3/23/20 4th week of Lent
Daily Readings Isaiah 65:17-21 Psalms 30:2 AND 4, 5-6, 11-12A AND 13B Amos 5: 14 John 4:43-54 Isaiah 65:17-21 Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying; No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime; He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years, and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed. They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant. Psalms 30:2 AND 4, 5-6, 11-12A AND 13B R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing. R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. “Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper.” You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks. R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Amos 5: 14 Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the LORD will be with you. John 4:43-54 At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.
As you read through the readings today our worldly situation may come to mind. In the Gospel today Jesus heals the son of a man who asks it of him. There are many people dying and falling ill due to COVID-19 right now who are also asking for healing. We can take this passage as a comfort, knowing that Jesus does heal, and this situation will not last forever. Jesus says, “unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe”. Well we know God, we have read about Him, we have come to know Him by what He has done for us, we have seen and experienced Him at Mass, we don’t need to see Him right now to believe He is working. He is bringing peace when anxiety eats at you wondering if you your loved ones will become ill, He brings joy in small measures as you stay inside to help stop the spread of the virus, and He brings love as you see the world taking measures to help out others that they might not have normally helped. He is bringing healing and we might not be fully seeing it in the way of bodily health, but I choose to believe that He is working through the nurses and doctors to help heal our world.
We can take comfort in our future as we read the first reading in Isaiah, this world is not permanent. Read the first reading and take in the joy that is the future that God has created for us.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or lonely, pray to God for healing. He not only heals our bodies but our minds and hearts as well.
Saint of the Day |
St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902)
One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti.
She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class.
On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help, gasping that she would be killed rather than submit. “No, God does not wish it. It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger.
She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum. She died about 24 hours after the attack.
Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother.
Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.
Catholicism Around the World |
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Catholics around the world joined Pope Francis in praying the rosary on Thursday night to ask God to end the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more people in Italy than anywhere else.
Italy's bishops asked the country's Catholics to say the rosary in their homes starting at 9 p.m. and to put a lighted candle in their windows in a sign of national unity.
The initiative spread on social media after it was announced earlier this week and many Catholics around the world joined in.
Francis, who is secluded in the Vatican and holding his general audiences over the internet instead of before crowds in St. Peter's Square, broadcast a video message over television as the praying began.
"In this unprecedented situation, when everything seems to be vacillating, let us help each other remain steady in what really matters," he said.
Italy's death toll from the coronavirus overtook that of China, where the virus first emerged, as hospitals said they were being overwhelmed and the government prepared to prolong emergency lockdown measures.
A total of 427 deaths were registered in Italy over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 3,405 since the outbreak surfaced on Feb. 21. China has recorded 3,245 deaths since early January.
Last Sunday, Francis ventured into a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Vatican has said his Easter services will be held without the public for the first time.
Educational Fact |
For the last 2,000 years the Catholic Church has helped those in most need. Hospitals were started by monasteries. We are providing care as a Church when others have run away. This continues today.
American sociologist Rodney Stark, author of The Rise of Christianity (1996), explains how in the first centuries of the Christian era the behavior of Christians during epidemics was decisive: they didn’t flee the cities like the pagans, and didn’t run away from other people, but motivated by faith, they visited and supported each other, prayed together, and buried the dead.
The witness that Catholics can offer to the world in this difficult moment is to be present: it is the strongest witness possible. – With that said, please be cautious and respectful towards the life of the people most at risk in contracting the disease.
Fun Fact |
Pope John Paul II traveled to more than 129 different countries, logging more than 750,000 frequent flyer miles, which is about three times the distance to the moon.
Prayer for Healing – O God who are the only source of health and healing, the spirit of calm and the central peace of this universe, grant to me such a consciousness of your indwelling and surrounding presence that I may permit you to give me health and strength and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Have a blessed day!
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