Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prayers today: In baptism we have died with Christ, and we have risen to new life in him, because we believed in the power of God who raised him from the dead, alleluia. (Col 2:12)

God our Father, by the waters of baptism you give new life to the faithful. May we not succumb to the influence of evil but remain true to your gift of life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622)

If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life. Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor. As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. Once, during a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers. He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions. He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed. He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.

The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6.60~69)

On hearing Jesus’ teaching, many of His disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no-one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God."

The Word of Life

(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)

The Christian, and in particular the Catholic, precisely because of his gift of supernatural faith from his baptism, could have difficulty appreciating the impact of Christ’s singular teaching on his hearers at the time. We accept Christ as being not merely the greatest of the prophets, not merely the Prophet and Messiah foretold by the Scriptures, but the very Son of God, God from God who has become man. This fundamental wonder validates all other wonders announced by him. So we take in our stride, as it were, the various mysteries of our Faith — the danger being that we can fail to live our life in a manner truly based on these mysteries. It is worth the trouble to place ourselves in the scenes of the Gospels and imagine Jesus Christ setting forth his teaching. It was “bad enough,” as we might express it, for the Pharisees and religious leaders to have heard Jesus speaking of God as his own Father in a way that placed him on a par with God; it was “bad enough” to have heard him say repeatedly that he had actually come down from heaven where he was before; it was “bad enough” to have heard and seen him flouting their traditions and rulings on such matters as the manner of Sabbath observance; it was “bad enough” to have heard him state that he and the Father are one, and that before Moses ever was, I am — here in the Synagogue, though, he had the temerity to proclaim that his own flesh must be eaten and his own blood be drunk if people were to have life. This unprecedented teaching with nothing of its like in the prophets before him, divided his very disciples. Many left and returned to their homes, saying that Jesus of Nazareth was, in effect, impossible. We get the impression that there was a majority walk-out and Jesus was left with the Twelve — and, of course — many others. As a result of the proclamation of the doctrine of the Eucharist our Lord was left with a considerably diminished constituency, as some might say nowadays. It was, pundits would have called it, a political and marketing gaffe, and that he was finished from then on.

Our Lord saw this — for it is obvious from the Gospels that in intelligence he transcended all parties. The Eucharist was part of an ensemble of teachings about his own person which Christ gave, the acceptance of which was to be part and parcel of the following of him. He would give his own flesh to be eaten and his own blood to be drunk, and this would be the means whereby people would receive life eternal. To speak of the separation of the body and blood should have evoked in the mind of an observer the thought of a victim sacrificed. His words having this allusion, clearly he himself would be the victim. Did his hearers catch anything of this evocation, this allusion, this point? We are not informed. By eating of the sacrificed victim, a person shared in the effect of the sacrifice which was reconciliation and communion with God. A great sacrifice was coming, and Jesus would be the sacrifice. Clearly, too, only he could be the Priest. With it there would be a great communion in this sacrifice — and by participating in it they would share in his life, life eternal. Thus would the sin of the world be taken away and its blessings brought to those who believed in him and accepted his word. It was a breathtaking revelation and the only basis for accepting it could be that he, Jesus, had uttered it. But many of his disciples thought it was too much — it was “over the top,” impossible. But he had said it, and without any qualification, so if they were to continue following him this doctrine would be “all part of the package,” as one might say. So they left him — and so it has been in crisis moments in the history of the Church ever since. The doctrine of the Eucharist is the mystery of our faith and is one of the fundamental tests of belief and discipleship. Seeing so many of his disciples leave, our Lord turns to the Twelve and asks if they too planned to go. Peter — significantly for the future of the Church and Peter’s successors, answers. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:60-69).

I myself date the true turning away of Judas from this point. We do not know how well or poorly Judas had been growing in discipleship following his personal call. None of the disciples had been perfect in their discipleship, and Judas remains in the shadows as do others of the Twelve. But it is at this point, immediately after Simon Peter’s magnificent profession of faith and acceptance of Christ’s doctrine, that Christ refers to Judas as a devil. I suspect that Judas, in his heart, rejected the doctrine he had just heard, but chose to remain in our Lord’s company. His motives became profoundly compromised. Satan had a clear foothold among the Twelve, and in Judas had one of his own. How important is total acceptance of this doctrine!


What you have just said, say it in another tone, without anger, and what you say will have more force...and above all, you won't offend God.

(The Way
, no. 9)




Venerable Brethren,
Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2.5) and High Priest who has gone before us into
heaven, Jesus the Son of God (Heb. 4.14) quite clearly had one aim in view when He undertook the mission of mercy which was to endow mankind with the rich blessings of supernatural grace. Sin had disturbed the right relationship between man and his Creator; the Son of God would restore it. The children of Adam were wretched heirs to the infection of original sin; He would bring them back to their heavenly Father, the primal source and final destiny of all things. For this reason He was not content, while He dwelt with us on earth, merely to give notice that redemption had begun, and to proclaim the long-awaited Kingdom of God, but gave Himself besides in prayer and sacrifice to the task of saving souls, even to the point of offering Himself, as He hung from the cross, a Victim unspotted unto God, to purify our conscience of dead works, to serve the living God. (Heb. 9.14) Thus happily were all men summoned back from the byways leading them down to ruin and disaster, to be set squarely once again upon the path that leads to God. Thanks to the shedding of the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, now each might set about the personal task of achieving his own sanctification, so rendering to God the glory due to Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment