The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This year the entire month of February falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.
Human Trafficking: For a generous welcome to the victims of human trafficking, enforced prostitution, and violence. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)
Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
“And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured (Luke 6:17-18).”
The feast of the Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
The first reading is from the book of Jeremiah (Jer 17:5-8). Jeremiah lived through one of the most troubled periods of the ancient Near East as he witnessed the fall of Assyria and the rising of Babylon. In the midst of this turmoil, the kingdom of Judah, came to its downfall by resisting this overwhelming force of history. The two predominant themes of Jeremiah’s message are to precisely define true Yahwehism, and to proclaim the imminent wars as punishments of Judah’s aberrations. Today’s reading falls into the category of true Yahwehism and is a wisdom saying on true justice.
The second reading is from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:12, 16-20). This reading continues the teaching we heard last week on the resurrection of the dead. St. Paul addresses the Corinthian claim that there is no such thing as resurrection from the dead.
The Gospel reading is taken from St. Luke (Lk 6:17, 20-26). Jesus then went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles: Simon, his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot. He then came down the mountain with them and delivered the sermon on the plain which is our reading for today.
Things to Do:
- Read the more detailed, corresponding passage in Matthew 5:3-12 on the Beatitudes. Choose a beatitude to focus on for the rest of this month. Write it in conspicuous places throughout your house — desk, home altar, fridge, bathroom mirror. Think of some small practical ways to put this beatitude into action in your daily life. For some ideas on how to live the poverty and detachment prescribed by the first beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit), read this interview with spiritual director and writer Fr. Dubay.
- Read a summary of St. Bernard’s advice for living the Beatitudes, and the Holy Father’s exhortation to the youth at Toronto’s World Youth Day to be people of the Beatitudes.
As athletes of Christ we are called to a competitive “race” (Epistle). As workers with Christ we are ordered into the “vineyard” (Gospel).
It is a “race” with death for the “prize” of life eternal. Only “one receives the prize” by His own right, Christ! But, remember, He still runs in us if we do not lag in this “race,” as did Israel under “Moses” (Epistle).
God comes to us “early” in life. Unitl the last “hour” He repeats, “Why . . . stand . . . idle?” Each “hour” brings us nearer to the “evening” of reward, not due to the excellence of our work in itself but mercifully given by God as a recompense (Gospel).
— Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood
Meditation: Luke 6:17, 20-26
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Blessed are you who are poor. (Luke 6:20)
Who actually wants to embrace a life of poverty, mourning, and hunger? Who actually believes that poverty is the way to blessing and happiness? Jesus does, because that’s the way he lived, and it’s the way he wants all of us to live as well.
Deep down, we all know that money doesn’t make people happy. There are plenty of miserable millionaires. Rich or poor, it’s good relationships that make people happy. And what could be a more important relationship than our relationship with God? No wonder Jesus was so happy! He had an unbroken relationship with his heavenly Father.
Jesus didn’t restrict his vision to the world around him. He also kept his eyes fixed on his heavenly Father. With his heart lifted up to God’s presence and his mind filled with truth by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was able to look at life clearly and joyfully. He wasn’t bound by money or by the desire for a problem-free life where he always got his way. He was happy just knowing his Father and following his Father’s will.
Jesus gave us the beatitudes to teach us the secret of happiness. He knows that prosperous sinners are miserable people, however much the world envies them. The world cannot see the emptiness of a heart that is devoid of God’s love. It’s important to know that Jesus isn’t against money itself. He only wants us to set goals that go far beyond the accumulation of wealth.
Jesus once told his disciples that he had “food” that they knew nothing about and that this “food” was to do his Father’s will (John 4:32, 34). As we learn how to keep our minds fixed on the promises of God, we too will discover the secret to Jesus’ peace and happiness. By following in Jesus’ footsteps, we can know the same happiness he knew—the same happiness that fills all the saints and angels in heaven.
“Jesus, fill my heart with your vision of life. Teach me to be content with riches or poverty, with good times and bad. Lord, give me only your love!”
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
Donna McSoley stands in St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski. She is the driving force behind a new Catholic radio station. Photo by Gail Callahan
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
The Rev. Lance Harlow, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Burlington, records in WRXJ radio’s Winooski station. Courtesy photo
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.