Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday May 31, 2011

Reading 1, Zep 3:14-18a

14 Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!

15 Yahweh has repealed your sentence; he has turned your enemy away. Yahweh is king among you, Israel, you have nothing more to fear.

16 When that Day comes, the message for Jerusalem will be: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.

17 Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you,

18 as on a day of festival. I have taken away your misfortune, no longer need you bear the disgrace of it.

Responsorial Psalm, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

2 Look, he is the God of my salvation: I shall have faith and not be afraid, for Yahweh is my strength and my song, he has been my salvation.'

3 Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of salvation

4 and, that day, you will say, 'Praise Yahweh, invoke his name. Proclaim his deeds to the people, declare his name sublime.

5 Sing of Yahweh, for his works are majestic, make them known throughout the world.

6 Cry and shout for joy, you who live in Zion, For the Holy One of Israel is among you in his greatness.'

Gospel, Lk 1:39-56

39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.

40 She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

41 Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

43 Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

44 Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

45 Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'

46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;

48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,

49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,

50 and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.

51 He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.

52 He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.

53 He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.

54 He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love

55 -according to the promise he made to our ancestors -- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.

56 Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home. 

Pope says life accompaniments wherever the Gospel is embraced

The Christian Gospel brings a affluent of life wherever it is embraced. That was the message of Pope Benedict XVI at his midday Regina Coeli on May 29.

Drawing upon the first-century story of Philip the Deacon, who preached Christ and cured many in the city of Samaria, the Pope renowned that the New Testament records that “there was great joy in that city.”

“Every time we hit this expression,” said the Pope to pilgrims in St. Peters Square, “in its spirit it conveys a sense of hope, as if to say: it is possible! It is possible that the world will know true joy, because wherever the Gospel arrives, life flourishes, just as a infertile land, watered by the rain, immediately revives.”

Essentially, the Pope optional, Philip and the other disciples did in the villages of first-century Palestine just what Jesus himself had done in their recent past – “preached the Good News and worked miraculous signs” because “it was the Lord who acted through them.”

As it was in that time and place, said the Pope, so it has been down during the centuries of Christian history.

“It is natural to think of the curative power of the Gospel, which over the centuries has ‘flowed’ as a beneficial river, through many populations.”

“Some great saints have brought hope and peace to entire cities - we think of St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, at a time of plague, or Blessed Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and many missionaries, whose name is recognized only to God, but who gave their lives to the proclamation of Christ and to allow a deep joy to thrive among men.”

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Saturday May 28, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 16:1-10

1 From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and had become a believer; but his father was a Greek.

2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him,

3 and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.

4 As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to observe them.

5 So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.

6 They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, because they had been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia.

7 When they reached the frontier of Mysia they tried to go into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them,

8 they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.

9 One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and kept urging him in these words, 'Come across to Macedonia and help us.'

10 Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the good news.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5

1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,

2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence with songs of joy!

3 Be sure that Yahweh is God, he made us, we belong to him, his people, the flock of his sheepfold.

5 For Yahweh is good, his faithful love is everlasting, his constancy from age to age.

Gospel, Jn 15:18-21

18 If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you.

20 Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

21 But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me. 

Catholic News Agency and EWTN News will launch a new service for Catholic publications on May 31

The CNA Editors Service will supply a full range of news, features, commentary and photojournalism. All content will be provided free-of-charge for publication in print or on the web. Editors will be required to pay small fees for the use of photos provided by Getty Images, one of the world’s top names in news photography.

In addition to news, editors will have free access to CNA’s wide range of columns. These include its “Catholic Womanhood” columns and “Bishop’s Corner,” which features opinion writing by leading U.S. bishops. CNA is also offering a new weekly column, “Answering the Tough Questions,” by Father Rocky Hoffman, a canon lawyer.

The new service includes feature packages on special themes, such as health care and senior citizens. Editors will also have access free-of-charge to CNA’s video offerings, as well as to news and analysis in Spanish, through CNA’s sister agency, ACI Prensa.

“We are conceited to be able to make this service available to the Church,” said David Scott, editor-in-chief of CNA/EWTN News.

“No agency is providing better coverage of the Catholic world today than CNA/EWTN News,” he added. “We have a great team of editors and writers worldwide committed to the highest professional values and to an viewpoint vision that is truly Catholic.”

With news bureaus in North and South America and Europe, CNA is one of the major and fastest growing independent Catholic media outlets in the world.

EWTN News is the news arm of EWTN Global Catholic Network, which provides multimedia services to more than 140 countries and territories and is the world’s main religious media company.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Friday May 27, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 15:22-31

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose delegates from among themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood,

23 and gave them this letter to take with them: 'The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of gentile birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.

24 We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without any authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds;

25 and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 who have committed their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written.

28 It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials:

29 you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.'

30 The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter.

31 The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 57:8-9, 10-12

8 Awake, my glory, awake, lyre and harp, that I may awake the Dawn.

9 I will praise you among the peoples, Lord, I will make music for you among nations,

10 for your faithful love towers to heaven, your constancy to the clouds.

11 Be exalted above the heavens, God! Your glory over all the earth!

Gospel, Jn 15:12-17

12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.

13 No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

15 I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

16 You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.

17 My command to you is to love one another. 

Pope urges Italian bishops to endorse faithful citizenship

Lay Catholics should “personally participate in public life” and “cultivate a spirit of sincere and loyal assistance with the State,” Pope Benedict XVI told the bishops of Italy on the 150th anniversary of the country’s founding.

“Do not hesitate to hearten the lay faithful to overcome any spirit of close-mindedness, distraction and indifference and to personally contribute in public life,” the Pope said.

He urged the bishops to facilitate formation for the laity to enable them to efficiently operate within the public square.

“Encourage training initiatives enthused by the social doctrine of the Church, so that those who have political and administrative responsibilities do not fall victim to the enticement to exploit their position for personal gain or the thirst for power,” the Pope said.

Pope Benedict was union the Italian bishops at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome to pray the Rosary and ask for “the maternal protection of Mary” upon “this beloved nation.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday May 25, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 15:1-6

1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, 'Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.'

2 This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the question with the apostles and elders.

3 The members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the gentiles had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by all the brothers.

4 When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done through them.

5 But certain members of the Pharisees' party who had become believers objected, insisting that gentiles should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses.

6 The apostles and elders met to look into the matter,

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5

1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of Yahweh.'

2 At last our feet are standing at your gates, Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem, built as a city, in one united whole,

4 there the tribes go up, the tribes of Yahweh, a sign for Israel to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.

5 For there are set the thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David.

Gospel, Jn 15:1-8

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

2 Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.

3 You are clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

4 Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.

6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch -- and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.

8 It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples. 

Bishop Johnston encourages survivors of Joplin tornado

In the aftermath of the deadly Sunday tornado in Joplin, Missouri, Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau tried to console survivors and expressed thanks that more were not killed.

“We’re just cheering survivors of the prayers and the support of the Body of Christ. We’re just trying to bring the charity of the Church to bear in the distress of the people here. We’re just trying to support and comfort the people here right now, because there’s still just a lot of recovery to continue,” he told CNA from Joplin on May 24.

The bishop and Kyle Schott, executive director of the local Catholic Charities agency, surveyed the damage of the deadly tornado.

“It’s just so hard to fathom the destructive power of the storm,” the bishop said, relating the scale of the destruction as “mind-boggling.”

“When you’re out there in the middle of it, you can’t see something but devastation: leveled houses and rescue crews trying to find people in the mess,” Schott said.

At least 117 people died in the Joplin tornado on Sunday, the deadliest single tornado in almost six decades.

St. John’s Regional Medical Center was strike hard. The nine-storey building took a direct hit, blowing out windows and throwing gurneys a distance of five blocks away. About 183 patients and 200 staffers were evacuated, according to media reports.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Monday May 23, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 14:5-18

5 but eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by gentiles as well as Jews to make attacks on them and to stone them.

6 When they came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country,

7 they preached the good news.

8 There was a man sitting there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth;

9 he was listening to Paul preaching, and Paul looked at him intently and saw that he had the faith to be cured.

10 Paul said in a loud voice, 'Get to your feet-stand up,' and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.

11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, 'The gods have come down to us in human form.'

12 They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes.

13 The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates.

14 When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting,

15 'Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings, mortal like yourselves. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made sky and earth and the sea and all that these hold.

16 In the past he allowed all the nations to go their own way;

17 but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven and seasons of fruitfulness; he fills you with food and your hearts with merriment.'

18 With this speech they just managed to prevent the crowd from offering them sacrifice.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give the glory, for your faithful love and your constancy!

2 Why should the nations ask, 'Where is their God?'

3 Our God is in heaven, he creates whatever he chooses.

4 They have idols of silver and gold, made by human hands.

15 May you be blessed by Yahweh, who made heaven and earth.

16 Heaven belongs to Yahweh, but earth he has given to the children of Adam.

Gospel, Jn 14:21-26

21 Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.'

22 Judas -- not Judas Iscariot -- said to him, 'Lord, what has happened, that you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?'

23 Jesus replied: Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him.

24 Anyone who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not my own: it is the word of the Father who sent me.

25 I have said these things to you while still with you;

26 but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. 

Latin American bishops: Rebuild society based on the Gospel

The Latin American Bishops' Council has called on Catholics to strive for personal change based on the Gospel in order to transform society.

“As the Church, the bearer of the life of the Kingdom of God, we feel called to carry out a new evangelization that lifts the fallen, welcomes those barred from our society, heals the hurting, answers those who ask where God is amidst all the calamities, and return hope in the plentiful life that springs forth from the Risen Crucified One,” the council said in the statement released May 20.

The council free the message at the conclusion of its 33rd General Assembly.

The Latin American bishops also urged that life be promoted amid the culture of death, which has resulted in many young people falling victim to the aggression of drug trafficking and “becoming disenchanted with the institutions that have lost their reliability because of ingrained corruption.”

“Jesus teaches not to remain motionless before this situation,” they said.

The evangelization of the continent today is a “continuous” task that requires attentiveness in overcoming “not a few obstacles and resistance.”

“In Jesus people sense the attendance of our faithful God who journeys with his people and His answers to their genuine desires,” they added. They invited all the bishops of the region “and the entire People of God to endorse living and vibrant experiences of the Gospel.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Sunday May 22, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 6:1-7

1 About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked.

2 So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food;

3 you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom, to whom we can hand over this duty.

4 We ourselves will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.'

5 The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

6 They presented these to the apostles, and after prayer they laid their hands on them.

7 The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19

1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from the honest.

2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on the ten-stringed lyre.

4 The word of Yahweh is straightforward, all he does springs from his constancy.

5 He loves uprightness and justice; the faithful love of Yahweh fills the earth.

18 But see how Yahweh watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his faithful love,

19 to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine.

Gospel, Jn 14:1-12

1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.

2 In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you,

3 and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am.

4 You know the way to the place where I am going.

5 Thomas said, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?'

6 Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

7 If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.

8 Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.' Jesus said to him,

9 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? 'Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, "Show us the Father"?

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.

11 You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works.

12 In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.

Reading 2, 1 Pt 2:4-9

4 He is the living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him

5 so that you, too, may be living stones making a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer the spiritual sacrifices made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6 As scripture says: Now I am laying a stone in Zion, a chosen, precious cornerstone and no one who relies on this will be brought to disgrace.

7 To you believers it brings honour. But for unbelievers, it is rather a stone which the builders rejected that became a cornerstone,

8 a stumbling stone, a rock to trip people up. They stumble over it because they do not believe in the Word; it was the fate in store for them.

9 But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 

Pope Benedict: proclaiming Jesus Christ is the chore of the Church

Proclaiming Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life” is the main task of the Church, Pope Benedict said in his Sunday Regina Coeli remarks.

“The New Testament put an end to invisibility of the Father. God showed his face, as long-established by the response of Jesus to the Apostle Philip, ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’,” the Pope told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on May 22.

For Christians, he explained, “the way to the Father is to be guided by Jesus, by his word of truth, and in tolerant the gift of his life.”

Pope Benedict optional the way of Jesus Christ is to be found in “following him every day, in simple actions that make up our day.”

He then quoted his own words from the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth:

“That's the mystery of God: to act in the quietest way. He only builds gradually in the great story of mankind’s history. He becomes a man, but in order to be unnoticed by his contemporaries and powerful forces in history ... He continually knocks in the quietest way on the doors of our hearts, and if we open ourselves to him, he gradually makes us able to ‘see’.”

Pope Benedict drew upon the gospel reading for today, the fifth Sunday of Easter, in which Jesus Christ tells his disciples “Have faith in God, believe also in me.” The Pope piercing out that this belief is a single act of faith, and not two separate actions.

He cited the guidance of the 13th-century Italian theologian St. Bonaventure, who said “Open your eyes, therefore, tend the spiritual ears, open your lips and you have your heart, that you can in all creatures see, hear, praise, love, worship, glorify, honor your God.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday May 18, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 12:24-13:5a

24 The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers.

25 Barnabas and Saul completed their task at Jerusalem and came back, bringing John Mark with them.

1 In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, 'I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.'

3 So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

4 So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there set sail for Cyprus.

5 They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all nations your power to save.

3 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.

5 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.

6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God has blessed us.

Gospel, Jn 12:44-50

44 Jesus declared publicly: Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me,

45 and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me.

46 I have come into the world as light, to prevent anyone who believes in me from staying in the dark any more.

47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall judge such a person, since I have come not to judge the world, but to save the world:

48 anyone who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

49 For I have not spoken of my own accord; but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and what to speak,

50 and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak. 

Pope reflects on how prayer can spark God’s mercy

Pope Benedict XVI sustained his series of reflections on Christian prayer today as he spoke about the relationship flanked by intercessory prayer and God’s mercy throughout history.

In his third installment on prayer, Pope Benedict looked at Abraham’s example of praying for mercy.

“We now turn to sacred Scripture and its witness to the dialogue between God and man in history, a dialogue culminating in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. We can begin with the prayer with which Abraham, the father of all believers, implores God not to obliterate the sinful city of Sodom.”

At Sodom, Abraham asked God not to take revenge upon the notoriously sinful city.

“Abraham’s prayer of intercession appeals to God’s justice, begging him not to obliterate the innocent with the guilty. But it also appeals to God’s mercy, which is able of transforming evil into good through forgiveness and reconciliation.”

This aspect of prayer, said the Pope, reflects God’s certain mercy for his creation.

“God does not desire the death of the sinner but his conversion and release from sin,” he explained.

“In reply to Abraham’s prayer, God is willing to spare Sodom if 10 virtuous men can be found there. Later, through the prophet Jeremiah, he promises to pardon Jerusalem if one just man can be found,” the pontiff recalled.

He completed by saying that God’s mercy was most spectacularly manifested over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.

“In the end, God himself becomes that just Man, in the mystery of the Incarnation. Christ’s prayer of intercession on the cross brings deliverance to the world. Through him, let us pray with dependable trust in God’s merciful love for all mankind, conscious that our prayers will be heard and answered.”

This is the third week Pope Benedict has used his Wednesday audience to teach pilgrims about Christian prayer. His preceding theme – the lives of the saints – took two years to complete.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday May 17, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 11:19-26

19 Those who had scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they proclaimed the message only to Jews.

20 Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching also to the Greeks, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus to them.

21 The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

22 The news of them came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas out to Antioch.

23 There he was glad to see for himself that God had given grace, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion;

24 for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

25 Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul,

26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. And it happened that they stayed together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called 'Christians'.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 87:1-3, 4-5, 6-7

1 [Of the sons of Korah Psalm Song] With its foundations on the holy mountains,

2 Yahweh loves his city, he prefers the gates of Zion to any dwelling-place in Jacob.

3 He speaks of glory for you, city of God,Pause

4 'I number Rahab and Babylon among those that acknowledge me; look at Tyre, Philistia, Ethiopia, so and so was born there.'

5 But of Zion it will be said, 'Every one was born there,' her guarantee is the Most High.

6 Yahweh in his register of peoples will note against each, 'Born there',Pause

7 princes no less than native-born; all make their home in you.

Gospel, Jn 10:22-30

22 It was the time of the feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter,

23 and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon.

24 The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us openly.'

25 Jesus replied: I have told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name are my witness;

26 but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine.

27 The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

28 I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand.

29 The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from the Father's hand.

30 The Father and I are one. 

Local Church says Vatican guidelines already established here

The Australian Church said protocols from the Vatican's latest recommendations for treatment abuse were already well-established here - but the new guidelines have been met with scepticism from victims' groups, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Father Brian Lucas, said the letter would be taken into account by the Australian church, but he was fairly certain all the guidelines were already covered here by the ''Towards Healing'' protocols introduced in 1996.

The Vatican wants ''clear and co-ordinated procedures'' to deal with instances of abuse to be in place within 12 months.

It has made recommendations on the church's treatment of victims and their families, including ''their spiritual and psychological assistance''; abuse prevention programs, and co-operation with civil authorities.

'Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law,'' the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said.

It also covered the significance of vetting priests, including those transferring from other areas, and said the guidelines should also apply to ''religious or lay persons who function in ecclesiastical situations''.

The US Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said the letter had not addressed the crux of the abuse crisis: complicit bishops. ''They are merely recommendations, not obligatory policy with no penalties for non-compliance,'' it said.

Dr Bernard Barrett, a spokesman for the Broken Rites Australia victim support group, said the Vatican has traditionally unnoticed and concealed sex abuse crimes within the church, which was a criminal act in NSW.

"The Vatican would be more credible if it sacked all the bishops who have covered up these crimes."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daily Bible Readings for Monday May 16, 2011

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18

1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that gentiles too had accepted the word of God,

2 and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the circumcised believers protested to him

3 and said, 'So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them!'

4 Peter in reply gave them the details point by point,

5 'One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,' he began, 'I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet came right down beside me.

6 I looked carefully into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of heaven.

7 Then I heard a voice that said to me, "Now, Peter, kill and eat!"

8 But I answered, "Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips."

9 And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, "What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane."

10 This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.

11 'Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me,

12 and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man's house.

13 He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, "Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter;

14 he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household."

15 'I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning,

16 and I remembered that the Lord had said, "John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."

17 I realised then that God was giving them the identical gift he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God's way?'

18 This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God, saying, 'God has clearly granted to the gentiles too the repentance that leads to life.'

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4

2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go to see the face of God?

3 I have no food but tears day and night, as all day long I am taunted, 'Where is your God?'

3 Send out your light and your truth; they shall be my guide, to lead me to your holy mountain to the place where you dwell.

4 Then I shall go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy. I will rejoice and praise you on the harp, O God, my God.

Gospel, Jn 10:11-18

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;

13 he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,

15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.

16 And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd.

17 The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

18 No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.

Knights leader says Christian families should shine with genuine love

As the world looks at Christian families today, it needs to see genuine love and that living the faith is possible. That’s how Carl Anderson sums up what he’s been saying in Rome over the past few days.

The head of the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus is presence a three-day conference at the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. CNA caught up with him on May 14, before he headed back to the U.S.

Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul have spoken so frequently about the necessity of witness and the witness of Christians individually, in their marriages and in their families. And we have a lot of different disputes about philosophies, politics or economic systems, but what we can all agree on is that every single one of us is looking for genuine love,” he said.

This is the theme of much, if not most, of Carl Anderson’s work – love. In fact, he is the author of five books, including ‘Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body,’ and ‘A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Tranform the World’.

“Every single one of us realizes at some level that unless we find real love our life is meaningless. It doesn’t have a full purpose. And, who has a better message as to what authentic love is than Christians? This is the primary task of Christianity today and Christians today. It’s through their events and through their lives to witness to those around them that there is an authentic love and Christians understand what that is.”

The particular focus of the conference is Blessed Pope John Paul II’s 1981 document on the family, “Familiaris Consortio – On the role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.”

“It (Familiaris Consortio) is so very significant because we have a habit of looking at the family in a negative way – ‘you shouldn’t do this,’ ‘you shouldn’t do that’ and looking at it as a place in which it is very easy to break the rules. When, instead, God has planned marriage to be something very positive in which husband and wife find their way to salvation with each other and because of each other. And this is the message of ‘Familiaris Consortio’ and this is why it is so pertinent today,” Anderson said.