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May 13-18: May 13 Monday (Our Lady of Fatima) Jn 10: 1-10: Today is the 102nd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to three shepherd children (1917) in Fatima, Portugal. The children were: Lúcia Santos (10) who later became a Carmelite nun, and her cousins Francisco Marto (9) who died at 11 in 1919 and Jacinta (7) who died at 10 in 1920. Lúcia Santos became Sister Lúcia; she died in 2005 at the age of 97. The apparitions took place on a small spreading holm oak tree, six times in six months, on the thirteenth of each month from May through October 1917, at Fatima, a village 110 miles North of Lisbon in Portugal. Mary instructed the children to pray the Rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. On October 13th, 1917, seventy thousand people witnessed the dancing sun miracle without hurting their eyes. They saw the sun rotating, enlarging, shrinking, approaching and retreating.
The three secrets of Fatima: On July 13, around noon, the Lady is said to have entrusted three secrets to the children. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of José da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta. The first secret was a vision of hell and its torments. The second secret was a statement that World War I would end and supposedly a prediction of the coming of World War II, should God continue to be offended and if Russia were not converted. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When asked by the Bishop of Leiria in 1943 to reveal the third secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being “not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.” However, in October of 1943 the bishop of Leiria ordered her to put it in writing. Lucia then wrote the secret down and sealed it an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when “it will appear clearer.” Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See’s Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000. It spoke of a “bishop in white who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him.” Many people linked this to the assassination attempt against Pope St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. Some claim that it was not the real secret revealed to Lúcia, despite assertions from the Vatican to the contrary. According to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, “it appeared evident to his Holiness that it was a motherly hand which guided the bullets past, enabling the dying Pope to halt at the threshold of death.” (BBC). The local bishop approved the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1930; and it was added to the Church’s worldwide calendar in 2002.
Life message: 1) We need to become holy children of a holy Mother by leading pure lives. 2) We need to imitate Mary’s trusting faith in God’s power, her unconditional surrender and obedience to God’s will, and her spirit of selfless and humble service. 3) We need to obey the Fatima message of repentance, renewal of life and praying the Rosary. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19
May 14 Tuesday (St. Matthias, Apostle): Jn 15:9-17: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 This I command you, to love one another.
The context: During the Last Supper discourse, Jesus instructs his disciples about love as the hallmark of Christians and the criterion of discipleship, and he teaches them how love should be practiced.
The criterion of Christian love: Jesus explains to his Apostles that the basis and criterion of his love for them is the Love existing among the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and that his love for them is a reflection of that Love. In other words, God’s love for us, as shown by Jesus through his unconditional, self-giving, sacrificial love expressed in his obedience to his Father, must be the criterion of Christian love. We express our love for Christ by obeying his new commandment of love.
The new commandment: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The old commandment was to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But Jesus insisted that the criterion of Christian love must be the same as the one for his love. So our love must also be sacrificial, forgiving, unconditional, selfless and self-giving. The highest expression of this love is our willingness to lay down our lives as Jesus did, for people who don’t deserve it.
Life messages: 1) We need to be Jesus’ friends: Jesus invites each Christian to live in the inner circle of his friends by obeying his commandments, including the new commandment of love. Such friends abide in Jesus, and Jesus abides in them, and their prayers in Jesus’ Name will be answered promptly by God the Father. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19
May 15 Wednesday (St. Isidore, (U.S.A): Jn 12: 44-50: 44 Jesus cried out and said, “whoever believes in me believes not only in me but in Him who sent me. 45 And he who sees me sees Him Who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”
The context: Today’s Gospel text, taken from John’s Gospel, is a passage from the last public discourse of Jesus before his arrest and crucifixion.
The main ideas in the passage are 1) Jesus’ relationship with the Father; 2) Jesus’ role as the Light and Life of the world; and 3) criteria of our judgment. First, Jesus teaches us that he is one with the Father and he is the image of his invisible Father. He is one with the Father, so that Father speaks through him and operates through him. Hence, those who accept Jesus and his message accept God the Father’s message. Second, Jesus claims that he is the Light and Life of the world. Psalm 27 exclaims, “The Lord is my Light and my salvation!” As Light, Jesus removes the darkness of evil from the world and from our souls, shows us the correct way to go in life, and gives us the warmth of his sharing, sacrificial love. As Light, God’s word enables those with eyes of Faith to perceive the hidden truths of God’s Kingdom. As the Life of the world, Jesus, by his words, produces the very Life of God within those who receive these words with Faith. Third, we are rewarded or punished eternally based on whether or not we accept Jesus and his teachings and whether or not we live our lives accordingly.
Life messages: 1) As Christians our duty is to reflect and radiate the light of Jesus in the darkness of evil around us by acts of sharing love, kindness, forgiveness and humble service. 2) Let us ask for the strength of the Holy Spirit to choose Christ and his ideals every day and to reject everything contrary to Christ’s teachings. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19
May 16 Thursday (St. John I, Pope, Martyr): Jn 13:16-20: 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”
The context: Today’s Gospel is the second part of the explanation Jesus gave to his disciples after washing their feet before the Last Supper. He promised his disciples that that whoever listened to them would be listening to him as well, provided his preaching disciples became the humble servants of others.
Gospel lessons: In the first part of today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the fact that the hallmark of his disciples must be their readiness and generosity in offering humble and sacrificial service to others, because that was the model Jesus had given them by his life and especially by washing their feet. It is by serving others that we become great before God. In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus shows his apostles how to treat people who are unfaithful and disloyal. Jesus hints at the betrayal of Judas by quoting Psalm 4:9: “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” Instead of distancing himself from Judas, Jesus offers him reconciliation, showing him more affection by washing his feet and by giving him a morsel of bread dipped in sauce with his own hand. In the third part, Jesus gives the basis for apostolic succession, stating that one who receives his apostles and messengers receives him, thereby receiving God the Father who sent Jesus.
Life messages: 1) Let us prove that we are true disciples of Jesus by rendering others humble and loving service today. 2) Let us learn to be reconciled with those who offend us by unconditionally pardoning them, by wishing them the very best and by keeping them in our prayers. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19
May 17 Friday: Jn 14:1-6: 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.
The context: Jesus consoles his apostles who are sad and disheartened at the prospect of his arrest and crucifixion by assuring them that he is going to prepare an everlasting accommodation for them in his Father’s house in Heaven. He gives them the assurance that he will come back to take them to their Heavenly abodes. It is then that Thomas asks Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ question with, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”
Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life: The basic doctrine of Judaism is that Yahweh is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Hence, Jesus is making the revolutionary claim that he is equivalent to Yahweh. Jesus declares that he is the safest and surest way to God, discrediting the notions that all religions are equally sure ways to reach God, or that no organized religion, but only living a good life of sharing love, is necessary to reach God. But Jesus, the Way, is narrow, for it is the way of loving, sacrificial service. Jesus is the Truth who revealed truths about God and God’s relation to man in his teaching. Jesus also taught moral truths by demonstrating them in his life. Jesus is the Life because he himself shares the Eternal Life of God, and because He shares his Divine Life with his disciples through the Word of God and the Sacraments.
Life messages: We should share the Divine Life of God by making use of the means Jesus established in his Church: a) by actively participating in the Eucharistic celebration and properly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion; b) by the worthy reception of the other Sacraments; c) by the meditative and daily reading of the Word of God; d) by following the guidance of the life-giving Spirit of God, living in the Church and within us; and e) by communicating with God the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers and f) by going to God to be reconciled with Him daily by repenting of our sins, by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at a minimum, when we are in mortal sin (so that we can receive Him in the Eucharist), by forgiving others who offend us, and by asking God’s forgiveness of our own sins. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19
May 18 Saturday: John 14:7-14: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
Scripture lesson: Answering Philip’s request at the Last Supper, Jesus explains, in today’s Gospel selection, the unity and oneness of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus clarifies the abiding presence of each Person of the Holy Trinity in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. In order to see what God looks like, we have only to look at Jesus, and in order to hear how God speaks, we have only to listen to Jesus. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God Who cares intensely, and Who yearns for all men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus reveals a God Who loves us unconditionally, unselfishly and perfectly. If we put our trust in Jesus and believe in him, Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in Jesus’ Name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread … (Matthew 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3).
Life message: 1) We believe that God dwells within our souls in the form of His Holy Spirit, making us the temple of God where we have the indwelling presence of the Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit living. Hence, it is our duty to live always aware of the real presence of God within us and to adjust our life, accordingly, doing good to others and avoiding evil. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19