Friday, 13 March 2020 : 2nd Week of Lent, Seventh Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Scriptures the story of the sons of Israel or Jacob, namely Joseph and his brothers, and we heard how Joseph was treated by his jealous brothers, betrayed and almost killed if not for the intervention of one of his brothers, ended up being sold to slavery and eventually was brought to Egypt. In the Gospel we heard a kind of parallel and similar story in the parable of the wicked vineyard tenants as told by the Lord Jesus to His disciples.

Through these readings we heard about the plots and the wicked acts which people acted against their own fellow brothers, as we heard first of the treatment of Joseph by his brothers. The brothers were irritated and angered, jealous and prejudiced against Joseph because of Joseph’s dreams and God’s vision that He has revealed through those dreams, in which the brothers misunderstood as Joseph trying to lord over them, which was compounded by the favouritism which Jacob showed to Joseph and his brother Benjamin.

The brothers desired to have that attention and the treatment which Joseph had enjoyed from his father, and that was why, they were angry at him when he recounted to them the contents of his dream. They plotted against him and threw him into a well, eventually sold him to the slavers and lied to their father that Joseph had been killed by wild animals. Yet, in the end, we all know that Joseph went to Egypt ahead of his family as part of God’s greater agenda and plan for His people, despite the plots of Joseph’s brothers.

In the Gospel we heard the peculiarly similar story of a vineyard owner who sent his servants to collect the dues and rents of the tenants whom he had entrusted with the care of the vineyard he leased out to them. Those tenants were wicked and desired to keep everything they gained to themselves, and hence persecuted and killed the servants sent to them. The tenants also then killed the son of the vineyard owner, whom the owner sent to them thinking that the tenants would respect his son.

In the end, the owner came down himself and crushed all those wicked tenants, punishing them all for the wickedness and the evil things which they had committed for their greed and ego. They lost everything and were punished justly by the owner. And all these is a parable used by the Lord to describe the relationship between God and His people, as the owner of the vineyard represents God, while the son of the owner represents none other than Christ Himself, the Son of God sent into the world. The vineyard represents the world itself while the wicked tenants represent all those who refused to believe in the Lord and in Christ.

What all of us ought to learn from all these which we have heard from the Scriptures today is that if we allow ourselves to be swayed by the temptations of greed and desire, of pride and ego, we will likely end up like those wicked tenants who acted with such evil against their fellow men and even against the son of their master and landlord. It would also just be like the despicable act which the brothers of Joseph committed to gain for themselves favour and inheritance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is very important during this season of Lent that we reflect on our own lives and think carefully how we have lived our lives thus far, and how we want to proceed from now on. Are we going to seek worldly glory and honour, human praise and fame, or pleasures of all sorts, or are we instead going to focus our attention on God and put our effort to live our lives according to His ways and obey His laws?

The choice has been given to us, and through the passages of the Scriptures today we are shown just how dangerous the temptations of worldly desires and our greed can be, in leading us into sin and from there, into an ever deeper trap of sin and malice, wickedness and evil. Are we going to follow these temptations and allow ourselves to be tempted, especially by the devil and all of his evil forces who are always out and about trying to pull us down this path?

Let us all strive therefore to be more committed and to be more faithful as we progress along this season of Lent, renewing our faith in God and growing in our relationship with Him. And today, as we also celebrate the seventh Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, our Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff, the leader of the whole Church, let us all also unite our prayers for him, that God may help him and guide him in leading the Church, together with all of us Christians, all growing in faith as God’s one united Church.

May God bless us all, bless our Pope and may He strengthen His Church and all of us in our conviction and desire to love Him and to serve Him more, through our righteous and virtuous actions, and by distancing ourselves from the many worldly temptations all around us. Amen.

Friday, 13 March 2020 : 2nd Week of Lent, Seventh Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 21 : 33-43, 45-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Listen to another example : There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants, and then went to a distant country.”

“When harvest time came, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned a third. Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way.”

“Finally, he sent his son, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they thought, ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him, and his inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”

“Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?” They said to him, “He will bring those evil men to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others, who will pay him in due time.” And Jesus replied, “Have you never read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and we marvel at it.”

“Therefore I say to you : the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you, and given to a people who will yield a harvest.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realised that Jesus was referring to them. They would have arrested Him, but they were afraid of the crowd, who regarded Him as a Prophet.

Friday, 13 March 2020 : 2nd Week of Lent, Seventh Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 104 : 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

Then the Lord sent a famine and ruined the crop that sustained the land; He sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

His feet in shackles, his neck in irons till what he foretold came to pass, and the Lord’s word proved him true.

The king sent for him, set him free, the ruler of the peoples released him. He put him in charge of his household and made him ruler of all his possessions.

Friday, 13 March 2020 : 2nd Week of Lent, Seventh Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 37 : 3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other children, for he was the son of his old age and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. His brothers who saw that their father loved him more than he loved them, hated him and could no longer speak to him in a friendly way.

His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the flock at Shechem.” So Joseph went off after his brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw him in the distance and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

They said to one another, “Here comes the specialist in dreams! Now is the time! Let us kill him and throw him into a well. We will say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what his dreams were all about!” But Reuben heard this and tried to save him from their hands saying, “Let us not kill him; shed no blood! Throw him in this well in the wilderness, but do him no violence.” This he said to save him from them and take him back to his father.

So as soon as Joseph arrived, they stripped him of his long-sleeved coat that he wore and then took him and threw him in the well, now the well was empty, without water. They were sitting for a meal when they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with spices, balm and myrrh, which they were taking down to Egypt.

Judah then said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and hiding his blood? Come! We will sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother and our own flesh!” His brothers agreed to this. So when the Midianite merchants came along they pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the well. For twenty pieces of silver they sold Joseph to the Midianites, who took him with them to Egypt.

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re (Italy), Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops turns 80, ceases to be a Cardinal-elector

VATICAN POPE HOLY THURSDAY

Today, Thursday, 30 January 2014, Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re of Italy, Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto, the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, turns 80, and therefore, according to the rules written in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he loses his right to vote in any future conclave.

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re was made Cardinal-Priest of Ss. XII Apostoli by Pope John Paul II in the 2001 Consistory of Cardinals on 21 February 2001, the eighth Consistory of his pontificate. Cardinal Re was made a Cardinal in honour of his long service to the Church as the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and the College of Cardinals from 1987 to 1989, and works in the Secretariat of State, until in 2000 when he was appointed the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Cardinal Re was promoted as one of the six Cardinal Bishops in the Church in 2002, after the passing of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin of Benin.

RE Giovanni Battista

In his position as the senior Cardinal Bishop under 80 in 2013 Conclave, he is the Acting Dean of the College of Cardinals in the 2013 Papal Conclave which elected Pope Francis as the 266th Pope and Leader of the Universal Church.

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-8.htm#134

May God bless His Eminence Cardinal Re, with a blessed old age and health. May he remain strong in the faith and hopefully can perhaps still continue to work great graces and good works of love and peace in his old age and retirement, as he continued to minister to the people of God.

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The College of Cardinals now stands at 199 members in total, with 106 Cardinal-electors and 93 Cardinal non-electors. There are now vacancy of 14 Cardinal-electors as compared to the maximum number of electors allowed in the Conclave of 120, although Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had sometimes surpassed this limit.

Next Cardinal-elector to age out (80) will be Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, the current Metropolitan Archbishop of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), on 5 March 2014.

State of the College of Cardinals upon the election of Pope Francis as the new Supreme Pontiff

On the beginning of the 2013 Papal Conclave, there are 207 Cardinals in total, out of which 117 are Cardinal-electors (including Cardinal Walter Kasper who turned 80 during the Sede Vacante) and 90 Cardinal non-electors (over 80)

With the election of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio to the position of the Bishop of Rome, as Pope Francis, the 266th Pope and Bishop of Rome, and with Cardinal Walter Kasper, being already over 80, lost his voting rights in any future Conclave :

The current College of Cardinals as of Thursday, 14 March 2013 consists of 206 Cardinals, out of which 115 are Cardinal-electors, and 91 are Cardinal non-electors.

Official Video by the Vatican on the Election of Pope Francis, 266th Pope and Bishop of Rome

The official video released by the Vatican in YouTube, with full coverage of the election of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jorge Maria Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis, 266th Pope and Bishop of Rome, and the 265th Successor of St. Peter the Apostle.

Urbi et Orbi Blessing by the new Pope

The new Pope will appear on the balcony after his name is announced by the Cardinal Protodeacon. He will then give his first Urbi et Orbi blessing, that is a special blessing, ‘To the City of Rome and to All the World’.

 

Text of the blessing (Latin) :

Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus: de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus ipsi intercedant pro nobis ad Dominum.

(Amen)

Precibus et meritis beatæ Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus; et dimissis omnibus peccatis vestris, perducat vos Iesus Christus ad vitam æternam.

(Amen)

Indulgentiam, absolutionem et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium verae et fructuosae poenitentiæ, cor semper penitens, et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus; et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

(Amen)

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper.

(Amen)

 

Text of Urbi et Orbi blessing (English translation)

May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we have confidence, intercede on our behalf to the Lord.

(Amen)

Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of Blessed John the Baptist, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you, and with your sins forgiven, may Jesus Christ lead you into everlasting life.

(Amen)

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works.

(Amen)

And may the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, descend on you and remain with you always.

Fifth Ballot : White smoke (Fumata bianca). A new Pope has been elected. Habemus Papam!

Habemus Papam! We have a Pope!

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Fourth Ballot : No smoke appeared on chimney. A new Pope has not been elected yet

Yet another wait as the fourth ballot was not successful to elect a new Pope yet. If the fourth ballot had seen a new Pope elected as in 2005, the smoke would have appeared from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, and it will be white.

Now we are waiting for the fifth and the last ballot of the day. The smoke will be appearing very soon. Keep on praying!