Dedication of the State of the Vatican City to St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel

As all of you have heard, the Vatican City state had been dedicated by Pope Francis to both St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus Christ our Lord; as well as St. Michael the Archangel, the leader of all of heaven’s angelic forces, the mighty champion of our Lord, and the terror of demons.

Image

The above statue is a statue of St. Michael the Archangel subduing Satan, the evil one. The statue was unveiled and blessed by Pope Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican Gardens where the statue is located.

Image

The ceremony was attended by both Pope Francis and his predecessor as the Vicar of Christ, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Image

Let us pray for both our Pope and our Pope Emeritus, that God will continue to guide them in leading the Church, in the spirit of prayer. St. Joseph and St. MIchael the Archangel, pray for us! Pray for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and protect our leader, the Successor of Peter, whose residence now entrusted to both of you for protection.

God bless the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church!

First Encyclical of Pope Francis : Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) to be published on Friday, 5 July 2013

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-first-encyclical-to-be-released-on-friday

Pope Francis’ first encyclical on the faith, in commemoration of the Year of the Faith, titled Lumen Fidei, or the Light of Faith, will be released and presented on this coming Friday, 5 July 2013.

The encyclical was a joint work between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Most of the work came from Pope Benedict XVI, known as an exceptional theologian and an avid writer. Pope Francis received the draft of the encyclical upon his election as Pope in March 2013 and completed the work on the encyclical, to be published on this Friday.

Friday, 19 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 (Scripture Reflection)

We heard today, the story of the conversion of Saul, the hater and the destroyer of the Church, who would later become Paul, the great saint and apostle, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who brought the Good News of our Lord to the pagan nations. Such a change indeed, from the ultimate enemy of the Church and those who believed in Christ, into the greatest of the champions of the Lord.

This indeed shows the power of God’s providence, and the mysterious ways through which He made His will known to us and manifest in this world. We do not choose ourselves to be worthy of Him and therefore salvation, but He chose us out of many in this world, to be among those who had been called and chosen to be the servants of our God.

Those whom He had chosen, He gave the grace of faith and also the gift of love, in order to spread this faith and love among those who have yet heard the Good News of our Lord, and those who have yet embraced Christ as their Messiah, their Saviour. Paul was one of this, whom the Lord had chosen, from those who had persecuted the Church and the people faithful in Him, no less.

This in fact only showed the greatness of our God, the depth of His mercy and love, and the nature of His redemptive works in our world, even today. He shows us that no one is beyond His mercy, and no one who had sinned and done bad things is unworthy of His love, if only they would repent and change their hearts and minds, turning back towards He who loves us.

Paul did sinful things in the eyes of the Lord by persecuting His faithful ones, but yet, he repented, and was turned into the greatest tool of early evangelisation of the faith, in which we will often hear in this Easter season, of Saint Paul’s numerous contributions to the early Church, in his four travels across the Mediterranean world.

Jesus today, in the Gospel reading, also offered us His love and redemption, through none other than His own Precious Body and Blood, which He offered freely out of His great and infinite love for all of us, that all of us who would share in His Precious being would not die an eternal death and be lost to Him forever, but be reunited with Him and the Father, and be raised in glory on the last day, just as He Himself had been risen from the dead on the Easter day.

That is why, dear brothers and sisters, today, we are called to be the light to the nations, the light to the world, just as Paul himself had been called on that day on the way to Damascus. In our own lives, we may not experience the kind of conversion that Paul has had, but in our own ways, and in God’s own mysterious works, we would be transformed into just like Paul, if we would turn our heart truly and entirely towards the Lord.

We are called to be the bringer of the Good News to the nations, just as Paul once had been the apostle to the Gentiles and the pagan nations. First, let us anchor ourselves in Christ that our faith would be strong, and we would have that capacity to spread God’s good message of truth. Let God and the Holy Spirit transform us, by frequently and devoutly receiving the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist in the Mass. Attend the Mass frequently, and devoutly offer our prayers and worship to the Lord in the Mass.

Do not be distracted by worldly desires and temptations, for the devil would want to derail us from our path towards God, and he desires nothing than the fall of mankind, and therefore he would do all he can to prevent us from being the apostle Paul was. Once our faith is firm, keep a good and strong prayer life, and in prayer, spread the Good News to others, both through our words, and also our actions.

For in our words, others will be able to listen to the Good News of the Lord, and therefore would believe. If they would not believe in what we say, then at least through our actions, we could show them what God’s love and Good News is truly about. Remember that the Lord said, that whoever loves Him will do His will and will do the works that He had done.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today renew our commitment to evangelisation, and to conversion, both of ourselves and that of those who had yet to receive the grace of faith in God. Let us strive to spread God’s message to all, beginning in our own daily lives, and within our own families and friends.

Let us also pray for our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was elected as our Pope and leader 8 years ago on this day, on 19 April 2005. Let us pray for him that he will be able to continue serving the Church through his prayers and his dedication to our Lord. A praying Pope is indeed a powerful enemy of Satan and his angels. May God then bless us all, and bless our Holy Church, and all those who had given themselves in the service of the Lord. Amen.

Friday, 19 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 52-59

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My flesh is really food, and My blood is truly drink. Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.

Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum, when He taught them in the synagogue.

Friday, 19 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 (Psalm)

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Friday, 19 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 (First Reading)

Acts 9 : 1-20

Meanwhile Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest  and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute Me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon Your Name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I Myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.

Thursday, 18 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

Jesus again reiterated the message in today’s Gospel reading, that He is the bread of life, the source of salvation, which can only come through Christ, and through the ultimate sacrifice He had committed on that hill of Calvary on that fateful day, when He was raised high between the heavens and the earth. That moment marked the moment when the pure and unblemished Lamb of God was sacrificed that His blood, splashing down on us, washes us away from our sins.

The Lamb of God did not resist when He was about to be killed, He kept His mouth shut and silent against the false accusations of those who tried to kill Him and bring about His death. Through His submission to the will of the Father, He had been glorified after His death through resurrection, and through this submission, He brought about salvation and reunion of all mankind with God who loves them all.

He died for us that we might live. His blood purifying us from our faults and sins, making us pure once again and worthy to stand before the presence of our God in heaven. Heaven had been closed to all of us since the day when our ancestors defied the will of God, and obeyed the evil one instead, believing in the wisdom of Satan rather than God, and through their disobedience, mankind fall into sin and become the thrall of death.

That was because Adam and Eve, our first ancestors failed to resist the temptation of evil in order to gain more knowledge into themselves, and desiring to become equal as God. But they, who were pure since the day of their creation, now knew the meaning of evil and sin, and as a result, the white slate of paper became splotched with ink and became ruined. That was the state of our soul too before our salvation in Christ.

We suffered the same punishment that Adam and Eve had been made to suffer for their rebellion, that is to roam this earthly plane, to work and toil hard, and death would claim us, and to dust our bodies would return, and we were to be enslaved by Satan. But yet, God is loving just as He is just. He hates sin, but He did not leave us His beloved children without hope of salvation. That hope He brought into our world through Christ His Son, whom He sent to be the Messiah who would save all mankind, once and for all, from the dominion of the evil one.

Christ had become the new Adam, the new beginning, by virtue of being born as man, but unlike Adam, who was sinless and pure as Christ was, but sinned through disobedience, Christ as the Lamb of God obeyed the Lord fully unto His death. This perfect obedience became the perfect offering that entirely countered the rebellion of our ancestors and made all of us worthy once again of God.

Through His Precious Body and Blood, which He offered to all of us freely, He made us into one body in Himself, the Body that is our Church, that all who believes in Christ may be united as one people, and praising God as one people, and sharing the faith that we have in God with one another, and also share the love that He had given us, that love would reign as the motivation behind all our actions.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us always remember that Jesus Christ our Lord is the bread of life, and also the way, the truth, and the life, and in Him alone lies salvation. Let us treasure the Eucharist that we receive in the Mass, that we truly honour the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, and worthily take Him into ourselves, that we may always be united with Him, and be united with our fellow brethren, who also believe in Him our Saviour. God bless us all. Amen.