The life of Simon Peter, the Apostle, is a wonderful story about human nature. He is so much like each of us. He knows his limitations and past unfaithfulness early on in his relationship with Jesus. In his boat by the lakeside he begs Jesus, “Leave me Lord. I am a sinful man.” Again at the Last Supper he tells our Lord: “You shall never wash my feet!” “If I do not wash you, you will have no part in my heritage. Then my hands and head as well.” It’s a humble Peter growing in self-knowledge.
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Blessed Elisabetta Sanna (full name Elisabetta Sanna Porcu) (23 April 1788 – 17 February 1857) was an Italian Roman Catholic from Codrongianos Province of Sassari who was an active member of both the Secular Franciscan Order and the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. In the latter she was a friend and compatriot of Saint Vincenzo Pallotti. As a result of smallpox, Sanna was for the most part disabled and further ailments prevented her from returning to her hometown after departing on a pilgrimage; this forced her to take up residence in Rome where she later died.
Jesus leads the blind man aside, so different from what He usually does, and then He works His miracle in two stages, almost as if He were not quite sure what He is doing. This is also very different from what usually happens.
We might apply this to ourselves. If we really wish Jesus to heal us or to change us in any way, we need to go aside with Him, to spend time alone with Him in prayer or at least in reading or spiritual conversation. We need to retreat from worldly concerns and place ourselves entirely in His hands.
“Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:21
In the gospel, Jesus scolds his disciples. They are with him every day. So much has happened to them already and still they still do not understand.
We are like that. Things happen all around us that we look past. We see in the same old ways; what is closest must struggle to dislodge our wooden habits of perception and awaken our hearts. Skipping over what is truly present, we ogle the spectacle. Without understanding, our lives slip away and what matters is forgotten.
Out of the Depths
By the time of the encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees described in today’s gospel, Jesus had performed various miracles and works of power. The Pharisees were not satisfied, but seemed to want something more, something on a grander scale perhaps. Mark’s gospel, the shortest of the four, presents the deeds and words of Jesus in a succinct manner, but not to the exclusion of details. Today, we are given Jesus’ verbal response to the Pharisees, but not before we are given a clue as to Jesus’ inner reaction to their request.
Sir 15:15-20; Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5:17-37
The readings for today might be synthesized as follows: Sirach reminds us that we have a choice in how we act, that we are not forced, but can choose to follow God's will through our loyalty.
The Psalm response is a prayer in which we ask God to grant us the grace of discernment (but obviously before we can be granted that gift, we must use our freedom of choice to ask for it - we must be willing to take the risk of finding out what God wants of us).
1st of February 2020 is a day that the Pallottine Family and people of Cape Town, South Africa will always remember. It was a day when many people of different faiths, races and professions, gathered in St. Vincent Pallotti Convent to say goodbye to their dear Sister Annemarie Niehsen, a German Missionary, who after her 52 years of life and service in South Africa returned to her homeland. They came to express their gratitude, friendship and appreciation for her tireless service in the hospital as a sister for all, for her fidelity to the Lord and love for our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti through living her religious vows, ministry and her dedication in building a better world and future.
1 Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34; Mark 8:1-10
Our readings today are antithetical. The first reading is all about selfishness. Jeroboam is only thinking of himself and his position. He wants to retain the power, so he creates false idols and lures the people to worship him and his idols instead of God. He creates priests willy-nilly to give people a false sense of power and security. He is sinning and causing the people to sin. The psalm reiterates that the people forgot the God who saved them and worshipped false gods and idols instead. This selfishness was sin and he dragged others down with him.
Acts 13:46-49; Psalm 116; Luke 10:1-9
Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of the Slavs, were brothers who hailed from Thessalonia. After receiving an excellent education, they were sent by the Eastern Emperor Michael III (842-856) into the kingdom of Grand-Moravia; through great effort and in spite of tremendous difficulties they converted the Slavonic nations. They translated the Bible into Slavonic and devised a kind of writing, called glagolitic, which even to the present day is used in the liturgical services of some Eastern rites.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE XXVIII WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2020
11 February 2020
“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28)
Dear brothers and sisters,
1. Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28) point to the mysterious path of grace that is revealed to the simple and gives new strength to those who are weary and tired. These words of Christ express the solidarity of the Son of Man with all those who are hurt and afflicted. How many people suffer in both body and soul! Jesus urges everyone to draw near to him – “Come to me!” – and he promises them comfort and repose. “When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized by the burden of the law and the oppressive social system... These people always followed him to hear his word, a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope!” (Angelus, 6 July 2014).