The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This 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. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.
Universal – The Treasure of Families: That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity. (See also Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network)
Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6:54-58).”
Today is the feast of St. John Eudes which is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.
The first reading is taken from the Book of Proverbs 9:1-6 in which wisdom is described as a person.
The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:15-20. St. Paul urges his converts to live according to the Christian wisdom they have received: to live according to the will of the Lord. He urges them to avoid drunkeness, to be full of the Holy Spirit and full of gratitude to God for all the gifts given them.
The Gospel is from St. John 6:51-58. We, like the Christians of the year 90 A.D., have a great advantage over those Galileans to whom Christ spoke in Capernaum. We are convinced that Christ was the Son of God who had become man in order to make us sons of God. He died on the cross as a sacrifice of atonement to his Father for us and for our sins. He himself said “Greater love than this no man hath that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That is the greatest sacrifice a man can make for anyone. Christ, however, was more than man, he was God too; he was therefore able to do more for his friends. He was able to leave to his Church the power to repeat the sacrifice of the cross under the symbolic form of the consecrated bread and wine. By this repetition and recalling: “do this in memory of me,” his followers could give infinite honor to the Father and renew the infinite atonement made on their behalf on Calvary. Furthermore, by partaking of this real sacrifice offered to God Christians could be united with Christ and with the Father in an intimate manner.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice and a sacrament. As a sacrifice it is the repetition, the re-enactment, of Christ’s sacrifice of himself on Calvary. It is a sacrifice of infinite value for it is the same Christ, the God-man, who is offering himself, through the medium of his human representative, to his heavenly Father. It is a sacrament for it is a visible sign instituted by Christ to give us grace. Under the visible appearances of bread and wine, it is the source of all grace whom we receive within us. The staple human nourishment, bread and wine, are changed into the infinite source of our staple spiritual nourishment, the body and blood of Christ.
The Blessed Eucharist is a mystery in so far as our minds cannot understand how exactly Christ is present on our altars after the words of consecration. The very words given us by Christ himself have been said over the bread and wine. But while we cannot grasp how exactly this happens, we can have no room for doubt but that it does happen: for we have the solemn affirmation of Christ the Son of God that it is so. In today’s Gospel he clearly says “the bread which I shall give … is my flesh. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” And during the course of the Last Supper “he took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them saying `take, this is my body.’ And he took a cup . . . he gave it to them and they all drank of it. And he said to them: `this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many”‘ (Mk. 14: 22). That the Apostles accepted his word and made this ceremony of partaking of the consecrated bread and wine the central act of the Christian worship from the very beginning of the Church, is fully proved in the Acts of the Apostles and in the writings of St. Paul. This has continued down to our day and will continue as long as men inhabit the earth.
For devout Christians the biggest mystery about the Blessed Eucharist is the mystery of the divine love that moved Christ to leave us such an intimate and such an effective memorial of the love he proved to have for us on Calvary. We certainly do not deserve this extra proof of his love. He opened heaven for us, he showed us how to get there, he did not leave us to struggle alone. His infinite and divine love made him find a means of remaining always with us in our tabernacles, and of opening the floodgates of divine mercy each time this sacrifice is offered on our altars. Furthermore, he wanted to give himself to us as the life-giving food which would give us the spiritual strength for salvation. The infinite love of Christ for us is the only explanation of this. And what return do we make for this love? We attend at the sacrifice of the Mass realizing that by active participation we are capable of giving infinite honor to God. Do we receive this truly heavenly food, the body of Christ, with the proper preparation? Do we visit Christ in the church where he ever remains ready to receive us and to listen to our requests?
If the Jews of old could boast: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us” (Dt. 4:7), how much more truly can we Christians make such a boast, for Christ our Lord has deigned to remain with us on our altars until the end of time.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan, O.F.M.
Leprosy, dread disease, meant exile “afar off” as a castout from home and city. Mankind, rejecting Divine Life, became leprous, cast out from Eden here, from heaven hereafter.
How amazing, then, that God should make a “covenant” with man as though he were His equal (Epistle)! What is this “covenant?” By it God bestows on all “those who believe” in Jesus the right to inherit His Life, promised to Abraham; not to those who look merely to “the Law” of Moses.
Be not content, as were “the nine,” with mere health of body but with the “increase of faith, hope and charity” (PRAYER). As with the lepers, so our prayer is: “Have regard, 0 Lord, to Thy covenant, and forsake not . . . Thy poor . . . (do not) cast us off” (Introit).
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood
Meditation: Ephesians 5:15-20
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
Today is exam day. And to make it a little easier, we have reprinted today’s second reading:
15Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, 16making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 18And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Fill in the blank—identify five important transitions in this passage:
1. From foolish to w _ _ _ (verse 15)
2. From ignorant to understanding the w _ _ _ of the Lord (verse 17)
3. From drunk on wine to being f _ _ _ _ _ with the Spirit (verse 18)
4. Addressing one another in p _ _ _ _ _, h _ _ _ _, and spiritual s _ _ _ _ (verse 19)
5. Giving t _ _ _ _ _ always for everything (verse 20)
Paul said, “Be filled with the Spirit,” and he told us how. So in your prayer today, do three things:
1. Read one psalm and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s grace and wisdom. Try to sense what he is saying to you: perhaps a new insight, perhaps a sense of encouragement, perhaps guidance on how to act at work today.
2. Thank Jesus for all of your blessings.
3. Address every person you meet today with kindness and love, generosity and patience. Make this your spiritual song to them.
“Lord, come and fill me with your love.”
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
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.”
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.