Sunday reading

Reading for pleasure, but if I learn something along the way, that's gravy...

On Stormy Seashore, Pope Invites Young People To Follow Jesus

Even at its stormiest, the Sea of Galilee doesn't have waves like those pounding Copacabana beach, but Pope Francis asked young Catholics to imagine they were with Jesus on the seashore and he was asking them to follow him and share his love with others.

In his first remarks to the young people at the huge World Youth Day celebration on the beach July 25, Pope Francis spoke of belonging to the great family of faith and that included a moment of silent prayer for Sophie Moriniere, a French pilgrim who died July 17 in a car accident in French Guiana. Read more »

Church Honours Saint James The Greater – Patron Of Hatmakers, Rheumatoid Sufferers And Labourers

James is the English version of the Hebrew name Ya’aqov (or Jacob), which may mean ‘may God protect’ or ‘the one who supplants’.

James, son of Zebedee, is called James the Greater to distinguish him from James the younger (another apostle, thought to be a relative of Jesus and later the first bishop of Jerusalem).

James the greater was the son of Zebedee and the brother of John. Read more »

Church Honours Saint Mary Magdalen - Apostle To The Apostles

Mary – or Miriam – seems to have been a common feminine name in Jesus’s time, for there are several women in the Gospels who bear it.

First of course is Jesus’s mother; then there is Mary Salome, close relative of Mother Mary, and possibly Jesus’s aunt and the wife of Zebedee. Next we have the two sisters, Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus, close friends of Jesus.

Finally we have Mary of Magdala or Magdalen, one of the women who followed Jesus and provided for him and his apostles. Read more »

World Youth Day Rio 2013 By The Numbers: Pilgrims, Toilets And Security Patrols

As hundreds of thousands of young Catholic pilgrims descend on Brazil, World Youth Day coordinators in Rio de Janeiro are putting the finishing touches on preparations for up to 2.5 million people.

By July 15, more than 320,000 people had registered for the event. Media coordinator Carol Castro said many pilgrims will register when they arrive, and many will participate in the events without being registered. Read more »

Pope Francis Consecrated Vatican To St Michael The Archangel, Asked Him To Drive Out The Evil One: Battle Against Corruption Begins

I am wondering if a little noticed—certainly little commented upon—event, which took place last Friday, in the gardens of Vatican City, establishes a connection between two apparently quite different subjects about which I have I have written recently.

The first is the frequency with which Pope Francis refers to the devil; the second is the question of what is necessary for him to achieve the long desperately needed reform of the Roman curia. Read more »

Church Honours Saint Benedict – Abbot And Patron Of Europe

Benedict was born of noble lineage in the small town of Nursia, in Umbria, central Italy.

As a young man, he studied in Rome but soon became disillusioned by the state of society, its corruption and violence. So he decided to withdraw as a hermit to a cave in the country around Subiaco.

After a few years however, tales of his spiritual maturity and wisdom spread far and wide. He attracted more and more disciples whom he guided in the spiritual life and organized into monasteries dedicated to the education of the young. Read more »

The Saint Who May Have Been Poisoned By His Enemies

The 13th-century saint, one of the greatest minds of the late medieval period, is at once a distant figure, his life dominated by the often obscure Church politics of the time, and yet part of a flourishing of thought that encompassed Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Bacon and Albert the Great, the thinking giants on whose shoulders Renaissance thinkers stood.

It was a mental leap created by the Church but which, strangely, in the modern mind is seen as opposed to the Church. Read more »

Christ The Teacher: The Mission Of The Seventy-Two

Luke presents two missions undertaken by Jesus’s disciples under instructions from the Master.

One mission is of the Twelve, and the other of the Seventy (or Seventy-two).

Why Seventy-two? This was a symbolic number in Israeli history: in the book of Genesis, there’s a list of 72 nations in the world; there are 72 elders who assisted Moses in administering the Israeli people, 6 from each of the 12 tribes; and the first authoritative translation of the Hebrew scriptures into popular Greek was done by 72 scholars. Read more »

Gospel Story: Lord, I Will Follow You Wherever You Go

What did it take to become a disciple, a follower of Jesus?

From what we see in the Gospels, Jesus makes two radical demands of his followers:

First, give up all your material possessions and live a life of complete austerity as I, Jesus, do.

Secondly, give up your family completely. Read more »

Church Honours Saints Peter and Paul

The feast of the two apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, takes the Church back to her very origins.

These two men, completely different in background and character, were nevertheless destined by God to leave an indelible mark upon the Church’s foundation and growth, to shape her identity and to define her mission. Read more »

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