Sunday, February 7, 2010

FEBRUARY 8 SAINT JEROME EMILIANI

“St. Jerome Emilaini”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN 
FEBRUARY 8
 
SAINT JEROME EMILIANI, PRIEST


Biographical Information about St. Jerome Emiliani[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
Tobit 12:6-13

The angel Raphael said to Tobit and his son:
"Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory.
Before all the living,
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you,
by blessing and extolling his name in song.
Honor and proclaim God's deeds,
and do not be slack in praising him.
A king's secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor.
Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
Prayer and fasting are good,
but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness.
It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.
Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

"I will now tell you the whole truth;
I will conceal nothing at all from you.
I have already said to you,
'A king's secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.'
I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed,
it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer
before the Glory of the Lord;
and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
When you did not hesitate to get up
and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,
I was sent to put you to the test."
 

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Commentary on
Tb 12:6-13

At this point in the story of Tobit, the prophet asks his son to pay the “man” that had accompanied him, not realizing that who they thought was a man was really Raphael, the Archangel. When they approach him to give a generous reward, Raphael unmasks himself and instructs them to give praise to God for the saving acts.

Special emphasis is made in Raphael’s instruction to act in accordance with the Law of Moses (righteousness), and perform acts of charity (almsgiving). These two actions are better even than prayer and fasting, private worship of God. The recurring statement: “A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known.

CCC: Tb 12:8 1434; Tb 12:12 336
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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
Long Form
 
Mark 10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."
Peter began to say to him,
"We have given up everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
 

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Commentary on
Mk 10:17-30

The story of the rich young man told in these verses from St. Mark’s Gospel recount an ideal teaching moment for Christ. After he has heard that the young man has carefully followed Mosaic Law (summarized in the Decalogue the Lord mentions), Jesus tells the young man he has only one more step to take. He is to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor. This is too much for the rich young man who leaves downcast.

Jesus uses this example to emphasize, first, that love of God must come before desire for possessions, and before the accumulation of wealth. Those listening were also downhearted and say “Then who can be saved?

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it, and nothing is impossible for Him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

Following the exchange with the rich young man and the rest of the crowd, St. Peter brings up the fact that the disciples had given up everything to follow Jesus. The Lord responds telling them they will receive a reward “a hundred times more” and “eternal life.” The last statement: “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first,” is thought to have been added to reconcile the fact that some of those called first outlived other early Christians.

CCC: Mk 10:19 1858; Mk 10:22 2728; Mk 10:28-31 1618
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OR
Short Form

Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."
 

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Commentary on
Mk 10:17-27

This shorter version omits Jesus' teaching about the last being first.

The story of the rich young man told in these verses from St. Mark’s Gospel recount an ideal teaching moment for Christ. After he has heard that the young man has carefully followed Mosaic Law (summarized in the Decalogue the Lord mentions), Jesus tells the young man he has only one more step to take. He is to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor. This is too much for the rich young man who leaves downcast.

Jesus uses this example to emphasize, first, that love of God must come before desire for possessions, and before the accumulation of wealth. Those listening were also downhearted and say “Then who can be saved?

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it, and nothing is impossible for Him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

CCC: Mk 10:19 1858; Mk 10:22 2728
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Reflection:

The Gospel story of the rich young man leads perfectly to the story of St. Jerome Emiliani who was also wealthy before finding the path to God. In around 1500, he gave up all he owned to help the poor and followed Christ with such zeal that others saw his efforts and followed him. Ultimately they formed the congregation of Clerks Regular of Somascha, Italy.

The story of his conversion should inspire us to look at what is truly important in our lives. The young man in the Gospel story clearly had great love of his wealth and comfort, and he did not want to give it up for God. We should examine our own situations and see where we put our emphasis, how we look at our passions. While not everyone is called to take vows of poverty, many of us could be more faithful in our stewardship. It is, after all, one of the precepts of our faith.

But it is not just material wealth that defines our treasures; is it? Our lives are a gift from God, and some portion of that gift needs to be dedicated solely to God. While all the work of our hands should demonstrate to others that our strength is in the Lord, some of what we do should be intended, as was the gift of the great saint whose memorial we celebrate, to serving the Lord directly through works of charity and service.

On this, the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani, let us ask for his prayers, that our hearts will be conformed to Christ, and our work will bring glory to the Father. We ask also that our lives will find a balance between satisfying our human needs and service to the Lord.

Pax

[1] The picture is “St. Jerome Emilaini” 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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