Friday, February 5, 2010

FEBRUARY 6 SAINT PAUL MIKI AND HIS COMPANIONS


FEBRUARY 6

SAINT PAUL MIKI, PRIEST AND MARTYR,
AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS MEMORIAL
 

Biographical Information about St. Paul Miki and His Companions[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Paul Miki and His Companions

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
Galatians 2:19-20

Brothers and sisters:
Through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
 

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Commentary on
Gal 2:19-20

In this selection of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the apostle contrasts actions that are in accord with the precepts of Mosaic Law against the interior life of faith that justifies us before God in Christ.
 
"2:20 crucified with Christ: Paul has died to an old order of things, namely, the slavery of sin and the regime of the Old Covenant.  He describes this elsewhere as a sacramental union with Jesus effected through Baptism (Romans 6:3-8). lives in me: Believers posses life that is natural and biological (human life) as well as supernatural and theological (divine life). who loved me: Jesus endured the torture and shame of the Cross for the entire world collectively and for every person individually (CCC 478, 616)" [2]


CCC: Gal 2:20 478, 616, 1380, 2666
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
 
Psalm 126:1bc-2ab. 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. (5) Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
 

R. Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.

Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
 

R. Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
 

R. Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
 

R. Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.
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Commentary on
Ps 126:1bc-2ab. 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

Psalm 126 is a lament. In this short psalm, the singer rejoices at the return of Israel following the Diaspora, the conquering of Israel and its enslavement. In this hymn, the people remember the greatness of God as he restores their nation and brings them back to their own land ("Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves"). The sense is one of being overflowing with thanksgiving.

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GOSPEL
 
Matthew 28:16-20

The Eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with yon always, until the end of the age."
 

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Commentary on
Mt 28:16-20


This passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew presents “The Commissioning” monologue that concludes this Gospel. The doubting disciples are reassured that all the Lord had predicted, all the prophets had foretold, had come to pass, and the Lord had now assumed his place with the Father. He then sends them out to continue his earthly mission. His command to them is an important one: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In this statement we receive the proper “form” and institution of the Sacrament of Baptism and the command to bring all nations to follow the Lord. Finally, he reassures them that he will be with them always.

CCC: Mt 28:16-20 857, 1444; Mt 28:16-17 645; Mt 28:17 644; Mt 28:18-20 1120; Mt 28:19-20 2, 767, 849, 1223, 1257, 1276 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reflection:

 
Accounts tell us that St. Paul Miki and the 119 companions, who were first crucified and then killed with spears, rejoiced in God even as their captors killed them. It takes tremendous courage and conviction to face certain death and continue to witness the supreme peace that the Lord gives to his faithful who ask for it. When we recall such stories of bravery and self sacrifice for the mission upon which we are all sent in the Lord’s name, we all look inwardly and ask ourselves: “If I were ever confronted with a situation where I would be called upon to either deny the Lord and my faith or suffer horrific death, which would I choose?”

We pray, of course, that we would all find God’s grace buoying us up and providing us with courage so we would never deny the Only Son of God. But until we are called upon to face that reality we never know. It is for this we pray when we ask the Lord to “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

As we consider our own fidelity and strength of faith, we ask for those sainted martyrs to intercede for us. We ask them to pray that we are not put to that test but may someday join them in the heavenly kingdom. We ask them also to pray for the missionaries who go into regions of the world bringing the Good News of Jesus to people in sometimes hostile and violent environments. May the Lord keep them safe and bless the work they do for God’s greater glory.

Pax


[1] The picture is “St. Paul Miki and His Companions” 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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