LMC for the First Sunday of Lent 1C

LMC LENT SUNDAY 1, YEAR C

temptation

(1) Deut 26.4-10.

(2) Rom 10.8-13.

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Those who are Christian by faith and baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 10.32-33). The first part of the Catechism expounds the Creed or profession of faith: it presents God’s revelation and the believer’s response of faith. The Creed summarizes the truths of God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. By appropriation, the Father is called Creator, the Son is called the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is called the Sanctifier.

 

  • Rom 10.8-9: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

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From the apostolic age, the Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae intended for all. Already at an early date, the Church summarized and articulated the essential elements of her faith in baptismal creeds.

 

  • Rom 10.8-9: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

  • 1 Cor 15.3-5: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

 

  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “The synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and New Testaments (From Catech. illum. 5, 12).

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In calling Jesus “Lord,” the apostolic Church confessed that the power, honor, and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus. In the Resurrection, the Father manifested Jesus’ sovereignty and exalted Jesus, the Incarnate Word, into the divine glory.

 

  • Acts 2.33-36: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, | till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

 

  • Rom 9.3-5: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

 

  • Titus 2.11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”

 

  • Rev 5.13-14: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

 

  • Phil 2.5-8: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

  • Rom 10.8-9: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

  • Rom 12.2-3: “You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

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According to the teaching of St. Paul, the bold filial trust at the heart of prayer is founded on the prayer of the Holy Spirit within us and on the love of the Father who has given us Christ his only Son as our Savior.

 

  • Rom 10.12-13: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, ‘every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Joel 2.32).”

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The one name that contains and says everything is the name Jesus. The divine name YHWH in the Old Covenant was not to be spoken by human lips. However, by becoming man, God makes the divine name accessible to us in Jesus, so that we can invoke it: for Jesus means “YHWH saves” (cf Ex 3.14; 33.19-23; Mt 1.21).

 

  • Mt 1.20-21: “But as he considered this, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’”

 

  • Joel 2.32: “And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.”

 

  • Rom 1.13 (echoing Joel 2.32): “For every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

  • Acts 2.21: (St. Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, also echoing Joel 2.32 on the gift of prophecy and the saving power of the divine Name): “And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

  • Ex 3.13-15: “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, “The LORD the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

 

  • Ex 33.19-23: “And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name “The LORD”; and I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.’ And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

 (3) Lk 4.1-13.

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Anointing with oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 2.20, 26-27) because Christ’s humanity was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit at the moment of the Incarnation (that is, at Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary). Anointing in the Old Testament is the sign of consecration of a priest or king or prophet (Ex 30.22-33; 1 Sam 16.13). Christ [which means “the Anointed One”] as the Incarnate Word is supremely Priest and King and Prophet, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is his “anointing” (Lk 4.18-19; Isa 61.1) as the Son of David. It was the Holy Spirit that prompted Simeon to come to the Temple to see the Christ (the Anointed One) of the Lord (Lk 2.11, 26-27). The Spirit filled Christ and went forth from him in his acts of healing and saving (Lk 4.1; 6.19; 8.46); the Holy Spirit also raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 1.4; 8.11).

This consecratory anointing in the Holy Spirit is poured out upon Christ’s followers by confirmation/chrismation so that they share in Christ’s priestly, royal, and prophetic mission. This is a way of saying that in Christ and in the Holy Spirit our human nature is restored and consecrated according to God’s original plan (Eph 4.13; Acts 2.36).

 

  • 1 Jn 2.20, 26-27: “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know… I write this to you about those who would deceive you but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

 

  • 2 Cor 1.21-22: “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

 

  • Ex 30.22-33: “Moreover, the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred and fifty, and of aromatic cane two hundred and fifty, and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin; and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; a holy anointing oil it shall be. And you shall anoint with it the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the laver and its base; you shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. And you shall say to the people of Israel, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It shall not be poured upon the bodies of ordinary men, and you shall make no other like it in composition; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.”

 

  • 1 Sam 16.11-13: “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and fetch him [David]; for we will not sit down till he comes here.’ And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.”

 

  • Lk 4.18-19 (Jesus’ reading at the synagogue in Capernaum):

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (cf Isa 61.1-2).

 

  • Isa 61.1-2:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

 

  • Lk 2.10-12: “And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”

 

  • Lk 2.25-28: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ [Anointed, Messiah]. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God…”

 

  • Lk 4.1-2: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil.”

 

  • Lk 6.18-19: “…and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed him.”

 

  • Lk 8.46 [the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage]: “But Jesus said, ‘Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’”

 

  • Rom 1.3-4: “…the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…”

 

  • Rom 8.11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

 

  • Eph 4.12-13: “… for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of Christ…”

 

  • Acts 2.36 [Peter’s sermon at Pentecost]: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ [Anointed One], this Jesus whom you crucified.”

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The final doxology prayed at the end of the Our Father (“For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever”) takes up again the first three petitions: the glorification of the divine Name, the coming of his Kingdom, the power of his saving will. Satan has sought to claim these titles for himself (Lk 4.5-6). Christ has restored them to his Father, who is also our Father in heaven, until all is consummated and God will be all in all (1 Cor 15.24-28).

 

  • Rev 1.4-6: “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

 

  • Rev 4.11:

“Worthy art thou, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for thou didst create all things,

and by thy will they existed and were created.”

 

  • Rev 5.13-14: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

 

  • Lk 4.5-7: “And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, ‘To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.”

 

  • 1 Cor 15.24-28: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ‘For God has put all things under his feet’ (Ps 110.1). But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection under him,’ it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.”

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Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion: to adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as Creator and Savior, as Lord and Master, as infinite and merciful Love.

 

  • Deut 6.13-15: “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name. You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you; for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.”

 

  • Lk 4.5-8: “And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, ‘To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, | and him only shall you serve (Deut 6.13).’”

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Tempting God is a sign of irreligion. It consists of putting God’s goodness and power to the test by word or deed. Thus the devil sought to induce Jesus to cast himself down from the parapet of the Temple and, by so doing, to “force” God to act (Lk 4.9). Jesus opposed Satan, quoting Scripture: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test” (Deut 6.16). To challenge God in this way always and necessarily harbors doubt about God’s love, his providence, and power. To tempt God wounds the respect and trust that we owe to our Creator and Lord.

 

  • Lk 4.9-13: “And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, | lest you strike your foot against a stone’ (Ps 91.11-12). And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deut 6.16). And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”

 

  • 1 Cor 10.9-11: “We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.”

 

  • Ex 17.2-7: “Therefore the people fond fault with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ And Moses said to them, ‘Why do you find fault with me? Why do you put the LORD to the proof?’ But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’ So Moses cried to the LORD, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which your struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.’ And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the fault-finding of the children of Israel, and because they put the LORD to the proof by saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’”

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The Gospels tell of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert, immediately after his baptism in the Jordan at the hands of John the Baptist. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus fasts for forty days, lives among wild beasts, and the angels minister to him (Mk 1.12-13). At the end of this time, Satan tempts Jesus three times, seeking to lead him away from filial obedience to the Father’s will. These attacks recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert; Christ is victorious, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time” (Lk 4.13).

 

  • Mk 1.12-13: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.”

 

  • Lk 4.12-13: “And Jesus       answered him, ‘It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God (Deut 6.16).’ And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”

 

Saint John Bosco’s Dream

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Saturday, 3rd Week, Year II

Commemoration of Saint John Bosco

Saint John Bosco, the 19th c saint whom we venerate today, had a prophetic dream which seems to be a kind of interpretation of this episode of the Lord calming the storm.

In his dream, John Bosco saw a majestic ship sailing on the sea, whose pilot was the Holy Father. It was headed to a harbor whose entrance was flanked by two massive columns. The ship was being buffeted by huge waves, and was continually harassed and attacked by smaller ships whose men were armed with guns, cannons, and with rams. The battle raged relentlessly, but the big ship went safely and smoothly on its way. Sometimes it received large, deep gaps in its sides, but no sooner was the harm done than a gentle breeze blew from the two columns and the cracks close up immediately.

It eventually made its way to the harbor and attached itself to the columns with hooks and anchors. Then there was a great convulsion, and all the enemy ships crashed into one another and were sunk. A great calm descended upon the waters.

On the top of the one column John Bosco saw the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and on top of the other, much higher, a massive Eucharistic Host. He interpreted the dream as a prophecy of terrible trials the Church would soon endure, but that devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary would bring the Church to a safe harbor and a time of peace.

The Eucharist, which contains Christ the very source of grace;

The Virgin Mary who is by divine decree the Mother and Mediatrix of all grace;

It is fitting that by means of these two supreme gifts of God we will be brought as individuals and as the Church through the storms of this world to the safe harbor of eternity.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

 

parable_of_the_mustard_seed

Mark 4:26-34

PAX

A parable is a short story based on a familiar life experience used to teach a spiritual lesson. In this gospel we hear the last of the parables Saint Mark offers. In this lesson of the seed and mustard seed, Jesus uses the image of farming and of growth. When a seed is planted it is very small and weak but it has much power within it to grow up and strong. The farmer takes great care in developing the soil before he plants the seed. He then pants the seed, which is humble and left on its own by the farmer who also has to be humble and patient as he waits to see how the seeds develop. In this parable of the seed Jesus is talking about the growth of the gospel, the Church, the Kingdom of God.

 

The Kingdom of God can also refer to the spiritual life of God in our hearts. God works in peace in the silence of our hearts to help us mature in our life with Him. He works on us as we sleep, study, work, and play. He is always there with us moving us by His love and grace to grow closer to Him to grow more like Him. We have to work with Him too. We have to prepare our hearts like the farmer prepares the soil. But our Lord is the real initiative of our spiritual growth to that “Mature Manhood” he calls us to. Saint Paul says in the letter to the Ephesians calls us, “ to attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature Manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” It is God who moves us because, “it is the Holy Spirit who, with his inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires, and actions. It is He who leads us to receive Christ.”

 

We receive Christ, when our hearts are truly prepared to do so, each time we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As we gather here for Mass this morning, Christ wants so much to share with us the love and grace He won for us on the cross. The love of the cross we meditate on each time we offer the Mass. We remember the perfect act of love Christ showed us by dying for us. Let us pray for each other that we may be open to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit that leads and forms our hearts to grow to that full mature Manhood in the life of Christ.

 

 

Lectionary Meets Catechism: Fourth Sunday of the Year

LCC SUNDAY 4, YEAR C

Sermon-On-The-Mount-catechesis (1)

 (1) Jer 1.4-5, 17-19.

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Human life must be respected and protected as inviolable from the moment of conception.

 

  • Jer 1.5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”

 

  • Ps 139.15:

“My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.”

 (2) 1 Cor 12.31 – 13.13.

1988

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life. In this way, the Holy Spirit makes us members of his Mystical Body (1 Cor 12), branches grafted onto the Vine which is Christ himself (Jn 15.1-5).

 

  • 1 Cor 12.24-27: “But God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

 

  • Jn 15.1-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

2003

Grace is the primarily and essentially the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. Under the name of grace are included the many particular gifts of the Spirit that involve us in the Spirit’s work: sacramental graces and special charisms. These charisms—including some that are extraordinary such as the working of miracles or the gift of tongues—are oriented toward sanctifying grace and so build up the Body of Christ.

 

  • 1 Cor 12.3: “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

 

  • 1 Cor 12.4-6: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.”

 

  • 1 Cor 12.11: “Al these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

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The pledge and first fruits of our inheritance in Christ is the infusion of the charity which is the very life of the Trinity. This new life in Christ is made possible by the gift of the Spirit.

 

  • 1 Jn 4.10-12: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

 

  • Rom 8.23: “We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

 

  • 2 Cor 1.21-22: “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

 

  • Acts 1.8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

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Charisms are special graces of the Holy Spirit (CCC 799) that are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by the entire Church. Provided that these charisms are truly from the Holy Spirit, they are a rich grace for the entire Body of Christ, leading to sanctification and to apostolic vitality. Charity—itself the prompting of the same Spirit— is the measure of all true charisms.

 

  • 1 Cor 13.1-3: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [charity], I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love [charity], I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love [charity], I gain nothing.”

 

  • 1 Cor 13.8-10, 13: “Love [Charity] never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away… So faith, hope, love [charity] abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love [charity].”

1826

Charity is the first of the theological virtues; it is superior to all the virtues.

 

  • 1 Cor 13.1-3: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [charity], I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love [charity], I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love [charity], I gain nothing.”

 

  • 1 Cor 13.8-10, 13: “Love [Charity] never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away… So faith, hope, love [charity] abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love [charity].”

1825

“While we were enemies, we were reconciled by his blood” (Rom 5.10). Therefore we are called to love even our enemies, to regard as our neighbors even those far away (cf the parable of the Good Samaritan in Lk 10.27-37), and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

 

  • Mt 5.44-45: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

 

  • Mk 9.37: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

 

  • Mt 25.40: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

 

  • Mt 25.41: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”

953

In the communion of saints (which as the sanctorum communio is also communion in holy things; cf 948), “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself” (Rom 14.7). The least of our acts done in charity benefits all with whom we are bound together in the human family and in the communion of saints. In a corresponding way, every sin harms this communion of charity and mutual help.

 

  • Rom 14.7-9: “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

 

  • 1 Cor 12.25-27: “But God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

 

  • 1 Cor 13.4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

  • 1 Cor 10.23-24; 31-33): “’All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor… For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.’ … So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God, just as I try to please all men in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

773

The Church is a sign and instrument of communion with God and unity among all men (CCC 775). The Church’s structures and sacramental life are ordered solely to the holiness of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. The measure and standard of holiness is the love of the Bride of Christ (the Church) for Christ her divine Bridegroom. The Blessed Virgin Mary goes before us all as the human person in whom the Church’s essential holiness is most perfectly realized. Thus the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine” (that is, the dimension that is connected with holding office and juridical authority).

163

Faith gives us a foretaste of the beatific vision, when we shall see God face to face, as he is. In that sense, faith is already the beginning of eternal life. 1 Cor 13.12-13: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

164

In this life, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5.7). We perceive God only dimly, as in a mirror (1 Cor 13.12). Thus faith can be shaken and tested by the experiences of evil, suffering, injustice, and death.

 

  • 1 Cor 13.12-13: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I am understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

314

By faith , we know that God is the Lord of the world and of its history. Only when we at last see God “face to face” (1 Cor 13.12) will we see clearly the ways by which God has guided his creation to that final sabbath for which he created heaven and earth.

 

  • 1 Cor 13.12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

1023

Those who die in the grace of God and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ and see God face to face, as he is (1 Jn 3.2).

 

  • 1 Jn 3.2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

 

  • 1 Cor 13.12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

 

  • Rev. 22.1-5: “Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

1720

The final beatitude or state of blessedness in heaven, is expressed in various ways in the New Testament. It is

  • the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mt 4.17: “From that time, Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”);
  • the vision of God promised to the pure in heart (Mt 5.8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”);
  • entrance into the joy of the Lord (Mt 25.21-22: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master’”);
  • and entering into God’s rest (Heb 4.8-11: “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience”).

2519

The pure of heart are promised that they will see God face to face and be transformed to be like him (Mt 5.8). Purity of heart is the precondition for the vision of God. Even in this life, purity of heart enables us to see others as truly our neighbors and to see the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6.19).

 

  • Mt 5.8: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

 

  • 1 Cor 6.19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1813

There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (1 Cor 13.13). They are infused by God into the souls of believers, making them capable of acting as children of God and of receiving the reward of eternal life. Faith, hope, and charity are the pledge of the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity; as such, they are the foundation of the Christian moral life, animating and giving to it its special character.

 

  • 1 Cor 13.13: “So faith, hope, love [charity] abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1826

See above.

1841

Faith, hope, and charity are the three theological virtues. These virtues inform and vivify all the moral virtues.

 (3) Lk 4.21-30.

1286

The Old Testament prophets foretold that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the awaited Messiah for the carrying-out of his redemptive mission. The Holy Spirit’s descent on Jesus at his baptism indicated that Jesus was he who was to come. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit: thus his entire life and mission were accomplished in communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure” (Jn 3.34).

 

  • Isa 11.1-2:

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

 

  • Isa 61.1-3 [which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied to himself]:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a garland instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

 

  • Mt 3.13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

 

  • Jn 1.29-34: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.’”

436

The word “Christ” is from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed.” In Israel, those consecrated by God for a special mission (such as priests, prophets, and kings) were anointed as a sign of their consecration. The Messiah would need such a consecration or “anointing” by the Holy Spirit since he fulfills perfectly the threefold office of priest, prophet, and king.

 

  • Ex 29.4-7 [for the consecration of priests]: “You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water. And you shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; and you shall set the turban on his head, and put the holy crown upon the turban. And you shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him.”

 

  • Lev 8.10-12: “Then Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to consecrate him.”

 

  • 1 Sam 16.12-13: “Now he [David] was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.”

 

  • 1 Kings 1.39: “There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent, and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’”

 

  • 1 Kings 19.15-16: “And the LORD said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.”

 

  • Ps 2.1-3 (applied by Peter and John in Acts 4.26-27 to Jesus, in the face of opposition in Jerusalem to their preaching of the gospel):

“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the LORD and his anointed, saying,

‘Let us burst their bonds asunder,

and cast their cords from us.’”

 

  • Isa 61.1-3 [which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied to himself]:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a garland instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

695

Anointing with oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 2.20, 26-27) because Christ’s humanity was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit at the moment of the Incarnation (that is, at Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary). Anointing in the Old Testament is the sign of consecration of a priest or king or prophet (Ex 30.22-33; 1 Sam 16.13). Christ [which means “the Anointed One”] as the Incarnate Word is supremely Priest and King and Prophet, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is his “anointing” (Lk 4.18-19; Isa 61.1) as the Son of David. It was the Holy Spirit that prompted Simeon to come to the Temple to see the Christ (the Anointed One) of the Lord (Lk 2.11, 26-27). The Spirit filled Christ and went forth from him in his acts of healing and saving (Lk 4.1; 6.19; 8.46); the Holy Spirit also raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 1.4; 8.11).

This consecratory anointing in the Holy Spirit is poured out upon Christ’s followers by confirmation/chrismation so that they share in Christ’s priestly, royal, and prophetic mission. This is a way of saying that in Christ and in the Holy Spirit our human nature is restored and consecrated according to God’s original plan (Eph 4.13; Acts 2.36).

 

  • 1 Jn 2.20, 26-27: “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know… I write this to you about those who would deceive you but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

 

  • 2 Cor 1.21-22: “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

 

  • Ex 30.22-33: “Moreover, the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred and fifty, and of aromatic cane two hundred and fifty, and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin; and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; a holy anointing oil it shall be. And you shall anoint with it the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the laver and its base; you shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. And you shall say to the people of Israel, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It shall not be poured upon the bodies of ordinary men, and you shall make no other like it in composition; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.”

 

  • 1 Sam 16.11-13: “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and fetch him [David]; for we will not sit down till he comes here.’ And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.”

 

  • Lk 4.18-19 (Jesus’ reading at the synagogue in Capernaum):

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (cf Isa 61.1-2).

 

  • Isa 61.1-2:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

 

  • Lk 2.10-12: “And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”

 

  • Lk 2.25-28: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ [Anointed, Messiah]. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God…”

 

  • Lk 4.1-2: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil.”

 

  • Lk 6.18-19: “…and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed him.”

 

  • Lk 8.46 [the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage]: “But Jesus said, ‘Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’”

 

  • Rom 1.3-4: “…the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…”

 

  • Rom 8.11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

 

  • Eph 4.12-13: “… for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of Christ…”

 

  • Acts 2.36 [Peter’s sermon at Pentecost]: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ [Anointed One], this Jesus whom you crucified.”

714

At the sabbath service in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4.16-21), Christ inaugurates his proclamation of the Good News of his kingdom by applying to himself the words from Isaiah (Isa 61.1-2).

 

  • Isa 61.1-2:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

 

  • Lk 4.21: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

544

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor and the lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus shares the hunger, thirst, and privation of the poor, from the cradle to the Cross. Jesus makes active love toward the poor a requirement for entering the Kingdom.

2443

When “the poor have the good news preached to them” (Mt 11.5), it is the sign of Christ’s presence: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you” (Mt 5.42); “You have received without pay, give without pay” (Mt 10.8).

 

  • Mt 25.40: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

 

  • Mt 25.41: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”

1168

The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time; with the Passover of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God’s plan has been fulfilled and redemption has been accomplished. Thus in the Risen and Ascended Christ, the culmination of history is anticipated by believers as a foretaste of the Kingdom that is to come. The liturgical year is based upon this truth, with the Easter Triduum as its luminous center that fills the entire year with its radiance: thus time is transfigured by the sacred liturgy, becoming truly a “year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4.19).

 

  • Isa 61.1-2:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

 

  • Lk 4.21: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Lectionary Meets Catechism for Second Sunday of Year C

 

Lectionary Meets Catechism:  A Resource for Preachers and Catechists

This resource was assembled by one of the monks of our Abbey.  What he has done is to compile all the references to the Catechism found in the Sunday readings and some major feasts of the Liturgical Year.  The goal of the work is to bring the Lectionary and Catholic doctrine closer together in preaching and catechesis. That is why the project is called Lectionary Meets Catechism: A Resource for Preachers and Catechists (abbreviated LMC).  The LMC is also a rich resource for Lectio Divina and for prayer groups that use the lectionary.  

13259PST131201p17_822

LMC SUNDAY 2, YEAR C

 (1) Isa 62.1-5.

1611

The prophets saw God’s covenant with his people in the image of exclusive and faithful married love. In this way, the prophets prepared Israel for a deeper understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage (Hos 1-3; Isa 54, 62; Jer 2-3, 31; Ezek 16, 23; Mal . Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love as an image and analogy of divine love that is “strong as death” and that “many waters cannot quench” (Song 8.6-7).

 

  • Mal 2.13-17: “You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. You ask, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the LORD was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Has not the one God made and sustained us for the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. ‘For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.’”

219

In the Bible, God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son (Hos 11) and is said to be even stronger than a mother’s love for her children, or of a bridegroom for his bride (cf Ez 16). God’s love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3.16).

 

  • Hos 11.1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, | and out of Egypt I called my son.”

 

  • Isa 49.14-15:

“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me,

my Lord has forgotten me.’

Can a woman forget her suckling child,

that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget,

yet I will not forget you.”

 

  • Isa 62.4-5:

“You shall no more be termed Forsaken,

and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;

but you shall be called My delight is in her,

and your land Married;

for the LORD delights in you,

and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a virgin,

so shall your sons marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

so shall your God rejoice over you.

(2) 1 Cor 12.4-11.

1988

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life. In this way, the Holy Spirit makes us members of his Mystical Body (1 Cor 12), branches grafted onto the Vine which is Christ himself (Jn 15.1-5).

 

  • 1 Cor 12.24-27: “But God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

 

  • Jn 15.1-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

2003

Grace is the primarily and essentially the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. Under the name of grace are included the many particular gifts of the Spirit that involve us in the Spirit’s work: sacramental graces and special charisms. These charisms—including some that are extraordinary such as the working of miracles or the gift of tongues—are oriented toward sanctifying grace and so build up the Body of Christ.

 

  • 1 Cor 12.3: “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

 

  • 1 Cor 12.4-6: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.”

 

  • 1 Cor 12.11: “Al these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

1454

The penitent should prepare for reception of the sacrament of Penance by an examination of conscience in the light of the Word of God. The Ten Commandments and the moral catechesis of the Gospels (such as the Sermon on the Mount in Mt 5-7) and of the apostolic letters (Rom 12-13, Gal 5, and Eph 4-6) are the most suitable for this purpose.

1971

The Law of the Gospel includes especially the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) and the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings (Rom 12-15, 1 Cor 12-13, Col 3-4, Eph 4-5). This moral doctrine presents the virtues that flow from faith that lives and works through charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Rom 12.9-13: “Let charity be genuine… Love one another with brotherly affection… Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.”

152

No one can believe in Christ except by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, who reveals to men who Jesus is. Only God understands God completely: we believe in the Holy Spirit because he is truly God.

 

  • 1 Cor 12.3: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

 

  • 2 Cor 2.10-11: “For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

449

In calling Jesus “Lord,” the apostolic Church confessed that the power, honor, and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus. In the Resurrection, the Father manifested Jesus’ sovereignty and exalted Jesus, the Incarnate Word, into the divine glory.

 

  • Acts 2.33-36: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, | till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

 

  • Rom 9.3-5: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

 

  • Titus 2.11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”

 

  • Rev 5.13-14: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

 

  • Phil 2.5-8: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

  • Rom 10.8-9: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

  • Rom 12.2-3: “You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

455

To confess and to invoke Jesus as Lord is to believe in his divinity: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12.3).

683

Since “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12.3), it is only by the gift of the Holy Spirit imparted in baptism that we share in the Trinitarian life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son. Only then, after being touched by the Holy Spirit and make partakers of Christ, that we can call God Abba! (Father) in the proper sense.

2670

Since “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12.3), it is always the Holy Spirit who draws us to pray to Jesus by his prevenient grace. The Church invites us to invoke the Holy Spirit daily, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.

2681

“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12.3). Thus the Holy Spirit is the interior Teacher of Christian prayer.

249

The terms Truth and Love express the riches of the divine Name revealed to Moses: “He who is” manifests himself as “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34.6).

 

  • Ps 138.2: “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.”

 

  • 1 Jn 1.5: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light ad in him there is no darkness.”

 

  • 1 Jn 4.8: “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.”

308

God is at work in all the actions of his creatures since he is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes. This truth actually enhances the creature’s dignity: since the creature is drawn from nothing by God’s power and wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing apart from the Creator. Created beings cannot attain their ultimate end without the help of God’s grace: “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2.13).

801

The discernment of charisms by the Church’s authority is always necessary so that all charisms work together for the common good.

 

  • 1 Thes 5.12-13, 19-21: “But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves…. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.”

951

Within the one communion of the Church, the Spirit gives special graces to the faithful of every rank, for the building up of the Body of Christ: “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12.7).

1508

The Holy Spirit gives to some the charism of healing (1 Cor 12.9) and so manifests the power of the Lord’s Resurrection. However, even intense prayer is not inevitably answered by physical healing of illness. St. Paul, who implored God for deliverance from a “thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan” (2 Cor 12.7), accepted the Lord’s answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12.9).

 

  • Col 1.24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”

(3) Jn 2.1-11.

2618

Mary’s intercessory role began at the wedding feast of Cana. This is the sign of the great wedding feast of Christ the Lamb, where he gives his very body and blood, at the request of his Bride, the Church. “It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the Cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true ‘Mother of all the living.’”

1613

At his mother’s request, Jesus performs his first sign at the wedding feast of Cana. The Church sees in Jesus’ presence there a confirmation of the goodness of marriage and a proclamation that from then on, marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence.

495

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is hailed by Elizabeth as “the mother of my Lord” (Lk 1.43). The One whom Mary conceived according to his humanity was the eternal Son of the Father, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

486

The entire life of Christ, from his Incarnation in Mary’s womb to his glorification, makes manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10.38). This anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself only gradually: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, and to the disciples.

1335

The multiplication of the loaves when the Lord blesses and distributes them to feed the multitude, prefigures the superabundance of the Eucharist (Mt 14.13-21; 15.32-39). The changing of the water into wine announces the hour of Jesus’ glorification and manifests the fulfillment in the Lord’s own wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, when the faithful will drink the “new wine” which has become the Blood of Christ (Mk 14.25: “Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink of it new in the kingdom of God”).

 

Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord

 

baptism-of-the-lord

LCC BAPTISM OF THE LORD, YEAR C

(1) Isa 42.1-4, 6-7.

713

The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah (Is 42.1-9; 49.1-6; 50.4-10; 52.13-53.12). These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus as the Suffering Servant: he gives life to the many by entering into our human condition, taking the “form of a slave” (Phil 2.7).

536

Jesus’ baptism at the hands of John the Baptist has a fourfold signification:

 

  1. Christ’s baptism signifies his acceptance of his mission as God’s Suffering Servant (Is 53.12) and as the sacrificial “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1.29).

 

  • Is 42.1-4:

“Behold, my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him,

he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed he will not break,

and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not fail or be discouraged

till he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his law.”

 

  • Is 53.11-12:

“By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous;

and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out his soul to death,

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.”

 

  • Jn 1.30-31: “This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

 

  1. Christ, by his baptism at John the Baptist’s hands, allows himself to be numbered with sinners.
  • Jn 1.29: “The next day he [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

  1. Christ in this descent into the water anticipates the “baptism” of his bloody death (Lk 12.50).

 

  • Mk 10.38: “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

 

  • Lk 12.49-50: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished.”

 

  1. By being baptized, Jesus, the Righteous One, fulfills all righteousness. At his baptism the heavens that had been closed by Adam’s sin were opened, the Spirit was manifested, and the baptismal waters were sanctified.

 

  • Mt 3.14-15: “John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’”

 

  • Mt 26.39: “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.’”

 

  • Lk 3.21-22: “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, ‘Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.’”

 

  • Jn 1.32-34: “And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptized with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

 

  • Is 11.1-3:

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

 

  • Mt 3.16-17: “And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

 

555

At the Transfiguration (CCC 554-556), Jesus takes Peter, James, and John (the inner circle within the inner circle) to a mountain and reveals his glory to them. This is a preview and a foretaste of the glory of Christ’s Resurrection.

Jesus appears in the company of Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets. Also, Moses was (according to a Jewish tradition alluded to in the Letter of Jude) assumed body and soul into heaven at his death; and Elijah was taken up bodily in the fiery chariot (2 K 2.11). So it was fitting that Moses and Elijah should appear on this occasion, when Christ’s risen glory is previewed.

 

580

The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be accomplished only by the divine Lawgiver himself, in the person of Christ, the Incarnate Word. In Jesus, the Law is no longer engraved on tables of stone but upon the heart of Jesus the Suffering Servant. Jesus fulfills the Law to the point of taking upon himself the curse of the Law incurred by sinners. His death took place to redeem them “from the transgressions under the first covenant” (Gal 3.13).

 

  • Isa 42.3, 6-7: “He will faithfully bring forth justice… I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

580

See above.

 (2) Acts 10.34-38.

761

“In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10.35). The gathering together of the Church from all nations is, so to speak, God’s reaction to sin, by which he reunites the divided human family in Christ.

438

Jesus’ messianic consecration as “the Holy One of God” (Mk 1.24; Jn 6.69; Acts 3.14) reveals his divine mission as the Christ, the Anointed One. His eternal messianic consecration was revealed in time at his baptism by John the Baptist. St. Peter preached at Pentecost “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10.38). According to St. Irenaeus, “The one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Holy Spirit who is the anointing.”

453

The title “Christ” means “Anointed One” (Messiah). Jesus is called Christ because “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10.38). Jesus was the one “who is to come” (Lk 7.19), the “hope of Israel” (Acts 28.20).

486

The entire life of Christ, from his Incarnation in Mary’s womb to his glorification, makes manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10.38). This anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself only gradually: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, and to the disciples.

1289

In the rite of Confirmation, the anointing with perfumed oil called chrism was very early added to the laying on of hands. Jesus himself is the one “anointed with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 10.38); the anointing of the baptized with chrism highlights the meaning of the word Christian. The Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation and refer to the holy oil as myron. The term Confirmation indicates that the sacrament confirms baptism and strengthens baptismal grace.

Alternative First and Second Readings for Year C:

 (1) Isa 40.1-5, 9-11.

719

St. John the Baptist is more than a prophet (cf Lk 7.26): he proclaims the imminent consolation of Israel and is the voice of the Consoler who is to come. Like the Holy Spirit who inspires him, John “came to bear witness to the light” (Jn 1.7). John the Baptist is the last of the line of prophets that began with Elijah: as the Lord’s messenger, he sees in Christ the fulfillment of the longing of the prophets and of the angels.

 

  • Mt 11.13-14: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.”

 

  • Jn 1.23: “He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as the prophet Isaiah said.’”

 

  • 1 Pet 10-12: “The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”

754

The Church is called the Lord’s sheepfold, whose sole gateway is Christ himself Jn 10.1-16). The Church is also the flock foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament, of which God himself would be the shepherd (Isa 40.11, Ezek 34.11-31). Christ is this Good Shepherd, who gives his life for the sheep. Through the ministry of human shepherds, Christ the one Good Shepherd nourishes and leads his flock (1 Pet 5.1-4).

 

  • Jn 10.1-5: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

 

  • Jn 10.7-9: “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

 

  • Jn 10.11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

 

  • Jn 10.14-16: “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me., as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.”

 

  • Isa 40.10-11:

“Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might,

and his arm rules for him;

behold, his reward is with him,

and his recompense before him.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd,

he will gather the lambs in his arms,

he will carry them in his bosom,

and gently lead those that are with young.”

 

  • Ezek 34.12-13, 15-16, 23-24: “As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country… I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice… And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.”

 

  • 1 Pet 5.1-4: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.”

 

(2) Titus 2.11-14; 3.4-7.

1809

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates and balances the use of created goods and the attraction of pleasures. The virtue of temperance fosters mastery over instincts and desires, so that these operate within the limits of what is honorable.

 

  • Sir 5.2: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, | walking according to the desires of your heart.”

 

  • Sir 38.27-31:

“My son, test your soul while you live;

see what is bad for it and do not give it that.

For not everything is good for every one,

and not every person enjoys everything.

Do not have an insatiable appetite for any luxury,

and do not give yourself up to food;

for overeating brings sickness,

and gluttony leads to nausea.

Many have died of gluttony,

but he who is careful to avoid it prolongs his life.”

449

In calling Jesus “Lord,” the apostolic Church confessed that the power, honor, and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus. In the Resurrection, the Father manifested Jesus’ sovereignty and exalted Jesus, the Incarnate Word, into the divine glory.

 

  • Acts 2.33-36: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, | till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

 

  • Rom 9.3-5: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

 

  • Titus 2.11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”

 

  • Rev 5.13-14: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

 

  • Phil 2.5-8: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

  • Rom 10.8-9: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

  • Rom 12.2-3: “You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

1041

The truth of the coming Last Judgment urgently calls all men to conversion while God gives them “the acceptable time,… the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6.2). The prospect of the Last Judgment inspires a holy fear of God and so commits penitent believers to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the “blessed hope” (Titus 2.13) of the Lord’s return in glory.

 

  • 2 Cor 6.1-2: “Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At the acceptable time I have listened to you, | and helped you on the day of salvation’ (Isa 49.8). Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

 

  • Titus 2.11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”

 

  • 2 Thess 1.5-10: “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering—since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”

1130

The sacraments of eternal life: the Church celebrates the Lord’s mystery until he comes in glory (1 Cor 11.26), when God will be “everything to everyone” (1 Cor 15.28). The sacred liturgy shares in Jesus desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you… until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Lk 22.15). We already have pledge and guarantee of eternal life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus” (Titus 2.13). “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come… Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22.17, 20).

 

  • 1 Cor 15.28: “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.”

 

  • Thomas Aquinas: “Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it—Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion—grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us—future glory” (S. Th. III, 60, 3).

1404

The Church knows that the Lord comes to us even now in the Eucharist and that he is present in our midst; yet his presence is veiled in the sacrament. We offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Roman Missal 126, embolism after the Our Father).

 

  • Eucharistic Prayer III, prayer for the dead: “There we hope to enjoy for ever the fullness of your glory, when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. For seeing you, our God, as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you without end, through Christ our Lord, through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.”

 

2760

At a very early date, liturgical custom concluded the Lord’s Prayer with a doxology. This is attested already in the first-century Didache, in which we find these words at the end of the Our Father: “For yours are the power and the glory for ever” (Didache 8,2). The Apostolic Constitutions add “the kingdom” to the beginning of the doxology; the Byzantine tradition adds at the end of it the Trinitarian words “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” In the Roman Missal, the last petition of the Our Father is further developed in the perspective of “the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” and then concluded with the doxology.

 

  • Roman Missal 22, Embolism after the Our Father: “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

 

  • Titus 2.13: “… awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

 

2818

In the Lord’s Prayer, the petition “thy kingdom come” refers primarily to the final coming of God’s reign through Christ’s glorious return (Titus 2.13). This hope and expectation does not distract from the Church mission in the world; rather, the Church’s desire for the coming of his Kingdom in glory commits the Church all the more strongly to her mission in this world. Since Pentecost, this reign of God is the work of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent from the Father “as the first fruits for those who believe, so that, bringing to perfection his work in the world, he might sanctify creation to the full” (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118).

 

  • Titus 2.13: “… awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

802

Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own” (Titus 2.14).

117

There are four senses of scripture (CCC 115-118).

 

  1. Literal sense—the grammatical meaning of the biblical text in its historical context (CCC 115).

 

  1. Allegorical sense—the typological reading of Scripture (117).

 

  1. Moral sense (CCC 117)—sense that shows the heroes of Scripture as patterns for our own imitation.

 

  1. Anagogical sense (CCC 117)—scriptural persons and events seen as pointing to the things of heaven and eternity.

2778

The power of the Spirit who introduces us to the Lord’s prayer is expressed by the Greek word parrhesia: straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved.

 

  • Eph 3.11-12: “This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him.”

 

  • Heb 3.6: “Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son. And are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride [Gk kauchema = boasting, that in which one glories] in our hope.”

 

  • Heb 4.16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

  • Heb 10.19: “We have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus…”

 

  • 1 Jn 2.28: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”

 

  • 1 Jn 5.14: “And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

 

1165

In celebrating the mystery of Christ, the word “today” especially marks the Church’s prayer. This word “today” echoes both the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6.11) and the call of the Holy Spirit (Heb 3.7-4.11; Ps 95.7). The “today” of the living and eternal God is “the hour” of Jesus’ Passover, which transcends and underlies all human history.

 

  • Mt 6.11: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

 

  • Heb 3.12-15: “Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called, ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, while it is said, ‘Today when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts | as in the rebellion’ [Ps 95.7-8].

 

  • Heb 4.3-9: “For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, ‘As I swore in my wrath, | They shall never enter my rest,’ [Ps 95.11], although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way, ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works’ [Gn 2.2]. And again in his place he said, ‘They shall ever enter my rest’ [Ps 95.11].’ Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, ‘Today, when you hear his voice, | do not harden your hearts’ [Ps 95.7-8]. For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day. So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.”

 

 

  • Ps 95.7:“For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

that today you would hearken to his voice!”

 

  • St. Hippolytus: “Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited light; the Orient of orients pervades the universe, and he who was ‘before the daystar’ and before the heavenly bodies, immortal and vast, the great Christ, shines over all beings more brightly than the sun. Therefore a day of long, eternal light is ushered in for us who believe in him, a day which is never blotted out: the mystical Passover” (De pasch. 1-2).

(3) Lk 3.15-16, 21-22.

696

Fire is a key biblical image for the presence and action of the Holy Spirit. Fire gives light and warmth: it symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Old Testament examples:

 

  • the Burning Bush that Moses saw (Ex 3.1-21).

 

  • the Prophet Elijah at whose word fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice (1 Kings 18.38-39).

 

  • New Testament examples:

 

  • John the Baptist promised that “he [Christ] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Lk 3.16). This symbolism expresses both the fire of God’s love and also the fire of judgment, which are ultimately inseparable.

 

  • Jesus said, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled” (Lk 12.49). Christ wills to pour out the Holy Spirit upon his followers.

 

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is manifested in “tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them” (Acts 2.3). This is the fulfillment of Christ’s plan of giving the Spirit to his disciples to enliven and energize them.

608

By identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1.29), he reveals Jesus as both the suffering Servant (Is 53.7, Jer 11.19) and also as the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.

 

  • Jn 1.29-31: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’”

 

  • Lk 3.21-22: “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, ‘Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.’”

 

  • Mt 3.13-15: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come tome?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented.”

 

  • Jn 1.35-37: “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”

 

  • Is 53.7:

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,

so he opened not his mouth.”

 

  • Is 53.12:

“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out his soul to death,

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.”

 

  • Jer 11.19:

“But I was like a gentle lamb

led to the slaughter.

I did not know it was against me

they devised schemes, saying,

‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,

let us cut him off from the land of the living,

that his name be remembered no more.’”

 

  • Ex 12.5-7: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them.”

 

  • Ex 12.11: “In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. I is the Lord’s Passover.”

 

  • Ex 12.13: “The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”

 

  • Jn 19.36: “For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken’ (Ex 12.46). And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’ (Zech 12.10).

 

  • 1 Cor 5.7-8: “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

 

  • Mk 10.42-45: “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

2600

St. Luke’s Gospel emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the efficacy of Jesus’ prayer in his ministry. Christ prays before decisive moments of his mission: before his baptism by St. John the Baptist, before his Transfiguration, and before his Passion. He also prays at decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at the election and calling of the Twelve, before St. Peter’s confession of Christ as the Messiah and Son of God, and when he prays that the faith of Peter may not fail in the hour of temptation. Jesus’ prayer is a humble and trusting surrender of his human will to the will of the Father.

 

  • Lk 3.21-22: “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, ‘Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.’”

 

  • Lk 9.28-29: “Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.”

 

  • Lk 22.41-44: “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.”

 

  • Lk 6.12-16: “In these days he went out into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”

 

  • Lk 9.18-20: “Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, ‘Who do the people say that I am? And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others that one of the old prophets has risen.’ And he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’”

 

  • Lk 22.31-32: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

536

See above.

Additional Catechism citations referring to the Baptism of Christ (taken from LCC for Year A):

535

At Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3.17). This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.

1286

The Old Testament prophets foretold that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the awaited Messiah for the carrying-out of his redemptive mission. The Holy Spirit’s descent on Jesus at his baptism indicated that Jesus was he who was to come. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit: thus his entire life and mission were accomplished in communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure” (Jn 3.34).

 

  • Isa 11.1-2:

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

 

  • Isa 61.1-3 [which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied to himself]:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a garland instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

 

  • Mt 3.13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

 

  • Jn 1.29-34: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.’”

 

1223

All the Old Covenant prefigurations (foreshadowings, symbolic previews) are fulfilled in Christ. He begins his public life after accepting baptism at the hands of St. John the Baptist (Mt 3.13). After his Resurrection, the risen Christ entrusts the baptismal mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28.19-20; also Mk 16.15-16).

 

608

When John the Baptist pointed Jesus out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he revealed that Jesus is at the same time the Suffering Servant and also the true Paschal Lamb of Israel’s redemption.

536

See above.

1224

Christ freely submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist in order to “fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3.15) by this gesture of self-emptying. The same Spirit that had hovered over the face of the waters at the first creation then descended upon the humanity of Jesus as a prelude of the new creation: this event manifested Jesus as God’s “beloved Son” (Mt 3.16-17).

1224

See above.

536

See above.

701

In the Bible and in Christian iconography, the dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s action is symbolized in the story of Noah and the Great Flood: the Flood itself prefigures baptism, and the dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch as a sign of the renewal and cleansing of the earth, so that it is once more inhabitable (Gn 8.8-12). When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove and remains with him (Mt 3.16). So also does the Spirit descend upon and remain in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a metal receptacle suspended above the altar; this type of tabernacle is called a columbarium, in the form of a dove (from the Latin word columba, meaning “dove”).

 

  • Gn 8.8-12: “Then he waited another seven days, and again he [Noah] sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him any more.”

 

  • Mt 3.16: “And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

 

444

The Gospels report that at the Baptism of Jesus and at his Transfiguration, the Father’s voice designated Jesus his “beloved Son.” Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God” (Jn 3.16) and in this way affirms his preexistence. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer see the full import of Jesus as Son of God.

 

  • Jn 3.18: “He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

 

  • Jn 10.36: “Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

 

  • Mk 15.39: “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’”

 

713

See above.

 

 

 

Christmas Novena

Say this Novena beginning on 16 December and ending on 24 December. This Novena, though it starts one day earlier than the O Antiphons, correlates with the O Antiphons in the titles used to address Jesus between 17 and 24 December. It would, therefore, make a good Novena to pray when your family prays the O Antiphons.

HolyFamilybyGutierrez

16 December:
O Shepherd that rulest Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, come to guide and comfort us.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

17 December:
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

18 December:
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

19 December:
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

20 December:
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

21 December:
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

22 December:
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

23 December:
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

24 December:
O Thou that sittest upon the cherubim, God of hosts, come, show Thy face, and we shall be saved.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our-lady-of-Guadalupe-“My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Star of the New Evangelization,  Pray for Us!

A Sure and Easy Way

saint joachim and anne 2.0It is not mere happenstance that today, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is also the start of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Immaculate Conception is one of the greatest mercies God has given us in the history of salvation. And it is by this great mystery that He gave us His only-begotten Son.

In keeping Mary, the new Eve, free from the stain of original sin from the time of her conception, the Father showed the world that humanity could return to its original state. Because of who she was destined to be before all time, though, He also showed humanity that it could attain to an even greater state than the one of Eden: we are children of God, and what we will be in the next life has not yet even been revealed. What a mercy! Undeserved. Gratuitous.

Yet, mercy does not deny that we sin and do evil. Nor does it simply sweep our sins and demerits under the rug. No, it actually puts them into the full light of day! In God’s mercy, there is no equivocating about right and wrong. But it is because God knows us better than we know ourselves, including all our sins, that He sent His Son, at once just and merciful, to be our propitiatory sacrifice. And not so that we could continue to do evil and just rely on the infinite merits He gained for us by His life and death. No! but rather so that we might be rubens_immaculate-conceptiontruly converted to the true and free way of life of Him Who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Constant conversion is essential for living the life of mercy Jesus calls us to. “Repent,” Jesus tells us, “for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” There are indeed many times when the way of mercy is a troubled and difficult and uncomfortable one. And it sometimes calls for a firm yet gentle hand, one that guides us and does not look the other way when evil is perpetrated. Indeed, this is what Jesus did in yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 5:17-26) when He healed the paralytic in spite of the Pharisees protestations. He showed them that it is God’s prerogative to be merciful. For Jesus did not merely heal this paralytic, but, before all else, did what was most needful: He forgave him his sins. Like the Pharisees, He did not deny that this man was a sinner. He was willing to see him, though, as a man who was in need of healing, both physical and spiritual. And He was willing to help him out of the dark hole that is sin. This is what Jesus wants all of us to do. And yet, this is a most difficult task.

We need to seek purity of heart always, and implore the grace of joyfulTitian_1558_Ancona_Crucifixion perseverance in it. And, so as to afford us a most sure, easy, and straight way to this, He has given us the example of the perfect human being: His Immaculate Mother Mary. Not only this, though. On the Cross, He gave her, His pure Mother, to us as our own. We must act on this truth then, and approach her as a little child approaches his own mother: with love and tenderness, and with confidence that she will meet our every need. Through Mary, we can go to God, for through her God Incarnate was given to us. Most exalted of all God’s creatures, Mary, the Mother of Mercy, intercedes for those who have recourse to her before her merciful Son.

Let us, then, pray to her today and always that we may be kept safe and blameless until the day of our Lord’s Second Coming, and that we may rejoice to do His will always.

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