Tuesday, January 26, 2010


“St. Angela Merici”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN 


Biographical Information about St. Angela Merici[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Angela Merici

Readings and Commentary:

1 Peter 4:7b-11

Be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God's varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Commentary on
1 Pt 4:7b-11

“The inner life of the eschatological community” (the Christian Community’s focus on the end times) “is outlined as the end (the parousia of Christ) and the judgment draws near in terms of seriousness, sobriety, prayer, and love expressed through hospitality and the use of one's gifts for the glory of God and of Christ”.
[3] The concluding doxology may have been the ending of an address or possibly even the conclusion of a baptismal celebration.

CCC: 1 Pt 4:6 634; 1 Pt 4:7 670, 1806; 1 Pt 4:8 1434
Psalm 148:1bc-2, 11-13a, 13c-14

R. (see 12a and 13a) Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels,
praise him, all you his hosts.

R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men, too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted.

R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

His majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones;
from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia.

R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Commentary on
Ps 148:1bc-2, 11-13a, 13c-14

Psalm 148 is a hymn of praise. In this selection we find it singing of the omnipotence of God, His power and majesty, and his promise of salvation.

Mark 9:34b-37

The disciples of Jesus had been discussing on the way
who was the greatest.
Jesus sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around him, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Commentary on
Mk 9:34b-37

While the disciples clearly understand the Lord is to leave them, they do not yet grasp the nature of his mission as they are arguing about who among them will be greatest once victory is achieved. The Lord sees this in them, and when they don’t respond to his direct question, he gives them the example of servant leadership. He uses the example of a child so they can understand that it is through humility and innocence that God’s servants lead. Jesus tells them directly that their role (and by extension the role of all Christian disciples) is one of service. He probably uses the example of children to represent the “anawim,” the poor in spirit, the most vulnerable of the Christian faithful.

CCC: Mk 9:37 1825

St. Angela’s example of simple but intense faith reminds us by example what the Gospel of St. Mark tells us in words. The Lord’s own example of leadership is placed before the disciples. He tells them categorically that if they try to assume a position of leadership through authoritarian means they will fail. The way Jesus leads is by example not out of authority (which he could clearly use if he so chose).

This example of leading through humility and simple faith in Christ is crucial if one is to lead while at the same time maintaining the proper attitude toward the Father. As soon as a leader of souls presumes it is her (or his) own strength that brings about the result intended, God’s glory is diminished and that person fails in the task the Lord has set them to.

St. Angela and many saints like her have that unique quality of leading others to faith through example and persuasion rather than authoritarian rule. The yoke of Christ is meant to be soft and light not enforced with the lash of words or threats. Today we pray for St. Angela’s intercession, may we adopt her gentle demeanor, patterned on the simple faith of a child and lead all we meet to Christ.


[1] The picture is “St. Angela Merici” 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. 
[3] See NAB Footnote on 1 Peter 4:7-11

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