15 September 2013
Extracted from the book of Wisdom 9:13-18:
What man indeed can know the intentions of God?
Who can divine the will of the Lord?
The reasonings of mortals are unsure and our intentions unstable;
for a perishable body presses down the soul,
and this tent of clay weighs down the teeming mind.
It is hard enough for us to work out what is on earth,
laborious to know what lies within our reach;
who, then, can discover what is in the heavens?
As for your intention, who could have learnt it,
had you not granted Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from above?
Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened
and men been taught what pleases you,
and saved, by Wisdom.
Extracted from Psalm 90:3-6,12-14,17:
O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.
You turn men back to dust and say: ‘Go back, sons of men.’
To your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone,
no more than a watch in the night.
You sweep men away like a dream, like the grass which springs up in the morning.
In the morning it springs up and flowers: by evening it withers and fades.
Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever? Show pity to your servants.
In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us: give success to the work of our hands.
Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to Philemon 1:9-10,12-17:
This is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus.
I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. I am sending him back to you, and with him – I could say – a part of my own self.
I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me.
However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous.
I know you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, but it was only so that you could have him back for ever, not as a slave any more, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, as a blood-brother as well as a brother in the Lord.
So if all that we have in common means anything to you, welcome him as you would me.
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 14:25-33:
Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them.
‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.”
Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace.
So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’
It was the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time on 8 September 2013.
Here are the Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day (see above):
1st Reading: Wisdom 9:13-18,
Responsorial: Psalm 90:3-6, 12-14, 17,
2nd Reading: Philemon 1:9-10, 12-17 &
Gospel Reading: Luke 14:25-33.
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Esplanade of Montorso
1. For what man can learn the counsel of God? (Wisdom 9: 13). The question asked in the Book of Wisdom has one answer: only the Son of God, made man for our salvation in the virginal womb of Mary, can reveal God's design to us. Jesus alone knows which is the path that "leads to wisdom of heart" (cf. Responsorial Psalm) and to peace and salvation.
And what is this way? He has given us the answer in today's Gospel: it is the way of the Cross. His words are clear: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14: 27).
"Carrying the cross, following Jesus", means being prepared to make any sacrifice for love of him. It means not putting anything or anyone before him, not even those you love the most, not even your own life.
2. Dear brothers and sisters gathered in this "splendid valley of Montorso", as Archbishop Comastri has described it: I cordially thank him for his warm words to me. With him, I greet the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who are here; I greet the priests, the men and women religious, the consecrated persons; and above all I greet you young people, members of Catholic Action, led by your General Chaplain, Mons. Francesco Lambiasi, and by the [Italian] National President, Dr Paola Bignardi, whom I thank for her warm address. You have desired to gather here, under the gaze of Our Lady of Loreto, to renew your commitment of faithful attachment to Jesus Christ.
You know it: adhering to Christ is a demanding decision. It is not by chance that Jesus speaks of the "cross". However, he straightaway explains: "after me". These are the important words: we are not alone in carrying our cross. He walks ahead of us, showing us the way with the light of his example and the power of his love.
3. The cross accepted through love gives birth to freedom. The Apostle Paul experienced it when he was old "and now a prisoner also for Jesus Christ", as he himself says in his Letter to Philemon, but inwardly totally free. It is this impression that the passage just proclaimed conveys to us: Paul is in chains but his heart is free, because it is filled with Christ's love. Therefore, in the dark prison in which he suffers for his Lord, he can speak of freedom to a friend who is outside it. Philemon was a Christian of Colossae; Paul turns to him to ask him to free Onesimus, who was still a slave according to the law of the time, but is henceforth a brother through baptism. By renouncing the other as a possession, Philemon will receive the gift of a brother.
A clear lesson can be learned from this incident, viewed as a whole: there is no greater love than that of the cross; there is no truer freedom than that of love; there is no more complete brotherhood than that which is born from the Cross of Jesus.
4. The three new Blesseds were humble disciples and heroic witnesses of the Cross of Jesus.
Pere Tarrés i Claret, first a doctor, then a priest, dedicated himself to the lay apostolate among the young people of Catholic Action in Barcelona, whose adviser he subsequently became. As a medical practioner, he devoted himself with special concern to the poorest of the sick, convinced that "the sick person is a symbol of the suffering Christ".
Ordained a priest, he devoted himself with generous daring to the tasks of his ministry, ever faithful to the commitment he had made on the eve of his Ordination: "A single resolution, Lord, cost what it may". He accepted with faith and heroic patience a serious illness from which he died at the age of only 45. Despite his suffering, he would frequently repeat: "How good the Lord is to me! And I am truly happy".
5. Alberto Marvelli, a young man who was strong and free and a generous son of the Church of Rimini and of Catholic Action, considered his brief life of only 28 years as a gift of love to Jesus for the good of his brethren. "Jesus has enfolded me in his grace", he wrote in his diary; "I no longer see anyone but him, I think only of him". Alberto had made the daily Eucharist the centre of his life. In prayer he also sought the inspiration for political commitment, convinced of the need to live to the full as children of God in history in order to make it a history of salvation.
In the difficult time of the Second World War, which sowed death and multiplied violence and atrocious suffering, Bl. Alberto fostered an intense spiritual life, from which flowed the love for Jesus that led him constantly to forget himself and to take on the cross of the poor.
6. Bl. Pina Suriano, a native of Partinico in the Diocese of Monreale [Sicily], loved Jesus with an ardent and faithful love to the point that she wrote in all sincerity: "I do nothing other than live for Jesus". She spoke to Jesus from her bride's heart: "Jesus, make me more and more your own. Jesus, I want to live and die with you and for you".
Since childhood, she had been a member of the female branch of Catholic Action, of which she later became parish director, finding important incentives in the Association for human and cultural growth in an intense atmosphere of fraternal friendship. She gradually developed a simple, steadfast desire to give her young life to God as an offering of love and especially for the sanctification and perseverance of priests.
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15 September 2013