Jan 30- Feb 4 weekday Homilies

Jan 30- Feb 4: Click on http://frtonyshomilies.comfor missed homilies:

Jan 30 Monday: Mk 5:1-20: 1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of Gerasenes. 2 And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; 12 and they begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 …20.

The context: Today’s Gospel episode demonstrates Jesus’ power over the devil in a Gentile town of the Decapolis, east of the Jordan, called Gadara (Matthew), or Gerasa (Mark and Luke). A demon-possessed man (two men in Matthew), came out of a tomb-filled desolate place. The demons, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, begged Him to send them into a herd of swine. The possessed man’s demons named themselves Legion (ca 5000 men), indicating their number. Jesus did as the evil spirits requested, and the now-possessed swine ran down the slope and drowned in the sea. The frightened people of the city asked Jesus to leave their city. The people considered their swine more precious than the liberation given to the possessed man. If we have a selfish or materialistic outlook, we fail to appreciate the value of Divine things, and we push God out of our lives, begging Him to go away, as these people did.

Life messages: 1) We need to come out of our tombs: Jesus is calling us to come out of the tombs. Our tombs are the closed-in, sealed-off areas of our hearts where Life in the Spirit of God has died because we haven’t let Jesus minister to us through others. Such godless persons are lonely. They try to fill their inner emptiness by packing their lives with money, promiscuity, addictions or workaholism, but nothing works.

2) Jesus the Liberator is ready to free us from the tombs of our evil addictions and habits If we will only let go of everything and give Jesus a chance, He can, and will, help us to experience the joy and freedom of the children of God. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 31 Tuesday: (Saint John Bosco, Priest):For a short biography, click on https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-bosco Mk 5:21-43: about him; and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and besought him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.”29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, `Who touched me?'” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The context: Today’s Gospel is a beautiful presentation of two miracles, a healing, and a revival and restoration of life. These miracles were worked by Jesus as rewards for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage. Though the ruler trusted Jesus out of desperation, and the woman’s Faith was a bit superstitious, even their defective Faith was amply rewarded.

The ruler and the woman: The ruler of the synagogue supported Jewish orthodoxy. He could have despised Jesus who befriended sinners. But he bravely approached Jesus as a last resort when all the doctors had failed, and his daughter was dying. Since the Jews believed that one was not actually dead until three days had passed after he stopped breathing, when word came that the child had died, the ruler showed courage and Faith in staying with Jesus, ignoring the ridicule of fellow-Jews. In the same way, the woman with the bleeding disease was ritually unclean, and she was not supposed to appear in public. She had the courage and Faith to ignore a social and religious taboo in order to approach and touch the garment of Jesus from behind. Both the ruler’s child and the sick woman were brought back to life and to the community.

Life message: 1) Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, we need not wait until we have the correct motive and strong Faith to bring our problems before Jesus. Let us bring before him our bodily and mental wounds and ask for his healing touch today. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Feb 1 Wednesday: Mk 6: 1-6: (Mt 13:54-58): The context: Today’s Gospel passage describes the painful indifference Jesus met in his audience and the jealous, hurtful comments Jesus heard when, as a carpenter-turned-Rabbi with a band of his own disciples, he started preaching in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth.

A prophet without honor: The people of Nazareth literally jammed the synagogue, eager to see their familiar carpenter-turned-miracle-working preacher, Jesus, working miracles as he had done in neighboring towns and villages. But they were jealous, incredulous, and critical, rather than believing, which prevented Jesus from doing miraculous healings. They were jealous of the extraordinary ability of a former carpenter without formal education in Mosaic Law to give a powerful and authoritative interpretation of their Holy Scriptures. A carpenter’s profession was considered low in social ranking. Besides, they could not accept a prophet coming from so low a family background as Jesus’ was, nor could they accept his “blasphemous” claim to be the promised Messiah. Jesus’ relatives, known to them, were equally unimportant people. But the most offensive thing he did, in their judgment, was to point out to them their own unbelief, citing examples of the famous prophets Elijah and Elisha favoring Faith-filled Gentiles over unbelieving Jews.

Brothers and sisters of Jesus: “Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages had no special words for different degrees of relationship, such as are found in more modern languages. In general, all those belonging to the same family, clan, and even tribe, were brethren. Jesus had different kinds of relatives, in two groups — some on his mother’s side, others on St. Joseph’s. Mt13:55-56 mentions as living in Nazareth, “His brethren, ”James, Joses, Simon, and Judas,” and elsewhere there is reference to Jesus’ sisters (cf. Mt 6:3). But in Matthew 27:56 we are told that James and Joses were sons of a Mary distinct from the Blessed Virgin, and that Simon and Judas were not brothers of James, or St. Joseph’s children from a previous marriage. Jesus, on the other hand, was known to everyone as the son of Mary (Mk 6:3) or the carpenter’s son (Mt 13:55). The Church has always maintained as absolutely certain that Jesus had no brothers or sisters in the full meaning of the term: it is a dogma that Mary was ever-Virgin” (Navarre Bible Commentary)

Life messages:

1) Perhaps we have experienced the pain of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, violated trust, neglect, or abuse from our own friends and relatives. On such occasions, let us face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. 2) Let us not, like the people in Jesus’ hometown, reject God in our personal lives. 3) Our country needs to hear God’s Truth from Spirit-filled Christians with the prophetic courage of their convictions. 4) Trusting Faith in the Divinity and goodness of Christ is essential, if Jesus is to work miracles in our personal lives. In addition, we need to be docile to the Holy Spirit living within us, so that He may work miracles in our lives. 5) When we are challenged by the Gospel and by the Church, we should be thankful and should not allow the prophetic voice of the Church die in our hearts. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Feb 2: Thursday: (The Presentation of the Lord): Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32: ((https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/presentation-of-the-lord) The context: Today’s Gospel presents the head of the Holy Family, Joseph, faithfully obeying God’s law given through Moses concerning the purification of the mother and the redeeming of the child, by presenting Mary and the Baby Jesus in the Temple. The events recounted appear elsewhere in the liturgical year but are those we traditionally celebrate today, February 2nd, with the Feast of Presentation of Jesus. This is a combined feast, commemorating the Jewish practice of the purification of the mother after childbirth and the presentation of the child in the Temple. It is known as the Hypanthe feast or Feast of the Purification of Mary (by the offering two pigeons in the Temple), the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (by prayers and the payment of “five shekels to a member of the priestly family” (Nm 3:47-48; NAB Note on Lk 2:22), to redeem or buy the firstborn male child back from the Lord’s service), and the Feast of Encounter (because the New Testament, represented by the Baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna). On February 2nd, we celebrate these events as a formal ending of the Christmas season. The same day, we also celebrate the Feast of Candlemas(because candles are blessed then for liturgical and personal use). Purification and redemption ceremonies: The Mosaic Law taught that, since every Jewish male child belonged to Yahweh, the parents had to “buy back” the child (“redeem” him), (The “Pidyon haBen” Service) )with the payment of “five shekels (=15 Denarius= wage for 15 days of work) to a member of the priestly family” (Nm 3:47-48; NAB Note on Lk 2:22). In addition, (Nm 18:15) every mother had to be purified after childbirth by prayers and the sacrifice of a lamb (or two turtledoves for the poor) in the Temple. Joseph kept these laws as an act of obedience to God.

The encounter with Simeon and Anna: By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the old, pious, Spirit-filled Simeon and the very old widow, Anna, both of whom who had been waiting for the revelation of God’s salvation, were present in the Temple the day Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Present Him to the Father. Simeon recognized Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One, and in his prayer of blessing, he prophesied that Jesus was meant to be the glory of Israel and a Light of revelation to the Gentiles. While he blessed Mary, Simeon warned that her child would be “set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign of contradiction” and that “a sword will pierce through your own soul. Simeon was prophesying both the universal salvation that would be proclaimed by Jesus and the necessity of suffering in the mission of the Messiah.

Life message:Every Holy Mass in which we participate is our presentation. Although we were officially presented to God on the day of our Baptism, we present ourselves and our dear ones on the altar before God our Father through our Savior Jesus Christ at every Holy Mass. Hence, we need to live our daily lives with the awareness both that we are dedicated people consecrated to God and that we are obliged to lead holy lives. Let us also remember and pray for our godparents who presented us to the Lord on the day of our Baptism Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Feb 3 Friday:(Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr) ; Saint Ansgar, Bishop]: Feb 4 Saturday: Mk 6:30-34 : (In the U. S.St. Blaise, Bishop & Martyr and the blessing of throats): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-blaise/ & St. Blasé in Croatia story: https://www.ncregister.com/blog/how-st-blaise-saved-a-city-and-more-fascinating-facts-about-himVideo of his festal celebration in Croatia: Watch this video: https://youtu.be/gZKCw1OWe5gHomily 1:https://youtu.be/fp-yr-XanWA; Homily 2:https://youtu.be/0gs6aYwGb70

Legends: We have only a few legends and no historical documents about St. Blaise and his martyrdom. But some Eastern Churches observe his feast day as a day of obligation. The British, German and Slavic people honor his memory. The U.S. Catholics seek his intercession for the healing of throat diseases by the ritual of blessing of throats. According to the Acts of St. Blaise written in the eighth century, Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, (Turkey) in 316. Stories tell how, when the Christian persecutions began, he withdraw to a cave in the woods when inspired to do so by the Lord. Since he was a physician before he became a bishop, Blaise soon became the friend of wild animals that were ill or wounded. They sought him out. One day the governor’s hunters searching for animals to bring to the city’s amphitheater were shocked when they happened upon Blaise. There he was, kneeling and praying — surrounded by totally docile wolves, lions and bears, tame in his presence. When they took him prisoner, on the way to the jail he got more chances to perform miracles besides healing the boy with the fishbone caught in his throat. He met a poor woman in great distress because a wolf had snatched her small, young pig. She asked his help. Blaise commanded the wolf to return the pig. Immediately, the wolf heard and brought back the pig which was not harmed. The woman continued to visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.

His cult spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because of the healing of a boy. Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during his journey to prison when he placed his hand on the boy’s head and prayed. In another version of the story, the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison, and he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy’s throat. The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles supplied by a woman that Blaise used while in prison.

Martyrdom and miracles: When the governor of Cappadocia (in Modern Turkey) began to persecute the Christians, St. Blaise was arrested. The governor of Cappadocia tried in vain to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused; he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. Finally, he condemned to be beheaded. As he was led to the place of execution a poor mother rushed up to him, begging him to save her child who was choking to death on a fishbone. The bishop gave him a blessing which enabled the child to cough up the bone. Then, Bishop Blaise was cruelly tortured and beheaded. The blessing of throats may be given by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister. (Since these are Covid-pandemic days, the minister should take care that the candles do not touch the throat of any person). The priest or deacon makes the sign of the cross over the recipient as the blessing is said. If necessary, laypersons are permitted to give the blessing of the throats but are instructed not to make the sign of the cross.

Life message: We all need some type of healing in some parts of our body, mind, or soul. Let us ask the intercession of St. Blaise with repentant hearts, so that Jesus the healer may place his healing touch on us as we present ourselves for the ritual of the blessing of the throats. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Feb 4 Saturday: Mk 6: 30-34: 30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage presents the sympathetic and merciful heart of Jesus who lovingly invites his Apostles to a desolate place for some rest. Jesus realized that the Apostles he had sent on a preaching and healing mission to be neighboring towns and villages needed some rest on their return. He was eager to hear about their missionary adventures and they proudly shared their experiences. In no time, however, they were surrounded by the crowd, and Jesus resumed his preaching and teaching because he saw the crowd as sheep without shepherd.

Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus became a Good Shepherd. The Old Testament describes God as Shepherd of His people, Israel. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would feed his flock like a shepherd, he would gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep. In his epistle, Peter calls Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

Life messages: 1) Let us find time to be with Jesus at the end of every day to share with him how, by his grace, we shared his love to those entrusted to our care. 2) Let us show the mercy, compassion, care and concern of Jesus the Good Shepherd to those entrusted to our care. 3) Let us become good sheep of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, by leading pure, innocent, humble, selfless lives, obeying Christ’s commandment of love and gaining daily spiritual strength from the word of God and from the Body and Blood of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in Holy Communion. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections