A post with no name

A post for the nameless babies killed by abortion

Today is the Feast of the Ascension. It is supposed to be a day of hope, a day to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. Death has been conquered, and is a door through which we pass to eternal life… an eternity of unimaginable joy, where mourning turns to dancing, or of damnation and everlasting suffering.

With Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we begin the waiting period; we wait, as instructed by Jesus, for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us (so start your Pentecost novena tomorrow). And if our lives are not already oriented toward heaven, this would be a great day to re-orient. If the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not at work in you (all the baptized received these gifts), then it is time to see how you might exercise and grow them.

But before I had the chance to harness and indulge in the fullness and the joy of possessing this faith-filled hope, I happened to see the preview clip of some video footage taken by the Center for Medical Progress during their undercover investigation of the abortion industry. A judge had banned the footage from public dissemination, so I’m not sure how this clip was able to be released. No matter, because YouTube pulled the video.

Horrific Video of the Day
Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video of presentations and conversations at the National Abortion Federation conference/trade show 2014/2015

One article said the video was posted yesterday, but when I went to the youtube page, the upload date was early May. My point is that enough people saw the preview clip before YouTube removed the video for violating its terms of service. Abortion is that gruesome. The video is disgusting and difficult to watch, but it shows the real world of the abortion industry.

For now you can’t see the clip, but please head over to National Review, which has a good transcript of the admissions of abortion workers. (I do wonder why the video was not posted directly on the Center for Medical Progress website.) [UPDATE: Lila Rose / Live Action News has the video available for viewing. You’ll see why Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation have worked so hard to prevent the American public from seeing the undercover footage and the massive campaign to try to debunk CMP’s videos and discredit the work of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.]

When Cecile Richards makes public statements and in her videos to promote Planned Parenthood, she is full of doublespeak that echoes Satan tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. But when these women speak to each other at their conference, they are more honest with themselves and each other.

Quote of the Day
from the video, which provides the public with an honest look at what the abortion industry talks about behind closed doors

Given that we actually see the fetus the same way, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here. …Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.
— Dr Lisa Harris, director of Planned Parenthood Michigan, at the National Abortion Federation Conference

Some Media Coverage of Center for Medical Progress’ Undercover Footage

Take Action

Sign the petition for Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of baby parts.

A prayer for conversion and intercession

May God have mercy on us and our country. May the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. May we be freed from the snares of the devil. May we admit our ignorance, our selfishness, our hardness of hearts. May we repent of our killing of innocent children and lack of respect for the dignity of human life. May we have the courage to embrace the fullness of life. May we have the generosity to help others carry their burdens. May the innocents intercede for us.

To remain in God’s infinite love

Feast Day of Pope Saint John I (c. 470–526)

Gospel of the Day: John 15:9–11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete.”

Quotes of the Day
from Pope Francis’ homily at daily morning Mass, Casa Santa Marta

Jesus teaches us the way of love, of having an open heart, of loving without measure, putting other kinds of love aside.

There are other loves. The world itself offers many other loves: love of money for example, vanity, boastfulness, pride, love of power which can even lead to unjust actions to achieve more power… these loves have nothing to do with the love of Jesus or of the Father. In fact these loves distance us from Jesus’ love.

Love and joy are gifts we must ask the Lord for.

Peace I leave with you

Feast Day of Saint Margaret of Cortona and Saint Simon Stock

The peace you seek is found in Christ

So many people say they want peace, yet do not turn to the only source: the Prince of Peace. The peace of Christ is not of this world; it is found in doing God’s will and loving the Father; it is found in dying to self and living for God and following God’s plan rather than our own.

In the first reading from Acts, the Jews stone Paul and leave him for dead, which was their plan. But the early Christians prayed and fasted and put their faith in God, and God’s plan was that Paul would live and continue his missionary work, which allowed God to open the door of faith for the Gentiles.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us he loves the Father. When we love we do not follow our own will, but rather the will of the one we love.

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Proclaim the Good News: Acts 14:19–28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Psalm: Bless the Lord and Give Thanks: 145:10–11, 12–13AB, 21

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.

Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Gospel: I love the Father: John 14:27–31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

Prayer of the Day

May God fill us with his Spirit of Peace. Through our prayer and fasting, may God open the door of faith to those who live in unbelief. May our flesh bless the holy name of God, and may God keep us and deliver us from the ruler of the world. May we, through Jesus Christ, know and love Our Father in heaven.

 

Reveal for all the light of hope

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
on the on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions

Prayer of the Day
From Pope Saint John Paul II’s Consecration of the Modern World to Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1982, which he renewed in 1983, and his Consecration of All Individuals and Nations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, March 25, 1984

“We entrust, O Mary, and consecrate the whole world to your Immaculate Heart!”

Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call!

Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!

Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope, and love! Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.

In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.

Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!

From famine and war, deliver us.

From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.

From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.

From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.

From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.

From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.

From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.

From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.

Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”

Prayer and Consecration Resources

Question of the Day

What was the message of Fatima?

War is man’s punishment for sin. God desires to give us his peace. Do we desire to receive it? The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three innocent shepherd children and through them tells us how (pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world). More specifically, Our Lady asked the children for prayer, penance, reparation, and sacrifice, which they did with great fervor to help convert and save sinners.

Will we listen and convert, or will we continue to choose war?

Pilgrim of light, peace, and hope

Today Pope Francis arrived in Fatima, Portugal, first as a pilgrim, and also as Christ’s Vicar on earth, to commemorate the centennial of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children. Tomorrow Pope Francis will celebrate a Canonization Mass for two of those children, brother and sister Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto. It is a great day to ask for graces.

Following is the Holy Father made at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. He opens his prayer and repeats again toward the end that the Virgin Mary is both a refuge and also the way to God. God chose to come to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we can be assured that if we go to her, she will lead us to her son, for Jesus himself gave his mother to us and entrusted us to her when he said from the cross to his mother, “Woman, behold your son,” and to his beloved disciple John, “Behold your mother” (John 19:26).

Prayer of the Day
Pope Francis’ prayer of entrustment to the Blessed Virgin of Fatima

Hail Holy Queen,
Blessed Virgin of Fatima,
Lady of Immaculate Heart,
our refuge and our way to God!

As a pilgrim of the Light that comes to us from your hands,
I give thanks to God the Father, who in every time and place
is at work in human history;
As a pilgrim of the Peace that, in this place, you proclaim,
I give praise to Christ, our peace, and I implore for the world
concord among all peoples;
As a pilgrim of the Hope that the Spirit awakens,
I come as a prophet and messenger to wash the feet of all,
at the same table that unites us.

Hail, Mother of Mercy,
Lady robed in white!
In this place where, a hundred years ago
you made known to all the purposes of God’s mercy,
I gaze at your robe of light
and, as a bishop robed in white,
I call to mind all those who,
robed in the splendour of their baptism,
desire to live in God
and tell the mysteries of Christ in order to obtain peace.

Hail, life and sweetness,
Hail, our hope,
O Pilgrim Virgin, O Universal Queen!

In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
you keep the joys of men and women
as they journey to the Heavenly Homeland.
In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
you keep the sorrows of the human family,
as they mourn and weep in this valley of tears.
In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
adorn us with the radiance of the jewels of your crown
and make us pilgrims, even as you were a pilgrim.

With your virginal smile,
enliven the joy of Christ’s Church.
With your gaze of sweetness,
strengthen the hope of God’s children.
With your hands lifted in prayer to the Lord,
draw all people together into one human family.

O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary,
Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Grant that we may follow the example of Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta,
and of all who devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.
Thus we will follow all paths
and everywhere make our pilgrim way;
we will tear down all walls
and cross every frontier,
as we go out to every periphery,
to make known God’s justice and peace.

In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white,
the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb,
blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart.
And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light
that illumines the ways of the world,
making God known to all,
making known to all that God exists,
that God dwells in the midst of his people,
yesterday, today and for all eternity.

Hail, Mother of the Lord,
Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Blessed among all women,
you are the image of the Church robed in paschal light,
you are the honour of our people,
you are the victory over every assault of evil.

Prophecy of the merciful love of the Father,
Teacher of the Message of Good News of the Son,
Sign of the burning Fire of the Holy Spirit,
teach us, in this valley of joys and sorrows,
the eternal truths that the Father reveals to the little ones.

Show us the strength of your protective mantle.
In your Immaculate Heart,
be the refuge of sinners
and the way that leads to God.

In union with my brothers and sisters,
in faith, in hope and in love,
I entrust myself to you.
In union with my brothers and sisters, through you, I consecrate myself to God,
O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima.

And at last, enveloped in the Light that comes from your hands,
I will give glory to the Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

May we, too, live as pilgrims of light, peace, and hope, consecrated to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, his mother and mother of the Church. To learn more about how the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is a path to Jesus, read True Devotion by Saint Louis de Montfort.

Let us meet at the feet of the Virgin Mother

Tomorrow Pope Francis will arrive in Portugal on pilgrimage to celebrate the 100th anniversary of  Apparitions of Our Lady to three young shepherd children. At the feet of our Mother, he will present “the brothers and sisters of the world redeemed by His blood without excluding anyone.” Let us join Pope Francis on pilgrimage and be united with him spiritually in prayer and in oneness of heart, pleading for the peace that only Jesus can give, making reparation for those who do not believe and for our own sins.

Video of the Day
Pope Francis’ Message to the People of Portugal in advance of his pilgrimage to Fatima

Quotes of the Day
from Pope Francis’ message to Portugal

 Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts.

Prayer illuminates one’s eyes to know how to see others as God sees them, to love them as he loves them.

I come to you in joy to share with you the Gospel of Hope and Peace.

The sheep hear his voice

Good Shepherd Sunday
World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Prayer of the Day
Diocese of Arlington Prayer for Vocations

Heavenly Father, Lord of the Harvest, call forth vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life from our diocese and families. Inspire men to imitate Christ the Eternal High Priest in sacrificial service to your Church. Move the hearts of men and women to offer themselves wholly to You in poverty, chastity, and obedience. Send them as laborers for Your harvest. Inspire the faithful to support them with prayer and sacrifice. Raise up holy families who foster openness to Your call. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Video of the Day: Love to pray, pray to love
God wants me

“God is in your life.” — Aunt Helen

Every happy mistake was probably something that was really just meant to be. — Anne Goetze talking about the process of making the artwork for Pray to Love

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Acts 2:14A, 36–41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Psalm: 23:1–3A, 3B–4, 5–6

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

Epistle: 1 Peter 2:20B–25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Gospel: John 10:1–10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Mini Homily on Jesus the Good Shepherd

Quote of the Day

Commitment to mission is not something added on to the Christian life as a kind of decoration, but is instead an essential element of faith itself. A relationship with the Lord entails being sent out into the world as prophets of his word and witnesses of his love.

Even if at times we are conscious of our weaknesses and tempted to discouragement, we need to turn with God with confidence. We must overcome a sense of our own inadequacy and not yield to pessimism, which merely turns us into passive spectators of a dreary and monotonous life. There is no room for fear! God himself comes to cleanse our “unclean lips” and equip us for the mission: “Your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I, send me’” (Is 6:6-8). — Pope Francis message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2017

Jesus is anointed by the Spirit and sent. To be a missionary disciple means to share actively in the mission of Christ. Jesus himself described that mission in the synagogue of Nazareth in these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19). This is also our mission: to be anointed by the Spirit, and to go out to our brothers and sisters in order to proclaim the word and to be for them a means of salvation. — Pope Francis message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2017

Equation of the Day

Truth + Beauty + Goodness = God

A share in the divinity of Jesus Christ

Feast Day of Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Father of Orthodoxy,
Doctor of the Church, and Defender of Christ’s Divinity

The spiritual battle will not end until Christ comes again. The divinity of Christ is questioned and denied as much now, if not even more, than it was during the time of Athanasius (4th century). The Catholic Church teaches that the eternal God chose to participate in our humanity, making a total gift of himself, so that we might have a share in his divinity.

Athanasius Creed
A meditation on the Trinity of God

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith.

For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.

This is what the Catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity.

Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance.

For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty.

What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.

The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless.

The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.

Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being.

So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being.

Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.

Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being.

Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

However, there are not three gods, but one God.

The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord.

However, there as not three lords, but one Lord.

For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord, so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.

The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone.

The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone.

The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son.

There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another.

So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshipped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.

He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity.

It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man.

As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother.

He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh.

He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity.

Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ.

And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God.

He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person.

As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ.

He died for our salvation, descended into hell, and rose from the dead on the third day.

He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds.

Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.

This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved.

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Acts 7:51–8:1A

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it.”

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”;
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Psalm: 31:3CD–4, 6, 7B, 8A, 17, 21AB

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.

Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.

Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.

Gospel: John 6:30–35

The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Quote of the Day

4) You may be wondering why we are discussing the origin of men when we set out to talk about the Word’s becoming Man. The former subject is relevant to the latter for this reason: it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us. It is we who were the cause of His taking human form, and for our salvation that in His great love He was both born and manifested in a human body. For God had made man thus (that is, as an embodied spirit), and had willed that he should remain in incorruption. But men, having turned from the contemplation of God to evil of their own devising, had come inevitably under the law of death. Instead of remaining in the state in which God had created them, they were in process of becoming corrupted entirely, and death had them completely under its dominion. For the transgression of the commandment was making them turn back again according to their nature; and as they had at the beginning come into being out of non-existence, so were they now on the way to returning, through corruption, to non-existence again. The presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God alone Who exists, evil is non-being, the negation and antithesis of good. By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt. So is it affirmed in Wisdom: “The keeping of His laws is the assurance of incorruption.” And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as God, as Holy Scripture says, “I have said, Ye are gods and sons of the Highest all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes.”

(5) This, then, was the plight of men. God had not only made them out of nothing, but had also graciously bestowed on them His own life by the grace of the Word. Then, turning from eternal things to things corruptible, by counsel of the devil, they had become the cause of their own corruption in death; for, as I said before, though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption, as also Wisdom says: “God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death entered into the world.” When this happened, men began to die, and corruption ran riot among them and held sway over them to an even more than natural degree, because it was the penalty of which God had forewarned them for transgressing the commandment. Indeed, they had in their sinning surpassed all limits; for, having invented wickedness in the beginning and so involved themselves in death and corruption, they had gone on gradually from bad to worse, not stopping at any one kind of evil, but continually, as with insatiable appetite, devising new kinds of sins. Adulteries and thefts were everywhere, murder and raping filled the earth, law was disregarded in corruption and injustice, all kinds of iniquities were perpetrated by all, both singly and in common. Cities were warring with cities, nations were rising against nations, and the whole earth was rent with factions and battles, while each strove to outdo the other in wickedness. Even crimes contrary to nature were not unknown, but as the martyr-apostle of Christ says: “Their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature; and the men also, leaving the natural use of the woman, flamed out in lust towards each other, perpetrating shameless acts with their own sex, and receiving in their own persons the due recompense of their pervertedness.”

— Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, chapter 1, Creation and Fall

The transforming encounter with the Lord

Third Sunday of Easter: Reoriented

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Acts 2:14, 22–33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

“My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

Psalm: 16:1–2, 5, 7–8, 9–10, 11

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Epistle: 1 Peter 1:17–21

Beloved:
If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially
according to each one’s works,
conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.

Gospel: Luke 24:13–35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Quote of the Day

The road to Emmaus thus becomes a symbol of our journey of faith: the Scriptures and the Eucharist are the indispensable elements for encountering the Lord. We too often go to Sunday Mass with our worries, difficulties and disappointments…. Life sometimes wounds us and we go away feeling sad, towards our “Emmaus”, turning our backs on God’s plan. We distance ourselves from God. But the Liturgy of the Word welcomes us: Jesus explains the Scriptures to us and rekindles in our hearts the warmth of faith and hope, and in Communion he gives us strength. The Word of God, the Eucharist. Read a passage of the Gospel every day. Remember it well: read a passage from the Gospel every day, and on Sundays go to Communion, to receive Jesus. This is what happened to the disciples of Emmaus: they received the Word; they shared the breaking of bread and from feeling sad and defeated they became joyful. Dear brothers and sisters, the Word of God and the Eucharist fill us with joy always. Remember it well! When you are sad, take up the Word of God. When you are down, take up the Word of God and go to Sunday Mass and receive Communion, to participate in the mystery of Jesus. The Word of God, the Eucharist: they fill us with joy. — Pope Francis, Regina Caeli, May 4, 2014

Mini Homily
Jesus appears to people in the most ordinary places

Questions of the Day

  • Are you present to Jesus?
  • In his presence, what would you like to thank Jesus for? ask forgiveness for?

Walking dead, with life himself

Third Sunday of Easter
Jesus cares deeply about those who have lost hope,
and goes out of his way to restore them to life

Excerpts from Saint Augustine’s Sermon on today’s Gospel reading: Luke 24:13–35
The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus

The disciples were so shattered by the crucifixion
that they forgot all Christ’s teaching and promises

2. So what benefit has this reading bestowed on us? A very considerable one if we understand it rightly. Jesus appeared. He was seen with their eyes, and wasn’t recognized. The Master was walking with them along the way, and he himself was the way. And they weren’t yet walking along the way; he found, you see, that they had wandered off the way. After all, when he had been with them before the passion, he had foretold everything; that he was going to suffer, to die, to rise again on the third day. He had foretold it all, but his death had erased it from their memories. They were so shattered when they saw him hanging on the tree, that they forgot about him teaching, they were not expecting him to be rising, nor holding on to what he had been promising.

We, they said, were hoping that it was he that would redeem Israel (Luke 24:21). O my dear disciples, you were hoping! So now you’re no longer hoping? Look, Christ is alive; is hope dead in you? Certainly, certainly, Christ is alive. Christ being alive, found the hearts of his disciples dead, appearing to their eyes, and not appearing. He was at one and the same time seen and concealed. I mean, if he wasn’t seen, how could they have heard him questioning them, and answered his questions? He was walking with them along the road like a companion, and was himself the leader. Of course he was seen, but he wasn’t recognized. For their eyes were held, as we heard, so that they wouldn’t recognize him (Luke 24:16). They weren’t held so that they wouldn’t see him, but they were held so that they wouldn’t recognize him.

We break bread, and we recognize the Lord

3. Ah yes, brothers and sisters, but where did the Lord wish to be recognized? In the breaking of the bread. We’re all right, nothing to worry about; we break bread, and we recognize the Lord. It was for our sakes that he didn’t want to be recognized anywhere but there, because we weren’t going to see him in the flesh and yet we were going to eat his flesh. So if you’re a believer, any of you, if you’re not called a Christian for nothing, if you don’t come to church pointlessly, if you listen to the word of God in fear and hope, you may take comfort in the breaking of bread. The Lord’s absence is not an absence. Have faith, and the one you cannot see is with you. These two, even when the Lord was talking to them, did not have faith, because they didn’t believe he had risen, nor had they any hope that he could rise again. They had lost faith, lost hope. They were walking along, dead, with Christ alive, they were walking along, dead, with life itself. Life was walking along with them, but in their hearts life had not yet been restored.

You too, then, if you want to have life, do what they did in order to recognize the Lord. They showed him hospitality. The Lord, you see, was like someone who still had a long way to go, but they held him back. When they reached the place they were making for, they said, Stay with us now, the day has faded toward evening (Luke 2:29). Constrain the stranger, if you want to recognize the Savior. What had been lost through infidelity was restored through hospitality. So the Lord made himself present in the breaking of the bread. Learn where to look for the Lord, learn where to have him, learn where to recognize him. It’s when you eat him. The faithful you see, know something which they can understand better in this reading than those who don’t know it.

Faith is built up by the Lord’s absence; sight when he comes again will be the reward for faith now

4. The Lord Jesus was made known, and after being made known, he appeared no more. He withdrew from them in the body, since he was held by them in faith. That indeed is why the Lord absented himself in the body from the whole Church, and ascended into heaven, for the building up of faith. After all, if you only know what you can see, where does faith come in? But if you also believe what you cannot see, when you do see it you will rejoice. Let faith be built up, because it will be paid back with sight. It will come, what we cannot see, it will come, brothers and sisters, it will come. Mind how it finds you.

…You may be quite sure, he will come. Not only will he come, but he will come even if you don’t want him to. Woe to those who haven’t believed, and great joy to those who have believed! Believers will rejoice, unbelievers will be confounded. Believers are going to say, “Thank you, Lord, what we heard is true, what we believed is true, what we hoped is true, what we now see is true.” Unbelievers, though, are going to say, “Where has the fact of our not believing got us to, where the fact that we used to think that what was read was all lies!” That’s how it will happen, and confusion will be paid with punishment, while joyful thankfulness will receive its reward; because those will go into eternal burning, and the just into eternal life (Matthew 25:46).

— Saint Augustine, Sermon 235, Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons

Prayer: Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.