The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of JANUARY 2022
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all” (Luke 4:14-15).
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is the Sunday of the Word of God, instituted by Pope Francis in 2019. See Note of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the Sunday of the Word of God.
The Optional Memorials of St. Vincent Saragossa and St. Marianne Cope, which are ordinarily celebrated today, are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
Today is Day Six of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25.
The First Reading is taken from the Book of Nehemiah, 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10. Nehemiah and Ezra lived in the time when the people of Israel had been returned to their land after the years of the Babylonian Captivity and it was a time of rebuilding. The people had lost their connections to their faith.
The Second Reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 12:12-30 and refers to the Mystical Body of Christ. St. Paul concludes his description of the different parts of the body by applying it to the Church, where variety of functions does not detract from unity.
The Gospel is from St. Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21. In the first four verses of St. Luke’s Gospel which have been read to you today, you will find reason to be grateful to him. He went to a lot of trouble in order to put in a permanent form, in a written record, the essential facts concerning Christ, his words and his works, so that we “would understand (like Theophilus) the certainty of the faith in which we have been instructed.”
But while we must be grateful to St. Luke, we owe a bigger debt of gratitude still to the all-good, all-wise God who moved Luke and the other Evangelists to preserve for us in writing the essential truths of the Christian faith that has been handed down to us. The Apostles were companions of Christ. They witnessed his works and his words; they remembered most of his doings and his sayings, and what they might have forgotten the Holy Spirit recalled to their memory on that first Pentecost day in Jerusalem. The first two generations of Christians received the facts of the faith from these eye-witnesses and the miracles so frequent in the infant Church were confirmation of the truth of their teaching.
But God in his wisdom provided for the many generations to come who would not have this evident confirmation of their faith. He established a teaching body in his Church which would safeguard the purity of the Christian truths, for “he himself would be with it all days,” and he gave us a written record of the facts of the faith in the Gospels and the ether writings of the New Testament.
How can we ever thank God sufficiently for his thoughtfulness in our regard? We Christians of today can be as certain, as assured, of the truth of the faith that we are trying to practice as was St. Luke who was converted by St. Paul. We have a living, teaching Magisterium in the Church, which authentically preserves and interprets for us the true facts of Christ’s teaching and works as written down for us by a first-generation Christian under the impulse and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. If we needed further proof of the priceless value of our New Testament Books, the virulent attacks on their authenticity, on their objectivity, and on their veracity, by enemies of the faith down to and including our own day, should be sufficient.
But they have stood the test of time and the onslaughts of biased, prejudiced criticism, for they are the word of truth, which is eternal, and comes from God.
We have a priceless gift of God in the inspired Books of the Bible. Let us show true appreciation for that gift by using it to build up a better knowledge of the Christian faith which it teaches us. There should be a Bible, or at least the New Testament, in every Christian home. It should not be an ornament on a shelf, but a fountain and source from which we can draw strength and refreshment in the daily practice of our Christian faith. Almost two thousand years ago, God’s infinite goodness provided this source of strength, the “fountain of living water,” for us Christians of this century. Are we grateful for his thoughtfulness? Are we nourishing our faith at this blessed fountain of his infinite wisdom and love?
–Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan, O.F.M.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Day 6, Gathered in worship around the One Lord “They saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.” (Matthew 2:11)
- Exodus 3:1-6, Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
- Matthew 28:16-20, When they saw him, they worshipped him.
When the Magi arrived at Bethlehem and saw the child with his mother, they worshipped him. Similarly at the sight of the burning bush, Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God. When the disciples saw the risen Christ on the mountain in Galilee, they worshipped him. In the heavenly liturgy, the twenty-four elders fall before him who sits on the throne. Encountering God’s presence, we respond thus: gazing, followed by amazement, leading to worship.
Do we see? Are we amazed? Are we truly worshipping? In our narrow vision, too often we see only our tangled disagreements, forgetting that the one Lord has given his saving grace to us all, and that we share in the one Spirit who draws us into unity.
As communities enlivened by the Holy Spirit, our churches call us to walk together towards the Christ Child to offer him homage as one people. The Spirit of compassion guides us to each other, and together guides us to our one Lord.
Compassionate God, you gave the blind the insight to recognize you as their Savior, enable us to repent. In your mercy, remove the scales from our eyes and lead us to worship you as our God and Redeemer. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon us, so that together we glorify you in the Spirit’s fellowship, and witness to all those around us. Amen.
January 23, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)
Almighty ever-living God, direct our actions according to your good pleasure, that in the name of your beloved Son we may abound in good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Daily Meditation: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. (1 Corinthians 12:15)
When we read St. Paul’s words here about the body of Christ, we often think of the Church as a whole. We think of a beautiful, complex ensemble made of many different parts.
At the same time, though, you might feel that you’re an insignificant part—a foot rather than a hand, as St. Paul would say (1 Corinthians 12:15). So many people seem to be more vital to the functioning of the body of Christ than yourself. There’s the mom of six kids, on the parish council, who has a son in seminary. Or the successful businessman who generously gave thousands of dollars to fix the church’s bell tower. Or the widow who leads a Bible study and never misses daily Mass. Or the popular preacher who has a million followers on YouTube. Are you really as important as these members?
Absolutely yes! Remember, “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended” (1 Corinthians 12:18, emphasis added). Each member is essential to the proper functioning of the whole body. That includes you. He intended you to be an important part of his body.
How can you be sure? Jesus called you and made you part of his body through Baptism. He knows why he called you—and it’s not so that you would be exactly like someone else. He loves you in a way that he loves no one else. That means you are just as dear to his heart as the people who might look like superstars to you.
So try seeing the body of Christ—and yourself—the way God does. Each person has a role to play, and if everyone were the same, the Church wouldn’t be all that God wants it to be. God made you exactly as you are to help make his body, the Church, whole.
“Thank you, Lord, that even I am an essential member of your body!”
Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19:8-10, 15
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
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.