Do not join the ranks of the prophets of doom who proclaim the end or meaninglessness of the consecrated life in the Church in our day; rather, clothe yourselves in Jesus Christ and put on the armour of light — as St Paul urged (cf. Romans 13:11-14) — keeping awake and watchful. St Chromatius of Aquileia wrote: “Distance this peril from us so that we are never overcome by the heavy slumber of infidelity. Rather may he grant us his grace and his mercy, that we may watch, ever faithful to him. In fact our fidelity can watch in Christ (Sermon 32, 4).
Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of consecrated life necessarily passes through participation in the cross of Christ. This is how it ways for Mary Most Holy. Hers is the suffering of the heart that is one with the Heart of the Son of God, pierced by love. From this wound God’s light flows and also from the suffering, sacrifice and self-giving of consecrated people who live through their love for God and for others, that shines the very light that evangelizes nations. On this feast I express in a special way to you, consecrated people, the hope that your lives may always have the flavour of evangelical parresia, so that in you the Good News may be lived, witnessed to, and proclaimed and may shine out as a word of truth (cf. Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 6). Amen.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
My lips will tell of your help.
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me: pay heed to me and save me.
Be a rock where I can take refuge, a mighty stronghold to save me;
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked.
It is you, O Lord, who are my hope, my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth, from my mother’s womb you have been my help.
My lips will tell of your justice and day by day of your help.
O God, you have taught me from my youth and I proclaim your wonders still.
Extracted from the 1st letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13:
Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.
If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.
In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 4:21-30:
Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’
But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’ And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.
The following are the Readings for Holy Mass on 3 February 2013 - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
1st Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19 (see Encouragements-118);
Responsorial: Psalm 71:1-6,15,17 (see above);
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 (see above) &
Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30 (see above).
We have extracted the words of Pope Benedict XVI on the same day to share with you so that you could similarly be encouraged:
Saint Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s Gospel — taken from chapter four of St Luke — is the continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel. Once again we find ourselves in the Synagogue of Nazareth, the village where Jesus grew up, where every knew him and his family. Then, after a period of absence, he returned there in a new way: during the Sabbath liturgy he read a prophecy on the Messiah by Isaiah and announced its fulfillment, making it clear that this word referred to him, that Isaiah had spoken about him. The event puzzled the Nazarenes: on the one hand they “all spoke well of him and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22).
St Mark reported what many were saying: “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?” (6:2). On the other hand, however, his fellow villagers knew him too well: “He is one like us”, they say, “His claim can only be a presumption (cf. The Infancy Narratives, English edition, p. 3). “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22), as if to say “what can a carpenter from Nazareth aspire to?”.