Tuesday, 21 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Mark 9 : 30-37

After leaving that place, they made their way through Galilee; but Jesus did not want people to know where He was because He was teaching His disciples. And He told them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him, but three days after He has been killed, He will rise.”

The disciples, however, did not understand these words and they were afraid to ask Him what He meant. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they did not answer, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest.

Then He sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, “If someone wants to be first, let him be last of all and servant of all.” Then He took a little child, placed him in their midst, and putting His arms around him, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this in My Name, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes not Me, but the One who sent Me.”

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 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.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. They are not crushed in times of calamity; when famine strikes, they still are satisfied.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. For the Lord loves justice and right, and never forsakes His faithful ones. The wicked instead will perish and their breed will be cut off.

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.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Sirach 2 : 1-13

My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Keep your heart upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity. Hold fast to the Lord, do not separate yourself from Him so that you may be successful to the end of your days.

Accept all that happens to you, be patient when you are humbled, for as gold is tested in the fire, so those acceptable to God are tested in the crucible of humiliation. Have confidence in Him and He will take care of you; follow the right path and hope in Him.

You, who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy and do not turn away lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust Him and you will not lose your reward. You who fear the Lord, hope for all good things; hope for eternal joy and mercy.

Remember what happened to your ancestors. Who has ever trusted in the Lord and been confounded? Who has persevered in fear of the Lord and been abandoned? Who has called upon Him and not been heard? For the Lord is compassion and loving-kindness; He forgives our sins and saves us in time of distress.

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Scripture Reflection)

Prayer is very powerful, brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer gives us the important link between us and the Lord our God, because prayer is a form of communication that put us in a special link, all of us, each at once, with the Lord, in a two-way conversation, that we can speak to God, and God can also speak to us.

But too often, brethren, that when we pray, we focus too much on ourselves and our selfish ideas, that we bombard the Lord with our requests, our needs, and our wishes, that we fail to listen to God speaking to us in silence. It becomes then a one-way conversation, with our voices overpowering the Lord’s voice within our hearts.

The Lord does not speak to us in audible voice, brothers and sisters. Do not expect that the Lord will announce His speaking to us with trumpets of the angels and loud voices like thunder. Instead, the voice of the Lord is like the softest breeze of the wind, that can only be heard, when we took our time and remain in silence. In silence, and in retreat from the busy schedule of our world, even for a short time, will allow us to listen to God speaking within us, in His own subtle way, and we can then know what God wants for us.

But prayer is also important because it gives us power and strength in our daily struggle against the devil and his agents in this world, that always attempt to corrupt us and all mankind with the seductions of pleasure and temporary joy, that lead to evil and damnation. Prayer gives us advantage over the devil because with prayer, we anchor ourselves and keep our link with God our Father, who is the supreme sovereign over all creations, even over Satan and his angels, and therefore, with God at our back, no one, even the devil can harm us.

Prayer makes us into a fortress of faith that protects us from the devil, and yet, with the power and wisdom of God, prayer not only protects us from the power of the evil one, but it also can bring about healing and purification in others, helping others who also struggle against the power of Satan. Prayer can overpower the devil and force him out, replacing him with the presence of God that will stay and dwell, preventing the devil from coming in again, as long as that person remain faithful in the Lord.

We need God in our fight against the devil, and our strong faith must be supplemented with the strong connection that we have to the Lord. That was why the disciples of Jesus cannot remove the devil from that young boy, because they simply did not keep up their prayer life, to anchor themselves strongly in God’s power and authority that would have triumphed over the devil.

Today, brethren, we also celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena. St. Bernardine was a great Fransiscan monk who became a great evangeliser and preacher, in Italy, where many corruptions of the world had entered the Church and the society. He campaigned strongly for the purification of the faith, and the return to the true faith, and preached strongly against the corruptions and wicked practices in the society and the Church at the time.

That is what we should do too, brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though our Church now is not like that in the past, that of the time of St. Bernardine, the world still corrupts much of our world today. It is up to us, and to the many missionaries and champions of God’s Gospels, to bring God’s light into the world. St. Bernardine of Siena, pray for us, that God will continue to strengthen our faith and give us courage to stand up against the world and the devil.

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Mark 9 : 14-29

When they came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet Him.

He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered Him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to You, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked Your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” And they brought the boy to Him.

As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.”

Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so He ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you : ‘Leave the boy and never enter him again.'” The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out.

The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive out the spirit?” And He answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Psalm)

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

The Lord reigns, robed in majesty; the Lord is girded with strength.

The world now is firm, it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o Lord, from all eternity, You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your house day after day without end, o Lord.

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Sirach 1 : 1-10

All wisdom comes from the Lord and endures with Him forever. The grains of sand, the drops of rain and the days of eternity, who can count them? The height of heaven, the extent of the earth, and the depths of the abyss, who can measure them?

Wisdom was created before all things and the prudent intellect before the beginning of time. To whom was the source of Wisdom revealed? Who has known her secret designs? One alone is wise and greatly to be feared. The One who is seated upon His throne.

The Lord Himself created Wisdom. He looked on her and knew her value. He poured her out over all His works; upon all mortal beings, in accordance with his goodness. He lavished her on those who love Him.