Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MAY 26 SAINT PHILIP NERI

"St. Philip Neri"
author and date are UNKNOWN
MAY 26

SAINT PHILIP NERI,
PRIEST

Biographical Information about St. Philip Neri [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Philip Neri

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
Philippians 4:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
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Commentary on
Phil 4:4-9

In the certain knowledge that Christ is with them, St. Paul begins this address, as part of a series of ethical instructions, by exhorting the Christian community to prayer. Through prayer God’s peace will come into their hearts and minds as a gift from Christ Jesus. He calls upon them to meditate upon the great good that is provided through God and provides a litany of adjectives; true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious as descriptors of Christ’s actions in their midst. Through a focus on what is excellent they will achieve the peace of Christ.

CCC: Phil 4:3-4  2632, 2636
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.


CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
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GOSPEL
John 17:20-26

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
"Holy Father, I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them."
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Commentary on
Jn 17:20-26

Here is the final part of the “High Priestly Prayer” from the Lord’s final discourse. In this selection we are linked with the disciples as Jesus prays: …also for those who will believe in me through their word”. Again the theme of unity between the Father, and the Son, and his followers is emphasized and brought to a conclusion with “…that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

CCC: Jn 17 2604, 2746, 2758; Jn 17:21-23 260, 877; Jn 17:21 820; Jn 17:22 690; Jn 17:23-26 2750; Jn 17:24 2749, 2750, 2750; Jn 17:25 2751; Jn 17:26 589, 729, 2750
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Reflection:

We are quite convinced that if St. Philip Neri was with us today in the flesh he would object strenuously to our celebration of his remarkable life and contributions to the Church. He had a great aversion to being admired or seen as iconic and was known to go to extraordinary lengths to deflect this kind of praise (like standing on his head in front of a somber student to make them laugh).

St. Philip was one who understood that the Lord was the one to be revered and when we mere mortals became overly pious and focused on piety for its sake, we missed the joy of being his children. St. Paul, to be sure, had that same zeal. We feel that best perhaps in the reading from Philippians provided – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” This must certainly have been St. Philip Neri’s favorite passage from the Epistles.

As with many of those who were humble he made enemies in the Church. This stemmed from and attitude that begged the question- who could put themselves forward as deserving reverence for their outward piety in the face of God’s mighty presence. Also like many who are seeking new ways of reaching out to the world with God’s word as his disciples are commanded, he was at times called a radical and hieratic.

Today as we listen to God’s word and see the heroic efforts of a great Saint who did so much to spread that word, we are revitalized in our own efforts to, through our own prayer, remain in Christ and through our words and deeds, bring that gift to all we meet.

Pax

[1] The picture used is “S. Philip Neri, author and date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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