March 26, 2017

Reflection on the Fifth Sunday of Lent | The Raising of Lazarus, "Untie Him and Let Him Go." John 11:1-45

The raising of Lazarus

The Fifth Sunday of Lent (A) April 2, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

"Untie him and let him go." (John 11: 44) 

Nearing the end of the season of Lent, the Church this Sunday is knocking at the door of Holy Week (which begins next Sunday, April 9, with Palm Sunday), seeking entrance to the events that together form the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the annual reminder of God’s love for His people!

During Holy Week, the faithful will visit the Upper Room during the Passover. At this meal, Jesus takes bread and wine and declares it to be His body and blood, which will be poured out for the many. Good Friday is the next stop on the journey. Kneeling at the foot of the cross, the people of God will adore that wood on which their Savior died. The story does not end there! At the Easter Vigil Mass, the people will stand in awe and wonder at the empty tomb. Jesus is risen! Alleluia!

Through Jesus Christ, God has conquered all sin, suffering, and death. While all of these realities are part of our lives, they will not have the final say. The final chapter of the book is hope! Through His passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus has carried all of humanity’s sins, suffering, and death, including yours and mine. The path to eternal life goes through the Upper Room, to the cross at Golgotha, and stops at the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. The lives of Jesus’ followers have meaning, life, and hope because the Word who became flesh at Christmas now has suffered, died, and risen from the dead. The celebration of Holy Week is the most important week of the liturgical calendar and every Christian should make it a priority to celebrate these mysteries in their respective parishes.

The Gospel for this final Sunday of Lent is a microcosm of the journey of Holy Week, and thus is quite fitting for those banging at the door of Holy Week. It is the familiar story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Recall that Jesus is friends with Lazarus, and his sisters Martha and Mary. At Lazarus’ death, Jesus makes His way to Bethany to console Martha and Mary. Martha and Jesus have a conversation outside the village in which Martha professes Jesus to be the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus weeps as He nears the tomb of Lazarus. Having been warned of the stench of death if the stone is removed from the entrance of the tomb, Jesus orders it moved anyway. He cries out to Lazarus who came forth from the tomb wrapped in his burial cloth. “Untie him,” Jesus said, “and let him go.”

You are Lazarus! Your sin, suffering, and death binds you in much the same way as death bound Lazarus. Sinfulness controls the human heart and soul, holding it prisoner. The scourge of suffering, whether it is mental, physical, or emotional, is the result of the human condition. It can drive the person to despair and hopelessness. Wallowing in the pain, one can feel bound as Lazarus. Sin and suffering ultimately lead to death, where there is no hope.

That is not the end of the story! There is hope because Jesus intervenes. He orders the stone rolled back. There is a stench that emanates from the tomb, the horrid smell of death. Jesus, who is God Himself in the human person, does not avoid that stench. He is not afraid of it but walks right to it. Jesus is close to His people. Sinfulness and suffering are the effects of the raw human condition that plagues everyone. That condition does not scare off the Lord! He has come to be united with His people, to bring hope, forgiveness, new life, and ultimately to get rid of that which causes the stench.

Finally, Jesus orders Lazarus to be untied and let go. He is free of sin, suffering, and death. The stench is no longer filling his nostrils. Free to live, Lazarus walks this earth once again. And so, too, Jesus frees all of His people from sin, suffering, and death. The Catholic faith is based on the hope of the resurrection. To Holy Week each person brings that which binds him, asking Jesus to nail it to His cross. Stand in awe and wonder at that empty tomb on Easter Sunday and realize that you are Lazarus, and from your den of stench and death you too will walk away, unbound, free, to live with God for all of eternity. Now, that’s real hope! Don’t be afraid to bang away at the door of Holy Week! You must be allowed to enter the most sacred moment of the year, that you might be a person of hope and new life. Jesus is risen! Alleluia!

Homily for the 5th Sunday in Lent, April 2, 2017, Year A

The raising of Lazarus

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing

All of us, I am sure, have read recent accounts about the decline of interest in religion among Americans. A recent survey reports that 20% of Americans have no religious affiliations at all and feel no need of God or belief in God. It seems they feel that they are self-sufficient; God is not necessary.

So why are we here? Our motives are many and mixed. Some are here in their need seeking God’s help. Some are here seeking God’s forgiveness, others out of love of God, others out of thanksgiving for all that God has done for them. Some are here simply out of a sense of duty and others out of mere habit. All of us are looking forward to everlasting life with God in heaven.

In the opening prayer of today’s Mass, we heard the words: “Help us to embrace the world that you have given us, that we may transform the darkness of its pain into the life and joy of Easter.”

In the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel we heard: “Thus says the LORD GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them…”

Well, what does this mean for us, living out our lives as we do in 2017 America?

To answer that I would pay some attention to what we frequently hear, namely the spirit of defeat often quoted in our newspapers and which sometimes infects our own hearts and thoughts. Fortunately there are words of optimism coming from many people who surround us countering those transmitting a spirit of defeat. Perhaps some of our own sons and daughters, nieces or nephews, relatives or friends, speak of how awful life is, or about how much they are life’s victims. They blame other people for being so mean to them, they blame their depression in the economy, they talk about their own lack of fulfillment, they tell us they’re getting nothing out of life, and so forth. Doubt, disillusionment, discouragement, and depression hold many people in bondage.

What are the causes of this defeatism? Well there are many of course. But here I would like to examine four of them and then turn to what we can do about them.

The first source of defeat for so many people is what I call extremism. It’s the sort of attitude that converts what is really happening only occasionally into something they claim is always happening. “I always goof. I never do anything right,” we hear them say. “People always take advantage of me.” These words and similar phrases are symptomatic of the spiritual condition such people are in. These thoughts come from a way of looking at life that is either extremely idealistic or else extremely pessimistic. They see life as either one or the other, not balanced. Defeat is guaranteed them because they do not have a balanced view of what really happens in life. Life isn’t “either-or,”  “black or white,”  “all or nothing.” In reality, life is a complicated mixture of many factors and forces.

The second source of defeat comes from the sort of mentality that continually makes comparisons. This outlook dooms one into never thinking that one has enough. This kind of person is forever comparing his or her lot in life with people who are better off. Someone else is better looking, has more money, lives in a better house, has a better job, and so on. Depression is guaranteed them; defeatism finally takes over. This is one of the major sources of defeat and frustration in our culture today. The entire advertising industry is built on the business of comparing yourself to others so that you will buy their advertised product and then be as wonderfully happy as others are.

A third source of defeat that infests many souls is what is called “passive resignation.” We simply surrender ourselves to our feelings and then call it “fate.” Phrases like the following are its telltale signs: “Well, that’s just my lot in life,” “I was never destined to do any better,” “That’s life, and I might just as well accept it,” “It’s God’s will that I suffer,” and so forth.

The final source of defeat which I’d like to point out is too much reliance on self and the things of this world, and not enough reliance on faith in Christ and the things of God. The underlying problem is a lack of real belief that God can or will do anything to help me. Either we think we’re not worthy because we’re too evil, or else we think that God really doesn’t care because He never seems answer our prayers anyway. The result is that we make the hidden assumption that if we’re going to be happy and successful in life, we’ve got to achieve it ourselves because God won’t take care of us until we get to heaven… if in fact we do get there.

In the face of all this, God’s Word in today’s readings comes to us with a challenging question.

That question hits each one of us. I want you to seriously listen now to God’s question and think about your answer to it. The question is this: “What is your heart wrapped around?” Put another way: “What is the thought that’s constantly on your mind? What continually absorbs your attention? For thus says the Lord: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not. See, I am doing something new!” God wants us to see things afresh, not in our usual ways but rather in His renewing ways.

You see, we must begin to think now of what can be in our future and stop thinking about what has been in our past. All of the Sacraments are the acts of God in Christ. The Sacraments are not merely symbols, nor did men invent them merely to be pretty ceremonies. Sacraments are the acts of God Himself in Christ reaching out to make things fresh and new for us. Baptism is a Sacrament of beginning a new life for us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us a fresh start, a new beginning, and a new lease on life. Matrimony, Ordination, Anointing of the Sick… all are opportunities for us to pick-up on life where we left off, if only we will let God do His work in us, if only we will do things with Him in His ways.

Really, then, what is defeat for us? When you get right down to it, nothing can defeat us except the spirit of defeatism. We recall that in the bottom of the Great Depression in the 1930′ s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt cried out: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself:” And we know Roosevelt was right. Once our national self-confidence was restored and once we shook off the spirit of defeatism and isolationism, those two great works of the devil designed to make us weak and impotent, we then began to come out of our depression.

The same is true in our own personal and individual lives. For Easter is the religious and theological statement that, for the Christian, there is really no ultimate defeat. To be sure we shall suffer temporary setbacks. And to be sure we shall suffer in the future. But defeat? We should see that because of Christ’s Easter Resurrection we can never be totally defeated. What is required is that we stop constantly feeling sorry for ourselves and let our faith in God replace our own lack of faith in our selves.

Am I preoccupied by my own failures and misfortunes? Is my heart wrapped up in the illusory comfort of feeling sorry for myself? Am I passively resigned to my fate in life? Well, now is the time to throw open the doors of that self-made prison. The stone has been rolled back from the tomb of poor Lazarus. Christ has commanded that he be released from all that bound him up, and then set him free.

The same is true for you. Christ has rolled back the imprisoning stones that entomb our hearts. It’s time to go free because God in Christ wants us, like poor Lazarus, to be free, to be happy, and to enjoy life. He wants to us walk in the glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God.

Defeatism is the sacrament of the devil, along with his other sacraments of doubt, depression, and disillusionment. For if we walk with Christ and join our passion and suffering into His, then we can walk away from all in life that’s cold, dead, dreary, depressing, and all that which leads us into the hell of our own defeatism.

“Remember not,” your God says to you now, “the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not. See, I am doing something new.” This Easter, let God do something new within you. The Resurrection is God’s promise that we can have a new life.

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for April 2017

Pope Francis' coat of arms Please remember the Holy Father Pope Francis' intentions in prayer throughout the month of April:

Young People. 

That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.

Beginning in 2017, the Pope will present one monthly intention, rather than two. Should an urgent need arise, an additional intention may be added.

Homily for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 26, 2017, Year A

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
Provincial Superior, La Salette Missionaries of North America
Hartford, Connecticut

Jesus heals the man born blind
(Click here for today’s readings)

What did the man born blind do once he could see? He went back. Where? We don’t know. Why? Well, where else? John tells us nothing about his reaction to his new situation. He is totally unlike the lame man healed in Acts 3:8, “walking and jumping and praising God.” He was not even looking for Jesus, as far as we can tell.

It almost makes sense. He is the only blind person in the Gospels whose story does not include Jesus’ being asked to let him see. Maybe he was just stunned, confused at this totally unexpected turn of events. Add to that all the fuss going on around him!

Why did the bystanders even feel it necessary to bring him to the Pharisees? This is an element typical of John’s Gospel, heightening the drama and propelling the dialogue forward to its climax.

With such an interesting story, it is easy to miss the brief prologue, in which Jesus stresses the need to do “the works of God...while it is day.”

The Pharisees in the story exemplify what St. Paul calls, in the second reading, “fruitless works of darkness.” Even the good and great Samuel, in the first reading, initially saw only what he wanted to see. The Pharisees persisted in that attitude.

It is impossible to explain color to one who has never seen it. Helen Keller, in her 50’s, published an article in The Atlantic Monthly (January 1933), titled “Three Days to See”. She wrote, “At times my heart cries out with longing to see... If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight. Yet, those who have eyes apparently see little. The panorama of color and action which fills the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps, to appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not, but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life... How many of you, I wonder, when you gaze at a play, a movie, or any spectacle, realize and give thanks for the miracle of sight which enables you to enjoy its color, grace, and movement?”

Have you ever tried to explain faith to someone who has never known it? It is every bit as much a free gift as Jesus gave to the man born blind. Taking our cue from Helen Keller we might ask how many of us who do believe use that gift consciously. How often do we give thanks for it? It is easy to take it for granted.

Helen Keller suggests we should look at things as if in three days we would be struck blind. Applying that thought to faith, what if we had just three days to build up a store of faith, as it were, and then no more increase, no more deepening? How might we go about it? Today’s Responsorial Psalm 23 might be a good start, but I suspect each of us would take a different approach. It’s an interesting concept.

In the case of the faith of the man born blind, Jesus again takes the initiative. He seeks him out and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He adds the gift of faith to the gift of sight, bestowing an even greater gift on top of an already wondrous one.

Lent provides an opportunity for us to recognize the gift of faith, and ask for more.

In a short story published in 1915 by Luigi Pirandello, the author encounters his recently deceased mother. She tells him, “Look at things also with the eyes of those who can’t see them any more. It will make you sad, son, but that will render them more sacred and more beautiful.”

Think of someone you knew who has died, but whose faith was strong and deep and remains an inspiration to you. Now that he or she is gone, look at life, at the world, at other people, with his or her eyes of faith. What a gift of sight that might be!

March 25, 2017

March's Blog of Note: The Veil of Chastity

The Veil of Chastity

March's blog of note is The Veil of Chastity. The site is written for single Catholic young women, but the information provided, focusing expressly on living chastely in both the single and married vocations — is applicable to all. Although currently inactive, the blog’s author, a Catholic Mom and full-time professional, faithful to the teaching of the Church and to the Magisterium, is finalizing a book discussing the wisdom behind the virtue of chastity. The work of Saint John Paul II, Pope Paul VI, Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, and Saint Thomas Aquinas are thoughtfully considered vis–à–vis Humanae Vitae and the Theology of the Body.

The blog's about page explains its mission: "The United States alone has 27 million single Catholics. This site is dedicated to those singles and those around the world who are looking for wisdom and hope. This is a place to share and learn about the virtue of chastity, the truth behind the virtue and why it leads to our happiness and peace...." It asks: "Do you want to follow God’s plan for your life?"

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #1658 states:

"We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live – often not of their choosing – are especially close to Jesus’ heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude (concern/care) of the Church, especially of pastors"

The Veil of Chastity offers the 'why' behind the Church's teaching on the virtue of chastity. In short, "there are rewards for treating the gift of our sexual powers with care and reverence. And... there are consequences to trifling with God’s design of our sexual powers." The Veil of Chastity is a treasury of great insight.

A Prayer for Chastity

Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind, bless me with Your infinite graces, that I may remain in a state of purity. Strengthen me in mind, body and spirit to continually reflect Your chastity. Protect my soul in its daily struggles, guide it to ponder Your Godliness. Defend me from the forces of evil, those that seek to acquire my soul: To You, I profess my deep love, O Lord, the Conqueror of sin and death. Amen.

March 24, 2017

Solemnity of the Annunciation | 2017

The Annunciation

March 25, 2017

The Solemnity of the Annunciation is the celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that she would become the Theotokos. Despite being a virgin, Mary would miraculously conceive the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning “God delivers”. The Solemnity of the Annunciation comes nine months before Christmas. According to the Gospel of Luke, the Annunciation occurred in “the sixth month” of her cousin Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. the precursor or forerunner of the Lord.

Mary Mother of God, help us to be faithful to God's will in all things as you were.

Solemnity of the Annunciation Collect Prayer

O God, who willed that your Word should take on human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever  Amen.

Saint Dismas, the Penitent Thief

Saint Dismas and Christ

There is very little known about Dismas apart from the account of the crucifixion chronicled in the Gospel of Luke. Traditionally given the title of the “Good Thief” for rebuking the criminal who mocked Jesus, Dismas, who was also under the sentence of crucifixion, asked to be remembered by Jesus “when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus then replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 42-43).

The Christian community took seriously Jesus’ words that the good thief was saved, and honors him as a saint. Dismas’ response to Jesus is an articulation of the steps in conversion away from sin: he came to an honest awareness of his sin and renounced it, seeking Jesus as the source of eternal life. The words of our Savior to Dismas, assuring him of heaven is understood by the Church as the first granting of a plenary indulgence.

A legend arose in the Middle Ages that Dismas and Jesus had met one time prior to the events at Calvary. According to the story, Dismas and the second thief, traditionally known as Gestas, had waylaid a young family on their way to Egypt over 30 years before, with the intention of robbing them, or worse. Sensing something different about these three — who were, of course, the Holy Family in flight from Herod — Dismas convinced Gestas to let them go unharmed, even paying him 40 drachmas to do so.

The legend goes on to say that the Blessed Mother promised Dismas that he would be greatly rewarded for his good deed before his death. Dismas’ feast day is March 25. He is the patron saint of prisoners. The relics of St. Dismas rest in the reliquary chapel, including a piece of Dismas’ cross. St. Dismas, the good thief who in his humility turned away from sin and towards Christ, pray for us!

Blessed Oscar Romero on Obeying God's Law

Blessed Oscar Romero
No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is the time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin…. Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you! In the name of God: ‘Cease the repression!’
 — Blessed Oscar Romero 

Almighty ever-living God,, who gave Blessed Oscar Romero the courage to give up his life for justice, grant, through his intercession, that, renouncing our life for Christ in this world, we may find it in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

March 23, 2017

Bl. Oscar Romero, "May My Blood be a Seed of Liberty"

Bl. Oscar Romero

March 24th, is the optional memorial of Blessed Oscar Romero. When Monsignor Romero was installed as Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador in February 1977, he was thrust into a tumultuous situation. A military coup in October 1979 led to a gruesome, twelve-year civil war. These events were precipitated by the great disparity between a small number of powerful, wealthy families – who were backed by local politicians and the military, and the rest of El Salvador’s citizens. Many people suffered extreme poverty. Laborers worked for minimal pay for wealthy landowners, yet they could not hope to obtain land for themselves. The military terrorized the people in order to ensure that the families of affluence held on to their land and wealth, so as to maintain their powerful political influence.

The Catholic Church became a target when some clergy began to defend the poor. In response to these injustices, some Salvadorans took up arms and fought against the military. While some Latin American clergy promoted such violence in response, Archbishop Romero advocated for a different weapon: Christian love.

Before becoming archbishop, Monsignor Romero was not aware that the government was responsible for the deaths of many civilians. Because of his quiet nature, some thought that he would be good for the position, assuming he would not meddle in controversial affairs. However, shortly after his installation, his close friend, Fr. Rutilio Grande, a priest who openly opposed the unjust practices of wealthy landowners, was assassinated by gunmen while traveling with two people to celebrate Mass. This awakened Archbishop Romero to the corruption in his country; prompting him to stand for his people’s freedom.

Archbishop Romero preached many homilies that were broadcast throughout San Salvador. He persistently defended the rights of the people, calling government leaders to conversion and challenging them to uphold God’s law. He reminded the people that they were loved by God and that fighting back with Christian charity was the way to victory. His vocal response to government violence against the poor led to difficulties with other clergy members and his religious superiors as well as death threats from government accomplices. In spite of these challenges, he continued to speak out on behalf of the poor, and the politically oppressed.

On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Romero was shot to death while celebrating the Eucharist in the chapel of Divina Providencia hospital. Blessed Oscar Romero was beatified by Pope Francis in May 2015. Blessed Bishop Oscar Romero, pray for us!

Adapted excerpt from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

March 22, 2017

Venerable Fulton Sheen on the Essence of Evil

Archbishop Fulton Sheen
The essence of evil is not robbing, stealing, murdering; it is the crucifixion of Goodness, the elimination of the Moral Principle of life, so that one may sin without remorse and with impunity.
 — Venerable Fulton Sheen

Prayer for the Canonization of Venerable Fulton Sheen

Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.

If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo, Apostle of Peru

Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo

March 23rd, is the optional memorial of St. Toribio of Mogrovejo (1538 – 1606), the 16th century bishop, reformer and missionary who, by his tireless zeal and boundless love, renewed the Church in Peru. Though he began life as a law professor at the prestigious University of Salamanca, it would be as a poor missionary in the New World, not as a high Spanish government official, that St. Toribio of Mogrovejo would discover what God wanted him to do with his life.

Toribio was born into Spanish nobility in 1538. His father was Don Louis Alfonso, mayor of Mayorga, and his mother was Anna de Roblès y Moran y Villaquexida. It was Toribios’ great learning and reputation for virtue that attracted the attention of King Philip II of Spain; this subsequently led to his appointment as chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. Some argued that he succeeded too well in that position; whether or not that is true, the strength of character he displayed made him a natural choice to be appointed the Archbishop of Lima, Peru in 1579.

Lima was rife with scandal, with the clergy and the Spanish conquerors brutally oppressing the native people. Toribio traveled on foot throughout his immense archdiocese, championing the rights of the poor against their Spanish overlords. It is said that he baptized and confirmed over half a million people, among them Saint Rose of Lima and possibly Saint Martin de Porres.  Among his greatest contributions to the Church in the New World was overseeing the Third Provincial Council of Lima (1582-1583), one of the most important and comprehensive councils held in the Americas. Unlike earlier provincial councils, the it made no distinctions between the Spaniards and the Indians in treating them equally.

Laboring to the very end, Saint Toribio died of a fever in Sana, Peru, in 1606. In addition to championing the rights of native peoples, he started the first seminary in the Americas, the Conciliar Seminary of Lima, and was canonized the first male saint of the New World in 1726. He is the patron of Native rights, Latin American bishops, and the country of Peru. Almighty God, who gave increase to your holy Church through the apostolic labors and zeal for truth of the Bishop Saint Toribio, grant that the people consecrated to you may always receive new growth in faith and holiness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

March 21, 2017

Pope Benedict XVI on the Catechism

Pope Benedict XVI
The Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life.
— Pope Benedict XVI

A Prayer For Discernment

All highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility with wisdom and perception, O Lord, so that I may do what is truly Your holy will. Amen.

Canon Lawyers, Theologians & Catholic Academics to Hold Conference on ‘Deposing the Pope’ in Paris

Brochure from the 'Deposing the Pope' Conference

On March 30th, 2017, canon lawyers, theologians and scholars will attend a first of its kind colloquium titled: "The Pope's Deposition, Theological Sites - Canonical Models - Constitutional Issues". The two day gathering at the University of Paris will discuss a subject that has never been the topic of a Catholic conference previously, how to depose a heretical pontiff. The colloquium seeks to examine "the mechanisms that are built into the Catholic Church for dealing with a pope who openly teaches falsehood." LifeSiteNews has more on the upcoming event:
The conference includes 15 speakers who will be giving a range of talks on the subject matter with titles such as "Conciliarism and the Deposition of a Pope Through the Prism of Gallicanism," "The Downfall of the Pope: Between Renunciation and Deposition," and "The Deposition of John XXII and Benedict XIII at Constance..."
Those speaking at the conference include,"Professors Nicolas Warembourg and Cyrille Dounot, two of the 45 Catholic academics who last June submitted an appeal to the Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome requesting a repudiation of erroneous positions they found in Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia."

The article states: "Last November Vaticanist Giuseppe Nardi reported that a 1975 theological study by the learned Brazilian layman Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira was making the rounds in the Vatican. The layman examined in his work titled The Theological Hypothesis of a Heretical Pope whether it is possible for a pope to be or become a heretic, and if so, what consequences would follow..."

In a December 2016 interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke observed that should a pope "formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope." His Eminence elaborated, "There is already in place the discipline to be followed when the Pope ceases from his office, even as happened when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his office. The Church continued to be governed in the interim between the effective date of his abdication and the inauguration of the papal ministry of Pope Francis." (Note: the Cardinal has never said that Pope Francis is in heresy.)

Prayer for the Holy Father Pope Francis

Almighty God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Pope Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Powerful Pro-Life Poster: “My Mom is Going to Kill Me”

Pro-life AD

This pro-life poster illustrates the truth that abortion is the taking of innocent human life. World wide, about 115,00 unborn children are aborted each day.

Prolife poster

In the above image, an expectant mother thinks to herself, "My mom is going to kill me." Meanwhile, her unborn child, griped by an equal foreboding worries, "My mom is going to kill me." May all expectant mothers have courage to act in love.

Almighty God, grant us, we pray that all unborn children will be loved and kept safe until the joyous day of their birth. May the Lord, who rescues the life of the poor and the weak from the power of the wicked, send an angel to guard and protect all unborn children and expectant mothers. We pray to the Lord. Amen.

March 20, 2017

Christ Heals a Man Blind From Birth: John 9:1-41

Christ Heals a Man Blind From Birth

On the 4th Sunday of Lent, we read in John’s Gospel about Christ healing a man blind from birth. We identify with the man who came to see and believe in Jesus as the Son of God. The Lord has anointed our eyes with His own divine hands and washed them with the waters of our baptism. Jesus used mud made with his own saliva, and told the man to wash in the waters of Siloam. Jesus did this because it was the Sabbath, the day, when it was strictly forbidden to make mud, spit, and wash. By breaking these Jewish ritual laws, Jesus proved that He is indeed the Lord of the Sabbath. As such, He is co-equal to God the Father, the One who works even on the Sabbath, the holiest of days, directing the world He created.

The scandal totally transcends the fact that Jesus has healed the blind man, who is expelled from the synagogue because of his faith in Christ. The whole Church follows this man in his destiny, knowing that the truly blind are those who do not recognize Jesus as the Lord and persist in their sins. Others have the light of life and can see and know the Son of God, because "you have seen him, and he who speaks with you, he is." It is invariably the meek and humble who see with faith.

Many in the time of Christ refused to see the truth that Jesus was the Messiah. The blind man’s neighbors, parents and friends, like the Pharisees themselves, refuse to acknowledge the blind man or his testimony about Jesus’ divinity. The disciples are blind as well. They witness the blind man’s affliction and assume all such disability is caused by sin. They even deem it possible to determine whose sin is responsible for the physical blindness. They conclude it must be the blind man’s sins or the sins of his parents (or ancestors) that led to his sightlessness.

Jesus tells them that the blind man’s illness is not a consequence of sin, either of the man’s or his parents', or his ancestors’. Indeed, the illness is not about sin. The man’s blindness will testify to the glory of God, from age to age across time.

The earliest Patristic writers saw Christ’s spitting on the ground to make mud as paralleling the creation account found in Genesis 2:7, in which God (the Second Person of the Trinity) fashioned the man out of the dust of the ground. In the Gospel passage, Jesus restores the blind man’s sight, much like He will restore humanity by defeating sin and death in the culmination of His salvific ministry on Calvary. Hence, this Sunday’s miracle story is not just about the Fall, but about the restoration of creation. O God, who through your Word reconciled the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and who reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.