Lenten Day 2

We give thanks to God for giving us this time of Lent to begin again, especially through our resolutions to become better Christians. But try not to overdo it: “Be specific. Don’t let your resolutions be like fireworks that sparkle for an instant…” (The Way, no. 247).

Titus 2:11-15

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

“The doctrine of grace and salvation by the gospel, is for all ranks and conditions of men. It teaches to forsake sin; to have no more to do with it. An earthly, sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling. It teaches to make conscience of that which is good. We must look to God in Christ, as the object of our hope and worship. A gospel conversation must be a godly conversation. See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer’s heart, with all their hinderances. It teaches to look for the glories of another world. At, and in, the glorious appearing of Christ, the blessed hope of Christians will be complete: To bring us to holiness and happiness was the end of Christ’s death. Jesus Christ, that great God and our Saviour, who saves not only as God, much less as Man alone; but as God-man, two natures in one person. He loved us, and gave himself for us; and what can we do less than love and give up ourselves to him! Redemption from sin and sanctification of the nature go together, and make a peculiar people unto God, free from guilt and condemnation, and purified by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is profitable. Here is what will furnish for all parts of duty, and the right discharge of them. Let us inquire whether our whole dependence is placed upon that grace which saves the lost, pardons the guilty, and sanctifies the unclean. And the further we are removed from boasting of fancied good works, or trusting in them, so that we glory in Christ alone, the more zealous shall we be to abound in real good works.

Holy Gospel of Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

John the Baptist was at this time in prison; his circumstances, his character, and the nature of the message he was sent to deliver, led those who were peculiarly attached to him, to keep frequent fasts. Christ referred them to John’s testimony of him, John 3:29. Though there is no doubt that Jesus and his disciples lived in a spare and frugal manner, it would be improper for his disciples to fast while they had the comfort of his presence. When he is with them, all is well. The presence of the sun makes day, and its absence produces night. Our Lord further reminded them of common rules of prudence. It was not usual to take a piece of rough woolen cloth, which had never been prepared, to join to an old garment, for it would not join well with the soft, old garment, but would tear it further, and the rent would be made worse. Nor would men put new wine into old leathern bottles, which were going to decay, and would be liable to burst from the fermenting of the wine; but putting the new wine into strong, new, skin bottles, both would be preserved. Great caution and prudence are necessary, that young converts may not receive gloomy and forbidding ideas of the service of our Lord; but duties are to be urged as they are able to bear them.

Prepare

How will you know what you are doing well or could be doing better this Lent? Remember, in the presence of God: “Examination of conscience. A daily task. Bookkeeping—never neglected by anyone in business. And is there any business worth more than that of eternal life?” (The Way, no. 235)

Holy Gospel of ‭‭John‬ ‭12:1-11‬ ‭NLT
“Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.”

“Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ’s gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God’s Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.”

Remember Thou Art…

ash-wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we begin our 40-day journey of Lent, so with a heart of penance we pray:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission, and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return to the ground: for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen 3:19

O my all-merciful God and Lord,
Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace!
If You save anyone because of their works,
that would not be grace but only reward of duty,
but You are compassionate and full of mercy!
You said, O my Christ,
“Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.”
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.
O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.
Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

A reading from the Book of Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near-2:2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come. 2:12 Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 2:13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 2:14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God? 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 2:16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. 2:17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”
Here Endeth the Reading

A reading from the book of Isaiah 58: 1-12
1 CRY, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 For they seek me from day to day, sad desire to know my ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God. 3 Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors. 4 Behold you fast for debates and strife. and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high.
5 Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. 7 Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, end the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profiteth not. 10 When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail 12 And the places that have been desolate for ages shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest.
Here Endeth the Reading.

  A reading from the Epistle of 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

5:20b We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 6:3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 6:4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 6:5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6:6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 6:7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 6:8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 6:9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see–we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
The Word of the Lord.

I call all Sinners Poor and Needy to hear the Gospel. To repent of your sins and be penitent of heart!

 

 

 

A Reading from the most Holy Gospel According to: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
6:1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 6:2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6:3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 6:4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 6:5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 6:18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;

6:20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Gospel of the Lord.

What happened to the Alleluia you may be asking…Guess why you are here today…Today is Dies Cinerum… in other words Lent is upon us and we are gathered to prepare ourselves to die with Christ so that we too may live with Him in Glory.

What is Ash Wednesday? On Ash Wednesday, ashes are blessed, mixed with either holy oil or water, and placed upon the head with the sign of the cross, or sprinkled on the forehead. The ashes are made from burning palm branches blessed the previous year on Palm Sunday. When the priest imposes the ashes he says either “remember man you are dust, and to dust you will return” (see Genesis 3:19), or “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

The ashes serve a dual purpose. First, as the above words imply, we are reminded of our mortality and humanity as we begin the Lenten Fast. Second, the ashes are a Biblical symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility. There are many cases in the Scriptures of wearing ashes as a sign of penitence, often while wearing sackcloth. In 2 Samuel 13:19, Tamar puts on ashes and tears her clothes as a sign of sadness and repentance. In Esther 4:1-3, after learning of the king’s decree to kill all Jews, Mordecai tears his garments, and puts on sackcloth and ashes. His fellow Jews do the same thing, as well as beginning to fast. The prophet Jeremiah (6:26) urges his readers to “gird on sackcloth and roll in ashes.”

“Ash Wednesday is not a holiday in the Eastern Church, and developed only in the West. Orthodox Churches begin Lent on a Monday, known as “Clean Monday.” Ash Wednesday as an official fast day dates to at least the 8th century, since it appears in the Gregorian Sacramentary from that period. Originally, Lent began on a Sunday. However, in order to bring the number of days of Lent to 40 (the days Jesus fasted in the wilderness), the beginning of Lent was eventually transferred to a Wednesday.

Originally, Ash Wednesday was the day when public penitents in Rome began their penance. Recall that in the early Church, penance was often public and protracted. It was only later that private confession and penance began, for pastoral reasons. When public penance gradually fell into disuse by the 8th century, Ash Wednesday became a day of penitence and fasting for all members of the Church. Today, Ash Wednesday is a universal Fast day and Holy day of Obligation.

What is Lent? Lent is a period of fasting leading up to Easter. The season is rooted in the 40-day fast of Jesus in the wilderness. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends right before the evening Masses of Holy Thursday, although Lenten penance continues through Holy Saturday.

In basic terms, Lent is the season before Easter, in the Western Church, lasting liturgically from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of Holy Thursday exclusive The evening of Holy Thursday begins the The Easter Triduum, which lasts from Holy Thursday to the Evening Prayer of Easter Day. However, Lenten fasting and penance continue until the end of Holy Week, and all of Holy Week is included in the traditional 40 day Lenten fast, despite Lent ending liturgically on Holy Thursday.

The purpose of Lent is to be a season of fasting, self-denial, spiritual growth, conversion, and simplicity. Lent, which comes from the Teutonic (Germanic) word for springtime, can be viewed as a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking spiritual inventory and then cleaning out those things which hinder our relationship with Jesus Christ and our service to him.

Thus it is fitting that the season of Lent begin with a symbol of repentance: placing ashes mixed with oil on one’s head or forehead. However, we must remember that our Lenten disciplines are supposed to ultimately transform our entire person: body, soul, and spirit, and help us become more like Christ. Eastern Christians call this process theosis, which St. Athanasius describes as “becoming by grace what God is by nature.”

There are a few basic tasks that traditionally have been associated with Lent. Many of these have a long history. These are fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. In addition, reading the Scriptures and the Church’s Writings can help one grow during the season. 

So that is a crash course on our Lenten Journey. I ask each of you to remember this not only during Lent should we be self-sacrificing it should be a yearlong endeavor. Practice random acts of kindness and show sacrificial love to all you meet. Come all ye an hear the Truth. Participate in the Stations of the Cross, come to confession, pray the Holy Rosary, and make time to reflect on your journey with Christ.

The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our Maker and Redeemer.

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Bless these ashes, and grant that they may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return! All God’s Church Say: Amen!

The First Stone

Leviticus 20:7,10 (New Living Translation): So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”

Revelations 22:14-15,17(New Living Translation): Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

Alleluia:

Holy Gospel of John 8:1-11(New Living Translation): Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Who Can Cast the First Stone?
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

The question of the day is…Who can cast the stone? You may be thinking I’m going to preach on adultery today…Lord knows I should with adultery running rampant in our society today…but think again. The great philosopher and theologian Aristotle said: “Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”

My brothers and sisters, today more than ever we need to heed the words and teachings of Jesus. We are in a time in this world where people exercise the gift God has given us…that gift being the gift of free will.

It greatly saddens me to see people who profess to be a follower of Jesus in one breath and yet in the next will condemn someone for their sin. This is not the attitude or behavior of a follower of Christ. Jesus said to the crowd: “He without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

Who in this parish, this city, this country and even in this world, can cast the first stone? My friends, surely not I, for I am a sinner; a sinner redeemed by Christ, but a sinner all the same. I can see the questions forming on your brows; some of you may be thinking “Well what do we do Father?” I tell you this: we need to forgive, understand, be open minded; we need to love each other (and I mean every soul on this Earth, and not just those who sit in these pews), we need to pray and give hope to all. We need to honor the Commandments of our Blessed Savior. For like that crowd we are or should be convicted by our own consciences. For we cannot cast the stone, that alone belongs to our Judge, our Heavenly Father.

Yes we must teach the error of the sin, bring the sick to the hospital which is the Church, for the great physician who is Christ to heal them with the Truth of the Holy Gospel.

The French philosopher Voltaire said: Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. Jesus spilt His Blood on that Cross for the remissions of our sins; He did not stretch forth His arms to make hypocrites! This is a wakeup call my brethren!

Voltaire also said: “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.” Some more food for thought, President Woodrow Wilson, who was also a minister of the Gospel, said: “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Jesus said: This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NLT). We must love each other and I mean all of us in this world as He loves us! How do we start…simple be a friend. We must be willing to give sacrificial love to all! We must understand that people will exercise God’s great gift of Free Will and we must leave it to God to call them on their actions!

For who can cast the stone but Jesus and the Father? I say to you the same words Jesus said to the woman: “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” My family I also add the last words of the Rite of the Confessional: pray for me for I am also a sinner.

I close today’s teaching with the words of Mark Twain: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. “ Amen+

Hypocrisy 

Note Bene: I will give no quarter to those who are Traitors and Hypocrites unless they Repent and Recant!

word-of-the-day

The Oxford-English Dictionary defines Hypocrisy as: “The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.”

Merriam-Webster defines the word Hypocrite as:

  • 1:  a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

  • 2:  a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

1 Peter 2:1 (King James 2000 Bible):  “Therefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking,”

Isaiah 9:17 (NLT):  That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men and shows no mercy even to the widows and orphans. For they are all wicked hypocrites, and they all speak foolishness. But even then the LORD’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.

Proverbs 11:9 (King James): “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”

Continue reading Hypocrisy 

Padre’s Story of Pain

From the old blog.

pain-changes

Everyone feels pain on some level, whether it be emotional or physical, however those that are “normal” the pain passes. Those of us who live with Chronic Pain Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia deal with it at very high levels and on a daily basis. Pain does change a person, and today my dear Readers I’m going to tell you how it has changed me.

First the back story on how I came to have chronic pain/fibromyalgia. It was late 2010 or early 2011, I was in for a heart procedure at what was supposed to be a world class hospital. Well instead of checking if I had any type of blood clot prior to surgery they went ahead and did the procedure and I stroked out on the table due to a small blood clot. It was a very minor stroke (a TA) but a stroke none the less.

Continue reading Padre’s Story of Pain

Epiphany Sunday

V. Glorious dost thou appear in the sight of the Lord.
R. Therefore the Lord hath clothed thee with honor.

V. Let us pray.
O God the Son, highest and holiest, who didst humble thyself to share our birth and our death: Bring us with the shepherds and wise men to kneel before thy lowly cradle, that we may come to sing with thine angels thy glorious praises in heaven; where thou livest and reignest, world without end.
R. Amen.

V. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall give presents.
R. The kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts.

V: Let us pray.
Almighty God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
R. Amen.

Collect: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. R. Amen.

Isiah 60:1-6 New Living Translation:
1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.
For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.
2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.
3All nations will come to your light;
mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
4“Look and see, for everyone is coming home!
Your sons are coming from distant lands;
your little daughters will be carried home.
5Your eyes will shine,
and your heart will thrill with joy,
for merchants from around the world will come to you.
They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
6Vast caravans of camels will converge on you,
the camels of Midian and Ephah.
The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense
and will come worshiping the LORD

V. The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

Ephesians 3:1-12 Douay-Rheims Translation:
1For this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles; 2If yet you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me towards you: 3How that, according to revelation, the mystery has been made known to me, as I have written above in a few words; 4As you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,5Which in other generations was not known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit: 6That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and co-partners of his promise in Christ Jesus, by the gospel: 7Of which I am made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, which is given to me according to the operation of his power: 8To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace, to preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9And to enlighten all men, that they may see what is the dispensation of the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things: 10That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church, 11According to the eternal purpose, which he made, in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
V. Here Endeth The Lesson
R. Thanks be to God.

V. Cleanse my heart and my lips, O thou Almighty God, as thou didst purge the lips of Isaiah the Prophet with a live coal; and of thy sweet mercy vouchsafe so to purify me, that I may worthily proclaim thy holy Gospel; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Alleluia:

V. The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 2:1-12 King James Translation:
R. Glory be to thee, O Lord.

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise be to thee, O Christ.

Come and Do Homage Unto Him who is Christ the King!
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

The story of the Magi traveling from the East to see the Christ child appears only in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. The word Magi, in Greek magoi, comes from the Latin word meaning “sage.” These particular sages were possibly Zoroastrian astrologers from Persia. Upon seeing a star rising in the East (the Star of Bethlehem), they realized it was a sign that the king of the Jews had been born. According to St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. AD 107), the star shone with an inexpressible brilliance, and the sun, moon, and other stars all formed a chorus around the special star. The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem of Judea, and to Jesus’ dwelling there. Having arrived, they worshipped the infant Jesus, and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

There have been numerous traditions that have grown up about the Wise Men. Typically we think of there being three wise men because of the number of gifts, but Matthew doesn’t tell us the exact number. Since the 3rd century, Christian writers have referred to them as kings, even though Matthew doesn’t specifically tell us that they were royalty. Their names in the West, Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar date to the 6th century. The names mean: Master-of-Treasure, King, and Protect-the-King, respectively. The Syrian Church has given them the following Persian names: Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph.

St. Bede the Venerable fills in a few gaps, providing colorful details about the Magi:
The first was called Melchior. He was an old man, with white hair and a long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his King. The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity. The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was middle-aged and called Balthasar. The myrrh he held in his hand prefigured the death of the son of Man.

Various customs have developed around Epiphany. In the East, there is a solemn blessing of water. In the West, in the Middle Ages, houses were blessed on Epiphany. Holy water was sprinkled in each room. The whole family was involved. The father led the procession with a shovel of charcoal on which he burned incense and the oldest son had the bowl of holy water. The rest of the family followed along saying the rosary and/or singing hymns. While the father and oldest son were incensing and blessing the house, the youngest child carried a plate of chalk. The chalk had been blessed with a special blessing after morning Mass. The father took the blessed chalk and wrote over every room that led outside: 20 + C + M + B + 17 which stands for “Anno Domini 2017 — Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar” and means “The three Holy Kings, Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, in the year of Our Lord, 2017” or whatever the year may be. The letters C, M, and B are also thought to stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “Christ bless this home.” This tradition of blessing the doorways symbolizes the family’s commitment to welcome Christ into their homes on a daily basis through the year.

I ask you what gift do you bring for the King of Kings? How do you pay Him homage? How will you continue to pay Him homage throughout this year?

May Almighty God, who led the Wise Men by the shining of a star to find the Christ, the Light from Light, lead you also, in your pilgrimage, to find the Lord. Amen.

May God, who sent the Holy Spirit to rest upon the Only-begotten at his baptism in the Jordan River, pour out that Spirit upon you who have come to the waters of new birth. Amen.

May God, by the power that turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, transform your lives and make glad your hearts. Amen.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you, and remain with you forever. Amen.

Feast of the Holy Family

Today December 30th is the Holy Feast of the Holy Family.  The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the human family unit, as well as the ultimate family unit: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The feast, not a solemnity, is usually celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas. If Christmas is a Sunday, then the feast is celebrated on December 30th.

holy-family

O God, our heavenly Father, who lovest mankind, and art most merciful and compassionate, have mercy upon thy servants for whom I humbly pray thee, and commend to thy gracious care and protection. Be thou, O God, their guide and guardian in all their endeavors, lead them in the path of thy truth, and draw them nearer to thee, that they may lead a godly and righteous life in thy love and fear; doing thy will in all things. Give them grace that they may be temperate, industrious, diligent, devout and charitable. Defend them against the assaults of the enemy, and grant them wisdom and strength to resist all temptation and corruption of this life; and direct them in the way of salvation, through the merits of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the intercessions of his Holy Mother and thy blessed saints. Amen.

Colossians 3: 1-21 Amplified
3 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. 3 For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, [a]appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. 6 Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming [b]on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], 7 and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. 8 But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self— 11 a renewal in which there is no [distinction between] Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, [nor between nations whether] [c]barbarian or [d]Scythian, [nor in status whether] slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all [so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction].
12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. 14 Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. 15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. 16 Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
18 Wives, be [e]subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and [f]fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives [with an affectionate, sympathetic, selfless love that always seeks the best for them] and do not be embittered or resentful toward them [because of the responsibilities of marriage]. 20 Children, obey your parents [as God’s representatives] in all things, for this [attitude of respect and obedience] is well-pleasing [g]to the Lord [and will bring you God’s promised blessings]. 21 Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken].

Litany of the Holy Family
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

(“Pray for us” is repeated as indicated by “…”)

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, most worthy of our veneration, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, called “the Holy Family” from all time, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, son, mother, and head of the Holy Family, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, divine child, pure spouse, and chaste spouse, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, restorers of fallen families, …
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, image of the Blessed Trinity here on earth, …
Holy Family, tested by the greatest of difficulties, …
Holy Family, with much suffering on the journey to Bethlehem, …
Holy Family, without a welcome in Bethlehem, …
Holy Family, visited by the poor shepherds, …
Holy Family, obliged to live in a stable, …
Holy Family, praised by the angels, …
Holy Family, venerated by the wise men from the East, …
Holy Family, greeted by the pious Simeon in the temple, …
Holy Family, persecuted and exiled to a foreign country, …
Holy Family, hidden and unknown in Nazareth, …
Holy Family, faithful in the observance of divine laws, …
Holy Family, perfect model of the Christian family, …
Holy Family, center of peace and concord, …
Holy Family, whose protector is a model of paternal care, …
Holy Family, whose mother is a model of maternal diligence, …
Holy Family, whose Divine Child is a model of filial obedience, …
Holy Family, poor in material goods, but rich in divine blessings, …
Holy Family, as nothing in the eyes of men, but so great in heaven, …
Holy Family, our support in life and our hope in death, …
Holy Family, patron and protector of our Congregation, …

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Let us pray. O God of infinite goodness and kindness, who has deigned to call us to this Family, give us the grace to venerate Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, so that, imitating them in this life, we may enjoy with them the life to come. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

The Holy Family is the name given to the family unit of Jesus: The Divine Son of God Jesus, his mother the Virgin Mary, and his foster-father Joseph. We know very little about the life of the Holy Family through the canonical Gospels. They speak of the early years of the Holy Family, including the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple.

Holy Gospel of Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

13And as they went, The Angel of THE LORD JEHOVAH appeared in a dream to Yoseph, and said to him, “Arise, take The Boy and his mother, and flee to Egypt and stay there, until I speak to you, for Herodus is going to seek The Boy to destroy him.”

14So Yoseph arose, took The Boy and his mother in the night, and fled to Egypt. 15And he was there until the death of Herodus, that the thing might be fulfilled that was spoken from THE LORD JEHOVAH through the Prophet which says, “From Egypt I have called my Son.”

19But when Herodus The King died, The Angel of THE LORD JEHOVAH appeared in a dream to Yoseph in Egypt.20And he said to him, “Arise, take The Boy and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the Boy’s life have died.” 21And Yoseph arose, took The Boy and his mother, and came to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Arkilaus was The King in Judaea, in the place of Herodus his father, he was afraid to go there, and it appeared to him in a dream that he should go to the region of Galilee. 23And he came to dwell in a city that is called Nazareth, so that the thing would be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, “He shall be called The Nazarene.”

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