The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
Pope St Pius V (1504 - 1572)
He was born near the Italian town of Alexandria, on the Adriatic, and joined the Dominicans and taught theology. He was made a bishop and fought to reform the moral laxity of the clergy. He was elected Pope in 1566. He strenuously promoted the Catholic Reformation that was started by the Council of Trent. He encouraged missionary work and reformed the liturgy. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: Saint Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672)
Born in Tours, France, Marie married and had a son before her husband, Claude Martin, died. He left behind a struggling business that Marie was able to make profitable before selling. Free to pursue her religious inclinations, she experienced a mystical vision on 24 March 1620, that set her on a new path of devotional intensity. After working with a Spiritual Director for many years, she decided to enter the Ursuline Convent in Tours to try her vocation. She abandoned her son to the care of her family, but the emotional pain of the separation would remain with her. Later, when her son become a monk, they corresponded candidly about their spiritual and emotional trials.
Sometime near 1638, Marie de l’Incarnation was guided by visions to go to Canada and found a convent. Marie, along with two Ursulines and Madame de la Peltrie, landed at Québec City in August 1639. They managed to found the first hospital in Canada as well as an Ursuline Congregation.
Other saints: Our Lady, Mother of Africa
Kenya, Nigeria, Southern Africa
North Africa gave the Church many saints, such as Monica and Augustine, and many important theologians. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions.
The first Christian Bishop of Algiers in modern times, Bishop Antoine-Adolphe Dupuch, was appointed in 1838 to minister to the French colonists who lived in Algeria, but felt called by God to restore Christianity to the whole population, hoping that in time it would spread from Algeria to the whole of Africa.
At the beginning, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Muslims and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind, and the crippled were miraculously healed, and sailors came also to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Muslims is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
Today's Mass reading: The God-fearers
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows us the ‘God-fearers’, the non-Jews who revered Judaism without actually becoming Jews themselves. We tend to forget them in our view of history because they don’t fit easily into our ‘either-or’ categories, but the Jews were aware of them to the extent – for example – of having rules about which parts of the Temple they were or were not allowed to enter.
In today’s pagan world there are also many who are ‘God-fearers.’ We have a duty to them just as the Jews did. On the one hand we must deny them nothing that might nourish them, on the other hand (just like the Jews) we must not pretend that there is no difference between them and us: to say that there is no difference would be to deny the very thing that they revere. On the other hand, to go all-out enthusiastic about bringing them into the fold is usually the best way of chasing them away from it. You lead a horse by walking beside it, not by pulling it from the front. To catch a fish, you do not jump into the water and splash around trying to grab it.
There is no simple instant formula. We don’t know what God’s plan for our friend’s soul is – nor for ours. But there is a plan, and one way or another each of us can be a means of grace for anyone, a channel through which the Spirit will do his work.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Clement I
Clement was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Acts 2:32,36 ©|
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 3:27-28 ©|
All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ©|
Get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.