Joseph and Mary find Jesus teaching in the Temple

Joseph and Mary find Jesus teaching in the Temple

And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:50) In this last Sunday devotion to St. Joseph and the last time that we hear of St. Joseph in sacred Scripture, we locate him finding Jesus in the temple. Joseph and Mary find their son, after three days of heart-wrenching searching, in the temple. When they find Jesus, he is teaching of the Father.

This last devotion happens to fall on the Fifth Sunday of Lent. We have journeyed in this holy season of grace searching to find Jesus in a more personal way, to be closer to Him and to listen to Him speak to our hearts of the Father. In the temptation story in the gospel , we hear Jesus state to Satan: “It is written: the Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” (Mt 4:11) Jesus faithfully, continually, constantly points to the Father. Jesus is the way by which we come to know the Father whom we desire to worship and serve.

St. Joseph shows us that we need to continue searching until we find Jesus. We don’t know the agony St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother experienced in their three days of searching for the child of God that had been given to their care. We have in them examples of prayerful perseverance and sustaining hope that can encourage us in our journey of faith.

O faithful spouse of Mary, Mother of God, we ask your intercession in this time of discernment that we may be filled with perseverance in our prayer, worship, Lenten practices and seeking of Jesus. By your example, St. Joseph, may we come to know that fidelity and humble obedience to the Father’s will are ways of living with Jesus Christ. St. Joseph, you have led us through this holy season of Lent; be our constant companion, encouraging us by your courageous willingness to do whatever the Father asked of you.

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Note: On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, we will join billions throughout the world in celebration of the installation Mass of the Holy Father Pope Francis. The fatherhood of St. Joseph and of Pope Francis is food for meditation on this day. As St. Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis is the earthly father of the Church, the Bride of Christ. Both men are chosen by God to be fathers; one the father of His Son, Jesus who is Truth; and the other, the father of His Church which is the “pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1Tim 3:15) Thanks be to God for His love and mercy that provides for us such a mystery of salvation.

John the Baptisit imprisoned.

Today in the Catholic Roman Rite liturgical calendar, we celebrate the nativity of John the Baptist.  It is significant to our reason for this vigilance that the readings of today would be centered around people who are the most vulnerable in today’s American society:  the aged and the unborn.  Elizabeth and Zechariah are old, beyond the years of naturally conceiving a child, yet by God’s grace they will give birth to John the Baptist.  John will be born and give his life proclaiming the coming of the Lord and standing up against the sinfulness of the civil authority of their time.

John courageously and boldly proclaims the Messiah.  He calls people away from their lives of sin and to repentance.  He stands up to the civil authority of the time, calling Herod to live rightly in the ways of the Lord.  John calls it as he sees it.  He spares no words, no feelings; he tells the truth – not out of a need for power or control or ego – but for love of the soul that is lost.  He has a pure desire to bring people to the Lord.

He can inspire us to be bold and to act with courage, to arm ourselves with the truth and knowledge and to challenge civil authority when it is wrong or operating outside its competency.

Today we pray for Courage to Defend Religious Liberty

Sunday June 24 – St. John the Baptist

Heavenly Father, we worship You Who are worthy of all of our praise and fidelity! Through the intercession of St. John the Baptist, who was martyred for speaking the truth, give to all Christians the Gift of Fortitude so that we may, likewise, courageously bear witness to the truth, even unto death, if necessary. Deliver our Nation, O Lord, from apathy and mediocrity and give to all people a holy zeal for all that is good, holy, pure and true. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

John the Baptist beheaded. Truth silenced.

As I enter into a time of silent retreat, I leave you with the resources below that you may find helpful during the remainder of the Fortnight for Freedom.  There are many other resources available on the web and through the USCCB.  I will pray for you and for our nation.  May our Lord hear our prayers and may there be a great conversion of hearts as John the Baptist so vehemently prayed.

Source on the HHS mandate, what is it, who is affected, some legal challenges:

http://www.becketfund.org/faq/

Source for the teachings of the church on the issues involved:

http://www.religiousliberties.org/spiritual.asp

Source for prayers during the Fortnight:

http://www.religiousliberties.org/prayers.asp

 

This morning as I was reflecting on the scripture for today, you came to mind.  I was inspired to write to you as encouragement in the battle that is before us to defend the sacred dignity of the human person, the sacred right of living in accord with one’s formed conscience and the sacred gift of religious liberty.

In today’s Gospel (Mk 2:1-12), four men carried a paralytic to Jesus hoping he would be healed.  Their faith and resulting determination were so strong that they carried him to the roof, removed the tiles and let the paralytic down through the roof into the room where Jesus was.  What faith!  What hope!  What determination!

This Gospel challenges us to be equally faithful, hopeful and determined to bring others to Jesus, to help our neighbors, friends, family and political leaders know the love of Jesus Christ that brings healing and great joy-filled peace.  But this is not enough, for like the four men who brought the paralytic to the home where Jesus was; we are to bring people to the Church.  Jesus created his church upon Peter and entrusted it to him and the other Apostles so that all people will come to know Him there and be united to Him through the sacraments, be incorporated into His Body, receive saving grace and life everlasting.  In His church all live in communion and grow to know Him through the great deposit of faith: the sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition and the teaching of the magisterium of the Church, which is under the authority and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

How is it that we can do this; by boldly and confidently living in the Truth.  Today we hear in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No…but in him it is always Yes.  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.  That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.  But it is God who established us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2Cor 1:18, 19b-22) We have all received this commission in our baptism.  By our baptism, we are consecrated in Christ who is Truth.  We are sealed in Christ and receive the Spirit in our baptism and confirmation.  By living our baptismal consecration faithfully, boldly, and joyfully, it should be our natural desire to bring others to know the love that fills and sustains us.  We possess in this love the great gift of saving hope, which the world desperately needs.  Our desire to share this gift inspires and spurs us on to draw others into his steadfast and healing love and to encounter Truth.  So together we may proclaim with the psalmist today:  “But thou hast upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in thy presence for ever.  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.” (Ps 41: 12-13, RSV)

Through the prayers of Mary, Mother of Divine Hope, may our Lord bless you with his mercy and bathe you in his hope, that you may be filled with his joy and peace and proclaim his Truth. Amen. Alleluia.

In Christ our Hope,

Sr. Susan Catherine, DDH

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

19 February 2012