Monday, April 7, 2008

APRIL 7 SAINT JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE

"St. John Baptist de la Salle" 
by Giovanni Gagliardi,
Date UNKNOWN
APRIL 7

SAINT JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE, PRIEST
MEMORIAL

Additional Information about St. John Baptist De La Salle [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John Baptist De La Salle

Readings and Commentary: [2]

Reading 1
2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well. Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
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Commentary on 2 Tm 1:13-14; 2:1-3

St. Paul exhorts his protégé, St. Timothy, to safeguard what the Apostle has given him; the Good News of Christ. He tells St. Timothy to hold fast to that word using the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit and to pass this authentic teaching along through those he finds who can also teach it to others. He compares this task, in the final verse, to that of a soldier’s duty to a cause.
 
CCC: 2 Tm 1:12-14 84; 2 Tm 1:12 149; 2 Tm 1:13-14 857; 2 Tm 1:14 1202
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Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R. (2a) Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R. (92:13-14) The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the Lord
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R. Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R. The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R. Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R. The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.

Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R. Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R. The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.
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Commentary on Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Psalm 1 serves as a preface to the whole book of the psalms. The psalmist here exalts those who follow the Lord’s commands and reflects upon the blessings they will receive. As in Romans 6:19ff, this selection emphasizes the contrast between the salvation of the just and the punishment of the wicked.

This wisdom psalm begins by extolling the virtue of those who follow the law. The focus is to look to God for guidance and not to trust only in the counsel of men. Those who reject the law will be blown away like “chaff” an image used in the Gospel as well (Matthew 3:12).

This portion of the psalm is later echoed in Isaiah 48:17-19 like an overlapped formula of covenant.  Blessed is the man who “delights in the law day and night” but; “the way of the wicked vanishes.” It also takes up the theme of following right paths and staying true to the teachings of God; “Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.
 
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Gospel Matthew 18:1-5
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me."
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Commentary on Mt 18:1-5

Jesus, in this selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel (also recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel at Luke 9:46-50.), summarizes what is known as “church order”. It is called this because, in response to the question “who will be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven”, Jesus refutes the rank and privilege of the secular world and indicates that those whose faith is like a small child will find greatness in heaven. The beginning allegory is thought to deal less with the innocence of a child and more with the child’s complete dependence upon its parents. The lesson then drives home the fact that the faithful disciple must be dependent upon God alone.

CCC: Mt 18:3-4 526; Mt 18:3 2785
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Reflection:

The Church remembers on this day St. John Baptist De La Salle. St. John is considered the patron saint of teachers and of educators in general. He took the words of the Gospel quite literally and took upon himself the ministry of not just teaching but establishing institutions that provided an environment where education of the young could take place in a Christ-centered way, founding schools for both boys and girls. He did this at a point in history when such institutions were difficult to found and dedicated not only his zeal and effort but his personal fortune as well.

From the example of St. John and the injunction of Holy Scripture we come to understand that teaching the faith is something we are all charged to do. Jesus sent his disciples into the world that they might bring the Good News to everyone. In doing so they looked especially for those who could also take the message they carried and bring it to others faithfully.

There was in the early Church a great deal of difficulty in dealing with “false teachers” as well. We have all heard about the game where one person starts a phrase at the beginning of a line and by the time it reaches the end of the line the phrase can no longer be recognized because it has changed so much. This was a problem faced in the early Church, before the Gospels were widely known or published in a uniform way. Great teachers, like St. Paul and St. Timothy are treasures of the Church. So too are those who continue this noble tradition, faithfully taking the teaching magesterium of the Church further into the world.

Teaching the faith to others is a fundamental call to each of us. We are called to proclaim Jesus, and him crucified and raised in glory, to all we meet; through our words or through our actions. On this special day for those who teach the faith, we ask God to provide us with the wisdom to teach others and the strength to learn from those we follow.

Pax

Please Pray for Esther.


[1] The picture is "St. John Baptist de la Salle" by Giovanni Gagliardi, Date UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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