Monthly Archives: January, 2019

Message of Asian bishops’ president for World Day of the Sick 2019

Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar, the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), has issued a message for the special celebration of World Day of the Sick in Kolkata, the city of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). 

The Asian bishops’ president is urging believers in the continent to continue upholding the sacred duty and tradition of caring and respecting the elderly, the infirm and the helpless, saying it is a barometer of society’s health. 

Cardinal Charles Bo, the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), made the exhortation in a message he released on Sunday in view of the upcoming international celebration of the Catholic Church’s World Day of the Sick.

The annual day was instituted by St. John Paul II on 13 May 1992, designating its celebration to the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11 each year.   The purpose is to draw attention to the sick and their caregivers and the redemptive act of human suffering.

Kolkata – city of Mother Teresa

Each year, the day is marked in a special way in a place chosen by the Pope who issues a message for the occasion.   The 27th World Day of the Sick will be celebrated in the eastern Indian city of  Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the city of St. Mother Teresa

In his message for this year’s observance, Pope Francis urges believers to promote a culture of generosity, noting that the joy of generous giving is a barometer of the health of a Christian.

The theme of this year’s World Day of the Sick has as its theme, “You received without payment; give without payment”. (Mt 10:8).

Recalling Kolkata as the “karma bhumi” (workplace) of St.Teresa of Calcutta, Card. Bo says that this year’s theme was the mantra that Jesus gave His disciples “before sending them forth to spread the good news of the kingdom of God.”

Caring for sick, infirm – a sacred duty

“Allow me to remind myself and encourage all believers to uphold the traditional values embedded in the psyche of our varied ethnic groups in this vast Asian continent which considers caring for the elderly and infirm as a sacred duty of respect and devotion,” explains the cardinal, the Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar. 

“Our traditional customs of reaching out in solidarity to those in need especially those who are sick, helpless or fall victims to accidents of calamitous emergencies,” he says, “must continue to be embraced as a culture of generosity – a barometer denoting societal health.”

Card. Bo, who assumed his leadership of the FABC on Jan. 1, holds Mary as a model, saying she set out to be at the side of her cousin Elizabeth in her hour of need.  He wishes that she be an inspiration and example to us “to reach out as visible signs of God’s love for the poor and the sick.”

He wishes that Mother Teresa, who showed what it means “give till it hurts”, also be an inspiration and model in giving our time and talents in caring for the sick. 

The 70-year old cardinal expressed his gratitude and encouragement to volunteers and associations who help the sick, and all those organize campaigns for blood, tissue and organ donation.

Pope Francis on Dec. 11 appointed Bangladeshi Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario as his envoy to the special celebration of the World Day of the Sick in Kolkata. 

This year’s World Day of the Sick will be a 3-day event, starting in Kolkata on February 9 and will culminate on February 11 at the historical Marian Shrine at Bandel on the banks of the Hooghly River some 60 kms north of Kolkata.

The first World Day of the Sick was marked in 1993 at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France, one of the world’s most famous Marian shrines.  Since then, the day has been observed all over the world with a special celebration in a particular place each year. 

According to Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, that organizes the World Day of the Sick, Kolkata was chosen as a venue mainly “in light of the experience of St. Teresa of Calcutta”.

This is only the second time a place in India has been chosen.  The first was Vailankanni in 2003. – Robin Gomes, Vatican News, 27Jan2019

‘WYD journey to Lisbon has already begun!’

The Archbishop of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Clemente, comments on the announcement of Lisbon as the next city to host World Youth Day.

Cardinal Manuel Clemente and Father Alexandre Awi Mello at a press WYD press briefing

World Youth Day 2019 wrapped up in Panama on Sunday with the announcement that the next World Youth Day will be held in LisbonPortugal in 2022.

The announcement was received with joy and excitement, especially – of course – by Portuguese pilgrims and by all those who will be directly involved in preparing for the event.

Amongst them Cardinal Manuel Clemente, Archbishop of Lisbon who had a word with Seàn-Patrick Lovett  just moments after the announcement was made at the end of the WYD Panama  closing Mass.

Commenting on the Pope’s invitation to young people to continue walking the journey from Panama to Portugal, Cardinal Clemente said “that journey has already begun”:

“We are already walking from Panama to Lisbon” Cardinal Clemente  says, pointing out that  three years is really not a very long time in which to prepare for such an event.

Of course, he adds, “we want to do our best, so it is a great challenge! But it’s also great news, not only for us, the Portuguese people,  but for all the young people of the world who are all welcome!

A special thought  goes, he says, to those who will be coming from nations like Brazil, Mocambique, Angola because of our common language which will ensure they will feel especially at home in Lisbon.

Cardinal Clemente agrees it is not possible to speak of Portugal without speaking of Fatima, which is at the heart of spirituality in the country.

“Yes, Fatima will be in Lisbon” he says, “and the experience and presence of the Mother of Jesus in our life is perhaps even more visible in Fatima for all the world”.

“What do you say to the young people of the world?” Sean asks the Cardinal, to which he responds: “You are all welcome in Lisbon in 2022: I wait for you!” – Linda Bordoni, Vatican News, 28Jan2019

Full text of Pope’s homily at concluding Mass for WYD Panama

Sunday, Jan. 27, was the final day of the World Youth Day in Panama City. Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Holy Mass at the capital’s Metro Park to conclude the WYD. – Vatican News

Pope Francis celebrating the concluding Mass of the World Youth Day at Metro Park in Panama City, Jan. 27, 2019. 

            “The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them: ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Lk 4:20-21).

            With these words, the Gospel presents the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  It started in the synagogue that saw him grow up; he was in the midst of neighbours and people he knew, and perhaps even some of his childhood “catechists” who had taught him the Law.  It was an important moment in the life of the Master: the child who was educated and grew up in that community, stood up and took the floor to proclaim and put into action God’s dream.  A word previously proclaimed only as a future promise, but now, on the lips of Jesus alone, could be spoken in the present tense, as it became a reality: “Today it has been fulfilled”.

            Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19).  This is the now of God.  It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh.  It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance.  It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper.  In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life.

            When?  Now.  Yet not everyone who was listening felt invited or called.  Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realize a long-awaited dream.  Not only that, but “they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Lk 4:22).

            The same thing can also happen with us.  We do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative.  We do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt a way.  It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious vicissitudes” ( BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).

            Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us.  Because a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity.  God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar.  God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete.  Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).

            We can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth, when within our communities the Gospel seeks to be lived concretely.  We begin to say: But these young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph, aren’t they the brothers and sisters of so and so?  Are these not the youngsters we saw grow up?  That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with his ball?  What was born as prophecy and proclamation of the kingdom of God gets domesticated and impoverished.   Attempts to domesticate the word of God occur daily.

            You too, dear young people, can experience this whenever you think that your mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present.  As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called.  And in the “meantime”, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well insured”.  A “make-believe” happiness.  So we “ tranquilize ” you, we numb you into keeping quiet, not asking or questioning; and in that “meantime” your dreams lose their buoyancy, they begin to become flat and dreary, petty and plaintive (cf. Palm Sunday Homily, 25 March 2018).  Only because we think, or you think, that your now has not yet come, that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and working for the future.

            One of the fruits of the last Synod was the enrichment that came from being able to meet and above all to listen to one another.  The enrichment of intergenerational dialogue, the enrichment of exchange and the value of realizing that we need one another, that we have to work to create channels and spaces that encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting today.  And this, not in isolation, but rather side by side, creating a common space.  A space that is not simply taken for granted, or won in a lottery, but a space for which you too must fight.

            You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God.  He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.

            Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Mt 6:21).  Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything.  It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.  Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico).  We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing.  Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!

            For Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts.  He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.

            He is concrete, close, real love.  He is festive joy, born of opting for and taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and fraternity, despite the paralyzed and paralyzing gaze born of fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.

            Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a “meantime” in our life, something temporary; they are our life!

            In a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind of music in the background.  She not only believed in God and in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say “yes” to taking part in this now of the Lord.  She felt she had a mission; she fell in love and that decided everything.

            As in the synagogue of Nazareth, the Lord stands up again among us his friends and acquaintances; he takes the book and says to us “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).

            Do you want to live out your love in a practical way?  May your “yes” continue to be the gateway for the Holy Spirit to give us a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church.

Farewell

            At the conclusion of this celebration, I thank God for having given us the opportunity to share these days together and to experience once more this World Youth Day.

            In particular, I would like to thank the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, the Presidents of other nations and the other political and civil authorities for their presence at this celebration.

            I thank Bishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, for his generosity and hard work in hosting this World Youth Day in his diocese, as well as the other bishops of this and the neighbouring countries, for all they have done in their communities to provide accommodation and assistance to the great numbers of young people.

            My thanks also go to all those who have supported us with their prayers, and who have helped by their efforts and hard work to make this World Youth Day dream come true in this country.

            And to you, dear young people, a big “thank you”.  Your faith and joy have made Panama, America and the entire world shake!  As we have heard so many times in these days in the song of this World Youth Day: “As your pilgrim people we are gathered here today from every continent and city”.  We are on a journey, keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it.  Do not forget that you are not the tomorrow, you are not the “meantime”; you are the now of God.

            The venue for the next World Youth Day has already been announced.  I ask you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold.  Go back to your parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that is yours.  With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in you.

            And, please, do not forget to pray for me.

Full text of Pope’s speech to WYD volunteers

At the conclusion of World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis meets with 22,200-odd volunteers and thanks them for their hard work and generosity.

Pope Francis hugs a WYD volunteer

Dear Volunteers,

            Before we conclude the celebration of World Youth Day, I wanted to meet all of you and to thank every one of you for the service you rendered during these days and in the months preceding WYD.

            Thanks to Bartosz, Stella Maris del Carmen and Maria Margarida for sharing their personal experiences.  How important it is to listen to them and to appreciate the fellowship that comes about when we come together to serve others.  We experience how faith takes on a completely new flavour and force: it becomes more alive, dynamic and real.  We experience a different kind of joy from having had the opportunity to work side by side with others in achieving a shared dream.  I know that all of you have experienced this.

            Now you know how our hearts beat faster when we have a mission, not because someone told you this, but because you experienced it for yourselves.  You experienced in your own life that “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).

You also had to experience some difficult moments that called for additional sacrifice.  As you told us, Bartosz, we also come to experience our own weaknesses.  The good thing is that you did not let those weaknesses get in the way of your service, or bother you too much.  You experienced them in serving others, yes; in trying to understand and help other volunteers and pilgrims, yes; but you were determined not to let this stop you or paralyze you, you went ahead.  That is the beauty of knowing that we are sent, the joy of knowing that, in spite of every difficulty, we have a mission to carry out.  Not to let our limitations, our weaknesses and even our sins hold us back and stop us from living the mission, because God invites us to do what we can and ask for what we cannot, in the knowledge that his love is taking hold of us and transforming us progressively (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 49-50).  Put service and mission first, and you will see that everything else will follow.

            Thank you all, because in these days you have been attentive to even the smallest details, however ordinary and apparently insignificant, like offering someone a glass of water.  Yet you have also been concerned with the larger things that called for careful planning.  You prepared every detail with joy, creativity and commitment, and with much prayer.  For when we pray about things, we feel them more profoundly.  Prayer gives force and vitality to everything we do.  In praying, we discover that we are part of a family larger than what we can see or imagine.  In praying, we open everything we do to the Church that supports and accompanies us from heaven, to the saints who have shown us the way, but above all, we open it all to God.

            You have dedicated your time, and your energy and resources, to dreaming and putting together this meeting.  You could have easily chosen to do other things, but you wanted to be involved.  To give your best to making possible the miracle of the multiplication not only of loaves but also of hope.  Here, once again, you have shown that it is possible to set aside your own interests in order to help others.  As you did, Stella Maris, when you saved up to attend the WYD in Krakow, but decided not to go, so that you could look after your three grandparents.  You gave up doing something you wanted to do and had dreamed about, in order to help and accompany your family, to honour your roots.  But the Lord, unbeknownst to you, was preparing a gift for you; he brought the WYD to your own country.  Like Stella Maris, many of you also made all sorts of sacrifices.  You had to defer your dreams to care for your land, your roots.  The Lord always blesses that, and he can never be outdone in generosity.  Every time we forego something that we like for the good of others and especially those most in need, or our roots as in the case of our grandparents and the elderly, the Lord pays it back a hundredfold.  For when it comes to generosity, no one can beat him; when it comes to love, no one can outdo him.  Friends, give and it will be given to you, and you will experience how the Lord “puts into your lap good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Lk 6:38).

            You have had a more lively and real experience of faith; you have experienced the strength born of prayer and a new and different kind of joy, the fruit of working side by side even with people you did not know.  Now is the moment when you are sent forth: go out and tell, go out and bear witness, go out and spread the word about everything you have seen and heard.  Dear friends, let everyone know about what happened during these days.  Not with lots of words but rather, as you did here, with simple and ordinary gestures, those that transform and renew each hour of the day.

            Let us ask the Lord for his blessing.  May he bless your families and communities, and all those whom you will meet and encounter in the days to come.  Let us also place ourselves under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin.  May Our Lady accompany you always.  And, as I told you in Krakow, I do not know if I will be there for the next WYD, but Peter will surely be there to confirm you in faith.  Press on, with courage and strength, and please, do not forget to pray for me.  Thank you. – Vatican News, Rommel Fernández Stadium, 27 Jan 2019

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Nehemiah 8:2-4a,5-6,8-10
Ezra reads from the book of the Law and interprets it for all to understand.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 19:8,9,10,15
A song in praise of the Law of the Lord

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (or shorter form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27)
Paul explains that all were baptized into the one body of Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel reading combines two separate passages taken from the Gospel of Luke. First we hear the opening verses where Luke establishes the purpose of his Gospel. His style is typical of polished Greek and Roman literature. In this passage, we learn that Luke may have written to a specific person, Theophilus; but the word Theophilus may also be a general reference, functioning as the phrase “Dear Reader” might in contemporary writing. In Greek, the word Theophilus translates as “lover of God.”

Today’s Gospel reading then skips several chapters in which one would find the Infancy Narratives, Jesus’ baptism by John, the temptations Jesus faced in the desert, and the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. In chapter four of Luke’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus is in his hometown of Nazareth, attending the synagogue on the Sabbath, which is said to be his custom. In this account, we find another important clue that Jesus lived as a faithful, observant Jew. We will continue to read from Luke’s Gospel in sequence for the next two Sundays.

As Jesus stands in the synagogue, he reads from the scroll handed to him; it contains the words of the prophet Isaiah. At this early moment in his ministry, Jesus announces his mission in continuity with Israel’s prophetic tradition. This reading from Isaiah defines Jesus’ ministry. We will find more evidence of this as we continue to read from Luke’s Gospel throughout the year. Jesus’ ministry will include bringing glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed, and proclaiming a year acceptable to the Lord.

Through this text from Isaiah, Jesus announces God’s salvation. The “year acceptable to the Lord” is a reference to the Jewish tradition of Sabbath years and jubilee. The Sabbath year was observed every seventh year. It was a year of rest when land was left fallow and food stores were to be shared equally with all. A year of Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year, the conclusion of seven cycles of Sabbath years. It was a year of renewal in which debts were forgiven and slaves were freed.

This tradition of Jubilee is the framework for God’s promise of salvation. And yet in Jesus, something new begins. Jesus not only announces God’s salvation, he brings this salvation about in his person. Jesus is Yahweh’s Anointed One, filled with the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God is now at hand. It is made present in Jesus, in his life, death, and Resurrection. Jesus will send the Holy Spirit so that the Kingdom of God can be fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift to the Church. The Holy Spirit enables the Church to continue the mission of Jesus. When we do what Jesus did—bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, and freedom to the oppressed—we serve the Kingdom of God.- loyolapress.com

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.