Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE WORD OF GOD

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B

OPENING PRAYER

Proverbs 3: 5-12

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

on your own intelligence do not rely;

In all your ways be mindful of him,

and he will make straight your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes,

fear the LORD and turn away from evil;

This will mean health for your flesh

and vigor for your bones.

Honor the LORD with your wealth,

with first fruits of all your produce;

Then will your barns be filled with plenty,

with new wine your vats will overflow.

The discipline of the LORD, my son, do not spurned

do not disdain his reproof;

For whom the LORD loves he reproves,

as a father, the son he favors.

COLLECT

Grant, O Lord,

that we may always revere your holy name,

for you never deprive of your guidance

those you set firm on the foundation of your love.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

         of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

READING I

Jb 38:1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:

Who shut within doors the sea,

when it burst forth from the womb;

when I made the clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling bands?

When I set limits for it

and fastened the bar of its door,

and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,

and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

APPLICATION

The Hebrews were not a marine people. In their collective imagination, the sea symbolized something disturbing for man because of its formidable power. The sea was something impossible to dominate, something terrible and menacing at any moment. The sea is also the symbol of something very deep, impenetrable and unreachable, like a bottomless abyss. Rather than its benefits for humanity, it is experienced as an enemy waiting in ambush, ready to unleash itself against us. The sea inspires fear, because it’s a force that is greater than man, a force that no one is able to control.

When Israel tried to understand the creation of the world, it found help in the mythology of other neighboring peoples. For ancient Egypt, at the world’s origins were primordial and chaotic waters, from which the earth later emerged. The primordial sea, in Mesopotamia, is represented by a monstrous dragon named Tiamat, which Marduk, the creator god, renders powerless in order to give order to the cosmos. YHWH also has put order into the primordial chaos, separating the waters above and the waters below; YHWH imposed a limit to the sea, saying, “Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!” (Job 38:11). Unlike the Mesopotamian myth, there is no longer a struggle, but rather God has absolute sovereignty over everything created, even over the extraordinary power of the sea.

http://www.sacerdos.org/english/articulos/articulo.phtml?se=0&ca=0&id=14119

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

They who sailed the sea in ships,

trading on the deep waters,

These saw the works of the LORD

and his wonders in the abyss.

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

His command raised up a storm wind

which tossed its waves on high.

They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths;

their hearts melted away in their plight.

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

They cried to the LORD in their distress;

from their straits he rescued them,

He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze,

and the billows of the sea were stilled.

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

They rejoiced that they were calmed,

and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his kindness

and his wondrous deeds to the children of men.

Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.

READING II

2 Cor 5:14-17

Brothers and sisters:

The love of Christ impels us,

once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;

therefore, all have died.

He indeed died for all,

so that those who live might no longer live for themselves

but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;

even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,

yet now we know him so no longer.

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:

the old things have passed away;

behold, new things have come.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God’s love excludes no one: “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”1 He affirms that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many”; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us.2 The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.”3

CCC 616 It is love “to the end”4 that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.5 Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”6 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

CCC 655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. .. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”7 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted. .. the powers of the age to come”8 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”9

CCC 851 Missionary motivation. It is from God’s love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, “for the love of Christ urges us on.”10 Indeed, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”;11 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God’s universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

CCC 1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”12

CCC 1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,”13 member of Christ and co-heir with him,14 and a temple of the Holy Spirit.15

CCC 1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us.16 From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders,17 holding them in respect and affection.18 Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.19

CCC 1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:20

Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.21

1 Mt 18:14.

2 Mt 20:28; cf. Rom 5:18-19.

3 Council of Quiercy (853): DS 624; cf. 2 Cor 5:15; I Jn 2:2.

4 Jn 13:1.

5 Cf. Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25.

6 2 Cor 5:14.

7 I Cor 15:20-22.

8 Heb 6:5.

9 2 Cor 5:15; cf. Col 3:1-3.

10 2 Cor 5:14; cf. AA 6; RMiss 11.

11 1 Tim 2:4.

12 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Cf. Rom 6:34; Col 2:12.

13 2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7.

14 Cf. l Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17.

15 Cf. l Cor 6:19.

16 Cf. 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:15.

17 Heb 13:17.

18 Cf. Eph 5:21; 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15.

19 Cf. LG 37; CIC, cann. 208 223; CCEO, can. 675:2.

20 Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39.

21 2 Cor 5:17-18.

APPLICATION

This is not a mere human judgment, Paul warns us: “The love of Christ impels us. … He died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who for their sakes died and was raised up.” (2 Cor 5:14-15)

The love of Christ is the object of our faith. It is not reducible to rational or utilitarian calculus. And yet it recasts the greatest absurdities that batter our minds.

As a neonatal intensive care physician, Sister Ann once took care of a five-inch premature baby named Tamika. The girl was left in the hospital, fated to die, unable to thrive, bereft of possibility. She smiled once, cupped in Ann’s hands, after weeks of being held, caressed and gazed upon. Then she died.

After we two buried Tamika with the help of a generous funeral director, I protested to Ann that it all felt so meaningless and bleak. “What on earth did Tamika ever have?”

“Well,” Ann said, “she had the power to evoke love from me.”

And so it would be with Ann, just hours before she died, with all of her powers so diminished, her lively mind so quiet, her loving actions now gone. All that was left of Ann was what she shared with Tamika: the power to evoke our love. And God’s.

“Anyone in Christ is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new.” (2 Cor 5:17)

Fr. John Kavanaugh, S. J.

GOSPEL

Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:

“Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.

And other boats were with him.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,

so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up,

rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?

Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another,

“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

APPLICATION

There is a very important lesson for every one of us in today’s gospel story. Our lives are really a journey across the sea of time to the shore of eternity. During that crossing all who come to the use of reason encounter some storms. There is no smooth, calm crossing for anyone. This is the will of God. Our Lord knew that a storm was going to blow up that night in the Sea of Galilee. He allowed his disciples to face that terrifying ordeal, because he wanted his future Church to have confidence in his divine power and assistance, when tribulations and persecutions would seem to be on the point of ending her forever. Down through the centuries the Church of God has had to face storms and trials which would have swamped her if she had not a divine Founder and Protector. Christ, however, kept his promise — the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. She survived the storms and as a consequence of them gained new vigor and strength.

That same divine guarantee which Christ gave his Church will be with her until the last human being on earth has entered heaven. It is with her today. It will save her from internal weaknesses which could do more damage to her spiritual vitality than open persecution from without could ever do. We know Christ is in the barque of Peter. He is waiting to be called. If we realize that of ourselves we are not able to weather this storm, and call on him, he will rebuke the winds of pride and calm the waves of turbulent self-assertion. The barque of Peter will enter calm waters once more.

What is true in the life of the Church is true also in the life of each member of the Church. God foresees all our life’s storms. He permits them, because he is to use them as means to help us in our struggle to reach heaven. If we use these storms or trials of life to come closer to Jesus, to throw ourselves on his mercy, they will serve the purpose for which he permits them. Unfortunately, there are Christians who question not only the goodness of God, but his very existence, when some heavy seas break across their life’s barque. “How could God, if he be good,” they ask, “allow me to suffer like this, I who have been so faithful? Why should he let me bear all this poverty, all these pains, all this dishonesty of my fellowmen, when a small act of his will could remove it all and make me healthy, happy and prosperous?”

What such a Christian forgets is that God’s purpose in creating him was not to make him healthy, happy and prosperous in this life, but to give him a share in his own eternal happiness in heaven. If this life were the end and sum-total of man, if all ended with death, then certainly that complaint would have some foundation. However, our human intelligence, and divine revelation, prove to us conclusively that this life is not an end for man but a means with which to attain his real end, perfect happiness.

Therefore, we must not expect to get from life what it cannot give. Instead, we must use what it gives us, the unpleasant as well as the pleasant, the rain as well as the sunshine, the pain as well as the pleasure, as means which will help us to reach our perfect ending, our eternal dwelling-place in heaven. Too often like the disciples that night in the storm, we think that God has forgotten us, that he is not interested in us when storms break around us. In fact, it is then that he is nearest to us. We think he is sleeping and that all is lost, when he is but using this storm to rekindle our faith, and make us realize that we are pilgrims on our way across this earth and not permanent residents here.

Gospel application written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission from Ignatius Press.

BENEDICTUS

Sharing God’s Wisdom

Wisdom is a sharing in God’s ability to see and judge things as they really are.  God reveals himself as God by his just judgments; as God, he sees things without disguise, as they really are, and deals with each according to his truth.  Wisdom is a sharing in God’s way of seeing reality.  But there are, obviously, certain preconditions to this knowing from God’s perspective.  We cannot possess it unless we are united with God.  This, in turn, means that this last and deepest mode of knowledge is not just an intellectual experience.  In all that is essential, knowledge and life are inseparable.  If something of the incorruptibility of God himself belongs to this deepest kind of knowledge, then there belongs to it also that purity of the “I” without which man is not incorruptible.  From this, the meaning of the concepts “gifts of God” and “sharing in God’s way of thinking” also becomes clear.  Only if we let ourselves be cleansed of the corruptibility of the “I” and come this gradually to live by God, to be united with God, do we come to a true inner freedom of judgment, to a fearless independence of thinking and deciding, that no longer cares about the approval or disapproval of others but clings only to truth.  Such a purification is always a process of opening oneself and, at the same time, of receiving oneself.  It cannot take place without the suffering of the vine that is pruned.  But it makes possible the only form of power that leads, not to slavery, but to freedom.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

A Song of Ascents

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.

Lord, hear my voice!

Let Your ears be attentive

To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with You,

That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,

And in His word do I hope.

My soul waits for the Lord

More than the watchmen for the morning;

Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;

For with the Lord there is loving kindness,

And with Him is abundant redemption.

And He will redeem Israel

From all his iniquities.

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