Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
29 January 2012
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith.” Mt. 8:26
Today’s gospel narrative about the storm that threatens Peter’s boat has always been a symbol of the Church being persecuted throughout history from within and without. God allows these difficulties to oppose the Church in order to draw out a greater good. Fr. Gabriel in Divine Intimacy tells us, “Virtue and goodness are strengthened in time of difficulty; the efforts made in bearing trials tend to make us surpass what we would have done had we enjoyed perfect calm.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 183 God also allows difficulties in the Church in order to purify it of its errors and disobedience to His Commandments. It seems that only in difficulties, when events become insurmountable, will we turn out of desperation to God for help: “Lord, save us we are perishing.” Mt. 8: 25
“What manner of man is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Mt. 8:27
In his commentary on the Gospel (Mt. 8:23-27) for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Dom Prosper Gueranger in The Liturgical Year III comments: “Let us adore the power of our Emmanuel, who is come to calm the tempests which threatened the human race with death. In the midst of their danger, the successive generations of men had cried out: ‘Lord, save us we are perishing.’ Mt. 8:25 When the fullness of time had come, he awoke from his rest; he had but to command, and the power of our enemies was destroyed. The malice of the devils, the darkness of idolatry, and the corruption of paganism—all yielded. Nation after nation was conquered to Jesus. They had said, when in their misery and blindness: ‘Who is this Jesus, whom no power can resist?’ and then they embraced his Law. This power of Jesus to break down every obstacle, and that, too, at the very time when men were disquieted at his apparent slumbering, has often shown itself in the past ages of the Church. How many times has he not chosen for saving the world that period which seemed the least likely for rescue! The same happens in the life of each one among us. Oftentimes we are tossed to and fro by violent temptations; it would seem as though the billows must sink us; and yet our will is firmly anchored to God! And what is this, if not Jesus sleeping in the storm-tossed boat, protecting us by this his sleeping? And if our cry for help at length awakens him, it is only to proclaim his own and our victory; for he has already conquered, and we have conquered in him.” Gueranger, p.261 We should never forget what St. Therese told us of this same incident of Jesus sleeping in the boat; always remember that Jesus is present in the boat and nothing can happen to Him as He is the Son of God and is all powerful. If we are with Him in the boat, we too will be protected no matter how bad the storms of life are.
Purification of evil
St. Cyprian in a letter to the Church relates how the present persecution was caused by their sins: “We have to confess that the force of the present storm of persecution which has decimated the flock and is even now still pouring out its fury upon it is to a great extent our fault, because we have not followed the commands of God which were given us for our salvation. Christ did the will of his Father, but we do not do his, living in luxury as we do and in pride and rivalries, despising simplicity and faith renouncing in words only, not in deeds, the world in which we live. We please ourselves and do harm to others…. For us this persecution is an examination of conscience. God has decreed that we should be proved and chastised – as he does many times with his own. However, he never fails us in time of trial. He has told me, the least of his servants, to give you this message. ‘Tell them,’ he said to me, ‘that peace will come. The delay is due to the fact that there are still some to be tried by the fire.’” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 437) Because of a lack of charity to others, God would allow the evil of persecution in the early Church to purify it from its selfishness and greed.
“Be debtor to no man in anything—except only in regard to mutual love.” Rom. 13:8
St. Paul in today’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 13: 8-10) reminds us that the debt of charity can never be fully paid. Our one debt that we owe to our fellow man is charity. We can never say that we have paid that debt already! When we pay the debt of charity, we pay all the other debts of the Law of Ten Commandments: “For he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the Law. For ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet’; and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’… Love therefore is the fulfilment of the Law.” Rom. 13:10 The early Christians were known to the pagans for their love for one another: “See how the Christians love one another.” St. Paul is just repeating throughout the Epistle to the Romans the major teaching of Jesus which is to love God: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Mt. 22:37-40.
The Love of Benevolence
Many people find it difficult to practice love or charity towards their neighbour because they do not understand what love of neighbour means. “St. Thomas Aquinas says that he who loves truly, desires good for those he loves; which includes also the idea of procuring that good when possible and when it is within his power. This is the love of benevolence. Because we love ourselves, we try to avoid anything that may harm us and procure for ourselves anything that may be for our benefit. When we learn to love others as ourselves, we do the same things for them.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, P. 454) Some may say, “I can’t love my enemy!” You do not have to like your enemy, but you have to wish them good fortune and help them when you can. As followers of Christ, we have to obey His teachings: “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you…” Mt. 5:44. If anyone says that he cannot love his enemy or his neighbour, he cannot expect the Lord to come to him when he cries out, “Lord, save us we are perishing.” Mt. 8: 25
Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI on the Occasion of the Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia,” 20 December 2010
In this speech, Pope Benedict XVI compared the disintegration of the Roman Empire to what is happening in our society today because of the loss of faith in God and lack of obedience to His Commandments. Using the ancient Advent prayer, Pope Benedict prays for these times: “Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni (O Lord, stir up thy power and come). Today too, we have many reasons to associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.
Excita – the prayer recalls the cry addressed to the Lord who was sleeping in the disciples’ storm-tossed boat as it was close to sinking. When his powerful word had calmed the storm, he rebuked the disciples for their little faith (cf. Mt 8:26 et par.). He wanted to say: it was your faith that was sleeping. He will say the same thing to us. Our faith too is often asleep. Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and to restore to that faith the power to move mountains – that is, to order justly the affairs of the world.” (To view part of this speech online go to the following website: http://www.realcatholictv.com/free/index.php?vidID-vort-2010-12-28 )
“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40
We are now in our second year of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (4 July 2011) from after Mass until Benediction at 3:10 P. M. every day. In his address for General Audience on 17 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI made the following comments about Eucharistic devotion: “Dear friends, fidelity to the encounter with the Eucharistic Christ in Sunday’s Holy Mass is essential for the journey of faith, but let us try as well to frequently go to visit the Lord present in the Tabernacle! Gazing in adoration at the consecrated Host, we discover the gift of the love of God, we discover the Passion and the cross of Jesus, and also His Resurrection. Precisely through our gazing in adoration, the Lord draws us to Himself, into His mystery, to transform us as He transforms the bread and wine. The saints always found strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. With the words of the Eucharistic hymn, ‘Adoro te devote,’ let us repeat before the Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament: ‘Make me believe ever more in You, that in You I may have hope, that I may love You!’ Thank you.”
Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix(MIM)
4 February 2012
On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima. Pope John Paul II: On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla: “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.
The First Saturday of the Month
4 February 2012
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.” If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! Just think that when you are about to die that the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven! “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen” How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?