Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NOVEMBER 12 SAINT JOSAPHAT


NOVEMBER 12

SAINT JOSAPHAT, BISHOP AND MARTYR
MEMORIAL
 

Biographical Information about St. Josaphat[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Josaphat

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.
 

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Commentary on
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

St. Paul enjoins the Church at Ephesus to holiness and unity as part of his instructions on what it means to live the Christian life. Through one baptism (“the call you have received”) we are united in Christ and through Christ to God the Father. While humility is not listed in the Greek lists as a virtue, the evangelist raises self-effacing service of others to this status (see also
1 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 5:22, and Colossians 3:12).
He goes on speaking of the unity of different parts of the living body of Christ, the Church, saying that different gifts were given (similar lists are found at Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). He begins the list of gifts with those of spiritual leadership: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These have been called to service to others.

CCC: Eph 4-6 1454; Eph 4-5 1971; Eph 4:2 2219; Eph 4:3-5 866; Eph 4:3 814; Eph 4:4-6 172, 249, 2790; Eph 4:7 913; Eph 4:11-16 794; Eph 4:11-13 669; Eph 4:11 1575; Eph 4:13 674, 695, 2045
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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
 
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 joined 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, 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:

How appropriate that Christ’s “High Priestly Prayer” which calls for unity among his followers is proclaimed on the Feast of St. Josaphat. He was raised in the Orthodox Ruthenian Church, in the Ukraine and was called to faithful service during a time (1580-1623) when the Church of Rome sought unity with the Eastern Rite Churches. He must have seen God as having brought him into the world for only one purpose, to seek unity among Christians. It was his great work in life to do so as cultures collided and adherence to older traditions and allegiances attempted to keep that unity from taking place. Ultimately, his life was forfeit in this cause and he received the martyr's robe.

The Lord himself calls us to be one in him as he is one with the Father. Through out the years there have been many schisms within the Church, great and small. They continue even today as individuals and groups constantly try to capture God’s favor, somehow thinking that the weight of thousands of years of prayer, reflection, and debate by people of faith within the Catholic Church did not understand the Holy Spirit and attempt to go their own way, rejecting some tenet of the faith.

St. Paul saw this in his own time and called it the greatest sin of all, destroying the Body of Christ which is his Church. But people become impatient or self-righteous and break with the authority of the Holy See. Always this leads to pain and humanity suffers.

Today we ask for St. Josephat’s prayers. May he help the Church today as she struggles with forces within to maintain her unity and reaches out to long parted brethren to come back. And may we faithfully support her in the cause of Christian unity.

Pax


[1] The icon is “St. Josaphat” Artist 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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