Corpus Christi - Office of Readings


Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Genesis 14:18-20    1 Corinthians 11:23-26    Luke 9:11-17
June 6, 2010
                        

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the Scriptures for this Sunday

Office of Readings
St. Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225-1274)

O precious and wonderful banquet!

Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfillment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.


Responsory

See in this bread the body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and in this cup the blood which flowed from his side. Take his body, then, and eat it; take his blood and drink it, and you will become his members.

Trinity Sunday - Reflection


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010        
        
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the Scriptures for this Sunday


reflection from Father Hoisington

God is love.  Saint John the Apostle put it as simply as possible.  Of course, people throughout the world have found many different ways to define love, some of which seem to contradict each other.  In the midst of this confusion, God wants to make the truth about love known.  And so we can consider how each of the persons of the Most Holy Trinity shows us what it means to love.

God the Father is love.  The Father begot the Son before time began, in order to share His love eternally.  Within time, the Father sent His Son into the world to reveal love in the flesh to those confused about the meaning of life.  He did this knowing that the Son’s own people would not receive Him.  The Father is patient.  The Father is kind.

God the Son is love.  The Son did not turn away from the mission His Father had given Him.  The Son chose freely to suffer and die for sinners, to reveal in the glory of the Cross the true meaning of love.  The Son does not seek His own interests.  The Son does not rejoice in wrongdoing.

God the Holy Spirit is love.  The Holy Spirit is the love of Father and Son for each other.  The Holy Spirit is the Lord, the Giver of Life.  The Holy Spirit is the breath through which God created Adam, the first Man.  The Holy Spirit is the breath which Jesus, the New Adam, gave up on the Cross when He said, “it is finished.”  The Holy Spirit hopes all things.  We hope to share forever in the life of Almighty God, who is love.

But as we celebrate on this day the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we might find it difficult to meditate upon this mystery of God’s divine nature—three persons existing as one God.  Of course God knows us even better than we know ourselves, and so knowing the weakness of our human intellect, he demonstrated his divine nature very clearly through Christ’s Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension:  what we call the Paschal Mystery.

When we consider the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, we have to remember that He existed from all eternity with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  God the Son never had to become human in order to fulfill his identity.  God the Son could have remained divine for all eternity without ever descending to earth and taking on our human nature.

But in the Paschal Mystery of the Word made Flesh, God makes clear to us—in the love of His Sacred Heart—not only His divine nature.  We also see in Christ Jesus—true God and true man—the fulfillment of what it means to be human.

We realize this if we consider that scene in the gospels where one of the Scribes comes up to Jesus and asks Him which is the first of all the commandments.  Jesus replies not only to the scribe, but to each one of you as well:

“’Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!
Therefore you shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’
This is the second, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Love, quite obviously, is the common denominator between these two commands:  “Love the Lord completely,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Understanding these two as one means having Christ at the center of our entire spiritual focus:  seeing in Christ our neighbor, and seeing in Christ our Lord and God.  And so, first of all, we are to love others as Christ has loved us.  But we must even go one step further.  We are to love others so that others will love as Christ has loved us.  Not merely are we to give our lives for others.  We are to so have an effect on others that they in turn will do the same.

But how is this possible?  We cannot control the decisions of others.  Even if we love them they may hate us in turn.  But in this we see the unfolding of the Lord’s plan for the history of the human family.  In His new and everlasting covenant, God works through us for the good of all mankind.  The love of the Eucharist is the very risk that God Himself took in giving us His Son.  In the Holy Eucharist, in the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of God’s only begotten Son, is the love which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Through the penance we endure in love may we hope in love that all will be brought into the light of God’s mercy and grace.

Trinity Sunday - Gospel Reading


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010
        
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the Scriptures for this Sunday

brief exegesis of the Gospel Reading
John 16:12-15

This passage, from the sixteenth chapter of John, is spoken by Jesus at the table of the Last Supper.  The poignancy of the discourses He offers there (chapters 13-17) is the poignancy of a man who knows that he is hours away from his death, which you and I can imagine through our experience of human nature.

However, the deeper meaning of His words there derives not only from His Death, but also from His Ascension.  Just as His Death is the condition that makes possible the new life of His Resurrection, so His Ascension is the condition that makes possible the new life of the Church through the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the Last Supper—and the rest of His Sacred Triduum—Jesus has the Church in mind.  We can read His words in today’s Gospel passage with our own discipleship—our individual vocations within the Mystical Body of Christ—in mind.  The poignancy of His Last Supper discourses is rooted in His longing for the members of His Mystical Body to enter fully into the Mystical Life of the Most Holy Trinity.

An individual Christian’s discipleship in this world can only be a life of constant growth, and growth in Christ only exists according to the pattern of the Paschal Mystery (Jesus’ Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sending of the Holy Spirit).  This growth extends to the faculties of the soul:  the human memory, the human intellect, and the human will.  In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus speaks directly about the intellectual growth that is part and parcel of spiritual growth:  growth into the life of the Most Holy Trinity.

When considering intellectual growth, there are a variety of ideas one might have.  For example, some consider intellectual growth in terms of the accumulation and processing of data/facts:  we could simply term this “knowledge”.  Then, too, there is the creation and discovery of new fields of knowledge:  we could term this “intelligence”.

And then there is what the Church terms “wisdom”.  Wisdom, not knowledge or intelligence, is the spiritual goal of the human intellect.  Wisdom, unlike knowledge or intelligence, is gained according to the pattern of the Paschal Mystery.  Wisdom is gained only through humility.  Or as the Book of Proverbs says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (1:7).  Or as Saint Francis of Assisi said, “It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”:  this includes the life of the mind.


Trinity Sunday - Pope John Paul II


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010

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the Scriptures for this Sunday


Homily of Pope John Paul the Great
June 7, 1998
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
(excerpted)


1. “Come let us worship the one true God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (Invitatory, Italian breviary). The Liturgy of Hours today begins with these words. They are echoed by those of the Entrance Antiphon of today’s Holy Mass: “Blessed be God the Father and his Only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit: for he has shown that he loves us” (Entrance Antiphon).

These words are a hymn of praise to the Holy Trinity, the great mystery that we celebrate this Sunday.
In fact, all liturgy is a song of praise to the Trinitarian mystery; every prayer is addressed to God the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The most simple invocation, such as the “Sign of the Cross”, is made “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”; and the most solemn liturgical orations end with praise to the Trinity. Every time we raise our minds and our hearts to God, we enter into the Holy Trinity's eternal dialogue of love.

“Praise to the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity. Let us praise God for he has shown us his mercy” (Second Antiphon, First Vespers).

2. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5).  When we approach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we are clearly aware that we find ourselves before the first of those “mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, cannot be known” (First Vatican Council, DS 3015).

The entire development of divine revelation is directed to the manifestation of God-Love, of God-Communion. This concerns, first of all, the Trinitarian life considered in itself, in the perfect communion that for all eternity unites the three divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. By revealing his love to man, God calls men to share his own life and to enter into communion with him.

To the universal vocation of believers to holiness, each of the three divine Persons makes his own specific contribution: the Father is the source of all holiness, the Son is the mediator of all salvation and the Holy Spirit is the One who animates and sustains the journey of man towards full and definitive communion with God.

In the Office of Readings today we read a significant text from St Athanasius: “Just as grace is given from the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the gift to us except in the Holy Spirit. But when we share in the Spirit, we possess the love of the Father, the grace of the Son and the fellowship of the Spirit himself” (Second Reading).


5. “Glory and honor to God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; glory and praise to him for endless ages” (Third Antiphon, First Vespers).  Yes, glory and honour to the Holy Trinity. Let us together raise our song of praise and thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity.

Let us adore the mystery of the hidden presence of God among us, contemplating in silence his saving plan.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Let us make our own the words suggested to us by the liturgy: “Glory and praise to God who is, who was and who is to come”.

Amen!


Trinity Sunday - Second Reading


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010

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the Scriptures for this Sunday

brief exegesis of Sunday’s Second Reading
Romans 5:1-5

Why was this passage from Romans chosen for proclamation on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity?  We could answer that each of the Three Persons of the Trinity is mentioned within it (though the Father, only implicitly).  Yet while that is true, this passage (and the whole of Romans, and Sunday’s solemnity itself) exist for us men and for our salvation (as we profess in the Creed).  Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Liturgy have a “saving purpose”, a soteriological aim:  namely, to bring us closer to the fullness of salvation.

In this light, the human being in need of salvation (indeed, man himself) asks the question, “How can I experience, how can I come to salvation?”  The answer to this question is the focus of Sunday’s solemnity, the focus of Romans, and the focus of the Second Reading.
                                                                                                                            
The grace in which we stand is the very life of God, the essence of the Most Holy Trinity.  A good part of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans is devoted to the topic of faith:  faith as the means to entering into this grace in which we are called to stand.  As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, both grace and faith come to the fore.

Grace is our human participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity.  Faith is the means through which we enter into this grace.  The word “through”, however, appears three times in this passage.  The phrase “through grace” does not appear:  rather, Saint Paul speaks about God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Through God the Son we gain access to the grace in which we stand; through God the Holy Spirit divine love (that is, the life of God:  grace) has been given to us.

It’s fitting then, to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity on the Sunday following the greatest season of the Church year:  the Season of Easter, which celebrates the culmination of the saving missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  Their saving missions continue in the life of the Church today, throughout the Season of Ordinary Time, and throughout the course of our earthly life.
________
  
Name of the Biblical book:  Romans
Latin name:  Epistula ad Romanos
Total chapters:  16
Testament, section within which the book is found:  New Testament, apostolic letters
General outline of the book, with section from which today’s reading is taken in bold:
1.  Address (Romans 1:1-15)
2.  Humanity Lost without the Gospel (Romans 1:16-3:20)
3.  Justification through Faith in Christ (Romans 3:21-5:21)
4.  Justification and the Christian Life (Romans 6:1-8:39)
5.  Jews and Gentiles in God's Plan (Romans 9:1-11:36)
6.  The Duties of Christians (Romans 12:1-15:13)
7.  Conclusion (Romans 15:14-16:27)

Trinity Sunday - Thomas Aquinas


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010

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the Scriptures for this Sunday

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Commentary on John 16
Lectio III (excerpted)

12 I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth [will teach you all truth]; for he will not speak on his own authority [from himself], but whatever he hears [will hear] he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”[13]

Now he mentions the benefit his disciples will receive from the coming of the Holy Spirit; this benefit is their instruction. First, he states their need for instruction (v 12); secondly, he promises this instruction (v 13a); thirdly, he eliminates a difficulty (v 13b).

The need for instruction
He says: the coming of the Holy Spirit will benefit the world because he will rebuke it. But the Spirit will also benefit you by instructing you. You need this instruction because I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. It is like saying: I have instructed you, but you are not completely instructed: “Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways; and how small a whisper do we hear of him. But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14). It would be foolish to ask what those many things were which they could not bear, as Augustine remarks.[19] For if they could not bear them, much less can we.

The statement, you cannot bear them now, has been used by certain heretics as a cover for their errors. They tell their adherents the basest things in private, things they would not dare to say openly, as though these were the things the disciples were not then able to bear, and as though the Holy Spirit taught them these things which a man would blush to teach and preach openly. We should not think that some secret teaching is kept from believers who are uneducated, and taught to those who are more learned. Indeed, matters of faith are presented to all the faithful: “What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light” (Matthew 10:27).

Still, they have to be presented in one way to the uneducated and in another way to the learned. For instance, certain fine points about the mystery of the Incarnation and the other mysteries would not be presented to the uneducated because they would not understand them and they would actually be an obstacle. So our Lord presented all matters of faith to his disciples, but not in the way he later revealed them, and especially not in the way they will be presented in eternal life. Accordingly, what they could not bear then was the full knowledge of divine things, such as knowledge of the equality of the Son with the Father and other things of that sort which they did not then know. Paul says, “He heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4), these things were the very truths of faith, not something else, but known in a more profound way.

Again, the disciples did not then have a spiritual understanding of all the scriptures, but did only when “He opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45). Also, the disciples did not then have a full understanding of the sufferings and dangers they were to undergo ‑ they could not bear such knowledge then as their spirits were weak: “Put your shoulder under her and carry her” (Sirach 6:25). For these reasons the disciples were in need of further instruction.

Jesus promises instruction
Then he promises that they will be instructed by the coming of the Holy Spirit, who will teach them all truth. For since the Holy Spirit is from the Truth, it is appropriate that the Spirit teach the truth, and make those he teaches like the one who sent him. He says, all the truth, that is, the truth of the faith. He will teach them to have a better understanding of this truth in this life, and a fullness of understanding in eternal life, where we will know as we are known (see 1 Corinthians 13:12); “His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie” (1 Jn 2:27). Or, all the truth, that is, of the figures of the law, which understanding the apostles received from the Holy Spirit. We read in Daniel (1:17) that the Lord gave to his children wisdom and understanding.

Jesus eliminates a difficulty
Now he excludes a difficulty which could have arisen. If the Holy Spirit will teach them, it seems that he is greater than Christ. This is not true, because the Spirit will teach them by the power of the Father and the Son, for he will not speak from himself, but from me, because he will be from me. Just as the Son does not act from himself but from the Father, so the Holy Spirit, because he is from another, that is, from the Father and the Son, will not speak from himself, but whatever he will hear by receiving knowledge as well as his essence from eternity, he will speak, not in a bodily way but by enlightening your minds from within: “I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her” (Hosea 2:14); “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak” (Psalm 85:8).[20]

Since the Holy Spirit hears from eternity, why does he say he will hear? We should say to this that eternity includes all time. Consequently, the Holy Spirit, who hears from all eternity, is said to hear in the present, in the past, and in the future. Yet at times he is said to hear in the future because the knowledge in question concerns things that are still in the future. He will speak, therefore, whatever he will hear, for he will not only teach about things that are eternal, but future things. Thus he adds, he will declare to you the things that are to come, which is a characteristic of God: “She has foreknowledge of signs and wonders” (Wisdom 8:8); “Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods” (Isaiah 41:23). This is characteristic of the Holy Spirit: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). So they would have no doubts about how they would know of the coming tribulations, which Christ predicted for them, he adds, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, that is, upon you. 


Trinity Sunday - First Reading


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31    Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15
May 30, 2010
                          
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the Scriptures for this Sunday


brief exegesis of Sunday’s First Reading

Proverbs 8:22-31

Within Christian theology, the “Wisdom of God”—who speaks the words of the First Reading—is identified with the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity:  that is, God the Son.

This First Reading has two sections.  The first, by means of a via negativa, proclaims the existence of this divine Wisdom “before” any of the works of creation.  This first section describes God the Son in reference to the “immanent Trinity” (the Trinity within Himself, in His essential, necessary nature, completely distinct from any of His contingent works).

The second section, by means of a via positiva, proclaims the participation of divine Wisdom in the work of creation.  This section describes God the Son in reference to the “economic Trinity” (the Trinity in regard to His contingent works:  that is, works that He freely chose to carry out, and so could have not done just as easily as He did do).  The work of creation, and the consequent works of redemption and sanctification of the human race, are contingent works of God.  While the First Reading focuses on the work of Creation, the last phrase of the passage [Proverbs 8:31], hints at the works of redemption and sanctification that would be fulfilled only in the New Testament.
 _______
  
Name of the Biblical book:  Proverbs
Latin name:  Liber Proverbiorum
Total chapters:  31
Testament, section within which the book is found:  Old Testament, Wisdom Literature
General outline of the book’s contents, with section from which today’s reading is taken in bold print:
1.   Introduction: The Value of Wisdom (Proverb 1:1-9:18)
2.   First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (Proverb 10:1-22:16)
3.   Sayings of the Wise (Proverb 22:17-24:22)
4.   Other Sayings of the Wise (Proverb 24:23-34)
5.   Second Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (Proverb 25:1-29:27)
6.   The Words of Agur (Proverb 30:1-6)
7.   Numerical Proverbs (Proverb 30:7-33)
8.   The Words of Lemuel (Proverb 31:1-9)
9.   The Ideal Wife (Proverb 31:10-31)


The parish I serve

<b>The parish I serve</b>
St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Colwich, Kansas (Diocese of Wichita)