— Saint John Bosco —
Ordinary Time Week 3: Saturday
 

“So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:12)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (part 2 of the background of Saint Gregory of Nyssa is found here) offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“Let [the one who is waiting for the Lord’s second coming] therefore wait for that time then which is, necessarily, in the same time frame as the development of humanity. For even while Abraham and the patriarchs desired to see the promised better things, they did not stop seeking the heavenly country. This is what the apostle says when he declares that even now they are in a condition of hoping for that grace: “God having provided some better thing for us,” according to the words of Paul, “that they without us should not be made perfect.” If those then, who by faith alone and by hope saw the good things “afar off ” and “embraced them”—if they bear the delay as the apostle bears witness, and if they place the certainty that they will enjoy the things for which they hoped in the fact that they “judged him faithful who has promised,” what should the rest of us do who perhaps do not have a grasp of that better hope from the character of our own lives?

Even the prophet’s soul fainted with desire, and in his psalm he confesses this passionate love, saying that his “soul has a desire and longing to be in the courts of the Lord.” [He still has this desire] even if he has to be demoted to a place amongst the lowest, since it is a greater and more desirable thing to be last there than to be first among the ungodly tents of this life. Nevertheless he was patient during the delay, considering, indeed, the life there blessed, and accounting a brief participation in it more desirable than “thousands”[of days] of time. For, he says, “one day in your courts is better than thousands.” And yet, he did not become dejected at the necessary dispensation concerning existing things. He thought it was sufficient bliss for a person to have those good things even by way of hope. This is why he says at the end of the psalm, “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that hopes in you.” (On the Making of Man, 22)


Collect
O God,
who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco
as a father and teacher of the young,
grant, we pray,
that, aflame with the same fire of love,
we may seek out souls and serve you alone.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Ordinary Time Week 3: Friday
 

“You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.” (1 Hebrews 10:34)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“I cannot say, he says, that you suffered these things indeed and were grieved, but you even rejoiced exceedingly. He expressed this by saying, “You became partners with those so treated,” and he brings forward the apostles themselves. Not only, he means, were you not ashamed of your own sufferings, but you even shared with others who were suffering the same things. This too is the language of one who is encouraging them. He said not, “Bear my afflictions, share with me,” but respect your own.

You had compassion on those who were bound.” You see that he is speaking concerning himself and the rest who were in prison. Thus you did not account “bonds” to be bonds, but you stood as noble wrestlers. For not only did you need no consolation in your own distresses, but you even became a consolation to others.” (On the Epistle to the Hebrews, 21)



Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions
according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Oridinary Time Week 3: Thursday
Mass of Installation of
Bishop Christopher J Coyne SLD
Tenth Bishop of Burlington, Vermont
 

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region.” (Luke 4:14)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at the Installation Mass of Bishop Coyne today::

“First of all, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days.” When Jesus was being tempted by the devil, the word spirit is put down twice without any qualification since the Lord still had to struggle against him. See what is written about the Spirit emphatically and carefully, after he had fought and had overcame the three temptations that Scripture mentions. The passage says, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” “Power” has been added, because he had trodden down the dragon and conquered the tempter in hand-to-hand combat. So “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to the land of Galilee, and reports about him went out to the whole surrounding region. He was teaching in their synagogues, and was glorified by all.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 32)



Collect
O God,
who in the power of the Holy Spirit
have sent your Word to announce
good news to the poor, grant that,
with eyes fixed upon him,
we may ever live in sincere charity,
made heralds and witnesses of his Gospel in all the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





— Saint Thomas Aquinas —
Ordinary Time Week 3: Wednesday
 

“... now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.” (Hebrews 10:13)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“Do not then, having heard that he is a priest, suppose that he is always executing the priest’s office. For he executed it once and thenceforward “sat down.” Lest you suppose that he is standing on high and is a minister, he shows that the matter is part of a dispensation or economy. For as he became a servant, so also he became a priest and a minister. But as, after becoming a servant, he did not continue a servant, so also, having become a minister, he did not continue a minister. For it belongs not to a minister to sit but to stand.” (On the Epistle to the Hebrews, 13)



Collect
O God,
Who made Saint Thomas Aquinas
outstanding in his zeal for holiness
and his study of sacred doctrine,
grant us, we pray,
that we may understand what he taught
and imitate what he accomplished.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





How shall we repay the Lord
for all his goodness to us?
 

Today’s Second Reading from the
Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours)
Ordinary Time Week 3: Tuesday

An excerpt from
Detailed Rules for Monks
Saint Basil the Great
(bishop and Father of the Church)

What words can adequately describe God’s gifts? They are so numerous that they defy enumeration. They are so great that any one of them demands our total gratitude in response. Yet even though we cannot speak of it worthily, there is one gift which no thoughtful man can pass over in silence. God fashioned man in his own image and likeness; he gave him knowledge of himself; he endowed him with the ability to think which raised him above all living creatures; he permitted him to delight in the unimaginable beauties of paradise, and gave him dominion over everything upon earth.

Then, when man was deceived by the serpent and fell into sin, which led to death and to all the sufferings associated with death, God still did not forsake him. He first gave man the law to help him; he set angels over him to guard him; he sent the prophets to denounce vice and to teach virtue; he restrained man’s evil impulses by warnings and roused his desire for virtue by promises. Frequently, by way of warning, God showed him the respective ends of virtue and of vice in the lives of other men. Moreover, when man continued in disobedience even after he had done all this, God did not desert him.

No, we were not abandoned by the goodness of the Lord. Even the insult we offered to our Benefactor by despising his gifts did not destroy his love for us. On the contrary, although we were dead, our Lord Jesus Christ restored us to life again, and in a way even more amazing than the fact itself, for his state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave.

He bore our infirmities and endured our sorrows. He was wounded for our sake so that by his wounds we might be healed. He redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for our sake, and he submitted to the most ignominious death in order to exalt us to the life of glory. Nor was he content merely to summon us back from death to life; he also bestowed on us the dignity of his own divine nature and prepared for us a place of eternal rest where there will be joy so intense as to surpass all human imagination.

How, then, shall we repay the Lord for all his goodness to us? He is so good that he asks no recompense except our love: that is the only payment he desires. To confess my personal feelings, when I reflect on all these blessings I am overcome by a kind of dread and numbness at the very possibility of ceasing to love God and of bringing shame upon Christ became of my lack of recollection and my preoccupation with trivialities.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 
 
 
 
 

Ordinary Time Week 3: Tuesday
 

“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come,* and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.” (Hebrews 10:1)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“The way which seems right to us for understanding the Scriptures and the investigation of their meaning, we consider to be the following: we are instructed by Scripture itself regarding the ideas that we ought to form of it. In the Proverbs of Solomon we find just such instruction for the examination of holy Scripture. “For your part,” he says, “describe these things to yourself in a threefold manner in counsel and knowledge, that you may answer words of truth to those who question you.” Each one, then, ought to describe in his own mind, in a threefold manner, the understanding of the divine letters, that is, so that the simple may be edified, so to speak, by the very body of Scripture; for that is what we call the common and historical meaning. But if some have begun to make considerable progress and are able to see something more than that, they may be edified by the very soul of Scripture. And those who are perfect and resemble those of whom the apostle says, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are doomed to pass away. But we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, which God has decreed before the ages for our glorification.” Such people may be edified by the spiritual law which has a shadow of the good things to come, edified as if by the Spirit. For just as man is said to consist of body, and soul and spirit, so also does sacred Scripture, which has been granted by God’s gracious dispensation for the salvation of man.” (On First Principles, 4)



Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions
according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





— Saints Timothy and Titus —
Ordinary Time Week 3: Monday
 

“For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” (II Timothy 1:6)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“For it requires much zeal to stir up the gift of God. As fire requires fuel, so grace requires our alacrity, that it may be ever fervent. For it is in our power to kindle or extinguish this grace. For by sloth and carelessness it is quenched, and by watchfulness and diligence it is kept alive. For it is in you indeed, but you must render it more vehement, that is, fill it with confidence, with joy and delight. Stand manfully.” (Homilies on II Timothy, 1)



Collect
O God,
Who adorned Saints Timothy and Titus
with apostolic virtues,
grant, through the intercession of them both,
that, living justly and devoutly in this present age,
we may merit to reach our heavenly homeland.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Christ is present to his Church

Today’s Second Reading from the
Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours)
Ordinary Time Week 3: Sunday

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Vatican Council II


Christ is always present to his Church, especially in the actions of the liturgy. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, in the person of the minister (it is the same Christ who formerly offered himself on the cross that now offers by the ministry of priests) and most of all under the eucharistic species. He is present in the sacraments by his power, in such a way that when someone baptizes, Christ himself baptizes. He is present in his word, for it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Finally, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he himself promised: Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.

Indeed, in this great work which gives perfect glory to God and brings holiness to men, Christ is always joining in partnership with himself his beloved Bride, the Church, which calls upon its Lord and through him gives worship to the eternal Father.

It is therefore right to see the liturgy as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ, in which through signs addressed to the senses man’s sanctification is signified and, in a way proper to each of these signs, made effective, and in which public worship is celebrated in its fullness by the mystical body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the head and by his members.

Accordingly, every liturgical celebration, as an activity of Christ the priest and of his body, which is the Church, is a sacred action of a pre-eminent kind. No other action of the Church equals its title to power or its degree of effectiveness.

In the liturgy on earth we are given a foretaste and share in the liturgy of heaven, celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem, the goal of our pilgrimage, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, as minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With the whole company of heaven we sing a hymn of praise to the Lord; as we reverence the memory of the saints, we hope to have some part with them, and to share in their fellowship; we wait for the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, who is our life, appears, and we appear with him in glory.

By an apostolic tradition taking its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection, the Church celebrates the paschal mystery every eighth day, the day that is rightly called the Lord’s day. On Sunday the Christian faithful ought to gather together, so that by listening to the word of God and sharing in the Eucharist they may recall the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God who has given them a new birth with a lively hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Lord’s day is therefore the first and greatest festival, one to be set before the loving devotion of the faithful and impressed upon it, so that it may be also a day of joy and of freedom from work. Other celebrations must not take precedence over it, unless they are truly of the greatest importance, since it is the foundation and the kernel of the whole liturgical year.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 
 
 
 
 

— The Lord’s Day —
Ordinary Time Week 3: Sunday
 

“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” (Jonah 3:10)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“They applied fasting to their wounds. Yes, they even applied extreme fasting — lying prostrate on the ground, putting on sackcloth and ashes, and lamentations. More importantly, they chose a change of life. Let us then see which of these things made them whole. And how shall we know? If we come to the physician, if we seek after him earnestly, he will not hide it from us but will even eagerly disclose it. Rather, in order that no one may be ignorant or have need to ask, he has even set down in writing the medicine that restores sinners. What then is this? “God,” he said, “saw that they turned every one from his evil way, and he repented of the evil that he said he would do unto them.” He did not say simply that he saw their fasting and sackcloth and ashes, but their behavior. I say this not to question fasting (God forbid!) but to exhort you that with fasting you do that which is better than fasting, the abstaining from all evil.” (Homilies on II Corinthians, 4)



Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions
according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Devotion must be practiced in different ways
 

Today’s Second Reading from the
Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours)
Ordinary Time Week 2: Saturday

— Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales —

Introduction to the Devout Life
Saint Francis de Sales
(bishop and Doctor of the Church)

When God the Creator made all things, he commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; he has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station and his calling.

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbor. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganized and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfills all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its color, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince becomes more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen