Update: The feast of St Blaise falls on Saturday 3rd Februray. The traditional blessing of throats (using the Rituale Romanum) will be given following Mass.
A Low Mass for Septuagesima Sunday will be celebrated at
St Winefride's Catholic Church tomorrow (Sunday 28th January) at 1130am.
A Canon of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will be our visiting celebrant.
Today we are reminded of the goodness and generosity of God. In the parable given us today, we see that all who laboured received the same reward — the day's wage. So, it is this way at the end of this world, all those who have laboured and loved God to the end, will receive the reward of Heaven.
There is no one who can claim Heaven as due to himself; it is always given as a gift from God. The longest life here on earth, which is lived in the service of God, falls very short of meriting an eternal reward. The only life here on earth that was truly meritorious was that of Jesus Christ. It is through His merits that we are able to lay claim to a reward of our labours. Our labours only have merit or value when His merits are united with our works.
The men in the parable that only worked one hour, yet received the wages of an entire day, show us the generosity of God. It is easy to see this from the parable given in today's Gospel. However, the same is true of those who laboured the whole day. They are human and so, even their best efforts were tainted or stained — their work was not perfect. Yet, in spite of this, they too, received the perfect wage of the day's pay. St. John Chrysostom suggests to us that we are missing the point if we focus upon the envy of the men who worked the most, yet received the same as the others.
Jesus gave us this parable to teach us of His Goodness. We have no need to be envious of those who were given the reward of eternal life. It in no way deprives us of anything that is our due. Our mistake is in comparing ourselves to one another. Jesus did not instruct us to live and labour as our neighbour does. He does not desire our comparing ourselves to others. This is why the proud Pharisee boasting in the Temple was rejected and the humble repentant publican was accepted.
God has not given us other men for our guides; but has given us Himself to follow. We are instructed to take up our daily crosses and follow Him. We are told not to learn from other men what to do, but rather learn of Him, because He is meek and humble of heart. We are instructed to strive for perfection because our Heavenly Father is perfect.
If we must compare ourselves to someone, we must use as our measure and guide Jesus Christ — the Son of God. This is the only worthwhile life to imitate and follow. Regardless of how long a life we live, or how hard we labour; we all fail to measure up to Him. Today's parable, then, gives us reason to hope. Those who came at the last hour did receive a day's wage — even though it was unmerited and undeserved.
Compared to God, we have all come at the last hour. Compared to His labours and sacrifices, we have all done nothing. We do not suggest such ideas to lead us into idleness or laziness. This also would be a false interpretation. Those who did not labour at all received nothing at all. Only those that laboured were rewarded. We must each work out our salvation in fear and trembling. God has called us to labour in His field — we have put our hands to the plough; let us not look back or at others. Some may be ploughing faster, some may be going slower; some may have started earlier, some may have started later. None of this should concern us. What God asks of us, is that we do our best, that we give Him all that we have. How we measure up compared to our neighbour means nothing. If we do better than those who are weaker or have less than we have; what does that prove? We should be ashamed if we did not do better than those who have received less than we did. "To whom much has been given, much will be required."
Once again, when we compare ourselves to Jesus, we all have fallen short. God is not so much interested in the material or physical things we do or accomplish, He has no need of any of these things. What God is interested in, is our complete giving of ourselves to Him in all our labours and sacrifices. Only what is done for the love of Him has any merit or value. He demands all our love of hearts and minds. If we hold back anything from Him, we have proven to be unworthy.
Our goal is to unite all our works and prayers with the works of Jesus Christ. It is He that gives any and all the value to what we do. May we humbly approach eternity as the last and the least, completely understanding the goodness and generosity of God.
In today's gospel, we witness two magnificent miracles: the healing of the leper and the healing of the centurion's servant.
Our Lord had just finished preaching upon the mountain, and was coming down, when the leper approached Him. Our Lord preached upon the mountain to those who were able to rise up to the heights of spirituality. He then descended the mountain and the heights of spirituality to speak to the lowly and the unclean. It is here that we see the leper. He was among the unclean and was therefore unable to rise to the heights of the mountain. Everyone was forbidden to touch those with leprosy because there was always the danger of the disease being transferred from the diseased to the healthy. Jesus, however, upon touching the leper did not risk contamination, but rather brought healing and health to the diseased man.
The leper had not ascended the mountain, nor had he heard firsthand the words of God, nonetheless he says: "Lord, if You will" He recognised in Jesus the power and the authority to heal him. All that was necessary was for Jesus to will it and it is done. This Jesus affirms when He says, "I will." Then He healed him and further added: "Be thou made clean." We see and note that faith preceded the miracle.
After the healing of the leper, then we see the approach of the centurion. The centurion comes to Jesus with the same faith. He recognizes that the Will of Jesus is all that is necessary for the accomplishment of his request. "Only, say the word and my servant will be healed." The centurion's request is perhaps nobler than the leper's, because his request is for his servant and not for himself or his immediate family. Some have intimated that the centurion is concerned for his servant because of monetary reasons. That is: the loss of a servant would represent a great financial loss. The Fathers of the Church tell us that this is not the case. The centurion was concerned for the health of his servant because he loved his servant. His servant was a part of his family; he loved and cared for the servant as he would for himself or his own son. This noble love was a necessary part of the merit of the centurion, but is often overlooked. Our attention is often directed to his beautiful words that have been adapted for our use before the reception of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist: "Only say the word and my soul (servant) will be healed."
There is something more than the superficial understanding of the faith and humility implied in these words. There is also a profound charity associated with this faith and humility. As we imitate this centurion's faith and humility, we are also to recall his charity. It is useless for us to receive Our Lord in the words and manner of the centurion if we lack his charity. Our Lord tells us that when we come to the altar and there remember that our brother has anything against us, that we should first go and reconcile ourselves with him and then come back to offer our gift to Him. We are unacceptable to God if we do not have charity with one another. How can we claim to love God Whom we cannot see, if we will not love our brother whom we can see?
When we come to Mass we come as the leper — filled with sin. God has descended from Heaven to the earth. He approaches us as He descended from the mountain to the leper. Christ has come to us, now we must approach Him as the leper. We must recognize our own unworthiness (uncleanness) and repeat with the leper: "If Thou willest, Thou can make me clean." When we approach Him in the Holy Eucharist, we approach Him as the centurion, even making his words our own: "Only say the word and my soul will be healed." Above all this, or as a prerequisite for this, we must be filled with love.
It is love that covers a multitude of sins. It is charity that obtains forgiveness. Without charity we cannot receive forgiveness nor the healing of the leper; and without charity, we cannot obtain the grace of faith and healing of the centurion.
All things are possible for God; and for those that love Him, all things work for their own good. It was therefore not really an evil that befell the leper or the centurion or even the centurion's servant. These apparent evils were actually great goods by which they merited even more immense goodness. God is well aware of all our crosses, burdens and difficulties. Even more than being aware of them, He has willed them for us, or allowed them for us; so that we may ever increase in virtue. If it were not for the disease of leprosy, the leper would never have obtained his bodily health, or even more importantly, spiritual health. The same can be said of the centurion. If the centurion's servant was not ill, he would never have approached God and obtained such wonderful things.
We must not allow our crosses and burdens to wear us down, but rather understand them as gifts or graces to spur us on to growth in grace and wisdom. In our sins, let us approach God as the leper did. In the pain of our hearts caused by love, let us approach God as the centurion did. In both instances let us remain humble, yet filled with faith and trust in God.
In a straight lift from the GCN website, I am pleased to provide details for a forthcoming chant weekend.
The Chant Weekend will take place this year from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th April, at the Oratory School near Reading (click for a map)
Led by Christopher Hodkinson and Fr Guy Nicholls Cong. Orat.
The Chant weekend, which returned to the Oratory School in 2017 after a break, was a great success with increased numbers. There is plenty of room in the Oratory School, the prices have been frozen, so we can continue to grow!
Book online here.
Registration 4 to 4.45pm on Friday; late Registrations 7-7.30pm
The Course ends with Sung Mass at 11.30am followed by lunch on Sunday.
LMS members: £10 discount
£195 per person
£120 each for 2 people from the same choir or schola
£90 each for 3 or more people from the same choir or schola
Scholas must be registered with the Gregorian Chant Network: there's no fee for this, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.
Book online here.
The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus are the contemplative nuns who support the work of the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Last September, at the invitation of Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, a house was established in Preston.
In such a short period of time there is so much to report and they have compiled a newsletter which can be read here.
Mass for the Second Sunday after Epiphany will be celebrated at St Francis of Assisi, Llay at 12.30pm on Sunday 14 January.
The miracle of changing water into wine was performed by Jesus only after the request of Mary to deliver the young married couple "out of their distress" (Gradual). As a result of the miracle wrought through Mary's intercession, the disciples of Jesus "believed in Him" (Gospel) for they recognised His Power to change all substances.
Hence, the Epistle describes the daily miracle of God's "grace that is given us," graces of interior and social justice to change from evil to good in both single and married life.
This "execise of power" (Postcommunion) in the "Divine Sacrament" effects a change from the cold dull water of mere human life to the warm generous wine of Divine Life, and thus unites our changed souls to God in the indissoluble bonds of an eternal marriage. As we recognise "the great things" (Offertory) done for our soul through Mary's prayers to Jesus, we should, like the disciples,acknowledge His Divinity. "Whatsoever he shall say to you,do ye."
Had the 14th January not fallen on a Sunday the Feast of St. Hilary E. D., Bishop of Poitiers would occur. Known for his preaching ability, for his defence of the Holy Trinity, his leadership at Councils of the Church in the IV Century. The Saint was against those who would water down Church Doctrine in the interest of peace and unity. In the Mass of St. Hilary, St. Felix Priest M. is commemorated, martyred under Decius in about 250 at Nola in Southern Italy.
Although the Saints are not commemorated in the Mass using the 1962 rubrics, pray to the Saints today to give you strength to uphold Church Doctrines.
A meditation for the Feast of the Holy Family
The beauty and wonder of a family is beyond words, but the awesomeness of The Holy Family cannot even be compared with it.
Words cannot describe the humility of the Son of God becoming Man and obeying both Mary and Joseph. At the same time we are brought to a silent awe as we consider the dignity of Mary. She is ever virgin, and yet is the Mother of God. What an honour and privilege it is for her to be able to call God her Son, and to say to Him: “Son, why have you done this to us?” She speaks to to Him as her Child whom the angels in Heaven bow down before in silent adoration and praise. And Jesus humbles Himself to listen to her and obey.
This is the perfect prototype for every family. Every child must look to the humility and obedience of Jesus. Every one of us is a child and we must therefore all practice these virtues. If God Himself could humble Himself, how could any creature dare become filled with such pride and vanity as to think humility is beneath him? What foolishness to think that we are better than Jesus Christ! Every one of us has some authority over us and we are called upon to submit to it as Jesus did to Mary and Joseph. We must humble ourselves and obey with prompt, willing, and eager obedience.
The authority over us is not the most perfect. Our superiors are mere human beings with their own many faults and failings. God does not command us to obey them only when they are right or perfect. We are taught that we must obey them in all things that are not sinful. It is most pleasing to God to see us bow our heads in humble obedience and sacrifice our own wills as He did His. He remained silent like a lamb not only when led before the shearers but also when He was led to the slaughter. In all things and at all times we see Jesus humbling Himself and submitting in complete obedience. We must teach ourselves to act in the same manner. If we are to find our way into Heaven it can only be through a very close following and imitation of Jesus in His humble obedience.
The dignity of parents and all those in authority must also be considered, for God has very often placed that dignity in some of us. This dignity that is given should likewise instil in us a profound appreciation for how unworthy we are of it and incite us to greater humility. As unworthy as we are we must likewise realise that all authority comes from God. Parents and superiors take the place of God and speak to their children and subjects in the name of God. It should therefore be the goal of every authority to strive to imitate God in all their actions. Our decisions should not be made with unworthy motives. We should strive to rule and judge with fore thought concerning eternal Truth and Justice.
We must not abandon our God given authority either as so many parents do these days. That is a false humility inspired by evil spirits that tempts us in this direction. We must insist that our subjects listen and obey us not because we are proud and vain, but because we love them and we want only that which is best for them. Our desire must always be to lead them to an eternal happiness in Heaven. We must lead them to obey us because we hold the place of God over them. In submitting to God given authority they are essentially submitting to God Himself.
We should consider ourselves and our positions in relation to the Holy Family and be amazed at the dignity God has given to authority and the humility He gives to those who must obey. Let us make it our life long goal to ever obey as humbly as Jesus has done, and also to maintain our dignity and authority as St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother have shown us!
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.