Dear friends, from the Word of God we have just heard emerge practical instructions for our life. Jesus does not enter into a theoretical discussion with his interlocutors on this section of Mosaic Law; he is not concerned with winning an academic dispute about an interpretation of Mosaic Law, but his goal is to save a soul and reveal that salvation is only found in God's love. This is why he came down to the earth, this is why he was to die on the Cross and why the Father was to raise him on the third day. Jesus came to tell us that he wants us all in Paradise and that hell, about which little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love.
Dear brothers and sisters, on the Lenten journey we are taking, which is rapidly reaching its end, we are accompanied by the certainty that God never abandons us and that his love is a source of joy and peace; it is a powerful force that impels us on the path of holiness, if necessary even to martyrdom. This is what happened to the children and then to their brave mother, Felicity, the patron Saints of your Parish. Through their intercession, may the Lord grant you an ever deeper encounter with Christ and docile fidelity to follow him, so that, as happened for the Apostle Paul, you too may sincerely proclaim: "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ..." (Philippians 3: 8). May the example and intercession of these Saints be a constant encouragement to you to follow the path of the Gospel without hesitation and without compromise. May the Virgin Mary, whom we will contemplate tomorrow in the mystery of the Annunciation of the Lord and to whom I entrust all of you and the entire population of this suburb of Fidene, obtain for you this generous fidelity. 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.
23 March 2013
24 March 2013
Extracted from the 2nd book of Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16:
The word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: “When your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.)
I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives.
Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor.
Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
Jesus Christ, the descendant of King David is the promised Eternal and Universal King; whose Sovereignty is always secured and His Throne established forever.
His dynasty shall last for ever.
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord; through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever, that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.
‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your dynasty for ever and set up your throne through all ages.
‘He will say to me: “You are my father, my God, the rock who saves me.”
I will keep my love for him always; with him my covenant shall last.’
Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 4:13,16-18,22:
The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith.
That is why what fulfills the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us.
As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.
Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’
The promised son Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was 90 years old; Isaac is the ancestor of the great nation Israel and some Palestinian Tribes today.
Is it possible for a man alive at 99 years old, makes his wife of 89 years old, conceive and give birth to a son later? Don’t you think this is the work of God who “brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist” as Saint Paul said? 8-)
On 19 March 2013, the Universal Church celebrated the Feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The following were the Readings being read in the Universal Church all over the world on the same day:
1st Reading: 2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16 (see above),
Responsorial: Psalm 89:2-5,27,29 (see above),
2nd Reading: Romans 4:13,16-18,22 (see above) &
Gospel Reading: Matthew 1:16,18-21,24 (see Encouragements-37).
We have extracted the Homily of Pope Francis I on the same day to share with you; so that you could similarly be encouraged:
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS
Saint Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
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Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Francis I, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.