Archive for January 14, 2012


(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=24067)

VATICAN CITY, January 11 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of reflections on prayer at his Jan. 11 general audience by explaining why the Eucharist stands at “the apex” of all Christian prayers.

“By participating in the Eucharist we have an extraordinary experience of the prayer which Jesus made, and continues to make for us all,” he said to the 7,000 pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Jesus offers us this prayer, he taught, so that “the evil we encounter in our lives may not triumph, and that the transforming power of Christ’s death and resurrection may act within each of us.”

The Pope’s reflections today were part of his ongoing set of discourses on prayer. He devoted his Jan. 11 words to explaining the deep significance of the Last Supper in salvation history, with “its overtones of the Passover and the commemoration of Israel’s liberation.”

This connection is why the prayer of Jesus “echoes the Hebrew berakah, which includes both thanksgiving and the gift of a blessing.” Christ’s act of “breaking the bread and offering the cup on the night before he died” thereby becomes “the sign of his redemptive self-oblation in obedience to the Father’s will,” the Pope said.

In doing so, Pope Benedict taught, Jesus revealed himself as “the true paschal lamb” which brings the ancient worship of the Jewish people to fulfillment.

It was also Christ’s wish that the supper be “something special, different from other gatherings,” and so he “gave something completely new: Himself,” in anticipation of his cross and resurrection.

“He offered in advance the life that would shortly be taken from him, thus transforming his violent death into a free act of the giving of self, for others and to others. The violence he suffered became an active, free and redemptive sacrifice.”

The Pope said that in contemplating the words and gestures of Jesus “we can clearly see that it was in his intimate and constant relationship with the Father that he accomplished the gesture of leaving to his followers, and to all of us, the sacrament of love.”

He also gave support to his disciples, knowing the difficulty they had “in understanding that the way of God had to pass through the Paschal mystery of death and resurrection, which was anticipated in the offer of bread and wine.”

Pope Benedict noted that even today the Eucharist is “the food of pilgrims” as well as “a source of strength” for those who are “tired, weary and disoriented.”

He concluded his reflection by praying that the Eucharist “always remain the apex of all our prayers,” especially through proper preparation for it, including receiving the Sacrament of Penance.

 

January 15th, 2012 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: January 14, 2012 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Hearing the Call

Readings:
1 Samuel 3:3-10,19
Psalm 40:2,4,7-10
1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20
John 1:35-42


 

In the call of Samuel and the first Apostles, today’s Readings shed light on our own calling to be followers of Christ.

Notice in the Gospel today that John’s disciples are prepared to hear God’s call. They are already looking for the Messiah, so they trust in John’s word and follow when he points out the Lamb of God walking by.

Samuel is also waiting on the Lord – sleeping near the Ark of the Covenant where God’s glory dwells, taking instruction from Eli, the high priest.

Samuel listened to God’s word and the Lord was with him. And Samuel, through his word, turned all Israel to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 3:21; 7:2-3). The disciples too, heard and followed – words we hear repeatedly in today’s Gospel. They stayed with the Lord and by their testimony brought others to the Lord.

These scenes from salvation history should give us strength to embrace God’s will and to follow His call in our lives.

God is constantly calling to each of us – personally, by name (see Isaiah 43:1; John 10:3). He wants us to seek Him in love, to long for His word (see Wisdom 6:11-12). We must desire always, as the apostles did, to stay where the Lord stays, to constantly seek His face (see Psalm 42:2).

For we are not our own, but belong to the Lord, as Paul says in today’s Epistle.

We must have ears open to obedience, and write His word within our hearts. We must trust in the Lord’s promise – that if we come to Him in faith, He will abide with us (see John 15:14; 14:21-23), and raise us by His power. And we must reflect in our lives the love He has shown us, so that others too may find the Messiah.

As we renew our vows of discipleship in this Eucharist, let us approach the altar singing the new song of today’s Psalm: “Behold I come . . . to do your will O God.”