Friday, 1 February 2013 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Mark 4 : 26-34

Jesus also said, “In the Kingdom of God, it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples, He explained everything.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk of the Chaldeans has been elected as the new Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church

On Thursday, 31 January 2013, during the Synod of Chaldean Bishops in Rome, Archbishop Louis Sako of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kirkuk of the Chaldean Catholic Church has been elected as the new Patriarch of the See of Babylon in Iraq and leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, and granted full communion with the Pope as they had been for the past more than 150 years and beyond.

As Patriarch of the Chaldeans, Patriarch Louis Sako is also appointed to the Presidency of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Iraq, which post is always held by the Patriarch of the Chaldeans.

Pray for the new Chaldean Patriarch, that he will be given great strength by God to shepherd the faithful, our brethren in Christ, particularly in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, through the difficult times, and may faith in the Lord grow and prosper despite the oppositions against Christ and His believers. Amen.

Friday, 1 February 2013 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your way to the Lord, put your trust in Him and let Him act. Then will your revenge come beautiful as the dawn, and the justification of your cause, bright as the noonday sun.

The Lord is the one who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes. They may stumble, but they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

The Lord is the salvation of the righteous, in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Friday, 1 February 2013 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Hebrews 10 : 32-39

Remember the first days when you were enlightened. You had to undergo a hard struggle in the face of suffering. Publicly you were exposed to humiliations and trials, and had to share the sufferings of others who were similarly treated.

You showed solidarity with those in prison; you were dispossessed of your goods and accepted it gladly for you knew you were acquiring a much better and more durable possession. Do not now throw away your confidence that will be handsomely rewarded. Be patient in doing the will of God, and the promise will be yours : “A little, a little longer – says Scripture – and He who is coming will come; He will not delay. My righteous one will live if he believes; but if he distrusts, I will no longer look kindly on him.”

We are not among those who withdraw and perish, but among those who believe and win personal salvation.

New appointments for new Cardinals (Created in Consistory of 24 November 2012)

To summarise, I will arrange the appointments by each Cardinals to make it easier to view.

1. Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls :

Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See

2. Cardinal Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon) :

Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant Peoples

Pontifical Council for Social Communications

3. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars  (India):

Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

4. Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria) :

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Presidency Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family

5. Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia) :

Pontifical Commission for Latin America

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

6. Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila (Philippines) :

Presidency Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant Peoples

Pray for all the six Cardinals in their new ministry, that through their works, the world will be made a better place for all mankind.

Thursday, 31 January 2013 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Scripture Reflection)

The Lord today asks us both to be pure in heart, faithful to Him, and also to show this faith and purity to others, as a beacon of light to bring the true Light of God to all mankind, especially those who still live in darkness. We have to be active in our faith, and do our best to practice it, as faith that is not lived and practiced is the same as a dead faith.

That’s why the Lord says that to whom have produced something, more will be given, and to those who produce nothing, what is his will be taken away. Similarly, in the parable of the coins, Jesus praised those who invested in the money that the master gave to the servant, and bear profits, and admonished the one who did nothing with the money but hid it and let us stay as what it is. Therefore, our faith, as often symbolised by light and salt, must indeed be true light and true salt. True light that it shines brightly for all people to see, that they too will believe in God and in turn becoming even more beacons of light that is of God, to shine a light in the darkness of this world.

True salt that we truly have taste and the saltiness, that our faith is not just an empty faith, but faith filled with flavour, that is dedication to God, and filled with actions made out of love of both our God and our neighbour.

It is indeed through faith that we are justified, but faith without action is dead. Those who just call “Lord, Lord” all the time will receive nothing, but to those who dedicate themselves to Him in prayer, and in active action in helping the last, the lost, and the least of our society, alleviating the suffering of many, will receive indeed the rewards that the Lord has promised us. We are justified by faith that is made alive by real action, just like a light that is placed on a pedestal, as an example to all others, that they too will follow to live their lives filled with actions based on their faith in God, to make our world a better one indeed, for everyone.

Today is the feast day of St. John Bosco, a very well known saint, who is the patron saint of the youth and publications. He was a nineteenth century priest, who was known for his holiness, and his miraculous works, but most importantly because through education, he was able to attract many youths and adults alike, to educate them and form them properly in the faith. His works with these people had transformed the lives of many, bringing many closer to God.

St. John Bosco also found the congregation of religious now known as S.D.B. or the Salesians of Don Bosco, simply known as the Salesians. Many of these Salesians have worked in missionary works in different parts of the world, and many have worked in areas such as China as well, where the Church is currently struggling to hold on against the active persecution and direct attacks against the faith made by the secular world. Pray for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ there too.

Our Cardinal Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone; Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong; Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, are all members of the Salesian order. We pray for them and all the priests in the world, that God will guide them in their ministry, and we wish all Salesians around the world, happy feast day and happy St. John Bosco day. May St. John Bosco pray for all of us, that we too may, like many that he has touched directly, be brought much closer to the Lord, and be inspired to be like him, and all other saints. Amen.