Wednesday, 21 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius X, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 20 : 1-16a

The story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven : A landowner went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard.

He went out again at about nine in the morning, and seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.’ So they went.

The owner went out at midday, and again at three in the afternoon, and he did the same. Finally he went out at the last working hour – the eleventh hour – and he saw others standing there. So he said to them, ‘Why do you stay idle the whole day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ The master said, ‘Go and work in my vineyard.’

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ Those who had come to work at the eleventh hour turned up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, each received a silver coin. So, on receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner.

They said, ‘These last hardly worked an hour, yet you have treated them the same as us, who have endured the heavy work of the day and the heat.’ The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Do I not have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Why are you envious when I am kind?’

So will it be : the last will be first, the first will be last.

Thursday, 1 August 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we again listened to the continuation of the story of how the kingdom of God is like, of how the reign of Christ will be like, as it will be at the end of times. He will separate those who are wicked from those who are righteous, those who had followed faithfully the will and commandments of the Lord from those who rebelled against the Lord, and those who had shown love as opposed to those who had instead shown hatred for their brothers and sisters.

Yes, brethren, that is how the Lord will separate us from His seat at the throne of judgment, the Great Judge of all creation. And like a fisherman, He will separate the good fish from the bad fish, the fresh ones from the rotten ones, and like a shepherd, He will separate the sheep and lambs from the goats, the unblemished lambs from the blemished ones. He will differentiate those who had been His and had accepted Him as their Lord and God from those who had disobeyed Him and disregarded Him and His offer of salvation.

But our Lord cares for us, and He loves us, in the same way that He had once loved and cared for Israel, His people in the desert and beyond. He wants us to be reunited with Him, and that was why, throughout the history of mankind, He had approached our ancestors, from Noah and how He saved him by instructing him to build the Ark, and Abraham, our father in faith, with whom the Lord had made a covenant with, the first covenant of God and man.

The covenant which God had renewed by bringing His people, the children of Abraham out of Egypt with His mighty hand, and brought them to the land He had promised their fathers. He cared for them so much that He sent them many prophets and leaders to continue guiding them towards the right path, despite their constant rebellions and disobedience against His will and His words, and despite that they slaughtered His prophets and messengers.

Yes, those prophets who were slaughtered proclaimed God’s ultimate method in saving all of us, that is through His own Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, and became the source of all hope and salvation, through His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus Christ who suffered for our sake and be lifted up high between the heaven and the earth for our sake, has bridged the infinite chasm between God and us sinners. He is the way through which the lost children of God may pass to return to their loving Father.

When Christ died on the cross, the veil covering the Holy of holies of the Temple of Jerusalem was torn into two pieces, revealing the most sacred interior of the location where the Ark of the Covenant used to be located at, and also where the Lord was supposed to reside in this world. The death of Christ marked the end of the separation that existed ever since we have rebelled against the Lord at the time of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. The veil that separated us from the Lord had been cast aside, and now there exists a direct highway to God, that is through Christ, His Son, and the new covenant He had created with mankind, with the Precious Blood He shed on the cross.

Today, brothers and sisters, we commemorate the memory of St. Alphonsus Liguori, a well-known Italian bishop who lived during the early modern period. He was most renowned for being the founder of the Redemptorist religious order, many of which members now minister to us, the people of God daily in our own respective societies.

St. Alphonsus Liguori founded the Redemptorists as a congregation of missionaries and brothers dedicated to saving the souls of mankind, through their service, especially to the last, the lost, and the least in the society, to the poorest, both in material and in spirit, that is to give them the love of God, and enkindle in them the fire of the Holy Spirit, for those whom the fire had been dimmed by the world. St. Alphonsus Liguori stressed the importance of a strict and yet reasonable discipline in the faith and in life to be practiced by everyone, so that one would remain faithfully on the path to salvation.

St. Alphonsus Liguori was well-known for his powerful sermons and speeches, which so touched many people, that many of those who had been drifting away from their faith in God, returned devotedly into the Church, and therefore were once again ensured salvation in Christ. The same too was tasked upon the Redemptorists, which St. Alphonsus Liguori had founded, to seek more souls lost in the darkness of the world, and bring them to Christ, who had made the path to God our Father open, by piercing through the veil of separation and bridging through the chasm of separation, through His death on the cross.

Let us today also play our part, following the example of St. Alphonsus Liguori and the Redemptorists, to help one another in our reach for the Lord and for our salvation. Let us help one another to grow stronger in the faith, to grow more devout in our love for the Lord, and to be more courageous to stand up for our faith and for our God. St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us sinners and intercede for us before our Lord Jesus Christ, whose death had reconciled man with God, that we all too may share with you, the eternal glory and bliss of heaven forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, 9 June 2013 : 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 29 : 2 and 4, 5-6, 11 and 12a and 13b

I extol You, o Lord, for You have rescued me; my enemies will not gloat over me. O Lord, You have brought me up from the grave, You gave me life when I was going to the pit.

Sing to the Lord, o you His saints, give thanks and praise to His Holy Name. For His anger lasts but a little while, and His kindness all through life. Weeping may tarry for the night, but rejoicing comes with the dawn.

Hear, o Lord, and have mercy on me; o Lord, be my protector! But now, You have turned my mourning into rejoicing. O Lord my God, forever will I give You thanks.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Mark 10 : 32-45

They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious, and those who followed were afraid. Once more Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what was to happen to Him.

“You see we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death, and hand Him over to the foreigners, who will make fun of Him, spit on Him, scourge Him, and finally kill Him; but three days later He will rise.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to Him, “Master, we want You to grant us what we are going to ask of You.” And He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised in the way I am baptised?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptised in the way that I am baptised; but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John. Jesus then called them to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants, and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all.”

“Think of the Son of Man, who has not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Mark 10 : 28-31

Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house, or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.”

“I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life. Do pay attention : many who now are the first will be last, and the last, first.”

Summary of the Tenth and the Last General Congregation of the College of Cardinals, and details on the Conclave

New Cardinals have been elected to lead the Particular Congregations (elected every 3 days) in the Conclave. Cardinal Antonios Naguib for the Cardinal Bishops; Cardinal Marc Ouellet for the Cardinal Priests; Cardinal Francesco Monterisi for the Cardinal Deacons. New leaders will be elected if after three days in the Conclave, the Conclave has not yet ended with the election of a new Pope. Their task is to guide the Cardinal Camerlengo, who is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

28 Cardinals had spoken in the Tenth General Congregation, and a total of 161 Cardinals had already spoken in all the past General Congregations. Not all Cardinals who wanted to speak has spoken, as the number of Cardinals that spoke had made the Cardinals to vote whether to continue or to stop the General Congregation at that point (likely because it has taken too much time).

In the meanwhile, during the Sede Vacante, certain offices that represent the Holy See, particularly diplomatic representation, Nuncios, Delegates, and many other offices of the Holy See continue to function as per normal, even when the Apostolic See is vacant, and the Cardinals waiting to elect a new Pope. The Cardinal Camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is the leader during the period of the Sede Vacante, having limited powers, with the College of Cardinals, in order to settle all matters, and all things pertaining to election of the new Pope.

This Monday evening at 5.30 pm Rome time / CET / UTC+1, all the personnels, about 90 of them, who are also ‘locked’ together with the Cardinal-electors in the Conclave, including doctors, nurses, bus drivers, and other staffs involved in maintenance of the Cardinals’ residence at Domus Sancta Marthae, will take their solemn oath of secrecy, in the presence of the Camerlengo of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and also in the presence of the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini and other officials.

The swearing of the oath of secrecy by the auxiliary personnel will not be live on Vatican Television (Therefore, may not be viewable in Vatican Player).

The Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff or Missa pro Eligendo Pontifice, which will begin the Conclave process, will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday morning at 10 am Rome time / CET / UTC+1, and will be in Latin, but also with translations in Italian and English available in the Vatican official website.

Cardinal Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano will be the celebrant of the solemn Mass, the concelebrants will be all the Cardinal-electors and the Cardinal non-electors currently present in Rome. The homily will also be available a short period of time just before the Holy Mass on Tuesday morning (Rome time), likely from the Vatican website.

The Cardinals will enter into the Conclave in the Sistine Chapel from the Pauline Chapel, from Cardinal Prosper Grech, who will deliver the second meditation to the Cardinal-electors, followed by the Cardinals in reverse order of precedence (first by order : bishop, priest, and deacon – reverse this), and then within these order, the Cardinals in order of creation (earlier created then later created, and also within the same consistory, those whose names are earlier in the order of creation have higher precedence – also reverse all this).

The last will be the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, and Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, the senior Cardinal Bishop who is an elector, who will be the leader of the Conclave in absence of Cardinal Sodano, the Dean, who is a non-elector (above 80). The Cardinals will proceed into the Sistine Chapel singing the Litany of the Saints, and the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. After the oath-taking by the Cardinal-electors, Monsignor Marini will order the traditional “extra omnes”, or “all out!” order to all except the Cardinal-electors.

The entry into the Sistine Chapel will begin on Tuesday afternoon, at 4.30 pm Rome time / CET / UTC+1, and will be broadcasted live.

The first smoke signal from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel will be at sometime around 8 pm Rome time, and will not likely be a white smoke (It is unlikely that the new Pope will be elected in the first ballot, as there will only be one ballot session on Tuesday).

The Vatican camera (available in Vatican Player at http://www.vatican.va/video/) will be fixed on the chimney through this period and available live.

The senior Cardinal Bishop-elector, Cardinal Re, will be the one in place of the Cardinal Dean, who is a non-elector, asking the newly elected Pope whether he accepts the election and also ask him the regnal name that he will assume as the Pope.

A new addition for the 2013 Conclave is that, after the Pope receives the homage from all the Cardinal-electors in the Sistine Chapel, he will proceed with all the Cardinal-electors, to the Pauline Chapel, and the new Pope alone will enter the Chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel. In the meanwhile, the Cardinal Protodeacon, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, will announce the traditional Habemus Papam announcement.

It took about one hour in 2005 Conclave from the white smoke appearance until the new Pope made his appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica (also known as the Loggia). As the new addition of prayer in the Pauline Chapel is made for the 2013 Conclave, we can expect a time frame of slightly longer than 1 hour between the white smoke, and the appearance of the new Pope on the balcony.

What will happen at the last days of the Pope and the day when he retires (28 February 2013) by Salt and Light TV

 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

10.30 am – Pope Benedict XVI’s last General Audience at St. Peter’s Square (Pope’s farewell to the faithful around the world)

 

Thursday, 28 February 2013

11.00 am – Pope Benedict XVI’s last private meeting with the College of Cardinals in Sala Clementina

5.30 pm – Pope Benedict XVI leaves for Castel Gandolfo by the helicopter

8.00 pm – Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy ends, sede vacante begins (no Pope present in the Church)

 

All time listed above are in CET (Central European Time) or UTC+1 hour

 

Conclave may begin between 9 March 2013 and 11 March 2013 as announced by the Vatican officials.

Pope Benedict XVI’s latest and last Motu Proprio : Normas Nonnullas on the Papal Conclave (Updated)

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20130222_normas-nonnullas_lt.html

Pope Benedict XVI has published his last Motu Proprio concerning the rules of the Conclave as laid out in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, by Blessed Pope John Paul II, to clarify and modify some portions of the rules to suit the developments in the current time, and to affirm the rules as written in the Universi Dominici Gregis.

 

1. Cardinal-electors that had been given the right to elect the new Pope and had been rightfully granted that right must not be deprived of his right to join the Conclave and elect the new Pope.

 

2. It grants the College of Cardinals more liberty in the date of the commencement of the Conclave, providing all the Cardinals rightfully given the voting rights and intending to attend the Conclave has been gathered in Rome, as opposed to the previous rule of compulsory 15 days between the vacancy of the See of Rome to the beginning of the Conclave. 15 days here should still be observed, but if the College deems it right for the Conclave to begin, they can do so. Thus, the Conclave can begin earlier than 15 March 2013 for this year’s Conclave.

 

3. The whole area of the Vatican City and the areas around the Sistine Chapel will be restricted during the period of the Conclave, to prevent any leakage of secrecy of the Conclave to the outside world. Especially the area from Domus Sancta Marthae where the Cardinals reside during the Conclave and the Sistine Chapel, where they gather and vote. Anyone breaching this rule, will be given latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication, which is more precisely mentioned than the previous rule, which only mentioned severe punishment. Latae sententiae excommunication is specified in the new ruling.

 

4. The oaths prescribed in the Universi Dominici Gregis, to be taken by every Cardinal-electors at the start of the Conclave. In addition, in the new rule, all those involved in the Conclave, also have to take the oath, not just the Cardinal-electors :

Latin : ‘Ego N. N. promitto et iuro me inviolate servaturum esse secretum absolutum cum omnibus quotquot participes non sunt Collegii Cardinalium electorum, hoc quidem in perpetuum, nisi mihi datur expresse peculiaris facultas a novo Pontifice electo eiusve Successoribus, in omnibus quae directe vel indirecte respiciunt suffragia et scrutinia ad novum Pontificem eligendum.

Itemque promitto et iuro me nullo modo in Conclavi usurum esse instrumentis quibuslibet ad vocem transmittendam vel recipiendam aut ad imagines exprimendas quovis modo aptis de iis quae tempore electionis fiunt intra fines Civitatis Vaticanae, atque praecipue de iis quae quolibet modo directe vel indirecte attinent ad negotia coniuncta cum ipsa electione. Declaro me editurum esse ius iurandum utpote qui plane noverim quamlibet eius violationem adducturam esse excommunicationis mihi poenam latae sententiae Sedi Apostolicae reservatae.’

English (rough translation) : ‘I, NN., promise and swear to keep inviolate the absolute secret from all those who are not participants in the (election of the Pope) by the College of Cardinals, even in perpetuity, unless expressly given me special permission from the newly elected Pope and his successors, in all things which are directly or indirectly concern the votes and ballots to the choosing a new Pope.

So again, I promise and I swear I am in no way, whatsoever, to the sound of instruments in the Conclave of sending or receiving, or would make use of to  represent the images in any way suitable at the time of the election are to be done within the confines of Vatican City on those matters which, in any way, and especially on those matters which pertain to the business of directly or indirectly linked to with the election. It is well explained and clear to me, who so obviously should know that any violation of his oath will lead to excommunication to me, under the penalty of latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

 

5. That the new Pope can only be elected with secret ballot or scrutiny. No acclamation, no compromise, and no absolute majority (or more than 50% of votes) in the event of long conclave. This has been earlier abrogated by Pope Benedict XVI who reiterated the absolute requirement of at least two-thirds of all Cardinals’ votes for one to be elected a new Pope.

 

6. If the Conclave failed to reach conclusion after a period of time, a day of prayer and reflection, and contemplation should be included before voting begins again. Then in the next round of voting, only the two names with the highest number of votes in the previous ballot would be included.

 

7. The formula of the question by the Cardinal Dean to the newly elected Pope is affirmed :

 

Latin : Acceptasne electionem de te canonice factam in Summum Pontificem?

English : Do you accept the Canonical election as the Supreme Pontiff?

 

Latin : Accepto

English : I accept

 

Latin : Quo nomine vis vocari?

English : What do you wish to be called?

 

Latin : Vocabor X

English : I wish to be called X.

(X will be the regnal name, for example, Benedict for our Pope Benedict XVI)

Ash Wednesday with Pope Benedict XVI : Maybe to be his last public Mass as our Pope

http://www.vatican.va/video/

Tune in to Vatican Player at the site above for the Ash Wednesday celebration with the Pope from St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. It is scheduled to be on Wednesday, 13 February 2013, at 5.00 pm CET (Central European Time) or UTC+1

The timings in other regions :

UTC : Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4.00 pm

EST/UTC-5 : Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 11.00 am

PST/UTC-8 : Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 8.00 am

UTC+7 (West Indonesia and Thailand) : Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 11.00 pm

UTC+8 (Singapore, Malaysia, HK, China) : Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 00.00 am

As this may well be the last large public Mass Pope Benedict XVI will be presiding in, let’s give him our support and pray with him, and participate together from all over the world in the Mass celebrated by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI!