Friday, January 31, 2014

February 1, 2014

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Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 322

Reading 12 SM 12:1-7A, 10-17

The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him,
Nathan said: “Judge this case for me!
In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.
But the poor man had nothing at all
except one little ewe lamb that he had bought.
He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.
She shared the little food he had
and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.
She was like a daughter to him.
Now, the rich man received a visitor,
but he would not take from his own flocks and herds
to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb
and made a meal of it for his visitor.”
David grew very angry with that man and said to him:
“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!
He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold
because he has done this and has had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!
Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘The sword shall never depart from your house,
because you have despised me
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Thus says the LORD:
‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.
I will take your wives while you live to see it,
and will give them to your neighbor.
He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
You have done this deed in secret,
but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel,
and with the sun looking down.’”

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.
But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed,
the child born to you must surely die.”
Then Nathan returned to his house.

The LORD struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David,
and it became desperately ill.
David besought God for the child.
He kept a fast, retiring for the night
to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth.
The elders of his house stood beside him
urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not,
nor would he take food with them.
This is a very interesting passage that Protestants find hard to understand. It is in fact, very important for the understanding of the doctrine of purgatory.
Notice that although King David was forgiven by God, the child which was born of this adulterous union had to die. What most people don't realize though is that all those curses which Nathan pronounced also came true. The sword never departed David's house. First, one of his sons raped his half-sister. Then, her full brother killed that half brother in revenge. Then, that same brother rebelled against David and had sex with David's wives, his stepmothers, in plain daylight where all of Jerusalem could see him doing it.
So, although God had forgiven David, David still paid for his sin. This is the essence of the doctrine of purgatory, where we pay for the temporal effects due to sin.

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me your heart Lord  so that I can love as you love. Give me your heart Lord so that I can be obedient to the  Father as you are.  Give me your heart   Lord so that I can be transformed by the fire of your love.

Gospel MK 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
 The apostles were beginning to get an inkling as to whom Jesus really was. Perhaps, up to that time they thought he was a gifted prophet. But then they witnessed that even the wind and the sea obey his word.

Catholic Doctrine all makes sense – prayer to Mary

Catholic doctrine all makes sense.

Consider our prayers to Mary. In Scripture, God the father sends an angel to tell Mary that she's blessed among women. In the same chapter, the Holy Spirit inspires a saintly woman to proclaim Mary's blessedness. These words are pronounced by God's creatures. But it is God who was speaking to his creatures. Through an angel in one case and a woman in another.

Mary: Handmaid of the Lord How much more plainly can God tell us that he wants us to praise and glorify Mary. When we praise and glorify Mary, we are repeating God's message. We are prophesying. Therefore, join in with the saints and angels in praise of Mary at every opportunity. It is the will of God.

Yes, Catholic doctrine all makes sense.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 31, 2014

 « Today »

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Lectionary: 321

Reading 12 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”
David beheld another man's wife and abusing his powers, took her for himself while the husband was risking his life in his war.
But the woman conceived and was with child. 
David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.
King David sent orders to his soldiers that the husband should be killed.
King David is one of God's most faithful servants. But even he was a sinner, an adulterer and then a murderer. But even with all these faults, God forgave him. You should continue reading this chapter in salvation history. It is enlightening about the nature of God's forgiveness and purging of the temporal effects of sin. 

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
King David eventually confessed his sins to the prophet Nathan. And God received his repentance. And through the prophet Nathan, God informed David and he was forgiven but that he would pay for his sins.

Gospel MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
Jesus Christ informed the people that the church is the work of God. We scatter the seed, we preach the word. But God makes the growth.

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
A mustard seed is a very interesting choice of plants in this parable. According to historians, the Jews considered mustard a weed which they would not grow in their gardens. And the birds was Jesus Christ say is nested in the giant mustard plant would represent sinners to a Jew.
It is probable then, that Jesus was prophesying to the Jews that his church would be a mainly Gentile church. Like the mustard seed, the Jews would reject Christ, and the church would have to turn to the Gentiles. And this is precisely what happened.
Acts 13:45-47
King James Version (KJV)
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Journey Home - Steven Lawson

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 30, 2014

 « Today »

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 320

Reading 12 SM 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David, 
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, 
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, 
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD; 
you have also spoken of the house of your servant 
for a long time to come: 
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!

“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever, 
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made 
concerning your servant and his house, 
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say, 
‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, 
who said in a revelation to your servant, 
‘I will build a house for you.’
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; 
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant 
that it may be before you forever; 
for you, Lord GOD, have promised, 
and by your blessing the house of your servant 
shall be blessed forever.”
King David was humbled that God had chosen to give him a message through the prophet Nathan. And because God had chosen to be with him and his kingdom forever.

Responsorial Psalm PS 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R. (Lk 1:32b) The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.

R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“I will not enter the house where I live,
nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring 
I will set upon your throne.”

R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“If your sons keep my covenant,
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne.”

R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he prefers her for his dwelling:
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her I will dwell, for I prefer her.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
Although Solomon is the child of King David's loins, he is not the son of David and the prophecies refer. The son of David who would inherit the throne of God is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:1
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Gospel MK 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
There are two lessons here.
First, that we should do good unto others. And those who see us doing good will glorify God because of us.
Second, grace is given to the one who exercises his faith by works of love. To the one who gives more love, more grace will be given.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn - February 2nd 2014 - The Presentation of the Lord

The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

We were unable to record the audio for this week's reflection.

Gift of Sacrifice
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24:7-10
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

Today’s feast marks the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, forty days after he was born. As the firstborn, he belonged to God.  According to the Law, Mary and Joseph were required to take him to the Temple and “redeem” him by paying five shekels. At the same time, the Law required the child’s mother to offer sacrifice in order to overcome the ritual impurity brought about by childbirth.

So the feast we celebrate shows a curious turn of events. The Redeemer is redeemed. She who is all-pure presents herself to be purified. Such is the humility of our God. Such is the humility of the Blessed Virgin. They submit to the law even though they are not bound by it.

The drama surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth began in the Temple — when the Archangel visited Mary’s kinsman, Zechariah the priest. And now the story of Jesus’ infancy comes to a fitting conclusion, again in the Temple.

All the readings today concern Jerusalem, the Temple, and the sacrificial rites. The first reading comes from the Prophet Malachi, who called the priests to return to faithful service — and foretold a day when a Messiah would arrive with definitive purification of the priesthood.

Likewise, the Psalm announces to Jerusalem that Jerusalem is about to receive a great visitor. The Psalmist identifies him as “The LORD of hosts … the king of glory.”

There is another curious turn to the Gospel story. The story nowhere mentions Jesus’ “redemption,” but seems to describe a religious consecration — such as a priest might undergo. Saint Luke tells us that Jesus is “presented” in the Temple, using the same verb that Saint Paul uses to describe the offering of a sacrifice (see Romans 12:1).  Another parallel is the Old Testament dedication of Samuel (1 Sam 1:24-27) to the Temple as a priest.

Christ now arrives as the long-awaited priest and redeemer. He is also the sacrifice. Indeed, as his life will show, He is the Temple itself (see John 2:19-21).

Yours in Christ,

Scott Hahn, Ph.D.

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January 29, 2014

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 319

Reading 12 SM 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house 
from the day on which I led the children of Israel 
out of Egypt to the present, 
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel, 
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges 
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask: 
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

“Now then, speak thus to my servant David, 
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say: 
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went, 
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel; 
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old, 
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, 
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, 
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong, 
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements; 
but I will not withdraw my favor from him 
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul, 
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; 
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.
This sounds like a prophecy of Solomon's Temple.  Solomon, the son of David, built a temple unto the Lord.  He also built himself a gigantic house and in time, began to worship false idols.  
1 Kings 11:3-5 (RSVCE)
3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ash′toreth the goddess of the Sido′nians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
No, this is not a prophecy of Solomon and his temple, but a prophecy of the Son of David, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who built the Temple of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man.  It is this house, not built by human hands, where God wants to dwell. 

Responsorial Psalm PS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. (29a) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages.”

R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. 
“He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth.”

R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
The Scriptures all point to Jesus Christ.  The Son of God is the Son of man to whom God has given dominion over all the world:
Hebrews 1:
God Has Spoken by His Son
1 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

Gospel MK 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him 
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
This boat is Simon's (i.e. St. Peter) and is a figure of the Catholic Church.  That is why the Catholic Church is frequently referred to as the Barque of Peter.  Barque meaning boat.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables, 
and in the course of his instruction he said to them, 
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, 
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. 
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it 
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
Jesus would speak to the multitudes in parables.  That is, in imagery and metaphor, in order that they would not immediately understand what He said.  He would explain the imagery to the Apostles and disciples (i.e. the foundation of His Church) in order that the multitudes would come to them for explanation.
And when he was alone, 
those present along with the Twelve 
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them, 
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven
This is a reference to what Isaiah prophecied (Isaiah 6:9) about the Messiah, that the multitudes would not understand His Teachings.
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
Jesus chastised the Apostles and disciples because they also could not understand His Word.
The sower sows the word.
The sower is the Teacher of God's word.  The Church.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once 
and takes away the word sown in them.
The Church Teaches the Doctrines of Jesus Christ.  But many,  those in the path, will hear the Teaching but will not accept it because the Deceiver will not let them understand.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, 
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, 
they quickly fall away.
Others will receive the Teaching at once, but will not tolerate the Teaching because it requires suffering and discipline.  
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word, 
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, 
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, 
and it bears no fruit.
Still others will listen to the Teaching but will prefer worldly riches to spiritual riches.  They would rather be comfortable in this life and care nothing about the life to come.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
And then there are those who hear the Teaching of Jesus Christ with an open heart and accept the Word of God entirely.  They will engrave it in their own heart and in turn teach all with whom they come in contact.  They are God's Elect.  The Saints who put God first and above all else.  They are you and I, if we persevere in well doing with all patience in hope of a life everlasting.