PARISH MASS & HOLY BAPTISM 1000
VESPERS & BENEDICTION 1800
Mass Book 18a
Divine providence is a wonderful thing: God is so generous with his creation (it is human greed that denies some their rightful share). The Kingdom of God is the time and place when this vision will be fully realised, when all who wish may ‘come to the water’, when all who are hungry may ‘eat as much as they want’, when what is left over is still enough for all the twelve tribes of Israel. Our contemplation of the kingdom of God, through the parables and miracles of Jesus, should stir us up to build this kingdom here and now. The miracle of Divine providence is allowed to work when human greed and selfishness give way to the power of the Spirit working within us, and we share all we have with those in need. Our hearts are set on the kingdom of God, where there is corn and wine and milk in abundance.
Martha was the sister of Mary of Bethany and Lazarus. In the West, her feast day comes a week after that of St Mary Magdalene because of the old and probably erroneous tradition that Mary Magdalene was the same person as Martha’s sister.
But at least Martha and Mary both get celebrated somehow. What about poor Lazarus? He deserves our sympathy for being brought back to life by Jesus so as, later, to have to die all over again. What he thought of being brought back to Earth is not recorded. The presence of the incarnate Lord must have made up for the postponement of Heaven, but – where less dramatic circumstances are concerned – we should think of Lazarus when we prepare to make spectacular acts of charity on behalf of people who may not necessarily appreciate our interventions.
Chapter 13 speaks to us about the discourse of the Parables. Following the text of Mark (Mk 4,1-34), Matthew omits the parable of the seed which germinates alone (Mk 4,26-29), and he stops on the discussion of the reason for the Parable (Mt 13,10-17) adding the parable of the wheat and the darnel (Mt 13,24-30), of the yeast (Mt 13,33), of the treasure (Mt 13,44), of the pearl (Mt 13,45-46) and of the dragnet (Mt 13,47-50). Together with the parable of the sower (Mt 13,4-11) and of the mustard seed (Mt 13,31-32), there are seven parables in the Discourse of the Parables (Mt 13,1-50).
Mary of Magdala was healed of “seven devils” by Jesus. She ministered to him in Galilee and was present at his crucifixion. She was in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb, and it was to her that the risen Jesus first appeared.
The Western tradition is that Mary Magdalene is also “the woman who was a sinner” and the sister of Martha and Lazarus of Bethany. There is no evidence either way, and the tradition is tenuous enough for even such authorities as St Ambrose to hold, with the East, that they are three different people. It seems, therefore, that although the Western tradition is to be respected and is a real inspiration, it may not necessarily be historical. This kind of ambiguity is inevitable in a religion such as Christianity, which is founded on definite historical events rather than myths which can be adjusted into logicality. We need not worry about it too much: if it had been harmful to us to celebrate the tradition of heroic penitence, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it.
Even without the extra tradition, Mary Magdalene is a unique and important character in the story of the Resurrection, chosen by Christ as one of the first witnesses of the event that changed the world.
In today’s Gospel we see that there are many conflicts between Jesus and the religious authority of that time. They are conflicts regarding the religious practices of that time: fasting, purity, observance of the Sabbath, etc. In normal terms, they would be conflicts regarding for example, matrimony between divorced persons, friendship with prostitutes, the acceptance of homosexuals, communion without being married by the Church, not to go to Mass on Sunday, not to fast on Good Friday. The conflicts were many: at home, in the school, in work, in the community, in the Church, in personal life, in society. Conflicts regarding growth, relationship, age, mentality. So many of them! To live life without conflicts is impossible! Conflict is part of life and springs up since the time of birth. We are born with birth pangs. Conflicts are not accidents along the way, but form part of the journey, of the process of conversion. What strikes us is the way in which Jesus faces the conflicts. In the discussion with his enemies, he was not trying to show them that he was right, but wished to make the experience which he, Jesus, had of God, Father and Mother, prevail. The image of God which others had was that of a severe Judge who only threatened and condemned. Jesus tries to have mercy on the blind observance of the norms and of the law, prevail, since it had nothing to do with the objective of the Law which is the practice of Love.
Sixteen Carmelites caught up in the French Revolution and martyred. When the revolution started in 1789, a group of twenty-one discalced Carmelites lived in a monastery in Compiegne France, founded in 1641. The monastery was ordered closed in 1790 by the Revolutionary government, and the nuns were disbanded. Sixteen of the nuns were accused of living in a religious community in 1794. They were arrested on June 22 and imprisoned in a Visitation convent in Compiegne There they openly resumed their religious life. On July 12, 1794, the Carmelites were taken to Paris and five days later were sentenced to death. They went to the guillotine singing the Salve Regina. They were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X.
The Carmelites were: Marie Claude Brard; Madeleine Brideau, the subprior; Maire Croissy, grandniece of Colbert Marie Dufour; Marie Hanisset; Marie Meunier, a novice; Rose de Neufville Annette Pebras; Anne Piedcourt: Madeleine Lidoine, the prioress; Angelique Roussel; Catherine Soiron and Therese Soiron, both extern sisters, natives of Compiegne and blood sisters: Anne Mary Thouret; Marie Trezelle; and Eliza beth Verolot. The martyrdom of the nuns was immortalized by the composer Francois Poulenc in his famous opera Dialogues des Carmelites.
Mass 0930 & 1900
|The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Holy Scripture celebrates the beauty of Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah defended Israel’s pure faith in the living God. In the 12th century some hermits took up residence on this mountain and eventually set up the Carmelite Order, which is dedicated to living a contemplative life under the patronage of the Holy Mother of God.