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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

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(Vatican Radio) Daily contemplation of the Gospel helps us to have true hope, said Pope Francis Tuesday morning during Mass celebrated in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. In his homily, the Pope again urged people to take 10 minutes out of their day to pick up the Gospel and talk to the Lord, rather than waste it on TV soap operas or listening to other peoples’ gossip.
Focusing on the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews on hope, Pope Francis said that “keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus” is the core of hope.  He stressed that if we do not listen to the Lord, we may be “optimistic or positive” people but without the hope that we learn “from contemplating Christ”.  
This led the Holy Father to speak of "contemplative prayer”.  The Pope said that "it is good to pray the Rosary every day", to talk "with the Lord, when we have a problem, or the Virgin Mary or the Saints ..". But, "contemplative prayer" is important and this can only be done "with the Gospel in hand":
He said: "'How do I contemplate with today’s Gospel? I see that Jesus was in the middle of the people, he was surrounded by a large crowd. Five times this passage uses the word 'crowd'. Did Jesus ever rest? This would lead me to think: 'Always with the crowd ...'. Most of Jesus’ life was on the streets, with the crowd. Did he ever rest? Yes, once, says the Gospel, he was sleeping on the boat but the storm came and the disciples woke him. Jesus was constantly in the midst of the people. And this is how we look at Jesus, contemplate Jesus, imagine Jesus. And so I tell Jesus what comes to my mind to tell him".
Continuing his reflection on today's Gospel, Pope Francis spoke of how Jesus realizes that a sick woman in the crowd touched him. Jesus, the Pope said, "not only understands the crowd, he feels the crowd", "he feels the heartbeat of each of us, everyone. He cares for each and every one of us, always!".
The case of the chief of the synagogue who goes "to speak to him of his daughter who was seriously ill” is similar: [Jesus] leaves everything to takes care of the matter. The Pope went on to depict the scene: Jesus arrives in the home, the women are crying because the little girl is dead, but the Lord tells them to be calm and they scorn him. Here, the Pope said, we see "the patience of Jesus."
And then after the resurrection of the child, instead of saying "Praise be God!", Jesus  tells them: "Please give her something to eat". Pope Francis noted "Jesus always thinks of the little things."
The Pope then pointed out "What I have just done with this Gospel is a prayer of contemplation: take up the Gospel, read and imagine the scene, imagine what happens and talk to Jesus, from the heart":
"And with this we allow hope to grow, because we have our gaze fixed, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We should all carry out this contemplative prayer. 'But I have so much to do!'. At home, 15 minutes, pick up the Gospel, a small passage, imagine what happened and talk with Jesus about it. So your gaze will be fixed on Jesus and not so much on a TV soap opera, for example. Your ears will be focused on the words of Jesus and not so much on your neighborhood gossip ... ".
"This is how contemplative prayer helps us in hope. Living the substance of the Gospel. Always pray”.
Pope Francis invited people to "pray your prayers, pray the rosary, talk with the Lord, but also carry out this contemplative prayer keeping your gaze fixed on Jesus". Hope comes from this prayer, he said, adding "our Christian life unfolds in that context, between memory and hope":
"Memory of our past journey, memory of so many graces received from the Lord. And hope, looking at the Lord, who is the only one who can give me hope. And in order to gaze at the Lord, to know the Lord, we pick up the Gospel and carry out this contemplative prayer. Today, for example, try for 10 minutes - 15, no more – to read the Gospel, picture it and say something to Jesus. And nothing more. And so your knowledge of Jesus will be bigger and your hope will grow. Do not forget, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. And in order to do this contemplative prayer".

(Emer McCarthy) 

RIP Kenji Goto Jogo - Japanese Christian Journalist Killed in Iraq - Please PRAY

(Kenji Goto Jogo, left, and Haruna Yukawa - Both Killed by Terrorists in Iraq)
Asia News Report: Tokyo mourns Kenji Goto Jogo, the journalist killed by the Islamic State. New push for rearmament
The Christian journalist's wife "devastated" by her husband's death but is proud of his work as a journalist". The Japanese prime minister: "We need military means to counter this threat." The population holds government to blame. Jordan waits amid fear for fate of other hostage, Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh.


Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The murder of the Japanese reporter kidnapped by the Islamic State has "devastated" his wife, who now feels a "immense pain. While feeling a great personal loss, I remain extremely proud of my husband, who reported the plight of people in conflict areas like Iraq, Somalia and Syria", writes the wife of Kenji Goto Jogo, the Christian journalist beheaded by Islamic terrorists, after confirmation of the authenticity of the video that proves the man's death.
Kenji loved his job, writes his wife identified only by the name of Rinko, " It was his passion to highlight the effects on ordinary people, especially through the eyes of children, and to inform the rest of us of the tragedies of war. As you can imagine, this is an extremely difficult time for our family. I would ask that the media please respect our privacy and allow us time to come to terms with our loss".
The death of the journalist shook the whole Japan, which, one day after the tragedy, is divided on the next steps to take. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that what happened "proves once more that our Constitution is obsolete. We must have appropriate tools to respond to threats against our citizens with weapons." The reference is to Art. 9 of the Constitution, already amended by his government, which required the country to pursue a military program for self-defense purposes only.
On the contrary, some of the population believes that the death of the journalist is to be attributed to government ineptitude. Immediately after the publication of the video with the decapitation of the second hostage, a group of people went spontaneously to Abe's residence with signs that read "All because of you" and "I'm not Shinzo Abe."

Controversy also continues to rage in Jordan, home of the other hostage in the hands of the Islamic State. Air force Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh has been held hostage since Christmas 2014, when his jet crashed in the territory controlled by terrorists. The IS wants the liberation of the Iraqi terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi, and the government in Amman has sent mixed signals: on the one hand says it is ready to release her, on the other it argues that "it will not" bargain with the fundamentalists. 

Latest from #Vatican Information Service - Recognition of Oscar Romero - Prayer Against Trafficking


03-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 024 

Summary
Francis: consecrated persons must guide people to Jesus, and let themselves be guided by Him
- Recognition of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the friars Michal Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strazalkowski, and Fr. Alessandro Dordi
- 8 February: First International Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking
Francis: consecrated persons must guide people to Jesus, and let themselves be guided by Him
Vatican City, 3 February 2015 (VIS) – The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, 2 February, is the Day for Consecrated Life and yesterday afternoon, as is customary on this occasion, the Holy Father presided at Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica with the members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The ceremony began with the blessing of the veils and the procession, and continued with the Eucharistic celebration, during which the Pope gave a homily emphasising the characteristics of consecrated life.
“Before our eyes we can picture Mother Mary as she walks, carrying the Baby Jesus in her arms”, he began. “She brings him to the Temple; she presents him to the people; she brings him to meet his people. The arms of Mother Mary are like the 'ladder' on which the Son of God comes down to us, the ladder of God’s condescension. This is what we heard in the first reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews: Christ became 'like His brothers and sisters in every respect, so that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest'. This is the twofold path taken by Jesus: He descended, He became like us, in order then to ascend with us to the Father, making us like Himself. In our heart we can contemplate this double movement by imagining the Gospel scene of Mary who enters the Temple holding the Child in her arms. The Mother walks, yet it is the Child who goes before her. She carries him, yet He is leading her along the path of the God who comes to us so that we might go to Him. Jesus walked the same path as we do, and shows us the new way, the 'new and living way' which is He Himself. For us, consecrated men and women, this is the one way which, concretely and without alternatives, we must continue to tread with joy and perseverance”.
Francis continued, “Fully five times the Gospel speaks to us of Mary and Joseph’s obedience to the 'law of the Lord'. Jesus came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father. This way – He tells us – was His 'food'. In the same way, all those who follow Jesus must set out on the path of obedience, imitating as it were the Lord’s 'condescension' by humbling themselves and making their own the will of the Father, even to self-emptying and abasement. For a religious, to advance on the path of obedience means to abase oneself in service, that is, to take the same path as Jesus, who 'did not deem equality with God a thing to be grasped'. By emptying himself he made himself a servant in order to serve”.
For consecrated persons, this path “takes the form of the rule, marked by the charism of the founder. For all of us, the essential rule remains the Gospel, yet the Holy Spirit, in His infinite creativity, also gives it expression in the various rules of the consecrated life which are born of the sequela Christi, and thus from this journey of abasing oneself by serving. Through this 'law' which is the rule, consecrated persons are able to attain wisdom, not something abstract, but a work and gift of the Holy Spirit. An evident sign of such wisdom is joy. The evangelical happiness of a religious is the fruit of self-abasement in union with Christ”.
In the account of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple, wisdom is represented by two elderly persons, Simeon and Anna: “persons docile to the Holy Spirit, led by Him, inspired by Him”, emphasised the Holy Father. “The Lord granted them wisdom as the fruit of a long journey along the path of obedience to His law, an obedience which likewise humbles and abases, but which also lifts up and protects hope, making them creative, for they are filled with the Holy Spirit. … Mary, the young mother, and Simeon, the kindly old man, hold the Child in their arms, yet it is the Child himself who guides them both”.
The Pontiff noted that, on this occasion, it is the elderly, rather than the young, who are creative: “the young, like Mary and Joseph, follow the law of the Lord, the path of obedience. The elderly, like Simeon and Anna, see in the Child the fulfilment of the Law and the promises of God. And they are able to celebrate: they are creative in joy and wisdom. And the Lord turns obedience into wisdom by the working of His Holy Spirit”. However, “at times God can grant the gift of wisdom to a young person, but always as the fruit of obedience and docility to the Spirit. This obedience and docility is not something theoretical; it too is subject to the economy of the incarnation of the Word: docility and obedience to a founder, docility and obedience to a specific rule, docility and obedience to one’s superior, docility and obedience to the Church. It is always docility and obedience in the concrete”.
In persevering along along the path of obedience, “personal and communal wisdom matures, and thus it also becomes possible to adapt rules to the times; indeed, true 'renovation' is the fruit of wisdom forged in docility and obedience. The strengthening and renewal of consecrated life are the result of great love for the rule, and also the ability to look to and heed the elders of one’s congregation. In this way, the 'deposit', the charism of each religious family, is preserved by obedience and by wisdom, working together. By means of this journey, we are preserved from living our consecration “lightly”, in an disembodied manner, as if it were some sort of gnosis which would ultimately reduce religious life to caricature, a caricature in which there is following without renunciation, prayer without encounter, fraternal life without communion, obedience without trust, and charity without transcendence.
“Today we too, like Mary and Simeon, want to take Jesus into our arms, to bring Him to his people”, the Pope concluded. “Surely we will be able to do so if we enter into the mystery in which Jesus Himself is our guide. Let us bring others to Jesus, but let us also allow ourselves to be led by Him. This is what we should be: guides who themselves are guided”.
Recognition of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the friars Michal Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strazalkowski, and Fr. Alessandro Dordi
Vatican City, 3 February 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:
MARTYRDOM
- Servant of God Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez (El Salvador, 1917-1980), archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, killed in hatred of the faith on 24 March 1980.
 - Servants of God Michal Tomaszek (Poland, 1960) and Zbigniew Strazalkowski (Poland, 1958), professed priests of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and Alessandro Dordi, Italian diocesan priest, killed in hatred of the faith in Peru on 9 and 25 August 1991.
HEROIC VIRTUES
- Servant of God Giovanni Bacile, Italian priest (1880-1941).
8 February: First International Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking
Vatican City, 3 February 2015 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. The Day will be held on 8 February, the feast day of Sudanese slave St. Josephine Bakhita who, after being freed, became a Canossian Sister and was canonised in 2000, and will be entitled: “A light against human trafficking”. The Day is promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” and the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).
The conference was attended by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life; Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples; and Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”. The other speakers were Sister Carmen Sammut, MSOLA, president of the International Union of Superiors General; Sister Gabriella Bottani, SMC, coordinator of Talitha Kum (the International Network of Consecrated Life against Trafficking in Persons); Sister Valeria Gandini, SMC; and Sister Imelda Poole IBVM, coordinator of the European Talitha Kum network.
Cardinal Turkson, speaking in English, reiterated that “millions of people today – children, women and men of all ages – are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery. For those who cry out – usually in silence – for liberation, St Josephine Bakhita is an exemplary witness of hope. We, victims and advocates alike, could do no better than be inspired by her life and entrust our efforts to her intercession”.
He continued, “the Holy Father invites us all to recognise that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilisation comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself”. The prelate explained that the International Day against Human Trafficking constitutes “a mobilisation of awareness and prayer on a global scale. Our awareness must expand and extend to the very depths of this evil and its farthest reaches … from awareness to prayer … from prayer to solidarity … and from solidarity to concerted action, until slavery and trafficking are no more”.
On the occasion of this first day of prayer and reflection, all dioceses, parishes, associations, families and individuals are invited to reflect and pray in order to cast light on this crime, as indicated by the theme of the initiative. In addition, prayer vigils will be held in different countries, culminating in the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square on 8 February.
On the day, the faithful are invited to recite the following prayer:
“O God, when we hear of children and adults
deceived and taken to unknown places for
purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and
organ ‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and
our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are
ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern
slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and
stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits
have been so wounded, so that together we may
make real your promises to fill these sisters and
brothers with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be
converted from this wickedness, and help us all to
claim the freedom that is your gift to your
children. Amen”.

Today's Mass Readings : Monday February 3, 2015


Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 324


Reading 1HEB 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Responsorial PsalmPS 22:26B-27, 28 AND 30, 31-32

R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts be ever merry!”
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

AlleluiaMT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

Saint February 3 : St. Blaise : Patron of: Animals, Builders, Veterinarians, Throats, Infants, stonecutters, carvers


Information:
Feast Day:January 24
Born:
Armenia
Patron of:Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers
BISHOP, MARTYR
It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize.

On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.
One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, his emblems are an iron comb and a wax taper.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stblaise.asp#ixzz1lNY4MP99
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