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)
Loving Father, through our rebirth in baptism you give us your life and promise immortality. By your unceasing care, guide our steps toward the life of glory. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who liveth and reigneth world without end, Amen. Alleluia.
St. Peter of Tarentaise (c. 1102-1174)
There are two men named St. Peter of Tarentaise who lived one century apart. The man we honour today is the younger Peter, born in France in the early part of the 12th century. (The other man with the same name became Pope Innocent the Fifth.) The Peter we’re focusing on became a Cistercian monk and eventually served as abbot. In 1142 he was named archbishop of Tarentaise, replacing a bishop who had been deposed because of corruption. Peter tackled his new assignment with vigour. He brought reform into his diocese, replaced lax clergy and reached out to the poor. He visited all parts of his mountainous diocese on a regular basis. After about a decade as bishop Peter “disappeared” for a year and lived quietly as a lay brother at an abbey in Switzerland. When he was “found out,” the reluctant bishop was persuaded to return to his post. He again focused many of his energies on the poor. Peter died in 1175 on his way home from an unsuccessful papal assignment to reconcile the kings of France and England.
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John (15.18~21)
Jesus said to His disciples, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than His Master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One who sent Me."
(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)
Years ago an Australian politician remarked that “life was not meant to be easy.” Strangely, that observation drew down upon him the ridicule of sections of the press, as if what he said was itself strange. He was simply saying that life inevitably brings many difficulties. One of the difficulties of life is the opposition and criticism of others, and most people receive at least a certain share of this. This opposition and criticism can be fully justified, and it can be unjustified. Usually it is a mixture of both because however well-meaning and enlightened we may be, we are faulty and limited human beings. Those faults and limitations evoke our neighbour’s criticism and opposition, and those criticisms can cause suffering. There is often a dose of injustice in that opposition too, because while we may be faulty, our neighbour is also faulty. His faults and sins often drive his criticisms of our efforts and of our persons. In fact, sin can be and often is the major cause of the suffering inflicted on others. All this is to say that a large portion of the suffering that is man’s lot arises because of sin ― the sin within the suffering person and the sin within the one inflicting the suffering. A common human problem is bitterness, and I am convinced that the appreciation of our common fallen condition can help us forgive. Those who hurt us are also subject to a sinful condition, as are we. But now, while life was not meant to be easy, it is to be noticed that often in history it is particularly difficult for the one who is eminent in goodness. Personal faults and sins often cannot be regarded as the principal reason for the suffering inflicted on him by others. The paradigmatic instance of this is Jesus Christ, the sinless One. He was without sin, without fault because he was divine. Yet he was hated by those who mattered, and ignored and spurned by many others. He ended his short life ― all according to the divine plan, of course ― utterly rejected and nailed to a cross. It set a mysterious pattern, that those who follow him seriously, and in general the Church he founded, would share in his sufferings.
Of course, those who follow Jesus Christ are also faulty and limited human beings, and their faults, sins and limitations will attract the opposition and criticism of others. Just as Jesus Christ suffered, so will they. However, in their case personal sin will have a part to play in bringing down this suffering, in a way that was in no way the case of Jesus Christ. But that is not the whole story, for Christ’s sufferings do set a special pattern that must be expected to recur in the history of the Church. The Church will be made to suffer in a special sense, and in ways well beyond what is warranted. Saints will suffer greatly, and it will be due to the sinfulness and faults of those who inflict the suffering, just as was the case with Jesus Christ. Let us listen to what our Lord has to say on this. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me” (John 15:18-21). Just as the sinless Christ was accused and condemned for wrongdoing, eminent and holy members of his Church will be accused and condemned for wrongdoing. There will often be just enough of fault and limitation in these great disciples of Jesus Christ to convince their accusers that they are doing a good deed in condemning them, and to cloud their perception of the enormity of their unjust actions. They will think they are doing a meritorious deed, whereas they are perpetrating calumnies and harm to society and the Church. But the disciple of Jesus Christ suffers as Christ suffered, and his sufferings sanctify him and bring sanctification to the Church and to the world. Thus are the sufferings of Jesus Christ continued, and the work of redemption advances.
When, for instance, an outstanding and holy Pope is attacked repeatedly by the secular media and confusion and misinformation is spread as a result, the suffering he endures unites him to the crucified Christ. Just as Christ’s sufferings redeemed the world and brought the gift of sanctity to those who accept him, so the sufferings of his close disciple increases the reservoirs of grace. Christ suffers in him, and in the process sanctifies him and the Church. Let us not be dismayed at immense opposition, criticism and sufferings being at times heaped upon the Church and upon the Church’s chosen representatives. They walk in the footsteps of the Lord. It must be expected.
Second reflection Acts 16:1-10; John 15: 18-21
Listening to the Holy Spirit
(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)
At times in life we wonder why God allowed certain circumstances to have occurred in our life, circumstances that prevented us from doing the good we felt we should have been permitted to do. Perhaps those with authority over us prevented us from doing obvious good. As we look back on so many frustrations, we might ask, Why did not God allow us to achieve more good?
But consider how our Lord himself was frustrated in the course of his ministry. His heavenly Father permitted all kinds of opposition to stand in his way, right to Calvary. This seeming frustration was according to the plan of God. Or again, the Gospel describes how our Lord invited certain people to follow him ― physically. He allowed others to follow him uninvited, such as Bar Timaeus, the blind man whom he cured. But consider the man in the land of the Gerasenes whom he cured of devil-possession. The cured demoniac pleaded with our Lord to allow him to follow him, but our Lord would not permit him. He told him he was to return to his people and tell them all that God had done for him ― which he dutifully did. So our Lord prevented that man from doing what seemed to be the best thing (i.e., following him), and ordered him to do something different. We notice in the Acts of the Apostles 16:1-10, that when Paul and his companions travelled through Phrygia and Galatia they were "told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia." Why did the Holy Spirit forbid them to do this very good thing? We are not told. Again, in the next sentence, "When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas." God may not want us to do what we think would be the better thing. But he does plan that we do good, and in the same passage in Acts, Paul has the vision of the Macedonian appealing to him to come. So as Luke says, "we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News."
Let us do the good which God in his providence means us to do, not the good we would like to do, even though it may seem to be much the better. The key is to learn to do what Paul and his companions did. They listened to the Holy Spirit.
Get rid of those useless thoughts which are at best a waste of time.
(The Way, no. 13)
5. The majestic ceremonies of the sacrifice of the altar became better known, understood and appreciated. With more widespread and more frequent reception of the sacraments, with the beauty of the liturgical prayers more fully savored, the worship of the Eucharist came to be regarded for what it really is: the fountain-head of genuine Christian devotion. Bolder relief was given likewise to the fact that all the faithful make up a single and very compact body with Christ for its Head, and that the Christian community is in duty bound to participate in the liturgical rites according to their station.