Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Raising-of-the-Son-of-the-Widow-of-Nain-2

      “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

OPENING PRAYER

For Healing

Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to You. Allow your healing hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in my need, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which You have created, now and forever. Amen.

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=75

COLLECT

O God, from whom all good things come,

grant that we, who call on you in our need,

may at your prompting discern what is right,

and by your guidance do it.

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 I0e45fdc7064197d20c2883f6f4910d3f

1 Kgs 17:17-24

Elijah went to to the house of a widow.

The son of the mistress of the house fell sick,

and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing.

So she said to Elijah,

Why have you done this to me, O man of God?

Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt

and to kill my son?”

Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.”

Taking him from her lap, he carried the son to the upper room

where he was staying, and put him on his bed.

Elijah called out to the LORD:

O LORD, my God,

will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying

by killing her son?”

Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times

and called out to the LORD:

O LORD, my God,

let the life breath return to the body of this child.”

The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah;

the life breath returned to the child’s body and he revived.

Taking the child, Elijah brought him down into the house

from the upper room and gave him to his mother.

Elijah said to her, “See! Your son is alive.”

The woman replied to Elijah,

Now indeed I know that you are a man of God.

The word of the LORD comes truly from your mouth.”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 2583 After Elijah had learned mercy during his retreat at the Wadi Cherith, he teaches the widow of Zarephath to believe in The Word of God and confirms her faith by his urgent prayer: God brings the widow’s child back to life.1

The sacrifice on Mount Carmel is a decisive test for the faith of the People of God. In response to Elijah’s plea, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me,” the Lord’s fire consumes the holocaust, at the time of the evening oblation. The Eastern liturgies repeat Elijah’s plea in the Eucharistic epiclesis.

Finally, taking the desert road that leads to the place where the living and true God reveals himself to his people, Elijah, like Moses before him, hides “in a cleft of he rock” until the mysterious presence of God has passed by.2 But only on the mountain of the Transfiguration will Moses and Elijah behold the unveiled face of him whom they sought; “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God [shines] in the face of Christ,” crucified and risen.3

1 Cf. 1 Kings 17:7-24.

2 Cf. 1 Kings 19:1-14; cf. Ex 33:19-23.

3 2 Cor 4:6; cf. Lk 9:30-35.

APPLICATION

Many of us worry quite a bit about the state of our world. Wickedness and godlessness seem to have the upper hand all around us and God seems not to care, or so many of us may think. But God is always in charge. He has his reasons for permitting lawlessness and evil in this world. He is able to end these evils when the opportune moment arrives, and able also to bring good out of these very evils. When he gave his prophetic mission to Elijah, the northern kingdom of Israel was at its lowest depths in religious knowledge and practice. Elijah put an end to this sad state of affairs by his victory over the prophets of the false god Baal, on Mount Carmel. The power and the glory of the one true God was once more recognized.

The same is true in the lives of individuals. There are those who are loyal to God, exemplary Christians, charitable to their neighbor and an example to all. Yet God allows sickness and sorrow to haunt them and their families. It would seem as if God was ignoring their good works and having no interest whatever in their lives. But we can rest assured that this is not the case. God has a purpose in this, a purpose we cannot see now, but which will be clear as daylight to us some day. This kind widow who sheltered Elijah when hiding from Ahab, the cruel king, is a case in point. Why should her son come to death’s door? Why should God forget her present good works and remember some sins she had committed in the past?

Of course, God was not doing any such thing. The illness and death, or the certainty of death which would have quickly followed had not the prophet interceded with God, was intended to strengthen the faith and resolution of that widow, and to convince her that Elijah was a true man of God, and that the God of Elijah was the one and only true God.

Let us not forget that there are saints high in heaven today who would not be there if God had not sent trials and adversity to them during their earthly lives. There are thousands of martyrs surrounding the throne of God who might never have reached heaven if God had not permitted tyrants to persecute the Church.

An Englishman, named Cromwell, who put thousands of Irish Catholics to death by the sword, and burned and tortured others because of their faith, did almost as much to plant the faith deep in the hearts of the Irish as St. Patrick. There have been, and there still are, Cromwell’s around who, no matter how wicked and sinful their own motives, are doing God’s work for him.

If we, as true Christians, look on this life as a means of reaching the one life that matters, the true life beyond the grave, what happens to us during our few short years here is really of relatively little importance. We should begin to worry if life is running too smoothly and too comfortably, lest we be on the broad and smooth road that leads to destruction. Our Lord has warned us that the road that leads to heaven is the steep climb to Calvary, carrying our cross behind our Savior. “If anyone will come after me (to heaven, that is) let him take up his cross daily and follow me.”

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear

and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;

you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,

and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger lasts but a moment;

a lifetime, his good will.

At nightfall, weeping enters in,

but with the dawn, rejoicing.

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;

O LORD, be my helper.

You changed my mourning into dancing;

O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

 

READING IIurl]

Gal 1:11-19

I want you to know, brothers and sisters,

that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.

For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it,

but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism,

how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure

and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism

beyond many of my contemporaries among my race,

since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.

But when God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart

and called me through his grace,

was pleased to reveal his Son to me,

so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles,

I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,

nor did I go up to Jerusalem

to those who were apostles before me;

rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem

to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.

But I did not see any other of the apostles,

only James the brother of the Lord.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”.1 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’”2

CCC 442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”3 Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. ..”4 “And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’”5 From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.6

CCC 500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.7 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”.8 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.9

CCC 659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”10 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.11 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.12 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.13 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.14

CCC 752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly,15 but also the local community16 or the whole universal community of believers.17 These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body.

1 Mt 16:17; cf. Gal 1:15; Mt 11:25.

2 DV 5; cf. DS 377; 3010.

3 Mt 16:16-17.

4 Gal 1:15-16.

5 Acts 9:20.

6 Cf. I Th 1:10; Jn 20:31; Mt 16:18.

7 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; I Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19.

8 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.

9 Cf. Gen 13:8; 14:16; 29:15; etc.

10 Mk 16:19.

11 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.

12 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.

13 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.

14 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.

15 Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19,28,34,35.

16 Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1.

17 Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6.

APPLICATION

The ways of God are surely not our ways. First he lets Paul, whose Jewish name was Saul, persecute his Christian Church and cause havoc among the Christians in Jerusalem. When Paul thought that he had succeeded there, he got authority from the priests and leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem to go to Damascus in Syria, where the Christian Church was growing strong. There he was to persecute and annihilate that branch of the Church. On the way he was converted, and from a persecutor was turned into one of the greatest of the Apostles of the Christian faith, and one of its most able defenders.

Apart from the marvelous work of spreading the Christian faith among the pagan peoples of the Roman Empire, his conversion–due solely to the grace of God—has an apologetic value of great importance for us. Saul was a man deeply versed in the religion of the Old Testament. He had left his native Tarsus to study under the ablest Jewish masters in Jerusalem, so that he himself could become a Rabbi (teacher). He was firmly convinced of the truth of his religion, one of the basic doctrines of which was the strict unity or oneness of God (which distinguished it from all the religions of the time). He sincerely felt that Christianity was not only a heretical Jewish sect, but a form of pagan polytheism, because Christianity claimed that Christ was the Son of God. He felt bound in conscience to do all in his power to exterminate the sinful doctrine that had somehow risen up amongst his people.

Yet one vision of the Risen Christ changed his whole religious outlook. He became an absolutely firm believer in the divinity of Christ. He accepted the doctrine most difficult for a Jew to accept–three persons in one God. He still remained convinced that there was and is but one God. He saw, for the first time, the whole purpose of the Old Law, fulfilled in Christ and Christianity. “The fullness of time had come.” The Old Covenant was but a period of preparation–the New Covenant was God’s plan from eternity put into action. Man was, through the Incarnation, made an adopted son of God, brother of Christ and heir to the kingdom of heaven.

This change of mind in the educated, intelligent man Paul, implies and demands convincing proofs which only God and his grace could produce. This change of Saul into Paul, of the fanatic, convinced Jew into the dedicated, zealous preacher of the Christian religion, should of itself convince any open-minded man of the backing from God which that religion has. It should also convince him of its unquestioned or unquestionable truth–that God cannot deceive or be deceived.

While we say a sincere “thank you” to God for having given this outstanding defender and preacher to the infant Church, let us try to show, in our daily Christian lives, our appreciation of God’s goodness to us. He has made us his adopted sons, heirs of heaven. He has given us, through Christ in the Church, all the necessary means and aids to gain our promised inheritance. Let us use these means and, following the great St. Paul, let us do all in our power by word and especially by the example of our own truly Christian lives, to make Christianity, the gift of God to man, known to all.

GOSPELresurrection-fils-veuve-main-centrebethanie.org_

Lk 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,

and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.

As he drew near to the gate of the city,

a man who had died was being carried out,

the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.

A large crowd from the city was with her.

When the Lord saw her,

he was moved with pity for her and said to her,

Do not weep.”

He stepped forward and touched the coffin;

at this the bearers halted,

and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

The dead man sat up and began to speak,

and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,

A great prophet has arisen in our midst, ”

and “God has visited his people.”

This report about him spread through the whole of Judea

and in all the surrounding region.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”1 He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”.2 The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.3

CCC 994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: “I am the Resurrection and the life.”4 It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood.5 Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life,6 announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the “sign of Jonah,”7 the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.8

CCC 1503 Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people”9 and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins;10 he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of.11 His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.”12 His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1 Mk 2:17; cf. l Tim 1:15.

2 Lk 15:7; cf. 7:11-32.

3 Mt 26:28.

4 Jn 11:25.

5 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40,54.

6 Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11.

7 Mt 12:39.

8 Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22.

9 Lk 7:16; cf. Mt 4:24.

10 Cf. Mk 2:5-12.

11 Cf. Mk 2:17.

12 Mt 25:36.

APPLICATION

The lesson we have to learn from this story today is the real, sincere compassion which Christ had for the human sufferings of men in this life. He became man in order to bring mankind into heaven. That was the principal motive of his Incarnation. The sorrows and trials of this earthly life are of relatively small importance when compared with the unending future of happiness which is prepared for us if we conduct ourselves, as he has ordained, during our few years on this planet of ours. Knowing our human nature better than we can ever hope to, and knowing how easily we can become entangled in the affairs of this world, and especially how easily sorrows and trials can depress us and make us forget our real goal in life, he has proved to us during his sojourn amongst us that he is interested in our earthly life as well.

Although he is now at the right hand of the Father, his interest in us is just as strong, and as sincere, as it was while he was here on earth. There are Christians who at times feel that they are getting more than their due share of earth’s hardships, and that the all-merciful Savior seems to have forgotten or abandoned them. It is not so. We are all inclined to exaggerate our sufferings, to forget the months, the years of health and happiness which we have had. How many of us ever stop to think of the twenty-eight useful, healthy teeth we have had for years, until one or two of them begin to ache and pain? So it is with all the other numerous gifts given us by God.

Our Christian religion teaches us that trials and troubles are a very important part of our training for heaven. But of this we can rest assured: when God sends a cross, he also gives the strength to the one who has to shoulder it. Our part is to turn to the God of compassion and ask him for the grace and the strength to carry out his will. Such a prayer is never left unanswered. He will give us the strength. He will never let us be crushed by the cross which he sends.

We often see very sad cases where the bread-winner of the family is taken, and we may wonder why the good God allows this to happen. If we knew all the facts however, and if we could read the divine plan, we might see that this very happening was a divine blessing for the departed one and for those left to suffer his loss.

There are divine miracles of healing going on around us today but they are not recognized as such. There are also savings from sudden death, of which those saved are utterly ignorant. It is only when we reach the future life that we shall be able to fully comprehend the divine compassion which regulated our lives from the cradle to the grave.

Be assured, then, that Christ still has compassion for all mankind. Put your trust in that compassion and thank him daily for it. He may not always save a beloved one from an early death, or save us from a long illness (a request we see as all-essential for us, and as a very apt occasion for Christ to prove his compassion), but that fervent request of ours is answered in another way, in a favor of which we had or could not have dreamed at that time.

Thank God each day for his mercies. Ask him daily for his divine compassion. Leave the decision to him who knows what our real needs are.

BENEDICTUS

Apostolic Life

IF the “apostolic” element is the place of movements in the Church, then the desire for the vita apostolica must be fundamental to her in all ages. The renunciation of property, of descendants, of any effort to impose one’s own idea of the Church – that is, obedience in following Christ – have in all ages been regarded as the essential elements of the apostolic life, which cannot of course apply in the same way for all those participating in a movement but which are in varying ways pointing orienting each person’s own life that are revelant for everyone. The apostolic life, in turn, is not an end in itself; rather, it creates freedom to serve. An apostolic life calls out for apostolic action: there is in the first place – again, in varying fashion – the proclaiming the Gospel to the poor. Yet this never takes place through words alone: love, which constitutes its inner heart, both the center of its truth and the proclamation. Thus social service is always associated with the Gospel in some form or other. All this presupposes… a personal encounter with Christ at a deep level… Only when a person has been touched by Christ and opened up by him in his deepest heart can the other person also be touched in his heart; only in that case can reconciliation be effected in the Holy Spirit; only then can true community grow.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

A Prayer for America

Father, we beg Your blessing for the Right to Life, the Unborn, the weak, the sick and the old; all who are finding themselves being targets of the vicious culture of death;

That our Lord Jesus bless and protect all who stand up for the Christian dignity of persons.

That God enlighten those who are traveling down death’s highway by their involvement, in any way, with either the contemporary death culture, selfism, relativism, or any of the new age errors of our times,

That God envelop our culture with His Divine protection and help us both individually and as a nation to true enlightenment, conversion and repentance of our selves and our culture.

O God, Help us to turn from our national sin of abortion, and return to, and once again become a Christian nation, on the narrow road, that is, the path to becoming a nation and culture, under God we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

http://straymonds.org/prayer-for-america

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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