Who are my mother and my brothers?

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:31-35

Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all. As the Creed tells us, He is :

the only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

Nicene Creed

It is a great gift that anyone who is baptized as a Christian becomes a child of God and an heir to Heaven. In Baptism, we, or our parents and godparents, on our behalf, reject sin and profess our faith in God the Father, and in His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our belief in the Holy Spirit and the holy Catholic Church. Guided by the Spirit, the Church continues Jesus saving work on earth. By Baptism, we enter this Church and become His brother or sister. This makes us destined for Heaven and eternal happiness with God and the saints.

In this passage, Jesus tells us what is necessary to remain a child of God, a member of his family, destined for Heaven.

We must do the will of God.

Do you want to be a brother or sister of Jesus? Do you want to enjoy his friendship, guidance, and care? Do you want to inherit Heaven and an eternity of happiness and peace?

Do the will of His Father.

Reflection

Do I strive to do the will of God the Father? How can I know His Will?

Activity

God reveals his will in Sacred Scripture and in the teachings of the Church. Before you go to bed tonight, look over this examination of conscience and see if you are following God’s will. http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/upload/Examination-of-Conscience.pdf

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Matthew 16:13-19

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”: And Jesus answered him, “blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus established a Church and He chose Peter to lead it. He says it quite explicitly here, “And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.” Today the Church, founded by Christ, celebrates the feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

A feast for a chair you say?

Yes! The Chair of St. Peter represents the authority of Peter. This authority of Peter to be Jesus Christ’s Vicar on earth is revealed most clearly in this passage,”I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Peter receives a share in Almighty God’s authority. Memorize this line: Matthew 16:18.

Jesus established the Church to continue His salvific work when he would take his place in Heaven at the right hand of His Father. His authority, his grace, his redemption comes to us today, over two thousand years later through his Church. Thank God for his Church! Enjoy the feast!

Sin speaks to the sinner…

Matt 5:21-24

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.”

“Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.” Psalm 36:1

Sin does not begin with our angry actions. By bearing a grudge, or harboring anger we have already committed sin. Jesus’s disciples knew that they must not kill. He wants them to understand that to follow him, it is not enough not to commit grave sin, our hearts must be pure. We must not think evil thoughts or use evil words or speak unkindness.

It is not easy to be a follower of Christ. We are accountable not only for our deeds, but for our thoughts and intentions as well. When we examine our consciences, we must look deeper than what we have done. We must look also at why we have done something. What are the inclinations of our heart. What are our deepest desires and thoughts, for these too must be pure, good and holy.

Could it be that we know better than God

Luke 5:4-8
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
After a night of hard work and catching nothing, Jesus tells Peter to go back out there and do it again.
Peter is skeptical, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,”
But Peter obeys, “but at your command, I will lower the nets.”
You can almost see him shaking his head as he acquiesces. Peter is wise enough to know not to argue with Jesus, but his love is still immature. He doubts the word of the Word made Flesh.
In Peter, God mercifully gives us a most wonderful example.
Confronted with his folly, Peter drops down, before Jesus and begs, “Depart from me, Lord for I am a sinful man!”

How often do we do the same? We have worked, we have toiled, and yet God demands more, then we doubt God. Could it be that we know better? This is not mature faith and true love for God. We may know our own limitations, but we cannot fathom his majesty and power. God calls us to complete trust and dependence on him. We are not to question.  It is our part to simply, humbly obey and then be astonished by all that He does.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you

Luke 18:27-28,  37-38

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you a good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. Fro the measure with which you mearure will in return be measured out to you.

To quote from another passage in the Gospels, “This is a hard saying!” and “Then who can be saved?”  When the apostles put that question to Jesus, He responded, “What is impossible for man is possible for God”

We need God. The demands of love, the demands of Christian discipleship are too great for us. Jesus shows us what love looks like. After being tortured, mocked and spit upon, after being nailed to a cross and left to hang for three hours in the heat of the day, Jesus cries out, “Forgive them Father, for that do not know what they are doing.”  This immense love, and forgiveness is impossible for us, but not for God. If we entrust ourselves to God and rely on His help, He will bring us to perfection.

Jesus will come again

Matthew 24:42-44

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

We profess our faith every time we pray the Creed.  We can think of the Creed as the most basic “list” of all that we believe. Each Sunday we say :

He [Jesus] ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his Kingdom will have no end.

Jesus will come again. This world will end.  When Jesus returns, he will have power over all things and every one. Every single person will be judged, and there will be no tolerance of sin, death and evil. Those who refuse to accept Him and His Kingship will be eternally damned, but those who are honest and humble will acknowledge their guilt, apologize, and accept Jesus’s mercy and forgiveness. To these He will give eternal happiness and an everlasting share in His Kingdom.

Do we love as Jesus commands?

Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Everything that we believe, all that the Church teaches us about how to live is summed up in and based on these two great commandments. Jesus is the Lord of Love, and if we wish to follow him, we must love as He commands. This command requires such complete and utter selflessness. The perfect example of this humble submission to the law of love is Jesus himself. His love lead Him all the way to the cross, where He suffered and died for us. He is our model and our proof that Love exists. In Him, and from Him we find strength to overcome our selfish inclinations.

Are you envious because I am generous?

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

Matthew 20:1-16

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’So they went off.

And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,beginning with the last and ending with the first.’

When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour,and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


Commentary

         Envy is sadness over the good that another receives. Instead of being happy for the good of another, or content with what we have, we believe that we are deprived of something that is due to us.  In this passage, the laborers who were first chosen, given in to envy.:

…when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour,and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

            Notice a few things. They are looking at what the others received instead of peacefully awaiting their own compensation. They “grumble” against the landowner, even though they were fortunate to be chosen in the first place. What if they had been waiting all day and had never been hired? Clearly the landowner saw some good potential in them from the very beginning. And what is it that they say to him? “…you have made them equal to us,” They clearly did not respect the others and were affronted that the landowner would treat them as equals.

          Despite their envy and lack of charity toward the landowner and toward the other workers, our Lord gently rebukes them and warns them to not let this sentiment grow and give way to further sin:

‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go.

And then He reminds them that all that they have received, all that each laborer has received, both the opportunity to work and the recompense for work well done is from Him.

For Contemplation

When we are tempted by envy, we make look at the Lord and all the good that he does with us, in us and for us and say “Thank you!”

They scurried about the country and brought their sick

Gospel Mk 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,

Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret

and tied up there.

As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.

They scurried about the surrounding country

and began to bring in the sick on mats

to wherever they heard he was.

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,

they laid the sick in the marketplaces

and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;

and as many as touched it were healed.

In Jesus time, there was no TV, no Internet, no cell phones, no phones at all.

How did they recognize him? How did they know about Him?

The people heard about Jesus. Word travelled quickly. Everyone was talking about Jesus. They had heard that he was moving about the area, teaching, driving out demons, and curing others. They heard that he was not like the other leaders. He was humble, gentle, and kind. He cared deeply about the people. He eased their suffering.

When the people heard that Jesus had arrived at their town, they were so excited! Everyone wanted to see him, to be near to him. They brought those who were sick and what wonderful hopes they had! Just to touch the edge of his cloak would be enough.

Anointing of the Sick

Gospel Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two

and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick

–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.

They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.

He said to them,

“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.

Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,

leave there and shake the dust off your feet

in testimony against them.”

So they went off and preached repentance.

The Twelve drove out many demons,

and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

There are seven sacraments. They are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation/Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace.

What does this definition mean?

As an outward sign, we can see, touch, and hear the sacraments. We can perceive them with our senses. All of the sacraments were instituted by Christ. That means that we can read in the Sacred Scriptures that Christ himself first performed the sacraments. The sacraments give us grace. Grace is invisible. It is not perceived with our senses. It is a very real sharing in God’s life. Grace makes us holy. Grace makes us one with God. Grace enables us to live a life pleasing to God, and grace is necessary for us to get to Heaven. It is our “ticket to Heaven.”

In this bible story, we see Jesus sending out the Twelve Apostles to share in His ministry of saving the world. Re read the last line. “[A]nd they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” This line gives us evidence of that the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was performed over 2000 years ago. Taught by Christ and being the first ministers of the Church, the Apostles anointed the sick, just as our priest do today.