9th Week IIy: Jun 1-6

Jun 1-6
June 1 Monday (Blessed Virgin Mary the mother of the Church):  NC Register: : Gen 3:9-15, 20; Acts 1:12-14; Jn 19:25-34): One of the most recent architectural additions to Saint Peter’s Square is the mosaic of Mary “Mother of the Church,” with the inscription Totus Tuus, yet another sign of Saint John Paul II’s great love for Our Lady.
On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Pope Francis declared that, henceforward, the Monday after Pentecost Sunday would be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial was to be observed annually. It has been added to the General Roman Calendar, the Roman Missal, and the Liturgy of the Hours with the Holy Father’s wish that this new feast day foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church. Pentecost was the birth of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. As Mother of Christ, the Head of the Church, Mary is also the Mother of the Church, for she was with the apostles for that great event. In Catholic Mariology, Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae) is a title, officially given to Mary at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, by   Pope St. Paul VI. The title was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan.  The same title was used by Pope Benedict IV in 1748 and then by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Pope St. Paul VI made the pronouncement of the title Mother of the Church during his speech upon the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964: “For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors.” Later, the title was used by Pope St. John Paul II, and is also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that Mary joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its Head.” (CCC #963). “At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church.” (CCC # 507).
Pope St. John Paul II used the encyclical “Redemptoris Mater” (March 25, 1987), to explain how Jesus gave his mother to the care of John the apostle and how she became the mother of the whole Church. The Pope said, “in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.” Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue of the relationship between Roman Catholic Mariology and ecclesiology quoting the theologian Hugo Rahner, SJ, that Mariology was originally ecclesiology. The Church is like Mary. The Church is virgin and mother, she is immaculate and carries the burdens of history. She suffers and she is assumed into heaven. She is carrying the mystery of the Church. That is why in 2018 Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and that it be celebrated every year. The decree was signed on 11 February 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the 160th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. The decree was issued on 3 March 2018.
As St. Augustine once said: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces Faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” As St. Ambrose taught, “The Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of Faith, Charity, and the perfect union with Christ.” She serves as the ultimate role model for all Christians in her willingness to cooperate with God’s will. So, while we rightfully acknowledge her as the Mother of God, the Theotokos, we also acknowledge her sanctity and her willingness to do God’s will. This is why another ancient name attributed to her will officially appear on the Church’s calendar for the first time this year. “The Cross, the Eucharist, and the Mother of God   are three mysteries that God gave to the world in order to structure, fructify, and sanctify our interior life and lead us to Jesus.” (Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). Let us honor May the Mother of the Church by imitating her virtues of faith, humility ant total surrender. USCCB video reflections: Fr. Tony( L/20

June 2 Tuesday (St. Marcellinus)
 ( ) & Peter, Martyrs): Mk 12: 13-17: 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 …17. USCCB video reflections:
The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus ingeniously escaped from a trap set for him by the Pharisees.
The tax issue: The Jews were forced to pay three separate taxes to the Roman emperor: the ground tax, the income tax and the census tax. Here, the question concerned the census tax.  If Jesus said that it was unlawful to pay the tax, the pro-Rome Herodians and their allies would report him to the Roman officials who would then arrest him as a revolutionary.  If Jesus said that it was lawful to pay the tax, the insurgents and their supporters would turn against him, and he would be discredited in the eyes of the people who were against paying taxes to a pagan emperor on religious grounds.
The defense goes on the offensive. Jesus defeated their scheme by asking his challengers to show him “the coin of tribute” – the coin they would give to the tax-gatherer. Rather than answering their question directly, Jesus asked them a question, thus turning their trap inside out and upside down: “Whose image [eikon in Greek] and inscription are these?” “Caesar’s,” they said.  Jesus then said, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and to God what belongs to God.”  In other words, we give to the emperor the coin because his image is on it, and we give to God our own selves because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). By this answer Jesus reminds his questioners that if they are so concerned and careful about paying taxes to the state, they should be much more concerned and careful about their direct service of, and obligations to, God, their Creator and Lord.
Life messages: The episode teaches us the nature of our obligations to God and to our country, and it shows us how, with God’s help, we can be ideal citizens of both earth and Heaven. 1) Since everything is God’s, we must give ourselves to Him 100%, not just 10% on Sundays.  2) We should be generous in fulfilling our Sunday obligations and find time every day for prayer and worship in the family, for the reading of the Bible and the proper training of our children in Faith and morals. 3) As citizens of a country, it is the duty of Christians to pay for the services and the privileges that government provides, like paved roads, police and fire departments, banks and other necessities. 4) Another way of giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s is to participate actively in the running of the government, electing the most suitable candidates and influencing them through frequent contacts. Fr. Tony( L/20

June 3 Wednesday (St. Charles Lwanga and companion martyrs) : 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. USCCB video reflections:
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 ungodly persons are lonely. They try to fill their inner emptiness by packing their lives with money, promiscuity, addictions or    workaholism. 2) Jesus the Liberator is ready to free us from the tombs of our evil addictions and habits. Let us give Jesus a chance and experience the joy and freedom of the children of God. Fr. Tony( L/20

June 4 Thursday: Mk 12:28-34: Another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”  29 Jesus answered, “The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 34 … USCCB video reflections:
The context: A scribe who believed in both the written Law and the oral tradition was pleased to see how Jesus had defeated the Sadducee who had tried to humiliate him with the hypothetical case of a woman who had married and been widowed by seven husbands in succession.  Out of admiration, the scribe challenged Jesus to summarize the most important of the Mosaic Laws in one sentence.  In the Judaism of Jesus’ day there was a double tendency: to expand the Mosaic Law into hundreds of rules and regulations and to condense the 613 precepts of the Torah into a single sentence or few sentences.
Jesus’ novel contribution: Jesus gave a straightforward answer, quoting directly from the Law itself and startling all with his profound simplicity and mastery of the Law of God and its purpose.  He combined the first sentence of the Jewish Shema prayer from Deuteronomy 6:5: … Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” with its complementary law from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus, Jesus proclaims that true religion is to love God both directly and as living in our neighbor.  Jesus underlines the principle that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves because both of us bear God’s image. For, to honor God’s image is to honor both Him Who made it and Him Whom it resembles. Besides, our neighbors, too, are the children of God our Father, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus.  Love for our neighbor is a matter, not of feelings, but of deeds by which we share with others the unmerited love that God lavishes on us.  This is the agape love for neighbor that God commands in His Law. Jesus then uses the parable of the Good Samaritan, as reported in Luke’s Gospel, to show them what God means by “neighbor.”
Life Messages: 1) We need to love God whole-heartedly: Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, means that we should place God’s will ahead of our own, seek the Lord’s will in all things and make it paramount in our lives. It also means that we must find time to adore Him, to present our needs before Him and to ask Him pardon and forgiveness for our sins. 2) God’s will is that we should love everyone, seeing Him in our neighbor.  This means we have to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for everyone without regard to color, race, gender, age wealth, social status, intelligence, education, or charm. Fr. Tony( L/20
June 5 Friday: Jn 10:11-16: 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16… USCCB video reflections: 
The context: It was winter, probably the time of the Jewish Feast of Dedication, and Jesus was walking on the east side of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews gathered around him and asked him if he were the promised Messiah.  Instead of giving them a straight answer, Jesus told them that he was the Good Shepherd and explained to them his role as such.
Role of Jesus as our Good Shepherd: Introducing himself as the Good Shepherd of his flock, Jesus makes three claims in today’s Gospel. 1) He knows his sheep and his sheep hear his voice. Jesus knows each one of us, our needs, our merits and our faults. He loves us as we are, with all our limitations, and he expects us to return his love by keeping his words.  He speaks to us at every Mass, through the Bible, through our pastors, our parents, our friends and the events of our lives. 2) He gives eternal life to his sheep by receiving us into his sheepfold through Baptism. He strengthens our Faith by giving us the Holy Spirit in Confirmation.  He supplies food for our souls in the Holy Eucharist and in the Divine words of the Holy Bible.  He makes our society holy by the Sacrament of Matrimony and the priesthood (through the Sacrament of Orders). 3) He protects his sheep by placing them in the loving hands of his mighty Father.  Without Jesus to guide us and protect us, we are easy prey for the spiritual wolves of this world; these include Satan, as well as the seven deadly sins of pride, avarice, envy, gluttony, anger, lust and sloth.
Life messages:  Today’s Gospel challenges us to be good shepherds to those entrusted to our care and to be good sheep in Jesus’ sheepfold, namely the Church. 1) We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time and talents for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers.
2) We become good sheep in our parishes a) by hearing and following the voice of our pastors through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling and advice;  b) by taking the spiritual food given by our pastors through regular and active participation in the Holy Mass and by frequenting the Sacraments, prayer services, renewal programs and missions; c) by cooperating with our pastors, giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, encouraging them in their duties, occasionally offering them constructive criticism and praying for them; and  d) by daily prayers for good pastors. Fr. Tony

June 6 Saturday: (BVM): Mk 12:38-44): 28 In the course of His teaching, Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes … 44 her whole livelihood). USCCB video reflections:
Jesus here confronts the Temple authorities and challenges the abuses in the “organized religion” of his time. After engaging in debate with the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Scribes, and the Herodians, Jesus contrasts the external signs of honor sought by the scribes with the humble, sacrificial offering of a poor widow and declares that she has found true honor in God’s eyes because of her total commitment to God’s service with a humble and generous heart.
The attack on pride and hypocrisy: The scribes of Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of Moses, scholars to whom people turned for a proper understanding of God’s will as be revealed in Scripture. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus moves from the scribes’ erroneous theology to their bankrupt ethics, reflected in their craving for pre-eminence both in the synagogues and in the marketplaces and banquet halls. The scribes considered that the respect given to them by the common people in public places was their right because of their learning in the Law, and this made them arrogant and proud. So Jesus publicly criticizes their behavior as a ceaseless grasping for honor. Jesus also accuses the scribes of offering long prayers to God as a means of asserting their superior piety. Jesus denounces the shameless profiteering of the scribes at the expense of widows. They often acted as trustees for the estates of wealthy widows and diverted the Temple fund intended for the support of poor widows to buy expensive robes and temple decorations.
The widow’s mite: While watching how rich people put their offerings for the support of Temple worship and the poor in the Court of Women, Jesus publicly expressed his admiration for a poor widow who put in her tiny gift of two leptons as her offering. While the rich put in much, and the moderately well-off put in a decent amount, this poor widow offered to God everything she had. In other words, she gave herself totally into God’s hands with the sure conviction that He would give her the support she needed.
Life messages: 1) We need to appreciate, support and encourage the widows of our parish because they are often active participants in all the liturgical celebrations and parish organizations, and volunteers in visiting and serving the sick and the shut-ins. 2) While we judge people by what they possess, Jesus measures us on the basis of our inner motives and the intentions hidden behind our actions. He evaluates us on the basis of the sacrifices we make for others and on the degree of our surrender to His holy will, gifts that cost us more than just opening our purses. Fr. Tony( L/20