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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


As Roman Catholics, our marriage practices have their pedigree in ancient Rome. One of the major players in shaping our practices was the warfare involved in building an empire. Soldiers vanished and sometimes never returned. Women began to manage their lives and to make decisions. The old family values were replaced by patriotic ones, and religion was more attuned to the gore and glory of battle, a religion of the state, not of the family. Weddings were still family celebrations, but had a public face. The bride wore a white toga and a red veil and walked to her new home. There, she and her husband joined their right hands and gave consent to each other, not relying on her father to give consent for her. Religion was optional: a pagan priest might be invited or not, and even without the ceremony, society agreed by common law that a year of living together equaled marriage consent. By the same token, marriage by consent also meant divorce was on the same legal footing, and did not require the courts or civil declarations. This is the world-view the first Christians inherited, and it was up to them to determine what was good and to hold marriage up to the light of the gospel.
Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.

“If you have anything to pardon, pardon quickly. Slow forgiveness is little better than no forgiveness.”
Sir Arthur Pinero

Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22; Ps 117:1bc, 2; Mk 16:15-18
Tuesday: 2 Tm 1:1-18 or 9:1-22; Ps 24:7-10; Mk 3:31-35
Wednesday: 2 Sm 7:4-17; Ps 89:4-5, 27-30; Mk 4:1-20
Thursday: 2 Sm 7:18-19, 24-29; Ps 132:1-5, 11-14; Mk 4:21-25
Friday: 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17; Ps 51:3-7, 10-11; Mk 4:26-34
Saturday: 2 Sm 12:1-7a, 10-17; Ps 51:12-17; Mk 4:35-41
Sunday: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17; 1 Cor 12:31 — 13:13 [13:4-13]; Lk 4:21-30

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time; Catholic Schools Week
Monday: The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle; Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ends
Tuesday: Ss. Timothy and Titus
Wednesday: St. Angela Merici
Thursday: St. Thomas Aquinas
Saturday: Blessed Virgin Mary

“Happiness will never be ours if we do not recognize to some degree that God’s blessings were given us for the well-being of all.”

Liturgical Colors

Liturgical colours are those specific colours used for vestments and hangings within the context of Christian liturgy. The symbolism of violet, white, green, red, gold, black, rose and other colours may serve to underline moods appropriate to a season of the liturgical year or may highlight a special occasion. Ritual Masses are celebrated in their proper colour, in white, or in a festive colour. Masses for Various Needs, on the other hand, are celebrated in the colour proper to the day or the season or in violet if they bear a penitential character. Votive Masses are celebrated in the colour suited to the Mass itself or even in the colour proper to the day or the season.

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
Japanese proverb

Pope Francis

“But who do you say that I am?”

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel from St Mark (8:27-33), in which the evangelist recounts Peter’s Confession of faith. Pope Francis began by nothing that Peter “was certainly the most courageous one that day, when Jesus asked his disciples: but who do you say that I am?”. For he responded decisively: “You are the Christ”. The Pope added that Peter was likely quite “satisfied within himself” thinking “I answered well!”. And truly “he had answered well”, the Pope said. However, his dialogue with Jesus did not end so well, the Pope added. “The Lord began to explain what would happen”, but “Peter did not agree” with what he was hearing. “He did not like the path” that Jesus set forth.

Today, too, “many times we hear within ourselves” the same question that Jesus addressed to the Apostles. Jesus “turns to us and asks us: who am I for you? Who is Jesus Christ for each of us, for me? Who is Jesus Christ?”. Surely, Pope Francis said, “we will respond as Peter did, as we learned in the catechism: you are the Son of the living God, you are the Redeemer, you are the Lord!”.

Yet Peter’s reaction was different once “Jesus began to explain all that would happen to him: the Son of man would have to suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and by the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”. Peter most certainly “did not like this talk”. He thought: “You are the Christ! Conquer and let’s move ahead!”. For Peter “did not understand the path of suffering” that Jesus indicated. So much so, the Gospel tells us, that Peter “took him, and began to rebuke him”. He was “so pleased with having responded, ‘you are the Christ’, that he felt he had the strength to rebuke Jesus”.

Therefore, in order “to respond to that question which we all hear in our hearts — Who is Jesus for us? — what we have learned and studied in the Catechism does not suffice”. Certainly “it is important to study and to know it, but it is not enough”, the Pope insisted. For in order to know him truly, “we need to travel the path that Peter travelled”. Indeed, “after this humiliation, Peter continued on with Jesus, he saw the miracles that Jesus worked, he saw his power. Then he paid the taxes, as Jesus had told him, he caught the fish and took the coin from its mouth: he saw so many miracles of this kind!”.

However, “at a certain point Peter denied Jesus, he betrayed Jesus”. That is when “he learned the difficult science — which is more wisdom than science — of tears, of weeping”. Peter “asked for forgiveness” from the Lord.
And yet, “in the uncertainty of that Easter morning, Peter did not know what to think” about all that the women had told him concerning the empty tomb. And so he “went to the tomb”. The Gospel does not recount “that moment explicitly,” the Pope said, “but it does say that the Lord met Peter” and that Peter “encountered the living Lord, alone, face to face”.

Thus, “that morning, on the shore of Tiberias, Peter was questioned once again. Three times. And he felt ashamed, as he remembered the evening of Holy Thursday: the three times he had denied Jesus”. He remembered “that weeping”. According to the Pope, “on the shore of Tiberias Peter did not weep bitterly as on Holy Thursday, but he did weep”. And he added that he was “sure” that Peter wept as he spoke those moving words: “You know everything Lord, you know that I love you”.

Yet the Pope explained that “it is a journey that we cannot make alone”. He recalled that in Matthew’s account (16:13-28) “Jesus says to Peter: the confession that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you have not learned from human knowledge, it has been revealed to you by my Father”. And Jesus will go on to say to his disciples: “The Holy Spirit, whom I shall send to you, will teach you all things and will make you understand all that I have taught you”.
Therefore we come to know Jesus “as disciples on the path of life, following behind him”. But this “is not enough”, the Pope said. In reality, this “is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is a great worker: he is not a union organizer, he is a great worker. And he is always at work in us: and he carries out this great work of explaining the mystery of Jesus, and of giving us the mind of Christ”.