Thursday, November 30, 2017

When jolly old England killed Catholics for sport

St. Edmund Campion

Image of St. Edmund Campion


Feastday: December 1

Edmund was born in London, the son of a bookseller. He was raised a Catholic, given a scholarship to St. John's College, Oxford, when fifteen, and became a fellow when only seventeen. His brilliance attracted the attention of such leading personages as the Earl of Leicester, Robert Cecil, and even Queen Elizabeth. He took the Oath of Supremacy acknowledging Elizabeth head of the church in England and became an Anglican deacon in 1564. Doubts about Protestanism increasingly beset him, and in 1569 he went to Ireland where further study convinced him he had been in error, and he returned to Catholicism. Forced to flee the persecution unleashed on Catholics by the excommunication of Elizabeth by Pope Pius V, he went to Douai, France, where he studied theology, joined the Jesuits, and then went to Brno, Bohemia, the following year for his novitiate. He taught at the college of Prague and in 1578 was ordained there. He and Father Robert Persons were the first Jesuits chosen for the English mission and were sent to England in 1580. His activities among the Catholics, the distribution of his Decem rationes at the University Church in Oxford, and the premature publication of his famous Brag (which he had written to present his case if he was captured) made him the object of one of the most intensive manhunts in English history. He was betrayed at Lyford, near Oxford, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and when he refused to apostatize when offered rich inducements to do so, was tortured and then hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on December 1 on the technical charge of treason, but in reality because of his priesthood. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the forty English and Welsh Martyrs. His feast day is December

Pope Francis special prayer intention for December

As we rapidly say goodbye to November it is time to pray the Pope's special monthly intention for December.  So please make note of this prayer intention and pray it all December long with Pope Francis"


The Elderly
That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

Pope Francis continues appeal for the persecuted minorities of central Asia

Bangladesh: The Pope’s Appeal for Rohingyas
He Calls the International Community to Take “Decisive Measures”

© L'Osservatore Romano
From Bangladesh, Pope Francis launched an appeal for the refugees of the state of Arakan (Rakhine) in Burma on November 30, 2017. Recalling the situation of the “Rohingya” persecuted minority, without, however, pronouncing the word, he appealed to the International Community to take “decisive measures” to resolve the “grave crisis” underway.
On the first day of his visit to Bangladesh, a few hours after landing, the Holy Father went to the Presidential Palace of Dhaka, where he met with the country’s Authorities, with representatives of the civil society and of the Diplomatic Corps.
He pleaded, before them, for the cause of the Rohingyas, without mentioning them. In fact, the name of these Bengali-speaking Sunni Muslims, who live in the northwest of this State, is very controversial. The Burmese Government has prohibited its use and has also asked the Diplomatic Community not to use it.
The Pope greeted Bangladesh’s gestures in their favor. “In the course of the last months, the spirit of generosity and solidarity, characteristic signs of Bangladesh’s society, has been observed very vividly in its humanitarian momentum in favor of refugees that have arrived en masse from Rakhine state, giving them temporary shelter and satisfying their elementary needs to live. This result was obtained with many sacrifices. It was also done before the eyes of the whole world.”
“No one of us can fail to be conscious of the gravity of the situation, the immense cost imposed by human sufferings and the very numerous precarious conditions of life of our brothers and sisters, the majority of whom are women and children, gathered in refugee camps,” stressed the Pope.
He appealed to the International Community “to take decisive measures in face of this grave crisis, not only by working to resolve the political questions that have led to this massive displacement of people but also by offering immediate material assistance to Bangladesh, in its effort to respond effectively to the urgent human needs.”
In his address to the Burmese Authorities, two days earlier, the Pope pleaded for “a peace founded on respect for the dignity and the rights of every member of the society, on respect for all the ethnic groups and their identity, on respect for the State of Law and a democratic order that enables each individual and every group – no one being excluded – to offer their legitimate contribution to the common good.”

Pope Francis arrives in Bangladesh after successful trip to Myanmar

Bangladesh: Pope Is Welcomed with Flowers, Dances and Color
Fourth Day of Pope Francis’ 21st Apostolic Journey

© L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis arrived in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, becoming the second Pontiff to visit the country, after Saint John Paul II in 1986.
The Pope’s plane landed at Dhaka’s International Airport at 3:00 pm (10:00 am in Rome).
The President of the Republic of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid, welcomed the Holy Father on his arrival.
During the welcome ceremony, two children dressed in the country’s typical costumes gave the Pontiff flowers and a jar of earth, which the Pope blessed.
Some political and civil Authorities of Bangladesh were present, as well as a group of faithful and 40 children who danced a traditional dance.
As is usual in the Pontiff’s Apostolic Journeys, he was given military honors and hymns were played. Then the respective delegations were introduced.
At the end of the meeting, the Pope took his leave amid traditional dances. He then went to the Monument of National Martyrs of Savar.

Pope Francis shares the Good News with the youth of Myanmar

Myanmar: Pope Urges Youth to Share Good News of Christ
‘You are Concrete Signs of the Church’s Faith in Jesus Christ’

Skynet Screenshot
Pope Francis on November 30, 2017, urged the young people of Myanmar to share the good news of Jesus Christ. He told them: “Indeed, you are good news, because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die.”
His remarks came in the homily at St Mary’s Cathedral in Yangon for Holy Mass with the young.  He referred to the questions St. Paul asked in the 10th chapter of Romans, each question including what the Pope called a “little” word: unless.
“Paul asks three questions, and I want to put them to each of you personally,” the Holy Father challenged:  “First, how are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him?  Second, how are people to hear about the Lord unless they have a messenger, someone to bring the good news?  And third, how can they have a messenger unless one is sent?”
He asked the youth to think about those questions, but not to fear them. He suggested learning to listen, “talking with the saints,” and cultivate an interior life.
“Whatever your vocation, I urge you: be brave, be generous and, above all, be joyful!” Francis concluded. “Like Mary, may all of you be gentle but courageous in bringing Jesus and his love to others.”

Here is the text of the Pope’s Homily

As my visit to your beautiful country draws to a close, I join you in thanking God for the many graces we have received in these days.  Looking out at you, the young people of Myanmar, and all those who are united with us outside this cathedral, I want to share with you a phrase from today’s first reading that resonates within me.  Taken from the prophet Isaiah, it was echoed by Saint Paul in his letter to the young Christian community in Rome.  Let us listen once again to those words: “The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound” (Rom 10:15; cf. Is 52:7).
Dear young people of Myanmar, hearing your young voices and listening to you sing today, I want to apply those words to you.  Yes, you are “a welcome sound”; you are a beautiful and encouraging sight, for you bring us ‘good news’, the good news of your youth, your faith and your enthusiasm.  Indeed, you are good news, because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die.
Some people ask how it is possible to speak of good news when so many people around us are suffering?  Where is the good news when so much injustice, poverty and misery cast a shadow over us and our world?  But I want a very clear message to go out from this place.  I want people to know that you, the young men and women of Myanmar, are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ.  As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own country, and to the wider world.  You are ready to bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice and for the growth of that “love and peace” which Jesus brings.
But I also have a challenge to set before you.  Did you listen carefully to the first reading?  There Saint Paul repeats three times the word unless.  It is a little word, but it asks us to think about our place in God’s plan.  In effect, Paul asks three questions, and I want to put them to each of you personally.  First, how are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him?  Second, how are people to hear about the Lord unless they have a messenger, someone to bring the good news?  And third, how can they have a messenger unless one is sent?” (Rom 10:14-15).
I would like all of you to think deeply about these questions.  But don’t be worried!  As a loving “father” (or better, a “grandfather”!), I don’t want you to wrestle with these questions alone.  Let me offer a few thoughts that can guide you on your journey of faith, and help you to discern what it is that the Lord is asking of you.
Saint Paul’s first question is: “How are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him?”  Our world is full of many sounds, so many distractions that can drown out God’s voice.  If others are to hear and believe in him, they need to find him in people who are authentic.  People who know how to listen!  That is surely what you want to be!  But only the Lord can help you to be genuine, so talk to him in prayer.  Learn to hear his voice, quietly speaking in the depths of your heart.
But talk also to the saints, our friends in heaven who can inspire us.  Like Saint Andrew, whose feast we keep today.  Andrew was a humble fisherman who became a great martyr, a witness to the love of Jesus.  But before he became a martyr, he made his share of mistakes, and he needed to be patient, and to learn gradually how to be a true disciple of Christ.  So do not be afraid to learn from your own mistakes!  Let the saints lead you to Jesus and teach you to put your lives in his hands.  You know that Jesus is full of mercy.  So share with him all that you hold in your hearts: your fears and your worries, as well as your dreams and your hopes.  Cultivate your interior life, as you would tend a garden or a field.  This takes time; it takes patience.  But like a farmer who waits for the crops to grow, if you wait the Lord will make you bear much fruit, a fruit you can then share with others.
Paul’s second question is: “How are they to hear about Jesus without a messenger?”  Here is a great task entrusted in a special way to young people: to be “missionary disciples”, messengers of the good news of Jesus, above all to your contemporaries and friends.  Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think!  And don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between.  The Gospel always grows from small beginnings.  So make yourselves heard.  I want you to shout!  But not with your voices.  No!  I want you to shout with your lives, with your hearts, and in this way to be signs of hope to those who need encouragement, a helping hand to the sick, a welcome smile to the stranger, a kindly support to the lonely.
Paul’s last question is: “How can people have a messenger unless one is sent?”  At the end of this Mass we will all be sent forth, to take with us the gifts we have received and to share them with others.  This can be a little daunting, since we don’t always know where Jesus may be sending us.  But he never sends us out without also walking at our side, and always just a little in front, leading us into new and wonderful parts of his kingdom.
How does our Lord send Saint Andrew and his brother Simon Peter in today’s Gospel?  “Follow me!” he tells them (Mt 4:19).  That is what it means to be sent: to follow Christ, and not to charge ahead on our own!  The Lord will invite some of you to follow him as priests, and in this way to become “fishers of men”.  Others he will call to become religious or consecrated men and women.  And yet others he will call to the married life, to be loving fathers and mothers.  Whatever your vocation, I urge you: be brave, be generous and, above all, be joyful!
Here in this beautiful cathedral dedicated to Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, I encourage you to look to Mary.  When she said “yes” to the message of the angel, she was young, like yourselves.  Yet she had the courage to trust in the “good news” she had heard, and to express it in a life of faithful dedication to her vocation, total self-giving, and complete trust in God’s loving care.  Like Mary, may all of you be gentle but courageous in bringing Jesus and his love to others.
Dear young people, with great affection I commend all of you, and your families, to her maternal intercession.  And I ask you, please, to remember to pray for me.
God bless Myanmar!  [Myanmar pyi ko Payarthakin Kaung gi pei pa sei]

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An important Apostle who told brother Peter we have found the Messiah

St. Andrew

Image of St. Andrew


Feastday: November 30
Patron of Fishermen, singers, Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras
Birth: Early 1st Century
Death: Mid-to late 1st Century

St. Andrew, also known as Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter.
According to the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Much like his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was also a fisherman. Andrew's very name means strong and he was known for having good social skills.
In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and "fishers of men."
In the Gospel of Luke, Andrew is not initially named. It describes Jesus using a boat, believed to be solely Simon's, to preach to the multitudes and catch a large amount of fish on a night that originally was dry. Later, in Luke 5:7, it mentions Simon was not the only fisherman on the boat, but it is not until Luke 6:14 that there is talk of Andrew being Simon Peter's brother.
However, the Gospel of John tells a separate story, stating Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John the Baptist stated, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" It is then that Andrew and another made the decision to follow Jesus.
Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels, but it is believed Andrew was one of the closer disciples to Jesus. It was he who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, according to John 6:8. When Philip wanted to speak to Jesus about Greeks seeking him, he spoke to Andrew first. Andrew was also present at the last supper.
Per Christian tradition, Andrew went on to preach the Good News around the shores of the Black Sea and throughout what is now Greece and Turkey. Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in Patras. He was bound, rather than nailed, to a cross, as is described in the Acts of Andrew. He was crucified on a cross form known as "crux decussata," which is an X-shaped cross or a "saltire." Today this is commonly referred to as "St. Andrew's Cross." It is believed Andrew requested to be crucified this way, because he deemed himself "unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus."
Andrew's remains were originally preserved at Patras. However, some believe St. Regulus, who was a monk at Patras, received a vision telling him to hide some of Andrew's bones. Shortly after Regulus' dream, many of Andrew's relics were transferred to Constantinople by order of Roman emperor Constantius II around 357. Regulus later received orders in a second dream telling him to take the bones "to the ends of the earth." He was to build a shrine for them wherever he shipwrecked. He landed on the coat of Fife, Scotland.
In September 1964, Pope Paul VI had all of St. Andrew's relics that ended up in Vatican City sent back to Patras. Now, many of Andrew's relics and the cross on which he was martyred are kept in the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.
St. Andrew is venerated in Georgia as the first preacher of Christianity in that territory and in Cyprus for having struck the rocks creating a gush of healing waters upon landing on the shore.
His saltire cross is featured on the flag of Scotland and is represented in much of his iconography. He is commonly portrayed as an old man with long white hair and a beard, often holding the Gospel book or a scroll.
St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers. He is also the patron saint to several countries and cities including: Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras and his feast day is celebrated on November 30

Pope Francis addresses Bishops in Myanmar

Pope’s Address to Bishops of Myanmar
Healing, Accompaniment, and Prophecy

© L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis met November 29, 2017, with Myanmar’s Catholic bishops in the Archbishopric of Yangon.
His address to the group focused on three themes:
  • The first, The Gospel we preach is above all a message of healing, reconciliation, and peace.
  • My second word for you this evening is A good Pastor should have the odor of the sheep, but also the odor of God, don’t forget!
  • My third word for you is The Church in Myanmar witnesses the Gospel daily through its educational and charitable works, its defense of human rights, its support of democratic principles.
* * *
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address the Pope gave in the course of the meeting with the Bishops.
Eminence, Dear Brother Bishops,
It’s been a full day for all of us, but of great joy! We celebrated the Eucharist this morning together with faithful from all parts of the country and, in the afternoon, we met with the leader of the majority Buddhist community.  I would like our meeting this evening to be a moment of serene gratitude for these blessings and of tranquil reflection on the joys and challenges of your ministry as Pastors of Christ’s flock in this country. I thank Monsignor Felix [Lian Khen Thang] for the words of greeting he addressed to me in your name. I embrace you all, in the Lord, with great affection.
I would like to group my thoughts around three words: healing, accompaniment, and prophecy.
The first, healing. The Gospel we preach is above all a message of healing, reconciliation, and peace. Through the Blood of Christ on the cross, God has reconciled the world to Himself and has invited us to be messengers of that healing grace — grace of healing. Here in Myanmar, this message has a particular resonance, given that the country is committed to overcome profoundly rooted divisions and to build national unity. Your flocks bear the signs of this conflict and have generated courageous witnesses of the faith and of ancient traditions. For you, therefore, the preaching of the Gospel must not only be a source of consolation and strength but also a call to foster unity, charity, and healing in the life of the people. The unity we share and celebrate is born in diversity — don’t forget this, it’s born of diversity. It values the differences between persons as a source of mutual enrichment and growth; it invites to rediscover one another together, in a culture of encounter and solidarity.
May you be able to experience constantly in your ministry the guidance and help of the Lord in the commitment to foster healing and communion at every level of the life of the Church, so that the holy People of God, your flock, through its example of forgiveness and reconciling love, may be salt and light for hearts that aspire to that peace that the world cannot give. The Catholic community in Myanmar can be proud of its prophetic witness of the love of God and of neighbor, which is expressed in commitment to the poor, to those that are deprived of rights and above all in these times, to the many displaced that, so to speak, lie wounded on the roadsides. I ask you to transmit my gratitude to all those that, as the Good Samaritan, do their utmost with generosity to bring to them and to their neighbor who is in need the balsam of healing, without taking account of their religion or ethnic group.
Your healing ministry finds a particular expression in the commitment to the ecumenical dialogue and inter-religious collaboration. I pray so that your continuing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and to unite yourselves to followers of other religions in weaving relations of peace will produce abundant fruits for reconciliation in the life of the country. The Conference of inter-religious peace, held at Yangon last spring, was an important witness before the world of the determination of religions to live in peace and to reject every act of violence and hatred perpetrated in the name of religion.
And in this healing remember that the Church is a “field hospital.” Heal, heal wounds, heal souls, heal. This is your first mission, to heal, to heal the wounds.
My second word for you this evening is accompaniment. A good Pastor should have the odor of the sheep, but also the odor of God, don’t forget! – Also the odor of God. In our days we are called to be a “Church that goes forth” to bring the light of Christ to every periphery (Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 20). In as much as Bishops, your lives and your ministry are called to be conformed to this spirit of missionary involvement, especially through regular pastoral visits to the parishes and the communities that make up your local Churches. This is a privileged means to accompany, as loving Fathers, your priests in the daily commitment to make the flock grow in holiness, fidelity and a spirit of service. I have spoken about accompanying the priests: be close to the priests, don’t forget that the closest neighbor of a Bishop is the priest. May every priest not only know but feel that he has a Father in the Bishop.
By the grace of God, the Church in Myanmar has inherited a solid faith and fervent missionary breath from the work of those that brought the Gospel to this land. On these stable foundations, and in communion with the Presbyters and the Religious, continue to permeate the laity in the spirit of an authentic missionary discipleship and to seek a wise inculturation of the evangelical message in daily life and in the traditions of your local communities. In this connection, the contribution of the catechists is essential. Their formative enrichment must remain a priority for you. And, don’t forget that the catechists are the pillars of evangelization in every parish.
Above all, I would like to ask you for a special commitment to accompanying young people. Take care of their formation in healthy moral principles, which will guide them in facing the challenges of a world menaced by ideological and cultural colonizations. The next Synod of Bishops will not only be concerned with these aspects, but it will challenge young people directly, listening to their stories and involving them in the common discernment on how better to proclaim the Gospel in the coming years. One of the great blessings of the Church in Myanmar is her youth and, in particular, the number of seminarians and young Religious. We thank God for this. In the spirit of the Synod, involve them, please, and support them in their journey of faith, because, through their idealism and enthusiasm, they are called to be joyful and convincing evangelizers of their contemporaries.
My third word for you is prophecy. The Church in Myanmar witnesses the Gospel daily through its educational and charitable works, its defense of human rights, its support of democratic principles. May you be able to put the Catholic community in conditions to continue to have a constructive role in the life of the society, making your voice heard in questions of national interest, insisting particularly on respect of the dignity and the rights of all, in a special way of the poorest and most vulnerable. I am confident that the quinquennial pastoral strategy, which the Church has developed in the larger context of the construction of the State, will bear abundant fruit not only for the future of the local communities but also for the entire country. I’m referring especially to the need to protect the environment and to ensure a correct use of the country’s rich natural resources for the benefit of future generations. The custody of the divine gift of Creation cannot be separated from a healthy human and social ecology. In fact, “the authentic care of our relations with nature is inseparable from fraternity, from justice and from fidelity in our dealings with others” (Encyclical Laudato Si’, 70).
Dear Brother Bishops, I thank God for this moment of communion and I pray that our being together will reinforce you in the commitment to be faithful Pastors and servants of the flock that Christ has entrusted to you. I know that your ministry is challenging and that, together with your priests, often tiring under “the burden of the day and the scorching heat” (Matthew 20:12). I exhort you to keep the balance in physical as well as spiritual health and to give thought, in a paternal way, to the health of your priests.
And, speaking of spiritual health, remember the first task of the Bishop. When the first Christians received the laments of the Hellenists because their widows and children were being neglected, the Apostles gathered and “invented” the deacons. And Peter announced this news and announced also the task of the Bishops saying: “we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Cf. Acts 6:1-6). Prayer is the Bishop’s first task. Each one of you must ask himself in the evening, in the examination of conscience: “How many hours did I pray today?”
Dear brothers, I exhort you to keep a balance in your physical and spiritual health. Above all, I encourage you to grow every day in prayer and in the experience of God’s reconciling love, because it is at the base of your priestly identity, the guarantee of the solidity of your preaching and the source of pastoral charity with which you lead the people of God on path of holiness and truth. I invoke the Lord’s grace upon you with great affection, on the priests, the Religious, and all the laity of your local Churches. I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.
And now I invite you to pray, all together, you in Burmese, I in Spanish, the Hail Mary to Our Lady.
[Hail Mary] May Almighty God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit bless you

Pope celebrates Mass today in Myanmar

Mass in Myanmar: Healing from the Cross
‘The Ultimate Interpreter of God’s Mysteries is Jesus’

© L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis proclaimed, “The ultimate interpreter of God’s mysteries is Jesus,” on November 29, 2017, in his homily at Mass at the Kyaikkasan Ground in Yangon.
Speaking before a congregation estimated in the hundreds of thousands, he reminded listeners that Jesus did not teach “by long speeches or by grand demonstrations of political or earthly power but by giving His life on the cross.”  The Pope warned: “Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing in our own wisdom, but the truth is we can easily lose our sense of direction.
“At those times we need to remember that we have a sure compass before us, in the crucified Lord. In the cross, we find the wisdom that can guide our life with the light that comes from God.”
Noting that the Church has done much to help heal the suffering in Myanmar, he recalled that “from the cross also comes healing.”  He said that in Myanmar many people “bear the wounds of violence, wounds both visible and invisible”
The Holy Father said that there can be a thought to react with anger and revenge, “yet the way of revenge is not the way of Jesus…Jesus’ way is radically different. When hatred and rejection led him to His passion and death, He responded with forgiveness and compassion.”
Homily of the Holy Father
Dear Brothers and Sisters, [greetings in Burmese language]
Before coming to this country, I very much looked forward to this moment. Many of you have come from far and remote mountainous areas, some even on foot. I have come as a fellow pilgrim to listen and to learn from you, as well as to offer you some words of hope and consolation.
Today’s first reading, from the Book of Daniel, helps us to see how limited is the wisdom of King Belshazzar and his seers. They knew how to praise “gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone” (Dn 5:4), but they did not have the wisdom to praise God in Whose hand is our life and breath. Daniel, on the other hand, had the wisdom of the Lord and was able to interpret His great mysteries.
The ultimate interpreter of God’s mysteries is Jesus. He is the wisdom of God in person (cf. 1 Cor 1:24). Jesus did not teach us His wisdom by long speeches or by grand demonstrations of political or earthly power but by giving His life on the cross. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing in our own wisdom, but the truth is we can easily lose our sense of direction. At those times we need to remember that we have a sure compass before us, in the crucified Lord. In the cross, we find the wisdom that can guide our life with the light that comes from God.
From the cross also comes healing. There, Jesus offered His wounds to the Father for us, the wounds by which we are healed (cf. 1 Pet 2:24). May we always have the wisdom to find in the wounds of Christ the source of all healing! I know that many in Myanmar bear the wounds of violence, wounds both visible and invisible. The temptation is to respond to these injuries with a worldly wisdom that, like that of the king in the first reading, is deeply flawed. We think that healing can come from anger and revenge. Yet the way of revenge is not the way of Jesus.
Jesus’ way is radically different. When hatred and rejection led him to His passion and death, He responded with forgiveness and compassion. In today’s Gospel, the Lord tells us that, like Him, we too may encounter rejection and obstacles, yet He will give us a wisdom that cannot be resisted (cf. Lk 21:15). He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, through Whom the love of God has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5). By the gift of his Spirit, Jesus enables us each to be signs of His wisdom, which triumphs over the wisdom of this world, and His mercy, which soothes even the most painful of injuries.
On the eve of His passion, Jesus gave Himself to His apostles under the signs of bread and wine. In the gift of the Eucharist, we not only recognize, with the eyes of faith, the gift of His body and blood; we also learn how to rest in His wounds, and there to be cleansed of all our sins and foolish ways. By taking refuge in Christ’s wounds, dear brothers and sisters, may you know the healing balm of the Father’s mercy and find the strength to bring it to others, to anoint every hurt and every painful memory. In this way, you will be faithful witnesses of the reconciliation and peace that God wants to reign in every human heart and in every community.
I know that the Church in Myanmar is already doing much to bring the healing balm of God’s mercy to others, especially those most in need. There are clear signs that even with very limited means, many communities are proclaiming the Gospel to other tribal minorities, never forcing or coercing but always inviting and welcoming. Amid much poverty and difficulty, many of you offer practical assistance and solidarity to the poor and suffering. Through the daily ministrations of its bishops, priests, religious and catechists, and particularly through the praiseworthy work of Catholic Karuna Myanmar and the generous assistance provided by the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Church in this country is helping great numbers of men, women and children, regardless of religion or ethnic background. I can see that the Church here is alive, that Christ is alive and here with you and with your brothers and sisters of other Christian communities. I encourage you to keep sharing with others the priceless wisdom that you have received, the love of God welling up in the heart of Jesus.
Jesus wants to give this wisdom in abundance. He will surely crown your efforts to sow seeds of healing and reconciliation in your families, communities and the wider society of this nation. Does He not tell us that His wisdom is irresistible (cf. Lk 21:15)? His message of forgiveness and mercy uses a logic that not all will want to understand, and which will encounter obstacles. Yet His love, revealed on the cross is ultimately unstoppable. It is like a spiritual GPS that unfailingly guides us towards the inner life of God and the heart of our neighbor.
Our Blessed Mother Mary followed her Son even to the dark mountain of Calvary and she accompanies us at every step of our earthly journey. May she obtain for us the grace always be to messengers of true wisdomheartfelt mercy to those in need, and the joy that comes from resting in the wounds of Jesus, who loved us to the end.
May God bless all of you! May God bless the Church in Myanmar! May He bless this land with His peace! God bless Myanmar!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Weak knees, no spine; judges give pass to the most profound baby killers at Planned Parenthood

Court tie means Louisiana Planned Parenthood keeps funding

Pamphlets are available at a New Orleans Planned Parenthood location on August 21, 2015.   (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, l The Times-Picayune)

Pamphlets are available at a New Orleans Planned Parenthood location on August 21, 2015. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, l The Times-Picayune)

A deeply divided federal appeals court in New Orleans refused Tuesday to reconsider a ruling that lets Planned Parenthood facilities in the state continue to receive Medicaid funding.
The vote was 7-7 among the 14 active judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which currently has three vacancies.
The money in question goes to health services other than abortion for low-income women. However, abortion opponents have opposed any government funding for the organization.
In 2015, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal moved to block the funding. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the group's Louisiana affiliate, and three of its patients challenged the funding cutoff in federal court.
A federal judge in Baton Rouge blocked the defunding and a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit later upheld that block.
The state sought a full court rehearing, leading to Tuesday's tie vote.
The decision comes as President Donald Trump has nominated three people for the court, including attorney Kyle Duncan, who has defended Louisiana abortion restrictions.
Jindal was a Republican. His successor, John Bel Edwards, is a Democrat who campaigned as an abortion opponent and allowed the state's case to continue.
The case has divided the appeals court for months. The initial 2016 opinion allowing funding to continue was unanimous. However, one member of that panel, Priscilla Owen, later reversed herself, issuing a belated dissent.
Tuesday's 7-7 was announced in a brief notice issued by the original three-judge panel. It was accompanied by a more than four-page dissent written by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, joined by Owen and five others.
The original 5th Circuit decision rejected several state arguments that Planned Parenthood was "unqualified" to provide the care. It also said cutting off funding would deny some women access to needed medical care, and that, under the law, the Medicaid patients have the right to care from the qualified provider of their choice.
Lawyers for the state argued that Planned Parenthood should have gone through an administrative process instead of to court. And they said the panel ruling is at odds with Supreme Court precedent regarding the extent of a Medicaid recipient's right to choose a care provider.
"As a result of the majority opinion's holding, a Medicaid provider can now make an end run around the administrative exhaustion requirements in a state's statutory scheme," Elrod wrote.
It won't be the court's final say in the case -- the decision upheld a preliminary injunction in a case still pending in district court. But Elrod lamented that Tuesday's opinion "is binding precedent that will guide the development of law in our circuit."

Archbishop Aymond gives thanks for generous response across Archdiocese of New Orleans for hurricane releif

Amazing hurricane relief response a gift from God

anksgiving was a time to thank God for all of our blessings, and you made a very specific point of giving thanks to the people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans who responded so generously to the call for hurricane relief donations. Can you give us an update on the donations?
I’m sure everyone realizes how devastating the 2017 hurricane season was in Texas, southwest Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. I asked Catholics to offer prayer and financial donations so that we could distribute the funds to the dioceses most affected. Many gave through their parish; others sent their gifts to my office. As of last week, we have collected $2,120,644.94 in hurricane relief funds, which is a truly amazing amount. Some funds are still coming in. I’ve been able to apportion the relief money to the dioceses that were the hardest hit. At the meeting of the U.S. bishops last month in Baltimore, Archbishop Robert Octavio Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was overcome with appreciation for what the people of New Orleans have done for his people. He told us the infrastructure of Puerto Rico and the islands needs so much rebuilding, but his people have not lost faith or hope. Other bishops we assisted also expressed their profound gratitude.
What impresses you most about the response?
I think our Catholic people are extremely generous and have big hearts filled with charity – that’s obvious – and I also believe in New Orleans, we have been there. Our experience with Katrina motivates us to give in order to be in solidarity with the people who have now gone through a similar experience. When we reach out to help, as we know, we’re not only giving people a gift to help rebuild, but we’re also expressing through our gift our desire to reassure them that God is faithful, that we see in them the face of Christ and that we are praying for them that they do not lose hope.
Our help went beyond financial donations, correct?
Yes. Second Harvest Food Bank, which is the archdiocesan food bank serving 23 civil parishes in south Louisiana, collected and distributed food, water and disaster supplies to the victims of the major storms. We delivered hundreds of thousands of pounds of supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey in southwest Louisiana and Texas, and we also sent financial contributions to them. Many truckloads of aid were sent to Florida victims of Hurricane Irma and also to Puerto Rico residents who are dealing with the long-term impact of Hurricane Maria. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans sent staff members to help with disaster recovery efforts in Beaumont and Houston. We provided a case worker here to help 10 families from Texas, and we are trying to get them back in their  homes. We also funded a badly needed case manager for Catholic Charities in Lafayette, where some hurricane victims wound up. Needless to say, our parishes, schools and Knights of Columbus councils went far beyond monetary donations. They sent volunteers to gut houses and clean up and deliver supplies. Many huge trucks packed by several parishes were sent to help those in this time of tragedy. It was an amazing, joint effort.
Did that make you feel blessed at Thanksgiving?
Yes. When we talk about stewardship, we’re saying that we realize that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. Does God expect a gift in return? The answer is yes. He expects us to use our gifts in order to show our life of discipleship, to use our gifts to share with those who are in need. The Lord does expect us to give back, not so much to him, but to his church and to the people of God, especially those who are hurting. My prayers and heartfelt gratitude go out to everyone who answered the call!
Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wednesday Saint of the Day canonized by Saint Pope JPII

St. Francis Fasani

Image of St. Francis Fasani


Feastday: November 29
Birth: 1681
Death: 1742
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

Franciscan mystic, born Antony Fasani in 1681. He entered the Franciscans and was ordained in 1775. While serving as provincial and in other administrative positions, he was known for prayer and for supernatural gifts. Francis was canonized in 1986.

Very large crowds gather for Mass in Buddhist dominated Myanmar

Myanmar: Huge Crowds at Pope’s First Public Mass
Kyaikkasan Ground

CTV Screenshot
A crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands joined Pope Francis for his first public Mass in Myanmar, a majority Buddhist nation with a Catholic population of just 659,000.  The Mass was held early morning on November 29, 2017, at the Kyaikkasan Ground.
The event occurred on the second full day of the Pope’s apostolic journey to Myanmar.  The previous day included meetings with religious leaders, political and civic leaders,  Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw, and Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
The Holy Father will be in Myanmar until November 30, then going to Bangladesh until December 2, 2017.

Permanent Deacon Congress comes to New Orleans in July 2018

Exciting news: the big 2018 Diaconate Congress, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate, is coming to New Orleans in July.  And it will be celebrated in one of the most authentic Catholic cities in the USA during the midst of New Orleans' 300th anniversary as a city.

Our good friend Deacon Greg Kandra has all the details with plenty of links.  Here is his article:

Check this out: details on the 2018 Diaconate Congress in New Orleans

As many deacons may already know, the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD), in conjunction with the USCCB, is organizing a congress in New Orleans in July of 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the diaconate as a permanent order.
Few details of the event have been available. Until now.
Yesterday, the NADD launched a website for the event, whose theme is “Christ the Servant: Yesterday, Today and Forever.” You can find the site here: Deacon2018. It is clearly still a work in progress, but some exploration uncovers a treasure trove of information.  Among other things, the site has a list of speakers, workshops, resources, and details about New Orleans and hotel accommodations. 
If you go to the home page, there’s a menu bar on the top right corner that can tell you more.
As the website puts it:
The National Congress of Deacons in 2018 will be a celebration for the whole Church. Deacons and their families will be joined by bishops, priests, religious and laity to mark the 50th anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate as a permanent ordained ministry of the Catholic Church.
The Congress activities include Masses, Morning and Evening Prayer, multiple daily presentations, workshops, and fellowship. National exhibitors are invited to share resources for continuing education, pilgrimage and travel, books and publications, vestments and deacon wear. Vendor registration is open now from the “vendor registration” link on the deacon2018 homepage.
The Congress will be headquartered at the Marriott New Orleans on Canal Street. Many events will be held in the Marriott utilizing the hotel’s large meeting spaces. A special room rate has been negotiated for attendees; a reservation link and other details will be announced beginning in early 2018.
The 2018 Congress is planned by NADD with support of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Meantime, the Center for Diaconal Formation at Seton Hall University yesterday posted an announcement about some of the participants and their topics.
I’m excited and humbled to be a part of this event and looking forward to meeting new friends and re-connecting with old ones next summer. See you in New Orleans!

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Saint of the miraculous medal

St. Catherine Laboure

Image of St. Catherine Laboure


Feastday: November 28
Beatified By: May 28, 1933 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized By: July 27, 1947 by Pope Pius XII

St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an early age she entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times in 1830 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who then was a twenty-four year old novice.
On July 18, the first apparition occurred in the community's motherhouse. St. Catherine beheld a lady seated on the right side of the sanctuary. When St. Catherine approached her, the heavenly visitor told her how to act in time of trial and pointed to the altar as the source of all consolation. Promising to entrust St. Catherine with a mission which would cause her great suffering, the lady also predicted the anticlerical revolt which occurred at Paris in 1870.
On November 27, the lady showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the "Miraculous Medal." She commissioned St. Catherine to have one made, and to spread devotion to this medal. At that time, only her spiritual director, Father Aladel, knew of the apparitions. Forty-five years later, St. Catherine spoke fully of the apparitions to one of her superiors. She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.

An important diplomatic visit soon after arrival in Myanmar

Myanmar: Pope Meets Head of the Burmese Army
The ‘Great Responsibility’ of the Country’s Authorities

© L'Osservatore Romano
A few hours after his arrival in Myanmar (Burma) on November 27, 2017, Pope Francis received a “courtesy visit” from the head of the Burmese Army, General Min Aung Hlaing at the Archbishopric of Yangon.
The private meeting, which was added to the program and, initially, should have taken place on November 30, was brought forward to the Pope’s first day of the visit. It lasted about a quarter of an hour, from 5:55 pm local time (12:25 pm in Rome) to 6:10 pm.
According to Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, the discussions were the occasion to stress “the great responsibility of the country’s Authorities in this moment of transition.” In fact, the Burmese Army holds part of the power.
The visit ended with the traditional exchange of gifts: the Pope gave the General a medal of the Apostolic Journey, while the General gave the Pontiff a harp in the form of boat and a decorated rice bowl.
General Min Aung Hlaing was accompanied by a delegation of four high-ranking military men: three heads of the Bureau of Special Operations – Lieutenant General Tun Tun Naung; Lieutenant General Than Tun Oo and Lieutenant General Soe Htut, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Aung Zaw Lin.
The exchanges took place in the presence of a translator of the Church of Myanmar, who will accompany the Pope during the whole of the first stage of his 21st Apostolic Journey, which will continue in Bangladesh.
It was Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, who suggested this interview when he met with Pope Francis last November 18. The end is “not to promote what [the General] has done, but to have a dialogue with him…Perhaps it can soften his heart and this might be, perhaps, the first step towards peace,” he explained

Pope Francis now 1st Pope to visit Myanmar

Myanmar: Pope Francis’ Arrival
First Pontiff on Burmese Soil

© L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis arrived in Yangon (Rangoon), in Myanmar (Burma) around 1:20 pm local time (7:50 am in Rome) on November 27, 2017, for his 21st international trip.
His plane, Alitalia’s Flight A 330 left the Leonardo da Vinci Roman airport last evening, around 10:00 pm During the flight, which lasted some ten hours, the Holy Father greeted the journalists traveling with him, thanking them for their work “which sows much good.”
“I wish you a good stay. They say it’s very hot, I’m sorry, but may it at least be fruitful,” he said before greeting the media representatives one by one.
On his arrival, under a mitigated sky and a temperature of some 30 degrees Celsius, the Pontiff was received by a Minister Delegate of the President of the Republic, Htin Kyaw, by the Burmese Bishops and by some one hundred children in traditional costumes.
After the sober reception, the Pope returned to the Archbishopric of Yangon, where “a festive crowd” awaited him, reported Vatican Radio. He would celebrate Mass there in private.
No official meeting was planned for this first day. Tomorrow, November 28, the Holy Father will meet with the Burmese Authorities, the civil society and the Diplomatic Corps at Naypyidaw, the country’s capital. The Pope will have a private conversation with President Htin Kyaw, as well as with the Counsellor of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Pontiff will stay in Myanmar until November 30, when he will leave for Bangladesh. His return to Rome is scheduled for next Saturday, December 2. This is his third trip to the Far East, after Sri Lanka and the Philippines (January 2015) and Korea (August 2014).

Another Marian Feast Day today

Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Today, We Celebrate the "Awesome Solemnity and Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal".

Saint Catherine Laboure is often associated with this devotion as Saint Catherine Laboure received a number of visions from Our Lady in the 1830's as regards this Medal.

Saint Catherine Laboure was a "Sister of Charity".

Saint Catherine Laboure pray for us.

Here is some interesting information.

"The Miraculous Medal is a physical manifestation of the gift of grace that perpetually exudes from Our Lady and it, too, is a Sacramental, a most miraculous one. It was originally called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but because so many miracles were reported by those wearing it that it became known as the Miraculous Medal. Often the Medal is presented to Catholics who are making their first holy Communion, receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation and given at Baptisms.

The Blessed Virgin Mary declared that those who wear it around their necks will be given wondrous graces, among them, not sinking into a life of iniquity or becoming more pure".


This is a very brief version. To obtain the beautiful booklet, MARY'S MIRACULOUS MEDAL, with lovely images, especially good for children to peruse, go HERE. This booklet also has the conversion story of Ratisbonne and the perpetual Novena. The above image is not part of the booklet, but there are many in it and all as lovely, including the cover.

In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by Holy Mother Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. We have images of her on Pages 3 and 4 of this presentation.

She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a "shining child" who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:

"These are the symbols of grace I shed upon those who ask for them." A frame formed around the Mother of God and within it was written in gold letters, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

The voice then told her to have a medal struck after this model. Then the vision turned and on the reverse side was a large M with a bar through it and a cross over it. Beneath this M were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns and the other pierced by a sword.

This second vision occurred periodically until 1831. Because she wanted to remain unknown, Catherine told them only to her confessor. Msgr. Aladel, who received permission from the Archbishop of Paris to have the medal struck. The first 1500 were issued in June of 1832, and almost at once there were reported healings, conversions and miraculous events. The Saint could not be convinced to appear at any of the canonical hearings, but eventually the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary was sanctioned on the overwhelming evidence of the miracles obtained by those wearing the medal. Saint Catherine Laboure only revealed herself as the visionary eight months before her death, in 1876. Like St. Therese of Lisieux, this came as a surprise to the other nuns as they considered her quite ordinary. She was canonized in 1947 by Ven. Pope Pius XII. Her Feast is November 27 as is the Feast of the Miraculous Medal, although in some places it is celebrated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception because of its relation to it.

We have related that this medal is the impetus to conversion for those who wear it or have it in their possession.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Monday Saint of the Day

St. Vergil of Salzburg

Image of St. Vergil of Salzburg


Feastday: November 27
Birth: 700
Death: 784

One of the most learned men of his time, St. Vergil of Salzburg (fl. VIII Century) was born in Ireland and undertook a journey to Europe in 743. He spent two years at the court of Pepin the Short and travelled to Bavaria to make peace between the French king and Duke Odilo. Odilo appointed Vergil abbot of St. Peter's, and St. Boniface of Mainz twice complained to Pope Zachary of Vergil's "unorthodox" views. In the first matter, a question of baptismal validity, the pope sided with Vergil and agreed that baptisms are valid even if the priest mispronounces the formula. In the second, the pope censured Vergil, who may have written a cosmology under the name of Ćthicus Ister, for believing that people exist in the Antipodes but took no drastic action. In 767, Vergil was appointed Bishop of Salzburg, where he dedicated the first cathedral. He translated the relics of St. Rupert to the cathedral, where he may also have translated relics of St. Samthann and of St. Bridget of Ireland. Vergil established monasteries in his diocese and sent missionaries to Carinthia and Styria. The Apostle to the Slovenes, Vergil was canonied in 1233 by Gregory IX.

A reflection on this Feast of Christ the King

This last Sunday of the Church's liturgical calendar gives us the Solemnity of Christ the King! This wonderful celebration is a relatively new addition to the church calendar as it was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. The pope turned to Christ the King during a time in world history, particularly across Europe, of increasing political dictatorships and an increase in communism. This was leading many Catholics of the time to dismiss the authority of Christ as our King and even led to decreased belief in faith and religion by those coming under the rule of these dictators.

Pius XI issued an encyclical, Quas Primas, as he instituted this feast. The three main points of his encyclical were:

1. To see that the Church has the right to freedom and immunity from the state.
2. That leaders and nations are bound to give respect to Christ.
3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of this feast and remember that Christ reigns in their hearts, minds, wills and bodies.

This papal declaration helped to refocus the Church on Christ and to return to the practice of the faith in that difficult and dark period between the two World Wars and the economic calamity of the times.

Today, this celebration continues to grow in popularity as the Church teaches us what the kingdom and reign of Christ really means! The feast of Christ the King was moved from October to this last Sunday of the liturgical year in 1969 by Pope Paul VI as we prepare for Advent and the we wait for the coming Messiah, Christ the King!

"To Jesus Christ our sovereign King who is the world's Salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring and thanks and adoration.
Christ Jesus, Victor!
Christ Jesus, Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!"

Pope Francis Angelus Address for Feast of CTK

Pope: Criteria for Kingdom of God
Christ as King, Shepherd, and Judge

CTV Screenshot
In the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Solemnity of Christ King of the Universe, the Gospel shows the criteria for belonging to the Kingdom of God, Pope Francis described on November 26, 2017. His remarks came before the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.
Today we have before us Christ as King, Shepherd, and Judge,” the Holy Father said. “His royalty of guide, of service, is also a royalty that at the end of time will be affirmed as Judgment.”
The Pope described the “grandiose vision” of Mathew 25:31: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the Angles with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
Pope Francis noted that it is “the solemn introduction” to the account of Universal Judgement.  Having lived a humble life on earth, Jesus now appears in “divine glory.”  The Pope continues: “The whole of humanity is gathered before Him, and He exercises His authority separating one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
The parable of judgment gives the clear message, the Pope explains, of Jesus’ expectation of caring for those in need:The parable of the Judgment continues presenting the King who sends away from Him those who during their life were not preoccupied about the needs of brothers.
Jesus thus reveals the decisive criteria of his Judgment, namely, concrete love of one’s neighbor in difficulty. And revealed thus is the power of love, the royalty of God: in solidarity with one who suffers, to arouse everywhere attitudes and works of mercy.”
* * *
The Holy Father’s Remarks Before the Angelus:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In this last Sunday of the Liturgical Year we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ King of the universe. His royalty of guide, of service, is also a royalty that at the end of time will be affirmed as Judgment. Today we have before us Christ as King, Shepherd, and Judge, which shows the criteria of belonging to the Kingdom of God. Here are the criteria.
The evangelical page opens with a grandiose vision. Turning to His disciples, Jesus says: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the Angles with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31). It’s the solemn introduction of the account of the Universal Judgment. After having lived His earthly existence in humility and poverty, Jesus presents Himself now in the divine glory that belongs to Him, surrounded by an angelic array. The whole of humanity is gathered before Him, and He exercises His authority separating one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
To those He placed on His right hand He says: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (vv. 34-36). The righteous are surprised, because they don’t remember having ever met Jesus, and even less so, having helped Him in that way, but He says: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (v. 40). This word never ends striking us, because it reveals to us to what point the love of God reaches: to the point of identifying Himself with us, but not when we are well, when we are healthy and happy, no, but when we are in need. And He lets Himself be found in this hidden way, He stretches His hand out as a beggar. Jesus thus reveals the decisive criteria of his Judgment, namely, concrete love of one’s neighbor in difficulty. And revealed thus is the power of love, the royalty of God: in solidarity with one who suffers, to arouse everywhere attitudes and works of mercy.
The parable of the Judgment continues presenting the King who sends away from Him those who during their life were not preoccupied about the needs of brothers. In this case, also they remain surprised and ask: “Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?” Implying: “If we had seen You, we would certainly have helped You!” But the King will answer: “as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me” (v. 45). At the end of life, we will be judged on love, namely, on our concrete commitment to love and serve Jesus in our littlest and neediest brothers. That beggar, that needy one that stretches out his hand is Jesus; that sick person that I must visit is Jesus, that imprisoned man is Jesus, that hungry man is Jesus. Let us think about this.
Jesus will come at the end of time to judge all the nations, but He comes to us every day, in so many ways, and He asks that we receive Him. May the Virgin Mary help us to meet and receive Him in His Word and in the Eucharist, and at the same time in brothers and sisters suffering hunger, sickness, oppression, injustice. May our heart receive him in the today of our life so that He will receive us in the eternity of His Kingdom of light and peace.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia m. Forrester]