THE BREATH OF LIFE…

Genesis 2:4-9,15-17
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up–for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground;
6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground–
7 then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed.9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

Mark 7:14-23

14 And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand:15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.”
16 * Other ancient authorities add: “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear”17 And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him,19 since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)20 And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING: The author descibe the sixth day of creation when; land animals, humans, the heavenly angelic beings and a divine garden were created, preceeded by the formation of mist—water, the mystical tree of life—so trees/plants could sustain both man and animals. The most distinct supernatural feature in this creation account is when the Potter formed man with earthly matter, followed by Him breathing life into this figure made of clay. 

Becuase of Gods infinite greatness, the Hebrew people used the tetragrammaton YHWH when refering to God. When we inhale air it express “YH” as when the child born draw his first breath, whereas the consonant “WH” express a deep sigh when air is released and our lives naturally come to an end.

THE GOSPEL READING: Christ makes the point that the intake of substances albeit deadly cannot defile the soul, whereas whatever comes out of man; satanic words, ideas and actions, machinations that are birthed in the heart and mind, sully, profane and desecrate the soul! With this teaching Christ puts paid to most of the onerous 613 Mitzvot ‘works of the law’ commands that focused on the eternals or stomach, dealing with external hygiene,utensil cleanliness and handling, what should or should not be eaten, how food is to be prepared etc, whilsts evil thoughts, actions (vv 21-23) and works of charity that germinate in the heart were blocked, ignored or remained unattended!

The priesthood of Christ—Holy orders—was instituted by Christ to confer; baptism, confirmation, confession, marriage, the Holy Eucharist and the anointing of the sick, visible rites or Sacraments that is purposed to breathe new life into the compromised soul, whilst dispensing supernatural grace and healing. We who are dead in sin are cordially invited to obtain a new lease on life in Christ before we exhale our last breath and return to dust!

LET US PRAY: Psalms 104:1-2,27-30

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty,2 who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent,27 These all look to thee, to give them their food in due season.28 When thou givest to them, they gather it up; when thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

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IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME…

Genesis 1:20-31;2:1-4
20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.2 And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

MARK 7

1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze. )

5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’;11 but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) –12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING descibe the creation account of land and sea; breathing animal species who can creep, swim, fly and or walk, with seed yielding plants and trees of every kind that can multiply, enough to sustain all mankind! All these God created over a period of sixth days whilst the seventh day was declared to be a holy day of rest, meaning all physical work must cease so man’s soul be enriched in the Thanksgiving meal.

THE GOSPEL READING: Jesus excoriate the Pharisees and scribes—fellow guests who were seated at table with Him and the twelve,— for their sanctimonious pietsm when they criticized his disciples for not washing their hands, whilst they themselves did not honor their parents. Christ call them out for wanting to be seen and look good in the public eye, whenever they deposit money into the temple treasury!

More often than not we give a false impression of our supposed love and compassion for the marginalized, poor, homeless, aged and victims of violence, whilst we Facebook and tictok our performance dietary regime, social excursions, brand names and favorite eating and greeting places whilst we do not give a dime about the well-being of strangers nevermind our parents and grandparents who perhaps raised us albeit imperfectly. If this is our behavior and outlook on life, then in vain do we worship the One who made heaven and earth who is truly present at the Eucharistic table!

LET US PRAY:Psalms 8:4-9 

4 what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?5 Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.6 Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet,7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

GENNESARET…

Genesis 1:1-19 
1 IN the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
6 And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
7 And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so.12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,15 and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth,
18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Mark 6:53-56 

53 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.54 And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,55 and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was.56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST BOOK of sacred scripture describe the Genesis moment, when out of nothing God created the firmament,  meaning the “expansion” or space comprising of heaven and earth; a geocentric cosmic system, placing the earth—mans temporary dwelling—at the centre of the universe!

Atheist aligned scientists and theologians have regrettable promoted the idea of the heliocentric model in an attempt to negate God’s creative power or His omniscience and loving concern for the well-being of man who were made in His image and likeness.For all tends and purposes the heliocentric model implies that God had no hand in creation supposing that man is a product of evolution rather than creation.

St MARK describe the peoples jubilant response when they went about to gather the infirm the moment Jesus anchored His boat on the shore of Gennesaret that was known as the “garden of the prince!” This is also the place where Peter would submit to Christ who instructed him to cast his net in another location, following his earlier failed attempts to catch any fish.

It is said that Gennesaret a place situated along the seacoast close to the sea of Galilee, is a place where cultivators grow any plant species under the sun, which can be equated to the Universal Catholic Church that Christ established upon Peter, the foundation of truth that is the home of every conceivable nation and tribe under the sun. This Church wherein the Prince rest in the Garden— the Tabernacle—shows no partiality to the extent that everyone; the sick, sinners and saints who draw near, will receive mercy, healing, strength and a place to rest.

LET US PRAY:Psalms 104:1-2,5-6,10,12,24,35

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty,2 who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent,
5 Thou didst set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken.6 Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.10 Thou makest springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,12 By them the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

JESUS,THE GREAT SHEPHERD…

Hebrews 13:15-17,20-21
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.17 Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Mark 6:30-34 

30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING: The writer encourage the flock to continuously present themselves when the sacrifice of praise–Holy Mass– is being offered by the priests.  Moreover the flock must obey and submit to their shepherd who mediate between God and man, keeping watch over the soul of the flock. In verses 20-21 the author who is a priestly shepherd, pray that the people who read or heard his message, be blessed with goodness so that they may do the will of God.

THE GOSPEL READING: Priests need time out in a quite serene place to rejuvenate their soul so as to prevent burnout; an emotional stressful condition that can turn a hardworking overzealous diligent pastor or layperson into an empty vessel! To be sure, all believers need to perennially seperate from our daily domestic or work chores to reflect on our lives, because it is possible that we have inadvertently lost our way, taken a wrong turn ending up in a bottomless abyss! To this end, our Lord recognize that His priestly ministers needs time out after having successfully completed their missionary journey, in the face of an unrelenting needy restless crowd. 

Both priests and laity need to go on an annual spiritual retreat guided by a trained retreat master, someone who is in communion with the teaching and ethos of the Catholic church. This occasion should allow the flock to visit our moral foundation, pertaing to our vocation, guiding us in the way of the Cross, so Christ the great shepherd may reestablish our communion with Him in the Sacrifice of praise, to heal and restore our soul to how God intended it to be.

LET US PRAY:Psalms 23:1-6 

1 A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

THE MARRIAGE BED…

Hebrews 13:1-8 
1 Let brotherly love continue.
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”6 Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Mark 6:14-29 

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.”15 But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodi-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her.
18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 And Herodi-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.22 For when Herodi-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.”23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”
24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.”25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING: Because it is advantages to achieve social cohesiveness, the author call upon the flock to exercise hospitality towards all sectors of society, because who knows what, they may have an encounter with an angel sent by God to discipline them. Rather than hanging their hat on man, the people are called to place their hope in Christ; preserve, keep holy their married state, be content with what they have and to not frett about money or status!

THE GOSPEL READING; Well aware of the works and acclaim of Christ and some of the precepts of Judaism particularly pertaining to marriage, because He was in his second marriage to Herodi-as a jewish women the former wife of his his brother, Herod became angst because he figured that Jesus was John the Baptist who was raised to avenge his death!

From time to time the faith of clergy and devout believers will be tested to the brim brought about by dissipointments; be it the loss of a parent, child, spouse, sickness,  unemployment, marriage infidelity or evil calamitous family affairs. In these circumstantial situations we are called to not entertain the propositions of the devil, who desire that we; ill-treat our enemies, dishonor and defile our marriage bed, or squander our hard earned resources to be in the limelight and or numb our conscience. Instead we are to call on the name of Christ, seek His face wherever we are or whatever state we find ourselves in, because He will indeed run to us, deliver us from pain, love and discipline us to live according to His way.

LET US PRAY:Psalms 27:1,3,5,8-9

1 A Psalm of David.The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock.8 Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.” My heart says to thee, “Thy face, LORD, do I seek.”9 Hide not thy face from me. Turn not thy servant away in anger, thou who hast been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation.

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

HE IS LIKE A REFINERS FIRE…

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS 

Malachi 3:1-4 
1 “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? “For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD.4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18 

14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.16 For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham.17 Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.18 For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Luke 2:22-40 

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.27 And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,29 “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;30 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation31 which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against
35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,
37 and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.38 And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

MEDITATION

MALACHI let it be known that a messenger of the covenant that the people hold most dear, will come without notice to purify the Levitical priestly ministers so that the offerings they will make for the people, may be pleasing to God. This prophecy not only foretell the institution of the  Covenant Holy Eucharist, it also inform us that this sacrificial act shall have the power to wash away man’s sins and purify the soul.

THE HEBREW WRITER makes the point that whenever we share in the flesh and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, Satan is destroyed, our sins expiated because we have taken on the nature of Christ who conquered death. Notice the author do not say bread and wine,meaning the nature and form of the substances have been transformed!!!—Having taken on the nature of us mere mortals, Christ consider us to be more important than the angels, when He granted us the gift of grace that emminate from the Sacrifice of the Mass.

THE GOSPEL READING: The moment when Simeon the temple priest caught sight of the Holy Family and in particular the child Jesus, he was at peace and ready to die, because his encounter with Christ was a fulfillment of what God had already revealed to him. Anna a widow and prophetes who kept her virginal state during and post the death of her husband, is similarly delighted that her prayers to have an encounter with Christ has been fulfilled! With this said she set about to give thanks to God.

The Hebrew custom required that when they wake up from sleep, they “thank before they think,” a response to Yahwehs benevolence, placing Him ahead and or above any temporal needs we may have. Each time we wake up from our slumber we should not wonder what the day will bring nor fret about anything else, but instead we must first give thanks to God for the gift of life. Moreover, when the priest elevate the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass, we should not rest our head on the backrest of the bench nor look down, but look up; adore and give thanks to the risen Christ for the gift of life–indulging Him to refine and purify us with His fire! During the precession we continously give thanks for the graces and Gods, revelation and mercy. Back in the pew on bended knees, we pray for loved ones, the day and things to accomplish!

LET US PRAY:Psalms 24:7-10 

7 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!9 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! [Selah]

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

DISCIPLINE SEEMS PAINFUL…

Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.5 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?– “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.15 See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled;

Mark 6:1-6 

1 He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.2 And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

MEDITATION 

THE AUTHOR makes the point that a student of the Lord who choose to rather suffer pain and humiliation to avoid committing a grievous sin, is the superlative form of discipline that express the righteousness of a believer that is most fruitful. Soft wimpy spineless behavioral responses, aggravate questionable behavior patterns and lifestyles to the extent that the sinner is less interested to straighten his or her ways. Conversely, concerned leaders and or loved ones should not harvest bitterness against the weak who refuse to obtain the grace of God.

St MARK DISCRIBE the uncharitable response that our Lord received after He delivered His maiden homily in His hometown synagogue, such that He decided to leave after attending to a few people who reached out to Him for help.

It is a truism that those closest to us be it a spouse, child and or familial acquaintances are less likely to listen to our “preachy” tone, especially if our former lives were not so exemplary and or we may have been absolutely silent unmoved witnesses when wrong and evil played out before our very eyes and ears. In circumstances which preclude us from seperation as a spouse and or a provider, it may be nessesary that we pray to God to discipline us by increasing in us virtues such as; patience, love, slowness to anger, the ability to—bite one’s lip— whilst we commit to prayer and supplication for the conversion of hearts and minds on all sides. In cases where violence and abuse is prevalent, it may be painful but nessesary that we peaceably remove oneself whilst we continue to pray hoping Christ will effect reconciliation whilst we care for our loved ones and help all who desire change.

LET US PRAY:Psalms 103:1-2 13-14,17-18

1 A Psalm of David.Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,13 As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.  

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

FAINTHEARTED…

Hebrews 12:1-4 

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Mark 5:21-43 

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea.22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet,23 and besought him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.

25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years,26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.”29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?”31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘ Who touched me?”32 And he looked around to see who had done it.33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly.
39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.”
40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING: The author call upon the people to follow the example of Christ who is able to perfect our faith, because He is indeed the perfect prototypical example of one who overcame; pain, humiliation and hostility. Fully aware that fear and sin is at the root of our daily struggles, we are encouraged to persevere and allow Christ to systimatically chip away our sin, a stumbling block that prevent us from being healed.

St MARK weaved together the stories of a synagogue official Jairus whose daughter was at the point of death and a woman who had a blood flow for several years. Jairus did not care less about what the crowd thought of him when he publicly fell at the feet of Christ begging Him to intervene and heal his daughter. On the other hand the woman stealthily touched Christs garment, perhaps because she did not wish to bother Him or she was ashamed to publicize her hemodinamic condition. 

Christ has made it possible for us to partake in the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, where we are able to publicly unite and lay down our venial sins in the gifts we offer, to receive healing and forgiveness (Mt 26:28) in the sacrament of mercy. 2Cor 4:1 Those of us whose conscience has been numbed because of our hedonistic lifestyle to the extent that we could not care less about; objective truth, beauty, honesty, purity and goodness, are called to give Christ another try. Approach the confessional where we are able to privately touch the garment of Christ –womit our past ills, afflictions and waywardness–to receive complete deliverance and healing. This is not the time to be fainthearted or consider what others have to say. Be strong, because mercy and forgiveness await all of us who seek deliverance from sin and evil!

LET US PRAY:Psalms 22:26-28,30-3126 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live for ever!27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.28 For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.30 Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation,31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought.

RUSHED DOWN A STEEP BANK…

Hebrews 11:32-40 
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets–33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions,34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.36 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated–38 of whom the world was not worthy– wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,40 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Mark 5:1-20 

1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.2 And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain;4 for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.
5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”
8 For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”10 And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country.11 Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside;12 and they begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.”13 So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.
14 The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.15 And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid.16 And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine.
17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.18 And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.19 But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.

MEDITATION 

THE FIRST READING: The author enumerate heroic stories of several men who inspired by their faith; conquered kingdoms, received promises, saw the raising of the dead, whilst others preferred to suffer, be imprisoned, stoned to death and yet not one of them received what was promised, because God had something better in mind for these heroes of the faith.

THE GOSPEL READING: Following their harrowing near death experience in stormy conditions, Jesus and his crew anchored their boat at Gerasenes, a city populated by Greeks and Hellinists—that is jews who adopted some Greeco Roman ideas and lifestyles. A man with an unclean Spirit who was affliced and bedeviled,recognized Christ the Son of the most High from afar, causing him to hastily seek Christ’s mercy for both him as well as his demonic subjects.

This episodic event saw two responses from the locals; we notice that the afflicted man and his followers wish Jesus would stay whilst the ‘regular’ populace preferred that Jesus depart and leave them to continue their way of life! It is not uncommon for believers to say that “we are not like them;” a term that may be pejorative when it denote we are better than those outside our circle of friendship or belief system. A true test of our unbiast love for those who are afflicted with sin and evil is to be a Christlike example; our charitable loving and doing— outward signs that aught to point and introduce others to Christ, rather than push and rush them down a steep bank, causing their demise because of our animus subjective biases!

LET US PRAY:Psalms 31:20-24 

20 In the covert of thy presence thou hidest them from the plots of men; thou holdest them safe under thy shelter from the strife of tongues.21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city.22 I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from thy sight.” But thou didst hear my supplications, when I cried to thee for help.
23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly requites him who acts haughtily.24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

GO ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE…

Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.2 For by it the men of old received divine approval.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.”
19 He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

Mark 4:35-41 

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.“36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

MEDITATION 

THE HEBREW WRITER chronicle the story of the Abrahamic family who were unrelenting in their quest to make their way to the promised land, notwithstanding the many trails and tests they were exposed to.This family were assured that their obedience and faithfulness shall reap their just reward.Virtues such as manliness, courage, excellence and perfection: “Habitus opirativus bonus,” a collection of good habits and drivers—the converse of vices— informed and propelled the Abrahamic family to move to ‘a better country’ namely, heaven!

THE GOSPEL READING: It is evening when Christ propose that the Apostles travel by boat to the other side. Christ made the journey “just as he was,” meaning he did not carry any baggage. In spite of the prevailing inclement weather storm that caused the boat to be thrown about, Jesus remained asleep whilst His fellow passengers and the skipper were worried and panic-stricken!

Faith is synonymous with hope, things or events we hope to achieve or inherit. It can also be said that faith is akin to kinetic energy that propell and move the believer in a forward direction, notwithstanding any apposing forces. It stands to reason that faith and belief is self-defeating if it does not include personal preparation; prayer, painful doing, charitable giving, sacrificing whilst the Holy Spirit inch us forward to reach the other side.It is necessary that we invite Christ as soon as possible to journey with us and our loved ones, rather than react posthumously when we find ourselves in a pickle, because it may be too late to cross to the other side! Lk 16:19-31

LET US PRAY:Luke 1:69-75 

69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,71 that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant,73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,74 to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.