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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Catholic News World : Thurs. January 26, 2017 - SHARE

2017

#BreakingNews Polish Missionary Killed in Bolivia while working with poor Children - RIP Helena Kmiec -

The missionary, Helena Kmieć, was stabbed on Tuesday, and died despite efforts to save her, according to the Salvator Missionary Volunteering group, which organized her assignment to Bolivia.
According to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolivian police have detained a number of suspects.
Kmieć, who arrived in Cochabamba about two weeks ago, was working at the childcare centre, run by the Polish order of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God. She had planned to stay for six months. (vb/pk)
Source: The News Pl

Saint January 26 : St. Timothy : 1st Bishop of #Ephesus - Patron of #Stomach and Intestinal Disorders



Information:
Feast Day:January 26
Born:
17
Died:80, Ephesus
Patron of:intestinal disorders, stomach diseases

A native of Lystra, he was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice and a Greek Gentile. Converted to the faith by St. Paul, Timothy willingly received circumcision in order to assuage the Jews to whom he and Paul would be preaching, especially as it was known that his father was a Gentile. Paul found Timothy a very valuable assistant and companion, using him on several missions, such as those to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17) and the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:2-3). According to tradition, he was the first bishop of Ephesus, the basis for this being his journey to the city at the command of Paul to act as his representative (1 Tm 1:3). He is mentioned with St. Paul in the salutations of seven epistles in the New Testament and was teh addressee of two of three pastoral letters - 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. His martyrdom on January 22, 97 by a mob of angry pagans came about through his opposition to the celebration of the feast of Diana; it was recorded in the fourth-century Acta S. Timothei.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. January 26, 2017


Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops
Lectionary: 520/320

Reading I2 TM 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

or
Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God's chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8A, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

AlleluiaPS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 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."

Saint January 26 : St. Titus : 1st Bishop of Crete - Companion of St. Paul :


Feast Day:
January 26
Died:
96 at Goryna, Crete
Patron of:
Crete
ST. TITUS was born a Gentile, and seems to have been converted by St. Paul, who calls him his son in Christ. His extraordinary virtue and merit gained him the particular esteem and affection of this apostle; for we find him employed as his secretary and interpreter; and he styles him his brother, and co-partner in his labours; commends exceedingly his solicitude and zeal for the salvation of his brethren. 1 and in the tenderest manner expresses the comfort and support he found in him, 2 in so much, that, on a certain occasion, he declared that he found no rest in his spirit, because at Troas he had not met Titus. 3 In the year 51, he accompanied him to the council that was held at Jerusalem, on the subject of the Mosaic rites. Though the apostle had consented to the circumcision of Timothy, in order to render his ministry acceptable among the Jews, he would not allow the same in Titus, apprehensive of giving thereby a sanction to the error of certain false brethren, who contended, that the ceremonial institutes of the Mosaic law were not abolished by the law of grace. Towards the close of the year 56, St. Paul sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth, with full commission to remedy the several subjects of scandal, as also to allay the dissensions in that church. He was there received with great testimonies of respect and was perfectly satisfied with regard to the penance and submission of the offenders; but could not be prevailed upon to accept from them any present, not even so much as his own maintenance. His love for that church was very considerable, and at their request he interceded with St. Paul for the pardon of the incestuous man. He was sent the same year by the apostle a second time to Corinth, to prepare the alms that church designed for the poor Christians at Jerusalem. All these particulars we learn from St. Paul’s two epistles to the Corinthians.
  1
  St. Paul, after his first imprisonment, returning from Rome into the east, made some stay in the island of Crete, to preach there the faith of Jesus Christ; but the necessities of other churches requiring his presence elsewhere, he ordained his beloved disciple Titus bishop of that island, and left him to finish the work he had successfully begun. “We may form a judgment,” says St. Chrysostom, 4 “from the importance of the charge, how great the esteem of St. Paul was for his disciple.” But finding the loss of such a companion too material, at his return into Europe the year after, the apostle ordered him to meet him at Nicopolis in Epirus, where he intended to pass the winter, and to set out for that place as soon as either Tychichus, or Arthemas, whom he had sent to supply his place during his absence, should arrive in Crete. St. Paul sent these instructions to Titus, in the canonical epistle addressed to him, when on his journey to Nicopolis, in autumn, in the year 64. He ordered him to establish priests, 5 that is, bishops, as St. Jerom, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret expound it, in all the cities of the island. He sums up the principal qualities necessary for a bishop, and gives him particular advice touching his own conduct to his flock, exhorting him to hold to strictness of discipline, but seasoned with lenity. This epistle contains the rule of episcopal life, and as such, we may regard it as faithfully copied in the life of this disciple. In the year 65, we find him sent by St. Paul to preach in Dalmatia. 6 He again returned to Crete, and settled the faith in that, and the adjacent little island. All that can be affirmed further of him is, that he finished a laborious and holy life by a happy death in Crete, in a very advanced old age, some affirm in the ninety-fourth year of his age. The body of St. Titus was kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Gortyna, the ruins of which city, the ancient metropolis of the island, situated six miles from Mount Ida, are still very remarkable. This city being destroyed by the Saracens in 823, these relics could never since be discovered: only the head of our saint was conveyed safe to Venice, and is venerated in the Ducal basilic of St. Mark. (See Creta Sacra, Auctore Flaminio Cornelio, Senatore Veneto. Venetiis, anno 1755, de S. Tito, T. 1. p. 189. 195.) St. Titus has been looked upon in Crete as the first archbishop of Gortyna, which metropolitical see is fixed at Candia, since this new metropolis was built by the Saracens. The cathedral of the city of Candia, which now gives its name to the whole island, bears his name. The Turks leave this church in the hands of the Christians. The city of Candia was built in the ninth century, seventeen miles from the ancient Gortyn or Gortyna. Under the metropolitan of Candia, there are at present in this island eleven suffragan bishops of the Greek communion.
  2
=   When St. Paul assumed Titus to the ministry, this disciple was already a saint, and the apostle found in him all the conditions which he charged him so severely to require in those whom he should honour with the pastoral charge. It is an illusion of false zeal, and a temptation of the enemy, for young novices to begin to teach before they have learned themselves how to practise. Young birds, which leave their nests before they are able to fly, are sure to perish. Trees which push forth their buds before the season, yield no fruit, the flowers being either nipped by the frost, or destroyed by the sun. So those who give themselves up to the exterior employments of the ministry, before they are thoroughly grounded in the spirit of the gospel, drain their tender interior virtue, and produce only unclean or tainted fruit. All who undertake the pastoral charge, besides a thorough acquaintance with the divine law, and the maxims and spirit of the gospel, and experience, discretion, and a knowledge of the heart of man, or his passions, must have seriously endeavoured to die to themselves by the habitual practice of self-denial, and a rooted humility; and must have been so well exercised in holy contemplation as to retain that habitual disposition of soul amidst exterior employments, and in them to be able still to say, I sleep, and my heart watches; 7 that is, I sleep to all earthly things, and am awake only to my heavenly friend and spouse, being absorbed in the thoughts and desires of the most ardent love.
  3
= Shared from LIves of the Saints by Butler =

#PopeFrancis "..follow Jesus today and to live a new life in him." at #Vespers FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis’ message to members of different Christian Churches gathered in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls on Wednesday. The Pope lead Vespers for the solemnity of the Conversion of St Paul and the close of the annual week of prayer for Christian unity. Text from Vatican Radio:
Please find below the full English text of Pope Francis’ homily at Vespers for the Conversion of St Paul
Encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus radically transformed the life of Saint Paul. Henceforth, for him, the meaning of life would no longer consist in trusting in his own ability to observe the Law strictly, but rather in cleaving with his whole being to the gracious and unmerited love of God: to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Paul experienced the inbreaking of a new life, life in the Spirit. By the power of the risen Lord, he came to know forgiveness, confidence and consolation. Nor could Paul keep this newness to himself. He was compelled by grace to proclaim the good news of the love and reconciliation that God offers fully in Christ to all humanity.
For the Apostle of the Gentiles, reconciliation with God, whose ambassador he became (cf. 2 Cor 5:20), is a gift from Christ. This is evident in the text of the Second Letter to the Corinthians which inspired the theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-20). “The love of Christ”: this is not our love for Christ, but rather Christ’s love for us. Nor is the reconciliation to which we are compelled simply our own initiative. Before all else it is the reconciliation that God offers us in Christ. Prior to any human effort on the part of believers who strive to overcome their divisions, it is God’s free gift. As a result of this gift, each person, forgiven and loved, is called in turn to proclaim the Gospel of reconciliation in word and deed, to live and bear witness to a reconciled life.

Today, in the light of this, we can ask: How do we proclaim this Gospel of reconciliation after centuries of division? Paul himself helps us to find the way. He makes clear that reconciliation in Christ requires sacrifice. Jesus gave his life by dying for all. Similarly, ambassadors of reconciliation are called, in his name, to lay down their lives, to live no more for themselves but for Christ who died and was raised for them (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-15). As Jesus teaches, it is only when we lose our lives for love of him that we truly save them (cf. Lk 9:24). This was the revolution experienced by Paul, but it is, and always has been, the Christian revolution. We live no longer for ourselves, for our own interests and “image”, but in the image of Christ, for him and following him, with his love and in his love.
For the Church, for every Christian confession, this is an invitation not to be caught up with programmes, plans and advantages, not to look to the prospects and fashions of the moment, but rather to find the way by constantly looking to the Lord’s cross. For there we discover our programme of life. It is an invitation to leave behind every form of isolation, to overcome all those temptations to self-absorption that prevent us from perceiving how the Holy Spirit is at work outside our familiar surroundings. Authentic reconciliation between Christians will only be achieved when we can acknowledge each other’s gifts and learn from one another, with humility and docility, without waiting for the others to learn first.
If we experience this dying to ourselves for Jesus’ sake, our old way of life will be a thing of the past and, like Saint Paul, we will pass over to a new form of life and fellowship. With Paul, we will be able to say: “the old has passed away” (2 Cor 5:17).
To look back is helpful, and indeed necessary, to purify our memory, but to be fixated on the past, lingering over the memory of wrongs done and endured, and judging in merely human terms, can paralyze us and prevent us from living in the present. The word of God encourages us to draw strength from memory and to recall the good things the Lord has given us. But it also asks us to leave the past behind in order to follow Jesus today and to live a new life in him. Let us allow him, who makes all things new (cf. Rev 21:5), to unveil before our eyes a new future, open to the hope that does not disappoint, a future in which divisions can be overcome and believers, renewed in love, will be fully and visibly one.
This year, in our journey on the road to unity, we recall in a special way the fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation. The fact that Catholics and Lutherans can nowadays join in commemorating an event that divided Christians, and can do so with hope, placing the emphasis on Jesus and his work of atonement, is a remarkable achievement, thanks to God and prayer, and the result of fifty years of growing mutual knowledge and ecumenical dialogue.
As we implore from God the gift of reconciliation with him and with one another, I extend cordial and fraternal greetings to His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to His Grace David Moxon, the personal representative in Rome of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and to all the representatives of the various Churches and Ecclesial Communities gathered here. I am especially pleased to greet the members of the joint Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and to offer my good wishes for the fruitfulness of the plenary session taking place in these days. I also greet the students of the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, who are visiting Rome to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox young people studying in Rome thanks to the scholarships provided by the Committee for Cultural Collaboration with Orthodox Churches, based in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. To the superiors and staff of this Dicastery I express my esteem and gratitude.
Dear brothers and sisters, our prayer for Christian unity is a sharing in Jesus’ own prayer to the Father, on the eve of his passion, “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). May we never tire of asking God for this gift. With patient and trusting hope that the Father will grant all Christians the gift of full visible communion, let us press forward in our journey of reconciliation and dialogue, encouraged by the heroic witness of our many brothers and sisters, past and present, who were one in suffering for the name of Jesus. May we take advantage of every occasion that Providence offers us to pray together, to proclaim together, and together to love and serve, especially those who are the most poor and neglected in our midst.

#PopeFrancis "We knock at the doors of God’s heart, He is Father, He can save us." at Audience FULL TEXT + Video


Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Outstanding among the figures of women that the Old Testament presents to us, is that of a great heroine of the people: Judith. The biblical Book that bears her name talks about the imposing military campaign of King Nebuchadnezzar who, reigning in Nineveh, extended the borders of the empire, defeating and enslaving all the surrounding peoples. The reader understands he is before a great, invincible enemy, which is sowing death and destruction and which arrives at the Promised Land, putting in danger the life of the children of Israel.
In fact, Nebuchadnezzar’s army, under the leadership of General Holofernes, besieges Bethulia, cutting the water supply and thus sapping the population’s resistance.
The situation became dramatic, to the point that the inhabitants of the city turned to the elders asking them to surrender to their enemies. Theirs were desperate words: “There is no one to help us now! God has sold us into their hands by laying us prostrate before them in thirst and utter exhaustion. So now, summon them and deliver the whole city as plunder to the troops of Holofernes and to all his forces”

For now we have no one to help us; God has sold us into their hands, to strew us on the ground before them with thirst and utter destruction. Now call them in and surrender the whole city to the army of Holofernes and to all his forces, to be plundered” (Judith 7:25-26). The end seemed ineluctable; the capacity to trust God was exhausted. And how many times we come to the limit of situations, where we do not even feel the capacity to have trust in the Lord. It is an awful temptation! And, paradoxically, it seems that, to flee from death, they had to hand themselves over to the hands of those that kill. They know that these soldiers will enter to plunder the city, to take the women as slaves and then kill all the others.
And in face of such despair, the head of the people attempts to propose a pretext for hope: to hold out for five more days, awaiting God’s saving intervention. But it is a weak hope, which makes him conclude: “But if these days pass by, and no help comes to us, I will do what you say” (7:31). Poor soul: he was without a way out. God is granted five days — and here is the sin– five days are granted to God to intervene; five days of waiting, but now with the prospect of the end. They grant God five days to save them, but they know they do not have confidence, they expect the worst. In reality, no one among the people is still capable of hoping anymore. They were desperate.
 It is in this situation that Judith appears on the scene. A widow, a woman of great beauty and wisdom, she speaks to the people with the language of faith. Courageous, she reproves the people to their face (saying): “You are putting the Almighty to the test, […]. No, my brethren, do not provoke the Lord our God to anger. For if He does not choose to help us within these five days, He has power to protect us within any time He pleases, or even to destroy us in the presence of our enemies. […] Therefore, while we wait for His deliverance, let us call upon Him to help us, and He will hear our voice, if it pleases Him” (8:13.14-15.17). It is the language of hope. We knock at the doors of God’s heart, He is Father, He can save us. This woman, a widow, risks looking bad before the others! But she is courageous! She goes ahead! This is my opinion: women are more courageous than men (Applause in the Hall).
And with the strength of a prophet, Judith recalls the men of her people to lead them back to trust in God; with the look of a prophet, she sees beyond the narrow horizon proposed by the heads and which fear renders even more limited. God will certainly act — she affirms –, whereas the proposal of five days of waiting is a way to tempt Him and to withdraw from His will. The Lord is God of salvation, — and she believes it — whatever form it takes. It is salvation to be liberated from enemies and to make one live but, in His impenetrable plans, it can also be salvation to be delivered to death. She, woman of faith, knows it. Then we learn the end, how the story ended: God saves .
Dear brothers and sisters let us never put conditions to God and, instead, let hope conquer our fears. To trust God means to enter in His designs without pretending anything, accepting also that His salvation and His help may reach us in a different way from our expectations. We ask the Lord for life, health, affections, happiness, and it is right to do so, but in the awareness that God is able to draw life also from death, that peace can be experienced also in sickness, and that there can be serenity also in solitude and blessedness also in weeping. It is not we who can teach God what He must do, what we are in need of. He knows it better than us, and we must trust Him, because His ways and His thoughts are different from ours.
The way that Judith indicates to us is that of trust, of waiting in peace, of prayer and of obedience. It is the way of hope, without easy resignations, doing everything that is in our possibilities, but always remaining in the furrow of the Lord’s will, because – we know it –. she prayed so much, she spoke so much to the people and then, courageous, she left, she sought a way to approach the head of the army and she succeeded in cutting off his head, in slaughtering him. She is courageous in faith and in works. And she always seeks the Lord! Judith, in fact, has her plan, she implements it with success and leads the people to victory, but always in the attitude of faith of one who accepts everything from God’s hand, certain of His goodness.
Thus, a woman full of faith and courage gives back strength to her people in mortal danger and leads them on the ways of hope. And we, if we exercise our memory a bit, how many times have we heard wise courageous words from humble persons, from humble women that one thinks — without scorning them — are ignorant … but they are words of the wisdom of God! — the words of grandparents … How many times grandparents are able to say the right word. The word of hope, because they have the experience of life, they have suffered so much, they have entrusted themselves to God and the Lord gives us this gift of the counsel of hope. And, going on those ways, it will be joy and paschal light to entrust oneself to the Lord with Jesus’ words: “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). And this is the prayer of wisdom, of trust and of hope.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Religious Families present here, especially the Provincial Superiors of the Minor Friars. I greet the Association of the State Police of Caserta and the Saint Stephen Confraternity of Rieti. I encourage all to be faithful to Christ, so that the joy of the Gospel can shine in society.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Dear young people, may Paul’s figure be for all of you a model of missionary discipleship. Dear sick, offer your sufferings for the cause of unity of the Church of Christ. And you, dear newlyweds, be inspired by the example of the Apostle to the Gentiles, acknowledging the primacy of God and His love in your family life.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

#Novena to St. Paul for Conversion - #Prayers for #Conversion to SHARE


Blessed Apostle Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for us a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially enkindle our interest in the conversion of our separated brethern. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for ............. (Pause here and name relatives and friends) May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Father in Heaven through the mystical wounds of Your Son Jesus have mercy on the souls who visit my web pages. Whoever visits this site is automatically prayed for night and day as long as I live God knows who you are and He will apply your petitions. My motto is I will not let the devil have my family, or any family. My soul or any soul, if I can prevent it, through prayer, sacrifice and pain and despair. I will fight the devil tooth and nail, till I take my last breath and then fight him from heaven for souls here on earth Say for 9 days: say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory be each day in addition to above prayers.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. January 25, 2017


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Lectionary: 519


Reading 1ACTS 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"

OrACTS 9:1-22


Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing 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 are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Saint January 25 : Conversion of St. Paul - #StPaul Apostle

In the Acts of the Apostles there are three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences. Jesus spoke to Paul : “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with the group of people Saul had been killing like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all.
Acts 9: 1-19 1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Ananias Baptizes Saul 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. 11And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 
Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith. After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia — probably to the region south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures. On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 9:23-25). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years (Acts 9:29-30; Galatians 1:21). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful (Acts 11:25-26). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod. Apostolic career of Paul This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem.
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