Pharisees are still missing his point, we now hear that he became angry and frustrated. Very human feelings. The Pharisees are more keen to observe a legal code rather than to be touched by the plight of a fellow human being.

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Jesus’ Foundation as the Eternal High Priest

by Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P., 2017

The word tithe originally meant just a tenth part. Today, however, it is considered exclusively as a tenth of what one earns. Pastors like to think of the tithe as the appropriate amount for a church member’s donation.  In the reading from Hebrews today we find a biblical antecedent for that understanding.

The purpose of the passage is not to counsel churchgoers about their offerings.  Rather it establishes Jesus’ foundation as the eternal high priest.  Like the mysterious Melchizedek, Jesus’ origins are eternal.  What is more, as the father of faith Abraham honors the priest Melchizedek so we are to worship Jesus for his sacrifice of self on the cross.  Finally, as the name Melchizedek means “King of Peace” and the person comes and goes amicably, Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” in the gospels and preaches nonviolence.

We can count on Jesus for everything that is good.  He is wiser than the ages, and his words will guide us to happiness.  More importantly, he not only died to free us from sin, but his resurrection has assured us of an eternal destiny.  More than anything else in life, we should endeavor to be faithful to him.

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RELATED: Dominican Friars – Province of St. Martin de Porres

Daily Homilies

Priesthood

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My PhotoYesterday I wrote of the liturgy as an anchor of faith. With the cable of prayer that reaches through the veil our storm-tossed vessel holds its position in a turbulent sea.

As wave after wave of unexpected, unprecedented change falls upon us – the Atomic Age, the Computer Age, the Internet Age, the social media age – Catholics celebrate a ritual that remembers the 20th century as well as the first century and innumerable centuries before Christ.
Our calendar of prayer recalls saints of both recent and ancient past; in many cases we find their disciples – Benedictines, Franciscans, Sisters of Charity and so forth – are still among us. Faulkner might have been speaking of the Church when he said, “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.”
In today’s readings I find another critically important link to a past that is, for all practical purposes, prehistoric; that is the cryptic verse from Psalm 110: “You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek.”

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

How We Became Priests

“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” — Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17

PRESENTATION MINISTRIES INC - GuideStar ProfileLike almost all peoples throughout history, the Jewish people believed that sacrifice was one of the essential elements for dealing with sin and setting humanity free (see Lv 4:13-14). The person who offers sacrifices to God on behalf of the people is called a priest. Thus, priests are an essential part of God’s plan of salvation. Consequently, because Jesus is the Savior of the world, He must be a priest. For the Jews, all priests descended from the tribe of Levi. Yet Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. How can Jesus be a priest?

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies

JANUARY

THURSDAY


19
Heb 7:25—8:6

Mk 3:7-12

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “This is the way in which we find our Saviour: Jesus Christ. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. By Him we behold, as in a glass, His immaculate and most excellent visage.” (Saint Clement of Rome)
  • “His person [Jesus] is nothing but love. The signs he works, especially in favour of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy.” (Francis)
  • “By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 549)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
YouTube player


Deacon Godfrey Musabe preaches about letting Jesus heal us while also following His example by helping others. January 19, 2017

SOURCE: The CatholicTV Network

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Today’s Gospel describes how both Jews and Gentiles from Galilee and all surrounding areas gathered around Jesus practically every day of  his public ministry of preaching and healing. Jesus preached the Good News of God’s love  and demonstrated by his healing ministry the mercy and compassion of God his Father .

Jesus’ mission was universal, attracting Jews and pagans alike. He exercised his Divine power of healing, using his human body to demonstrate to people that he was both God and man. Jesus instructed the healed ones not to publicize him, as the expected Messiah because he did not want to bring his public life to a premature end. The ordinary Jews believed that the expected Messiah would declare himself King of the Jews after overthrowing the Roman rule. Hence, it was dangerous to let people regard him as the Messiah.

Life Messages

1) Jesus continues to preach the Good News and heal the sick through the Church and through us, his  followers. He welcomes our response to him and calls us to come to Him through the Sacraments, and especially through our participation in the Eucharistic celebration, with trusting Faith and confident expectation.

2) “The holy human nature of our Lord is our only route to salvation; it is the essential means we must use to unite ourselves to God.  Thus, we can today approach our Lord by means of the sacraments, especially and pre-eminently the Eucharist.  And through the sacraments there flows to us, from God, through the human nature of the Word, a strength which cures those who receive the sacraments with faith (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, “Summa Theologica”, III, q. 62, a. 5).

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE COMMENTARY

The conclusion reached at the end of this fifth conflict (Ml 2-3, 6), is that the Good News as it was announced by Jesus, said exactly the contrary of the teaching of the religious authority of the time. This is why, that at the end of the last conflict, it is foreseen that Jesus will not have an easy life and will be put to death. Death is already appearing in the horizon. They decide to make him die (Mk 3: 6). Without a sincere conversion it is not possible for persons to attain a correct understanding of the Good News.

  • A summary of the evangelizing action of Jesus. The verses of today’s Gospel (Mk 3,:7- 12) are a summary of the activity of Jesus and they stress an enormous contrast. Earlier, in Mk 2: 1-3: 6, it was spoken only of conflicts, including the conflict of the life and death between Jesus and the civil and religious authority of Galilee (Mk 3: 1- 6). And here, in the summary, we have the contrary: an immense popular movement, greater than the movement of John the Baptist, because people come not only from Galilee, but also from Judaea, from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, from Transjordan, and even from the pagan region of Tyre and Sidon to encounter Jesus! (Mk 3: 7-12). All want to see him and to touch him. The people are so numerous, that Jesus himself is concerned. There is the danger of being crushed by the multitude. This is why he asks the disciples to have a boat ready for him so that the crowd would not crush him. And from the boat he spoke to the crowds. There were especially the excluded and the marginalized who came to him with their ailments: the sick and those possessed. Those who were not accepted to live in the society of the time were accepted by Jesus. Here is the contrast: on the one side the religious and civil leaders decided to put Jesus to death (Mk 3: 6); on the other side, an immense popular movement seeking salvation in Jesus. Who will win?
  • The unclean spirits and Jesus. Mark insists very much on the expulsion of the unclean spirits. The first miracle of Jesus is the expulsion of the unclean spirits (Mk 1: 25). The first impact caused by Jesus is due to the expulsion of the devil (Mk 1: 27). One of the principal causes of the clash of Jesus with the Scribes is the expulsion of the unclean spirits. (Mk 3: 22). The first power which the Apostles received when they were sent out on mission was the power to expel the demons (Mk 16: 17). What does it mean in Mark’s Gospel to drive out or expel the evil spirits?
  • At the time of Mark the fear of the devil was increasing. Some religions instead of liberating the people, increased fear and anguish. One of the objectives of the Good News of Jesus is precisely to help people to liberate themselves from this fear. The coming of the Kingdom means the coming of a stronger power. Jesus is “the stronger man” who has come to conquer and overcome Satan, the power of evil, and to take way from him, to rob humanity imprisoned by fear (Mk 3: 27). This is why Mark insists very much on the victory of Jesus over the power of evil, over the devil, over Satan, sin and death. From the beginning to the end, with almost similar words, he repeats the same message: “And Jesus drove out, expelled the impure spirits!” (Mk 1: 26, 27, 34, 39; 3: 11- 12, 15, 22, 30; 5: 1-20; 6: 7, 13; 7: 25-29; 9: 25-27, 38; 16: 9,17). It seems 53 almost a refrain which is repeated! Today, instead of using always the same words, we prefer to use diverse words. We would say: “The power of evil, Satan, which causes so much fear to people, Jesus overcomes him, dominates him, conquers him, threw him off the throne, drove him out or expelled him, eliminated him, annihilated him, knocked him down, destroyed him and killed him!” What Mark wants to tell us is the following: “Christians are forbidden to be afraid of Satan!” After Jesus rose from the dead, it is a mania and a lack of faith to call in cause Satan, at every moment, as if he still had any power on us. To insist on the danger of the devil in order that people may return to Church, means to ignore the Good News of the Kingdom. It is a lack of faith in the Resurrection of Jesus!
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

People travelled from Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania, Sidon…

Christ Healing the Leper, from The Story of Christ,
Engraving by Georg Pencz (1500–1550),
Issued 1534–35,
Engraving on paper
© The Metropolitan Museum, New York

We don’t know exactly all the places Jesus travelled to or how many miles he walked, but he covered substantial territory during his three-year ministry. He was keen to spread the message everywhere around him. Jesus could have easily found a base somewhere and let people come to him, but no, he wanted to get up, travel, explore new places, new cities, new people and make the point that he came for everyone. This is a major point as well for when debates were arising in the Early Church to resolve the question: did Jesus come just for the Jewish people or also for the non-Jews, the Gentiles? The travels of Jesus and His relentless marching towards new people proves the point that the Christian faith was there for everyone, not just for the Jewish people.

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Jesus Lives Forever

by Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P.

A marvelous book written by theologian Jaroslav Pelikan describes eighteen models for considering Jesus. Jesus through the Centuries pictures Jesus as rabbi, king, liberator, and in fifteen other ways.  Tellingly, however, it does not see him as priest.  Although people may be hesitant about seeing Jesus with this image, it is a central focus of the Letter to the Hebrews.  Today’s passage from the letter gives several reasons for thinking of Jesus as a priest like no other.

The Letter asserts that Jesus lives forever.  Whether one is an early Christian suffering persecution or a twenty-first century American facing religious indifference, Jesus always pleads to the Father on his or her behalf.  The Letter also hints here, and states elsewhere, that Jesus has experienced pain and will make known to the Father how humans feel.  Also, the Letter emphasizes that Jesus’ perfection carries two advantages.   First, his sacrifice of self has no blemish so that it pleases the Father like no other.  Second, he can focus on others’ needs without having to worry about his own sins.  Finally, Jesus occupies a sanctuary so close to the Almighty Father that his intercessions cannot be ignored.

The difficulty we have in seeing Christ as priest may be the idea that his sacrifice paid the debt of human sin.  We do not like to think of God as a magistrate who demands payment for our crimes.  Let us recall, however, that if God is the judge demanding payment, He is also the one who pays our debt. Out of love He took human form and then died on a cross to satisfy the injury to creation caused by our sin.  Because of this satisfaction we can live with justice.

RELATED: Dominican Friars – Province of St. Martin de Porres

Daily Homilies

Copies and Shadows

They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now he has obtained so much more  excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My PhotoSomeone asked me, “Isn’t Mary like a symbol of the Church?”  I replied, “If I offered you a picture of an ice cream cone and an ice cream cone, which would you take?”  Mary is not a symbol, a “copy and shadow” of our gracious God, she is the Mother of God and our mother.

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us how Christians have always been tempted to back away from full-throated belief and invest in copies and shadows.
Our author points to the sacrifices offered in the recently demolished temple of Jerusalem. They were only copies and shadows of the real sacrifice — the ur-sacrifice — which was offered by Jesus outside the walls of Jerusalem. We need not regret the destruction of the temple because Jesus has offered the sacrifice which has — once and for all — atoned for sin.

So is the Mass then like the sacrifices in the Jewish temple, only a copy and shadow of the one sacrifice?  Catholics understand our Mass as a participation in the One Sacrifice. Gathered into his Body by Baptism, we offer ourselves as he offered his body on the cross, by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. This is not a copy and shadow, a sort-of-like; it is our immediate immersion in Jesus who presents us with himself to the Father.

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

The Best of Times

“The main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a High Priest, Who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, Minister of the sanctuary and of that true tabernacle set up, not by man, but by the Lord.” —Hebrews 8:1-2

PRESENTATION MINISTRIES INC - GuideStar ProfileJesus is a better Priest (Heb 7:28) with a better ministry in “a better covenant, founded on better promises” (Heb 8:6). The Jewish people did not think of God’s work with them as completed. They were waiting for the Messiah to give them the new covenant. The writer of Hebrews maintained that Jesus was the Messiah, the Fulfillment of the law, the ultimate High Priest Who made the once-and-for-all sacrifice (Heb 7:27) and tore open the curtain separating us from God’s presence in the Holy of Holies (Mt 27:51).

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies

JANUARY

FRIDAY


20

Heb 9:2-3, 11-14
Mk 3:20-21

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “‘I exhort you to present your bodies’ (Rom 12:1). By pleading in this manner the Apostle elevates all men to the dignity of the priesthood: to present our bodies as a living host.” (Saint Peter Chrysologus)
  • “Goodness always tends to spread. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops (…). In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14); ‘Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel’ (1 Cor 9:16).” (Francis)
  • “From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission. He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and ‘sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal’ (Lk 9:2) (…).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 551)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
YouTube player


Father Carlos Suarez preaches about the example of the martyrs in bearing their witness of the faith. January 20, 2017

SOURCE: The CatholicTV Network

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Today’s Gospel passage gives a short account of the call and mission of the Apostles. Jesus is the first missionary, sent by his Father with the “Good News” that God, his Father, is a loving, merciful, and forgiving Father Who wants to save everyone through His Son Jesus. Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus selects and empowers twelve future missionaries as apostles, giving them his own mission along with a share of his power to preach, and to heal the sick as proof of the truth of their message. Then, Jesus sends them in pairs to the Jewish towns and villages as heralds, to prepare the people to receive the Good News.

Special features: Jesus selected very ordinary people, most of them hard-working fishermen with no social status, learning, or political influence, because he was sure that they would be very effective instruments in God’s hands. It was a strange mixture of people. Matthew was a hated tax-collector for a foreign power, while Simon the Cananaean was a Zealot and fanatical nationalist who belonged to a militant group determined to destroy Roman rule by any means. The others were mostly professional fishermen with a lot of good will, patience and stamina. At first it was only their admiration and love for Jesus that united them. Jesus selected them after a night of prayer and gave them his own powers of healing and exorcism and  his own mission of preaching the “Kingdom of God.”

Life Messages

1) As Christians, we have the same mission that Jesus entrusted to his  apostles: to proclaim the word of God to all the world. We fulfill this mission primarily by living out Jesus’ teachings and by promoting and helping the world-wide missionary activities of the Church with prayer, moral support, and financial aid.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE COMMENTARY

The Gospel today describes the acceptance and mission of the twelve apostles. Jesus begins with two disciples to whom he adds other two (Mk 1: 16-20). Gradually, the number 54 increased. Luke tells us that he called the 72 disciples so as to go on mission with him (Lk 10: 1). •

  • Mark 3, 13-15: The call for a two-fold mission. Jesus calls whom he wants and they go with him, they follow him. Then, “He appointed Twelve, to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils”. Jesus calls them for a double purpose, for a two-fold mission: (a) To be with Him, that is, to form the community of which He, Jesus, is the centre. (b) To pray and to have power to drive out devils, that is, to announce the Good News and to fight against the power of evil that ruins the life of people and alienates persons. Mark says that Jesus went up to the mountain and while he was there, he called the disciples. The call means climbing up. In the Bible to climb up the mountain recalls the mountain that Moses climbed and had the encounter with God (Ex 24, 12). Luke says that Jesus went up to the mountain, prayed all night and, the following day, he called the disciples. He prayed to God so as to know whom to choose (Lk 6, 12-13). After having called them, Jesus makes the election official and creates a more stable group of twelve persons in order to give more consistency to the mission; and also to signify the continuity of God’s project. The twelve Apostles of the New Testament are the successors of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
  • Thus, the first community of the New Testament comes into being, is born, a model community, which gradually grows around Jesus during the three years of his public activity. At the beginning they are only four (Mk 1: 16-20). Shortly afterwards the community increases in the measure in which the mission is developing, extending in the towns and villages of Galilee. There is a time in which they do not even have the time to eat or to rest (Mk 3: 2). This is why Jesus was concerned about giving the disciples some rest (Mk 6: 31) and to increase the number of missionaries (Lk 10: 1). In this way, Jesus tries to maintain the two-fold objective of the call: to be with Him and to go on mission. The community which is formed in this way around Jesus has three characteristics which belong to his nature: it is a forming, missionary community, and is inserted among the poor of Galilee.
  • Mark 3: 16-19: The list of names of the twelve apostles. Immediately after, Mark gives the names of the twelve: Simon to whom he gave the name of Peter; James and John the sons of Zebedee, to whom he gave the name of Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
  • Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him. The majority of these names come from the Old Testament. For example, Simon is the name of one of the sons of the Patriarch Jacob (Gn 29: 33). James is the same as Jacob (Gn 25: 26). Judas is the name of the other son of Jacob (Gn 35: 23). Matthew also bore the name of Levi (Mk 2: 14), who was the other son of Jacob (Gn 35: 23). Of the twelve Apostles, seven have a name that comes from the time of the Patriarchs. Two have the name of Simon; two are called James; Two Judas; one Levi. There is only one who has a Greek name: Philip. It would be like in a family where all have names of ancient times and only one has a modern name. This reveals the desire that people have to remake history, from the beginning! It is worthwhile to think about the names which we give our children today. Like them, each one of us is called by God by our name.

SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Jesus summoned those he wanted and appointed twelve

Statues of the Twelve Apostles on the facade of St Peter’s Basilica,
Facade designed by Carlo Maderno (1556-1629),
Sculpted in 1612-1613
© Christian Art

We may think that we have chosen Jesus, but in fact He chose us first! Just as with the twelve apostles: he chose them. For today’s artwork, there was no need for me to look much further than the facade of St Peter’s Basilica here in Rome. The statues, all sculpted in 1612-1613,  show Jesus with the Twelve Apostles, or to be precise eleven apostles and St. John the Baptist. The missing apostle is St. Peter, because he was given (together with St. Paul) a separate statue in St Peter’s square in front of this very façade.

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Jesus Builds a Basis for Preaching

by Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P., 2017

Some have tried to provoke an argument by saying that Jesus did not found the Church.  They propose Paul as the more logical founder.  Of course, Jesus did not create the orders of bishops and priests.  And he certainly never established the Roman bureaucracy.  But the four gospels do indicate that he had an organizational structure in mind.  Today’s gospel pictures him acting quite intentionally to build a basis for his mission of preaching.

The passage notes that Jesus climbs a mountain evidently alone.  There, like the President-elect selecting his cabinet, he calls up twelve disciples to join him.  These are to become not just an inner group of advisors but are to prepare themselves to go out and preach.  The twelve are named in order of prominence.  Peter with a gift for proclamation is the first mentioned.  Second, James and John, who also are recognized for their locutions, are noted.  Then the others are named.  The last, of course, is Judas Iscariot, who does not lack ability but who will do the mission irreparable harm.

Perhaps the people who want to sell Jesus short on an organizational plan have difficulty appreciating how capable he is.  They see him with limitations like the rest of us.  But the four gospels indicate that he is a man like no other.  He does everything well – preach, organize, give of himself freely.  We are grateful to have been called to be his followers.

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RELATED: Dominican Friars – Province of St. Martin de Porres

Daily Homilies

The New Covenant

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead
them forth from the land of Egypt;

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My PhotoIn today’s first reading the Author of Hebrews recalls the prophecy of Jeremiah, that God would create a new covenant with his people.

Clearly, in the time of Jeremiah, the time had come for a new covenant. The covenant people took for granted was promised to King David and his descendants. The King would rule in Jerusalem over the nation of Judah and its capital Jerusalem forever.

Forever is a very long time. It doesn’t seem so very long when one is living in the present. Why should not the United States dominate the world’s military, economic, social and political landscapes forever? But historically, forever is too much to expect. Three thousand years after the death of King David, 2400 years after the end of his descendants ruled in Jerusalem, forever sounds like an impossible dream. From this perspective we can be astonished that David’s heirs ruled as long as they did, especially in that part of the world.

By the time of Jeremiah, David’s kingdom was collapsing under the invasions of Syrians, Babylonians, Persians and Egyptians. Greeks and Romans would add to their national distress.

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

The Cost of Disunity

“They were likewise to have authority to expel demons.” —Mark 3:15

PRESENTATION MINISTRIES INC - GuideStar ProfileJesus created His Church and gave it the power to expel demons (Mk 3:15). We are authorized to be the Church Militant and drive out the demons of abortion. A battle rages fiercely in the USA over the future of legalized abortion in the various states, dividing the nation sharply.

This coming week will feature a time of prayer for Christian unity. The teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion is united in truth; however, the Church’s members are not united, much less all the members of Christian denominations. We have a civil war going on in our hearts (Jas 4:1Jer 17:9).

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies

JANUARY

SATURDAY


21

Heb 4:12-16
Mk 2:13-17

Divine
Office

About

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
  • “A sector of the people pejoratively judges the work and message of Christ. We should learn from the fortitude of Christ in suffering such defamation and slander. What does it matter that men dishonor us, if our conscience defends us?” (Saint Gregory the Great)
  • “His Mother always followed him faithfully, keeping the eyes of her heart fixed on Jesus and on his mystery. Let us ask Mary to help us too to keep our gaze firmly fixed on Jesus and to follow him always, even when it costs what it may.” (Francis)
  • “Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted. What is written in the Gospels was set down there ‘so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name’ (Jn 20:31).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 514)

THIS WEEK’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR

  • 16 Mon Weekday green Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311)
  • 17 Tue Saint Anthony, Abbot white Memorial Heb 6:10-20/Mk 2:23-28 (312)
  • 18 Wed Weekday green Heb 7:1-3, 15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)
  • 19 Thu Weekday green Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)
  • 20 Fri Weekday green/red/red [Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr] Heb 8:6-13/Mk 3:13-19 (315)
  • 21 Sat Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red Memorial Heb 9:2-3, 11-14/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Pss Prop
YouTube player


St. Agnes is widely known as the patron saint of young girls. She is also the patron saint of chastity, rape survivors and the Children of Mary. She is often represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virgin innocence, and a palm branch, like other martyrs.

SOURCE: CATHOLIC ONLINE

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Context

Todays Gospel tells us how Jesusrelatives and fellow villagers wrongly judged him  as out of his mind and consequently tried to take him by force back to Nazareth to his safe, secure job as a good carpenter. That might be one reason why Jesus once remarked, “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (Mt 10:36). However, Jesus met opposition with grace and with determination to fulfill his Father’s will.

There were five reasons why Jesusfamily thought he was mad and attempted to dissuade him from his preaching and healing mission. First, Jesus had abandoned his safe, secure job as a much-needed village carpenter with a steady income to become a wandering preacher with no residence or steady income. Second, Jesus had chosen a band of fishermen with no political or social influence, a hated tax-collector and a fanatic zealot among his disciples. Third, Jesus had begun to criticize the power lobby – the chief priests, elders,  scribes, and Pharisees – in the Jewish religious headquarters, Jerusalem, labeling them hypocrites. Jesusrelatives might really have been afraid that Jesus would be arrested, and they would be persecuted with him for criticizing those in power.  Fourth, Jesus had indirectly claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah and had worked miracles to support his claim. Fifth, they might have been jealous of Jesus’ huge popularity throughout Palestine.

Life Messages

1) Since Jesus experienced rejection by his own relatives, he can sympathize with the hurt and rejection we receive from our family members and console us in our pain.

2) Let us learn to forgive the modern “liberal-minded” people who find our Christian beliefs and practice  “crazy,” and face them with the courage of our convictions based on Christ’s Divine authority and the reliability of his doctrines and promises.

3) Let us remember that many saints, following Christ’s example, have been taken for madmen–but they were mad with love, mad with love for Jesus Christ, their God.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies

CARMELITE COMMENTARY
  • Mark 3: 20: The activity of Jesus. Jesus returned home. His home is now in Capernaum (Mk 2: 1). He is no longer living with his family in Nazareth. People knowing that Jesus was in the house, they went there. Such a crowd of people gathered there that He and his disciples did not even have time to eat calmly (Mk 6: 31)
  • Mark 3: 20: Conflict with his family. When Jesus’ relatives knew this, they said: “He has lost his mind!” Perhaps, this was so because Jesus did not seem to be behaving normally. Perhaps, because they thought that with this he jeopardized the name of the family. Whatever it was, the relatives decided to take him back to Nazareth. This is a sign that the relationship of Jesus with his family was suffering. This must have been a source of suffering, for him as well as for Mary, his Mother. Later on (Mk 3: 31- 56 35) Mark tells how the encounter of Jesus with his relatives was. They arrived to the house where Jesus was staying. Probably they had gone there from Nazareth. There is a distance of about 40 km. from there to Capernaum. His mother was with them. They could not enter the house because there were many people there at the entrance. This is the reason why they sent him a message: “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside asking for you!” The reaction of Jesus was firm and he asked: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And he himself answers pointing out to the crowd gather there around him: “Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother”. He extended the family! Jesus does not allow the family to draw him away from the mission. The situation of the family at the time of Jesus. In the ancient Israel, the clan, that is, the large family (the community) was the basis of social living together. This was the protection of the small families and of the persons, the guarantee of the possession of the land, the principal channel of tradition, the defense of identity. That was the concrete way in which the people of that time had to incarnate the love of God in the love toward neighbor. To defend the clan, the community it was the same as to defend the Covenant. In Galilee at the time of Jesus, because of the Roman system, introduced and imposed during the long years of government of Herod the Great (37 BC to 4 BC) and of his son Herod Antipas (4 BC to 39 AD), all this had ceased to exist, or existed every day less. The clan (community) was becoming weaker. The taxes that had to be paid to the government and to the Temple, the increasing getting into debt, the individualist mentality of the Hellenistic ideology, the frequent threats of the violent repression on the part of the Romans, the obligation to accept the soldiers and to give them lodging, the always greater problems for survival, all this led the families to close up in themselves and in their own needs. Hospitality was no longer practiced; neither was sharing, nor communion around the table, the acceptance of the excluded. This closing up was strengthened by the religion of the time. The observance of the norms of purity was a factor of marginalization for many people: women, children Samaritans, foreigners, lepers, possessed, publicans or tax collectors, the sick, mutilated persons, the paraplegics. These norms, instead of helping and favoring acceptance, sharing and communion, favored separation and exclusion.
  • Thus, the political, social and economic situation as well as the religious ideology of the time, everything was against and contributed to weaken the central values of the clan, of the community. Therefore, in order that the Kingdom of God could manifest itself, once again, in the community living of the people, persons had to overcome the narrow limits of the small family and openthemselvesup once again to the large family, the Community.
  • Jesus gives the example. When his relatives get to Capernaum and try to take hold of him to take him back home, he reacts. Instead of remaining closed up in his small family, he extends the family (Mk 3: 33-35). He creates the community. He asks the same thing to those who want to follow him. Families cannot close up in themselves. The excluded and the marginalized should be accepted, once again, into the community, and in this way feel accepted by God (cf. Lk 14: 12-14). This is the path to be followed inorder toattainthe objective of the Law whichsaid:“Let therebenopoor among you” (Dt 15: 4). Just like the great prophets, Jesus tries to strengthen and affirm community life in the villages of Galilee. He takes the profound sense or significance of the clan, of the family, of the community, like an expression of the incarnation of the love of God in the love toward neighbor.
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Jesus’ relatives were convinced he was out of his mind

Self-Isolation,
Painted by Irina An,
Painted in 2020
Acrylic on canvas
© Irena An, artist, all rights reserved

So today’s reading should not be read literally as an historical account of the behaviour of Jesus’ natural family towards Him. No, our short passage today should be read as Mark addressing the early Christian communities to keep going and be firm in their belief. Let people out there say you are out of your minds, as Jesus faced similar criticism in His own time, even from His own family. I think there are probably still families who would think their committed Christian brothers sisters, cousins, etc., are slightly mad. ‘How do you even want to be part of a Church which holds such and such views…?’ we can be told….

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SOURCE: CHRIStiAN ART

Daily Homilies

Holy of Holies

…he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own Blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

My PhotoAs the Church celebrates the victory of the Virgin Martyr Agnes we hear of Jesus entering the Heavenly Holy of Holies, with his own Blood.

these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the firstfruits of the human race for God and the Lamb

Martyrs of every age assure us that the Spirit of God is still with us.

Since time immemorial people have complained that the old days were better. “People were more heroic and virtuous at one time, but these times are decadent and morals are corrupt.”

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SOURCE: DAILY HOMLIIES by Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv

Daily Homilies

He Offered Himself

Jesus “achieved eternal redemption.” ––Hebrews 9:12

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The Holy Bible is often called God’s love letter to humanity. In a particular sense, the Letter to the Hebrews is God’s love letter to Jewish converts to the Christian faith. The author makes this clear when he references the Lord’s prophetic messages to the Hebrew people: “In times past, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our fathers through the prophets” (Heb 1:1).

But Hebrews contains a lesson important for all of us. Specifically, Jesus Himself has replaced the Old Testament sacrifices. A priest of the Old Covenant needed “to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; [Jesus] did that once for all when He offered Himself” (Heb 7:27).

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SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

Daily Homilies