Conversion of St. Paul – January 25

Introduction

 

Whoever enters Damascus from the eastern gate comes to the Straight Street. It is the ancient decuman (in ancient Rome—the main gate of a military camp, facing away from the enemy and near which the tenth cohort of the legion was usually stationed) that, from east to west, crosses the entire city. It has kept the name given by the Romans even to this day.

 

The author of the book of Acts recalls that the house where Paul was received, after receiving the revelation of Heaven, was along this road (Acts 9:11). He was not giving us trivial information but is communicating a message. The way: an image that is often used in the Bible to indicate a choice of lifestyle.

 

The God of Israel does not like compromises, so he proposed to his people an irreversible choice: “I set before you on this day life and good, evil and death. I command you to love the Lord, your God and follow his ways” (Dt 30:15). Arriving at a crossroads one has to choose: either a road or the other. 

 

“Just are all his ways” (Dt 32:4), but how to discover them? They are far from our own “as the heavens are above the earth” (Is 55:9).

 

Eager to find them, the psalmist was pleading: “Lord, make known to me your ways” (Ps 25:4). Jesus also got back to this image: “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction. How narrow is the gate that leads to life” (Mt 7:13-14) and identified himself as “the way” (Jn 14:6). 

 

Conscious of having met in Jesus the way of life, the early Christians loved to identify themselves as “those of the way.” 

 

When he walked toward Damascus, Paul was determined “to arrest and bring to Jerusalem man or woman belonging to the Way” (Acts 9:2). He was convinced of being on the right path, of walking the straight paths, those marked by the Torah and the sacred traditions of his people. Stubbornly anchored to his own religious convictions, he was not even touched by the doubt that some of his ideas and some of his choices were to be called into question. 

 

He was full of zeal, generous, disposed of even to give his life for the cause in which he believed. However, like all fanatics, he was intolerant with those who thought differently. He did not pose questions; he nurtured only certainties. 

 

Only a light from heaven could dissolve the dense darkness in which he was immersed. In Damascus, it led him to the street called Straight, where the community of the followers of the Way would welcome and change him from persecutor to Apostle of the Gentiles.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“Lead me, Lord, in your ways, guide me to the right path.”

 

Continue reading

Categories: Cycle A | Leave a comment
 
 

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 26, 2020 – Year A

How Long Will the Night Last?

 

A video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

 

A voice over video by Fr. Alberto Rossa, cmf, 

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

“Judas, taking the morsel, went out immediately. And it was night” (Jn 13:30). A few words to describe a dramatic scene: a man, now at the mercy of his crazy projects, abandons Christ—the light—and is swallowed by darkness.

 

A human being fears the darkness of the night and is heartened when he sees the first signs of dawn. Sentries scan the horizon, waiting for the dawn (Ps 130:6). Long are the nights of those who burn with fever, are troubled by nightmares and are in the state of tossing and turning up in the morning (Jn 7:3-4).

 

One who precipitates in the darkness of vice, falsehood, and injustice also waits for the ray of light. One who announces the end of a painful night and the beginning of a new day waits for that ray of light, too.

 

“Watchman, how much of the night remains?” the prophet asks (Is 21:11). How much longer will the darkness of evil and of sin in the world be? When will the people be freed from the power of darkness? (Col 1:13).

 

Paul invites us to hope. “This is the time to awake, for our salvation is now nearer than when we first believed; the night is almost over, and the day is at hand” (Rom 13:11-12).

 

The light-darkness conflict continues, waiting for the endless day, when “there will be no more night. They will not need the light of lamp or sun for God himself will be the light and they will reign forever” (Rev 22:5).

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“We were darkness but now we are light. Make us, O Lord, behave as children of the light.”

 

Continue reading

Categories: Cycle A | Leave a comment

Presentation of the Lord – February 2 – Year A

All Were Waiting For Him—Only Anna and Simeon Recognized Him

 

A video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

 

A voice over video by Fr. Alberto Rossa, cmf, 

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

Forty days have passed since Christmas and—perhaps with a bit of nostalgia—we remember the emotions aroused in us by that feast and, even more, the good news that the baby brought us, a star coming from Heaven to illuminate our nights, “rising Sun, shining on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:78-79). Why does the Church today make us contemplate again that child? 

 

The feast of the Presentation of the Lord has very ancient origins. It was already celebrated in the East in the fourth century with the name of the Feast of Encounter: it recalled the encounter of Jesus in the temple with his Father and with Simeon and Anna—representatives of the rest of Israel who remained faithful to the God of Abraham. 

 

It was introduced in Rome in the seventh century and received the title of Feast of the purification of Mary. It was called ‘Candlemas’ since it was characterized by a night procession with candles. 

 

The rite of light connected it with Christmas—the feast of Christ—the light. In Bethlehem, the glory of the Lord wrapped the shepherds in light. In the Far Eastern countries the star shone for the magi; in the temple of Jerusalem the “Light to enlighten the people” appeared.  

 

Forty days have passed since Christmas and it may be that the Star of Bethlehem that “we have seen in its rising,” has been a bit blurred. It does not fascinate us more as then or is no longer the only one to get our attention. Perhaps we’ve let ourselves be enchanted by other more striking and concrete stars, by other stars that better reflect our dreams and our expectations. That’s why the church makes us meet again that Child: she invites us to welcome him in our arms, as did Simeon and Anna, the poor of Israel, the people attentive to the voice of the Spirit.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“The lights of this world are ephemeral. Jesus is the ‘light of the nation’.”

 

Continue reading

Categories: Cycle A | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.