Sunday, January 30, 2011


“St. John Bosco”
Artist and Date were not sited

Biographical Information about St. John Bosco[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John Bosco

Readings and Commentary:

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.

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
Psalm 103:1bc-2, 3-4, 8-9, 13-14, 17-18

R. (1) O, bless the Lord, my soul!

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

R. O, bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.

R. O, bless the Lord, my soul!

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.

R. O, bless the Lord, my soul!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.

R. O, bless the Lord, my soul!
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward his children's children
among those who keep his covenant.

R. O, bless the Lord, my soul! 
Commentary on
Ps 103:1bc-2, 3-4, 8-9, 13-14, 17-18

This hymn of praise focuses on God’s power and will to heal all ills, and to support us in times of trouble. It is through his own will that he does this. The final two strophes reference God as a Father loving his children, his adopted sons and daughters.

CCC: Ps 103 304
Matthew 18:1-5

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me."

Commentary on
Mt 18:1-5

Jesus, in this selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel (also recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel at Luke 9:46-50), summarizes what is known as “church order.” It is called this because, in response to the question “who will be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven,” Jesus refutes the rank and privilege of the secular world, and indicates that those whose faith is like a small child will find greatness in heaven. The beginning allegory is thought to deal less with the innocence of a child and more with the child’s complete dependence upon its parents. The lesson then drives home the fact that the faithful disciple must be dependent upon God alone.

CCC: Mt 18:3-4 526; Mt 18:3 2785
St. John (Giovanni Melchior) Bosco heard the Gospel message we proclaim on his feast and took it to heart. He worked tirelessly to see that children who had been consigned by secular society to a tragic existence, with little hope, were brought to the Savior, who said: “…whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me." His work among children, and the founding of the
Salesian Society with that principal mission, has opened the gates of paradise to him. He now rests with all the saints, rejoicing, no doubt, with those he saved from lives of torment.

His example of looking beyond the walls of the church building and seeing the need for the proclamation of the Gospel through action inspires us. The Lord called him, as he calls us, to be a light for the world; not just for our own peace and comfort, but for all we meet, especially those who are weak and helpless.

Society (even modern society) has what we could call “bureaucratic momentum.” The structures supposedly established to prevent the weak and the helpless are frequently abused by some and completely miss many who truly need. It is our Christian duty to watch for opportunities to reach out in the way St. Bosco did, extending the hand of Christ’s love were it might otherwise have been refused.

Today we ask for the prayers of St. John Bosco and all the saints, as we work diligently to follow their example, spreading the Gospel message through works of compassion and charity. The light of Christ must not be kept hidden, especially from the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.


[1] The picture is “St. John Bosco” Artist and Date were not sited 
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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