Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings 20-February-2023
Posted on 02/20/2023 8:36:39 AM PST by annalex
Monday of week 7 in Ordinary Time
The Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima, Portugal
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green. Year: A(I).
Before all other things, wisdom was created
All wisdom is from the Lord,
and it is his own for ever.
The sand of the sea and the raindrops,
and the days of eternity, who can assess them?
The height of the sky and the breadth of the earth,
and the depth of the abyss, who can probe them?
Before all other things wisdom was created,
shrewd understanding is everlasting.
For whom has the root of wisdom ever been uncovered?
Her resourceful ways, who knows them?
One only is wise, terrible indeed,
seated on his throne, the Lord.
He himself has created her, looked on her and assessed her,
and poured her out on all his works
to be with all mankind as his gift,
and he conveyed her to those who love him.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed;
the Lord has robed himself with might,
he has girded himself with power.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The world you made firm, not to be moved;
your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house,
O Lord, until the end of time.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The word of the Lord remains for ever:
What is this word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you.
Our Saviour Jesus Christ abolished death
and he has proclaimed life through the Good News.
Help the little faith I have!
When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’
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The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
KEYWORDS: catholic; mk9; ordinarytime; prayer
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|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|14.||9:13 And coming to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes disputing with them.||9:13 Et veniens ad discipulos suos, vidit turbam magnam circa eos, et scribas conquirentes cum illis.||και ελθων προς τους μαθητας ειδεν οχλον πολυν περι αυτους και γραμματεις συζητουντας αυτοις|
|15.||9:14 And presently all the people seeing Jesus, were astonished and struck with fear; and running to him, they saluted him.||9:14 Et confestim omnis populus videns Jesum, stupefactus est, et expaverunt, et accurrentes salutabant eum.||και ευθεως πας ο οχλος ιδων αυτον εξεθαμβηθη και προστρεχοντες ησπαζοντο αυτον|
|16.||9:15 And he asked them: What do you question about among you?||9:15 Et interrogavit eos : Quid inter vos conquiritis ?||και επηρωτησεν τους γραμματεις τι συζητειτε προς αυτους|
|17.||9:16 And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit.||9:16 Et respondens unus de turba, dixit : Magister, attuli filium meum ad te habentem spiritum mutum :||και αποκριθεις εις εκ του οχλου ειπεν διδασκαλε ηνεγκα τον υιον μου προς σε εχοντα πνευμα αλαλον|
|18.||9:17 Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with the teeth, and pineth away; and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not.||9:17 qui ubicumque eum apprehenderit, allidit illum, et spumat, et stridet dentibus, et arescit : et dixi discipulis tuis ut ejicerent illum, et non potuerunt.||και οπου αν αυτον καταλαβη ρησσει αυτον και αφριζει και τριζει τους οδοντας αυτου και ξηραινεται και ειπον τοις μαθηταις σου ινα αυτο εκβαλωσιν και ουκ ισχυσαν|
|19.||9:18 Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.||9:18 Qui respondens eis, dixit : O generatio incredula, quamdiu apud vos ero ? quamdiu vos patiar ? afferte illum ad me.||ο δε αποκριθεις αυτω λεγει ω γενεα απιστος εως ποτε προς υμας εσομαι εως ποτε ανεξομαι υμων φερετε αυτον προς με|
|20.||9:19 And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him; and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming.||9:19 Et attulerunt eum. Et cum vidisset eum, statim spiritus conturbavit illum : et elisus in terram, volutabatur spumans.||και ηνεγκαν αυτον προς αυτον και ιδων αυτον ευθεως το πνευμα εσπαραξεν αυτον και πεσων επι της γης εκυλιετο αφριζων|
|21.||9:20 And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he said: From his infancy:||9:20 Et interrogavit patrem ejus : Quantum temporis est ex quo ei hoc accidit ? At ille ait : Ab infantia :||και επηρωτησεν τον πατερα αυτου ποσος χρονος εστιν ως τουτο γεγονεν αυτω ο δε ειπεν παιδιοθεν|
|22.||9:21 And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us.||9:21 et frequenter eum in ignem, et in aquas misit ut eum perderet : sed si quid potes, adjuva nos, misertus nostri.||και πολλακις αυτον και εις το πυρ εβαλεν και εις υδατα ινα απολεση αυτον αλλ ει τι δυνασαι βοηθησον ημιν σπλαγχνισθεις εφ ημας|
|23.||9:22 And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.||9:22 Jesus autem ait illi : Si potes credere, omnia possibilia sunt credenti.||ο δε ιησους ειπεν αυτω το ει δυνασαι πιστευσαι παντα δυνατα τω πιστευοντι|
|24.||9:23 And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief.||9:23 Et continuo exclamans pater pueri, cum lacrimis aiebat : Credo, Domine ; adjuva incredulitatem meam.||και ευθεως κραξας ο πατηρ του παιδιου μετα δακρυων ελεγεν πιστευω κυριε βοηθει μου τη απιστια|
|25.||9:24 And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him; and enter not any more into him.||9:24 Et cum videret Jesus concurrentem turbam, comminatus est spiritui immundo, dicens illi : Surde et mute spiritus, ego præcipio tibi, exi ab eo : et amplius ne introëas in eum.||ιδων δε ο ιησους οτι επισυντρεχει οχλος επετιμησεν τω πνευματι τω ακαθαρτω λεγων αυτω το πνευμα το αλαλον και κωφον εγω σοι επιτασσω εξελθε εξ αυτου και μηκετι εισελθης εις αυτον|
|26.||9:25 And crying out, and greatly tearing him, he went out of him, and he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead.||9:25 Et exclamans, et multum discerpens eum, exiit ab eo, et factus est sicut mortuus, ita ut multi dicerent : Quia mortuus est.||και κραξαν και πολλα σπαραξαν αυτον εξηλθεν και εγενετο ωσει νεκρος ωστε πολλους λεγειν οτι απεθανεν|
|27.||9:26 But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up; and he arose.||9:26 Jesus autem tenens manum ejus elevavit eum, et surrexit.||ο δε ιησους κρατησας αυτον της χειρος ηγειρεν αυτον και ανεστη|
|28.||9:27 And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out?||9:27 Et cum introisset in domum, discipuli ejus secreto interrogabant eum : Quare nos non potuimus ejicere eum ?||και εισελθοντα αυτον εις οικον οι μαθηται αυτου επηρωτων αυτον κατ ιδιαν οτι ημεις ουκ ηδυνηθημεν εκβαλειν αυτο|
|29.||9:28 And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.||9:28 Et dixit illis : Hoc genus in nullo potest exire, nisi in oratione et jejunio.||και ειπεν αυτοις τουτο το γενος εν ουδενι δυναται εξελθειν ει μη εν προσευχη και νηστεια|
14. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the Scribes questioning with them.
15. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
16. And he asked the Scribes, What question ye with them?
17. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18. And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
20. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
28. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
THEOPHYLACT. After He had shewn His glory in the mount to the three disciples, He returns to the other disciples, who had not come up with Him into the mount; wherefore it is said, And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the Scribes questioning with them. For the Pharisees, catching the opportunity of the hour when Christ was not present, came up to them, to try to draw them over to themselves.
PSEUDO-JEROME. But there is no peace for man under the sun; envy is ever slaying the little ones, and lightnings strike the tops of the great mountains. Of all those who run to the Church, some as the multitudes come in faith to learn, others, as the Scribes, with envy and pride. It goes on, And straightway all the people, when they beheld Jesus, were greatly amazed, and feared.
BEDE. (in Marc. 3, 38) In all cases, the difference between the mind of the Scribes and of the people ought to be observed; for the Scribes arc never said to have shewn any devotion, faith, humility, and reverence, but as soon as the Lord was come, the whole multitude was greatly amazed and feared, and ran up to Him, and saluted Him; wherefore there follows, And running to him, saluted him.
THEOPHYLACT. For the multitude was glad to see Him, so that they saluted Him from afar, as He was coming to them; but some suppose that His countenance had become more beautiful from His transfiguration, and that this induced the crowd to salute Him.
PSEUDO-JEROME. Now it was the people, and not the disciples, who on seeing Him were amazed and feared, for there is no fear in love; fear belongs to servants, amazement to fools. It goes on: And he asked them, What question ye with them. Why does the Lord put this question? That confession may produce salvation, and the murmuring of our hearts may be appeased by religious words.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) The question, indeed, which was raised may, if I am not deceived, have been this, wherefore they, who were the disciples of the Saviour, were unable to heal the demoniac, who was placed in the midst, which may be gathered from the following words; And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away.
CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) The Scriptures declare that this man was weak in faith, for Christ says, O faithless generation: and He adds, If thou canst believe. But although his want of faith was the cause of their not casting out the devil, he nevertheless accuses the disciples; wherefore it is added, And I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; but they could not. Now observe his folly; in praying to Jesus in the midst of the crowd, he accuses the disciples, wherefore the Lord before the multitude so much the more accuses him, and not only aims the accusation at himself, but also extends it to all the Jews; for it is probable that many of those present had been offended, and had held wrong thoughts concerning His disciples. Wherefore there follows, He answereth them and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? By which He shewed both that He desired death, and that it was a burden to Him to converse with them.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) So far, however, is He from being angry with the person, though He reproved the sin, that He immediately added, Bring him unto me; and they brought him unto him. And when he saw him, straightway the spirit fare him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But this the Lord permitted for the sake of the father of the boy, that when he saw the devil vexing his child, he might be brought on to believe that the miracle was to be wrought.
THEOPHYLACT. He also permits the child to be vexed, that in this way we might know the devil’s wickedness, who would have killed him, had he not been assisted by the Lord. It goes on: And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child; and offtimes it has cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him.
BEDE. Let Juliang blush, who dares to say that all men are born in the flesh, without the infection of sin, as though they were innocent in all respects, just as Adam was when he was created. For what was there in the boy, that he should be troubled from infancy with a cruel devil, if he were not held at all by the chain of original sin? since it is evident that he could not yet have had any sin of his own.
GLOSS. (non occ.) Now he expresses in the words of his petition his want of faith; for that is the reason why he adds, But if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. For in that he says, If thou canst do any thing, he shews that he doubts His power, because he had seen that the disciples of Christ had failed in curing him; but he says, have compassion on us, to shew the misery of the son, who suffered, and the father, who suffered with him. It goes on: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
PSEUDO-JEROME. This saying, If thou canst, is a proof of the freedom of the will. Again, all things are possible to him that believeth, which evidently means all those things which are prayed for with tears in the name of Jesus, that is, of salvation.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) The answer of the Lord was suited to the petition; for the man said, If thou canst do any thing, help us; and to this the Lord answered, If thou canst believe. On the other hand, the leper who cried out, with faith, Lord, if thou will, thou canst make me clean, (Matt. 8:2. 3) received an answer according to his faith, I will, be thou clean.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc. sed v. Chrys. ubi sup.) His meaning is; such a plenitude of virtue is there in Me, that not only can I do this, but I will make others to have that power; where fore if thou canst believe as thou oughtest to do, thou shalt be able to cure not only him, but many more. In this way then, He endeavoured to bring back to the faith, the man who as yet speaks unfaithfully. There follows, And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. But if he had already believed, saying, I believe, how is it that he adds, help thou mine unbelief? We must say then that faith is manifold, that one sort of faith is elementary, another perfect; but this man, being but a beginner in believing, prayed the Saviour to add to his virtue what was wanting.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) For no man at once reaches to the highest point, but in holy living a man begins with the least things that he may reach the great; for the beginning of virtue is different, from the progress and the perfection of it. Because then faith mounts up through the secret inspiration of grace, by the steps of its own meritsh, he who had not yet believed perfectly was at once a believer and an unbeliever.
PSEUDO-JEROME. By this also we are taught that our faith is tottering, if it lean not on the stay of the help of God. But faith by its tears receives the accomplishment of its wishes; Wherefore it continues, When Jesus saw that the multitude came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him.
THEOPHYLACT. The reason that He rebuked the foul spirit, when He saw the crowd running together, was that he did not wish to cure him before the multitude, that He might give us a lesson to avoid ostentation.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) And His rebuking him, and saying, I charge thee, is a proof of Divine power. Again, in that He says not only, come out of him, but also enter no more into him, He shews that the evil spirit was ready to enter again, because the man was weak in faith, but was prevented by the command of the Lord. It goes on, And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him; and he was as one dead, insomuch that many said, He is dead. For the devil was not able to inflict death upon him, because the true Life was come.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) But him, whom the unholy spirit made like unto death, the holy Saviour saved by the touch of His holy hand; wherefore it goes on, But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose. Thus as the Lord had shewn Himself to be very God by the power of healing, so He shewed that He had the very nature of our flesh, by the manner of His human touch. The Manichæani indeed madly denies that He was truly clothed in flesh; He Himself, however, by raising, cleansing, enlightening so many afflicted persons by His touch, condemned his heresy before its birth. It goes on: And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) They feared that perchance they had lost the grace conferred upon them; for they had already received power over unclean spirits. It goes on: And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
THEOPHYLACT. That is, the whole class of lunatics, or simply, of all persons possessed with devils. Both the man to be cured, and he who cures him, should fast; for a real prayer is offered up, when fasting is joined with prayer, when he who prays is sober and not heavy with food.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) Again, in a mystical sense, on high the Lord unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to His disciples, but below He rebukes the multitude for their sins of unfaithfulness, and expels devils from those, who are vexed by them. Those who are still carnal and foolish, He strengthens, teaches, punishes, whilst He more freely instructs the perfect concerning the things of eternity.
THEOPHYLACT. Again, this devil is deaf and dumb; deaf, because he does not choose to hear the words of God; dumb, because he is unable to teach others their duty.
PSEUDO-JEROME. Again, a sinner foameth forth folly, gnasheth with anger, pineth away in sloth. But the evil spirit tears him, when coming to salvation, and in like manner those whom he would drag into his maw he tears asunder by terrors and losses, as he did Job.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) For oftentimes when we try to turn to God after sin, our old enemy attacks us with new and greater snares, which he does, either to instil into us a hatred of virtue, or to avenge the injury of his expulsion.
GREGORY. (Mor. x. 30) But he who is freed from the power of the evil spirit is thought to be dead; for whosoever has already subdued earthly desires, puts to death within himself his carnal mode of life, and appears to the world as a dead man, and many look upon him as dead; for they who know not how to live after the Spirit, think that he who does not follow after carnal pleasures is altogether dead.
PSEUDO-JEROME. Further, in his being vexed from his infancy, the Gentile people is signified, from the very birth of whom the vain worship of idols arose, so that they in their folly sacrificed their children to devils. And for this reason it is said that it cast him into the fire and into the water; for some of the Gentiles worshipped fire, others water.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) Or by this demoniac are signified those, who are bound by the guilt of original sin, and coming into the world as criminals, are to be saved by grace; and by fire is meant the heat of anger, by water, the pleasures of the flesh, which melt the soul by their sweetness. But He did not rebuke the boy, who suffered violence, but the devil, who inflicted it, because he who desires to amend a sinner, ought, whilst he exterminates his vice by rebuking and cursing it, to love and cherish the man.
PSEUDO-JEROME. Again, the Lord applies to the evil spirit what he had inflicted on the man, calling him deaf and dumb spirit, because he never will hear and speak what the penitent sinner can speak and hear. But the devil, quitting a man, never returns, if the man keep his heart with the keys of humility and charity, and hold possession of the gate of freedom.1 The man who was healed became as one dead, for it is said to those who are healed, Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3.)
THEOPHYLACT. (ap. Pseudo-Hier.) Again, when Jesus, that is, the word of the Gospel, takes hold of the hand, that is, of our powers of action, then shall we be freed from the devil. And observe that God first helps us, then it is required of us that we do good; for which reason it is said that Jesus raised him, in which is shewn the aid of God, and that he arose, in which is declared the zeal of man.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) Further, our Lord, while teaching the Apostles how the worst devil is to be expelled, gives all of us rules for our life; that is, He would have us know that all the more grievous attacks of evil spirits or of men are to be overcome by fastings and prayers; and again, that the anger of the Lord, when it is kindled for vengeance on our crimes, can be appeased by this remedy alone. But fasting in general is not only abstinence from food, but also from all carnal delights, yea, from all vicious passions. In like manner prayer taken generally, consists not only in the words by which we call upon the Divine mercy, but also in all those things which we do with the devotedness of faith in obedience to our Maker, as the Apostle testifies, when he says, Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. 5:17)
PSEUDO-JEROME. Or else, the folly which is connected with the softness of the flesh, is healed by fasting; anger and laziness are healed by prayer. Each wound has its own medicine, which must be applied to it; that which is used for the heel will not cure the eye; by fasting, the passions of the body, by prayer, the plagues of the soul, are healed.
Catena Aurea Mark 9
Canonized by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017, 100 years to the day after Our Lady's first apparition. They are both buried in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fátima.
Feast day - 20 February.
1. "Father, ... to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the little ones." (Mt 11, 25).
With these words, dear brothers and sisters, Jesus praises the heavenly Father for his plans; He knows that no one can come to Him unless he is drawn by the Father (cf Jn 6, 44); therefore He praises his plan and embraces it as a son: "Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will" (Mt 11, 26). You were pleased to reveal the kingdom to the little ones.
According to the divine plan, "a woman clothed with the sun" (Rv 12, 1) came down from heaven to this earth, in search of the Father's privileged little ones . She speaks to them with the voice and heart of a mummy: she asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that she was ready to lead them safely to God. And behold, they see a light shining from her maternal hands which penetrates them inwardly, so that they feel immersed in God just as - they themselves explained - a person contemplates oneself in the mirror.
Later Francisco, one of the three privileged children, exclaimed: "We were burning in that light which is God and we were not consumed. What is God like? It is impossible to say. In fact we will never be able to tell people". God: a light that burns without consuming. Moses had the same experience when he saw God in the burning bush; he heard God say that He was concerned about the slavery of his people and had decided to deliver them through him: "I will be with you" (cf Ex 3, 2-12). Those who welcome this presence become the dwelling-place and, consequently, a "burning bush" of the Most High.
2. What most impressed and entirely absorbed Blessed Francisco was God in that immense light which penetrated the inmost depths of the three children. But God told only Francisco "how sad" he was, as he said. One night his father heard him sobbing and asked him why he was crying; his son answered: "I was thinking of Jesus who is so sad because of the sins that are committed against him". He was motivated by one desire - so expressive of how children think - "to console Jesus and make him happy".
A transformation takes place in his life, one we could call radical: a transformation certainly uncommon for children of his age. He devotes himself to an intense spiritual life, expressed in assiduous and fervent prayer, and attains a true form of mystical union with the Lord. This spurs him to a progressive purification of the spirit through the renunciation of his own pleasures and even of innocent childhood games.
Francisco bore without complaining the great sufferings caused by the illness from which he died. It all seemed to him so little to console Jesus: he died with a smile on his lips. Little Francisco had a great desire to atone for the offences of sinners by striving to be good and by offering his sacrifices and prayers. The life of Jacinta, his younger sister by almost two years, was motivated by these same sentiments.
3. "Another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon" (Rv 12, 3).
These words from the first reading of the Mass make us think of the great struggle between good and evil, showing how, when man puts God aside, he cannot achieve happiness, but ends up destroying himself.
How many victims there have been throughout the last century of the second millennium! We remember the horrors of the First and Second World Wars and the other wars in so many parts of the world, the concentration and extermination camps, the gulags, ethnic cleansings and persecutions, terrorism, kidnappings, drugs, the attacks on unborn life and the family.
The message of Fátima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the "dragon" whose "tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth" (Rv 12, 4). Man's final goal is heaven, his true home, where the heavenly Father awaits everyone with his merciful love.
God does not want anyone to be lost; that is why 2,000 years ago he sent his Son to earth, "to seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19, 10). And He saved us by his death on the cross. Let no one empty that Cross of its power! Jesus died and rose from the dead to be "the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8, 29).
In her motherly concern, the Most Holy Virgin came here to Fátima to ask men and women "to stop offending God, Our Lord, who is already very offended". It is a mother's sorrow that compels her to speak; the destiny of her children is at stake. For this reason she asks the little shepherds: "Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them".
4. Little Jacinta felt and personally experienced Our Lady's anguish, offering herself heroically as a victim for sinners. One day, when she and Francisco had already contracted the illness that forced them to bed, the Virgin Mary came to visit them at home, as the little one recounts: "Our Lady came to see us and said that soon she would come and take Francisco to heaven. And she asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I told her yes." And when the time came for Francisco to leave, the little girl tells him: "Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners". Jacinta had been so deeply moved by the vision of hell during the apparition of 13 July that no mortification or penance seemed too great to save sinners.
Jacinta could well exclaim with St Paul: "I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" (Col 1, 24). Last Sunday at the Colosseum in Rome, we commemorated the many witnesses to the faith in the 20th century, recalling the tribulations they suffered through the significant testimonies they left us. An innumerable cloud of courageous witnesses to the faith have left us a precious heritage which must live on in the third millennium. Here in Fátima, where these times of tribulation were foretold and Our Lady asked for prayer and penance to shorten them, I would like today to thank heaven for the powerful witness shown in all those lives. And once again I would like to celebrate the Lord's goodness to me when I was saved from death after being gravely wounded on 13 May 1981. I also express my gratitude to Blessed Jacinta for the sacrifices and prayers offered for the Holy Father, whom she saw suffering greatly.
5. "Father, to you I offer praise, for you have revealed these things to the little ones". Today Jesus' praise takes the solemn form of the beatification of the little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta. With this rite the Church wishes to put on the candelabrum these two candles which God lit to illuminate humanity in its dark and anxious hours. May they shine on the path of this immense multitude of pilgrims and of all who have accompanied us by radio and television. May Francisco and Jacinta be a friendly light that illuminates all Portugal and, in special way, this diocese of Leiria-Fátima.
I thank Bishop Serafim, of this illustrious particular Church, for his words of welcome, and with great joy I greet the entire Portuguese episcopate and their dioceses, which I deeply love and which I urge to imitate their saints. A fraternal greeting goes to the cardinals and bishops present, with a special word for the pastors from the community of Portuguese-speaking countries: may the Virgin Mary obtain reconciliation for the people of Angola; may she bring comfort to the flood victims of Mozambique; may she watch over the steps of Timor Lorosae, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe; may she preserve in the unity of faith her sons and daughters of Brazil.
I extend a respectful greeting to the President of the Republic and to the authorities who have wished to take part in this celebration. I take this occasion to express, through them, my gratitude to everyone who helped make my pilgrimage possible. A cordial embrace and a particular blessing to the parish and city of Fátima, which today rejoices in her children who are raised to the honours of the altar.
6. My last words are for the children: dear boys and girls, I see so many of you dressed like Francisco and Jacinta. You look very nice! But in a little while or tomorrow you will take these chothes off and ... the little shepherds will disappear. They should not disappear, should they?! Our Lady needs you all to console Jesus, who is sad because of the bad things done to him; he needs your prayers and your sacrifices for sinners.
Ask your parents and teachers to enrol you in the "school" of Our Lady, so that she can teach you to be like the little shepherds, who tried to do whatever she asked them. I tell you that "one makes more progress in a short time of submission and dependence on Mary than during entire years of personal initiatives, relying on oneself alone" (St Louis de Montfort, The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, n 155). This was how the little shepherds became saints so quickly. A woman who gave hospitality to Jacinta in Lisbon, on hearing the very beautiful and wise advice that the little girl gave, asked who taught it to her. "It was Our Lady", she replied. Devoting themselves with total generosity to the direction of such a good Teacher, Jacinta and Francisco soon reached the heights of perfection.
7."Father, to you I offer praise, for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the little ones".
Father, to you I offer praise for all your little ones, from the Virgin Mary, your humble Servant, to the little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta.
May the message of their lives always live on to illuminate the pathway of humanity!"
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
From: Sirach 1:1-10
All Wisdom Comes from the Lord
 All wisdom comes from the Lord and is with him forever.  The sand of the sea, the drops of rain, and the days of eternity--who can count them?  The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth, the abyss, and wisdom--who can search them out?  Wisdom was created before all things, and prudent understanding from eternity.  The root of wisdom--to whom has it been revealed? Her clever devices--who knows them?  There is One who is wise, greatly to be feared, sitting upon his throne.
God Imbues All His Work with Wisdom
 The Lord himself created wisdom; he saw her and apportioned her, he poured her out upon all his works.  She dwells with all flesh according to his gift, and he supplied her to those who love him.
1:1-16:23 Just as the Torah is made up of the five books of the Pentateuch, we could say that the book of Ben Sirach also consists of five parts, over the course of which the teacher distills his teaching. The first of these covers almost sixteen chapters. It begins with kind, of doctrinal introduction dealing with the divine origin of Wisdom (1:1-2:18). Then (3:1-16:23) there follows a series of practical teachings about a whole range of things to do with ordinary life--duties to parents (3:1-16), solidarity with others (4:1-10), human virtues (3:l7-29; 4:25-6:1). As a. kind of refrain, every now and then we get exhortations about the need to be prudent and to acquire true wisdom.
1:1-2:21. In the. doctrinal instruction to the first part of the book, Ben Sirach zones in on the main ideas he means to explore over the course of the book. It has to do with the Lord as the source of wisdom, and with the attitude a person needs to have to become wise. In the Greek translation, as in the Septuagint's translation of other Old Testament works, the term "the Lord" used where the Hebrew text uses the proper name of God, "Yhwh".
The first question posed is: Where does wisdom come from? And the answer is quite definite from the very start "All wisdom comes from God and is with him for ever" (1:1). There is no source of wisdom but the one true God: "There is [only] One who is wise" (1:8). He created all things and "he poured (wisdom) out upon all his works" (1:9). Therefore the study, of nature and of man (God's works) is the way to discover wisdom. More will be said about this in the introduction to the second part of the book (16:24-18:14).
Every created thing is designed in a particular way and the Lord's wisdom can be seen from the order that exists in creation and from the laws governing the nature and activity of man. In the case of human beings, a person will attain happiness and wisdom if he or she adheres to these rules laid by God. This leads Ben Sirach to say this is the main contribution his book makes), "If you desire wisdom, the commandments" (1:26). A person who approaches God in all simplicity, ready to listen to his precepts and puts them into practice will discover the meaning of the things and events of the world around him, which he so greatly desires. In the introduction to the part of the book these ideas are developed further (24:1-34).
It follows that a person who wants to be wise should logically show grateful respect to the Creator by acting in line with the "instructions" wisely imprinted on created things (man included). This is what in the tradition of Israel called "fear of the Lord", which is therefore "wisdom and instruction" (1:27). The expression "fear of the Lord" does not, then, in any sense mean being afraid of God. On the contrary, it is a reverent way of referring to the religious attitude of man towards Him who looks after him with great solicitude.
When the fourth part of the book goes into the motivation that, should inspire one's everyday conduct, it stresses the need for fear of the Lord in order to be wise (32:14-33:17).
A person beginning to set out on the path of wisdom need to be determined to keep true to the Lord, for he is bound to meet with difficulties. But he has every reason to trust in God. One good reason is the lessons of history: "Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?" (2:10). The fifth and last part of the book, provide a running commentary on the example set by figures in the past (44:1-50:21).
The ideas contained in these chapters prepare the way for the full revelation of the Wisdom of God--the incarnation of the Word (cf. the prologue to St John's Gospel: Jn 1:1-18). That passage of the New Testament helps one to understand the full implications of things said here. "All wisdom comes from God and is with him for ever" (1:1), for "the Word was with God and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1); and the Lord "supplied her [Wisdom] to those who love him" (Sir 1:10b), for "to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12-13). The Law promulgated by God in the Old Testament prepared the way for the full revelation of God himself' in whom all Wisdom dwells: "The 'Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Christ" (Jn 1:17). The Letter to the Hebrews, in line with the call in Sirach 2:10, invites us to consider the example set by the great lsraelite leaders of the past (cf. Heb 11:1-40).
The earliest Christian commentators did not fail to find in Sirach references to the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus Christ: "The divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, merits our full confidence because he possesses the three most beautiful qualities--wisdom, benevolence, and open-heartedness. Wisdom, for he is wisdom of the Father: "All wisdom comes from the Lord, and is with him forever" (Sir 1:1); openheartedness, for he is God and Creator: "Everything that is was made by him, and without him nothing was made" (Jn 1:9) and benevolence, for he offered himself as the one victim for us all" (Clement of Alexandria, "Paedagogus", 1, 97:3).
The Curing of an Epileptic Boy
 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them.  And immediately all the crowd when they saw Him (Jesus), were greatly amazed, and ran up to Him and greeting Him.  And He asked them, "What are you discussing with them?"  And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit;  and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able."  And He answered them, "Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me."  And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the body, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.  And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood.  And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us."  And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes."  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"  And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again."  After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead."  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.  And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"  And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."
17. The demon who possessed this boy is described as a "dumb spirit" because dumbness was the main feature of the possession. On diabolic possession cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24.
19-24. As on other occasions, Jesus requires submission of faith before He works the miracle. The exclamation of Jesus refers to the request of the boy's father (verse 22), which seemed to suggest some doubt about God's omnipotence. The Lord corrects this way of asking and requires him to have firm faith. In verse 24 we can see that the father has quite changed; then Jesus does the miracle. The man's strengthened faith made him all-powerful, for someone with faith relies not on himself but on Jesus Christ. Through faith, then, we become sharers in God's omnipotence. But faith is a gift of God, which man, especially at times when he is wavering, should ask humbly and tenaciously, like the father of this boy: "I believe, help my unbelief," and like the Apostles: "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).
28-29. "In teaching the Apostles how to expel a spirit as evil as this He is teaching all of us how we should live, and telling us that prayer is the resource we should use to overcome even the severest temptations, whether they come from unclean spirits or from men. Prayer does not consist only in the words we use to invoke God's clemency but also in everything we do, out of faith, as homage to God. The Apostle bears witness to this when he says: `Pray constantly' (1 Thessalonians 5:7)" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
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