Saturday, July 11, 2015

FEBRUARY 8 SAINT JOSEPHINE BAKHITA, VIRGIN


"St. Josephine Bakhita"
Photographer and Date are UNKNOWN
February 8

Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin



Readings and Commentary: [2]

Reading 1
1 Corinthians 7:25-35

In regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.
So this is what I think best because of the present distress:
that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation.
Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife.
If you marry, however, you do not sin,
nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries;
but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life,
and I would like to spare you that.

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.
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Commentary on 1 Cor 7:25-35

St. Paul gives his opinion (“Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord”) as opposed to a definitive requirement. It is his feeling that the Christians are already living in the “end times” and that the Parousia, Christ’s second coming is eminent. The language he uses is quite similar to “the time of distress” mentioned in Zephaniah 1:15 and Luke 21:23. His comments about “virgins” refer to both male and female and scholars question whether St. Paul is aware of what Jesus said in Matthew 19:12 concerning the gift of the marital vocation. The Apostle therefore tells the Corinthians that they should moderate their behavior (not immerse themselves), anticipating the final resurrection.
 
CCC: 1 Cor 7:26 672; 1 Cor 7:31 1619; 1 Cor 7:32 1579, 1618; 1 Cor 7:34-36 922; 1 Cor 7:34-35 506
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Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
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Commentary on Ps 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17
 
Psalm 45 is a Royal Psalm originally sung in honor of the King’s marriage to a queen (of foreign extraction). It is likely that it influenced St. Paul’s instructions on virgins and marriage; it emphasizes the beauty of the sacramental relationship (see 1 Corinthians 7:25-35).

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GOSPEL         
Luke 9:23-26

Jesus said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory
and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
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Commentary on Lk 9:23-26

The Gospel takes up the theme of life and death as Jesus first informed his disciples that he will undergo the “Passion” at the hands of the Jewish hierarchy (v.22) and be raised. He then provides this invitation to life by contrasting, as Moses did in Deuteronomy 30:15-20, the (spiritual) salvation brought about through faith and the (eternal) death that awaits the faithless.

CCC: Lk 9:23 1435
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Reflection:

St. Bakhita (1869-1947) or "Mother Moretta" (our “Black Mother") as she was called by those to whom she ministered, endured much suffering in her life.  First, as a slave in the Sudan in her childhood she suffered physical and moral cruelty by her owners.  Later in her life, after serving the Sisters of Charity for many years in the Canossian convent in Schio, Italy she suffered agonizing health issues; always with a sprit of acceptance for what “the Master” willed.

Here unwavering and innocent faith makes her an example of heroic virtue worthy of her beatified state.  She stand as a shining symbol for those who suffer and are persecuted; a symbol of faith and courage in the face of pain and suffering.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he will undergo suffering for our sake and reminds us that all who follow him faithfully should expect to suffer as well.  St. Josephine shows us how to take up our cross and follow the lord.

On her feast day we ask for St. Josephine’s intercession.  May we always accept the cross of Jesus, taking it up daily that we might find the path to salvation.

Pax



[1] The picture is “St. Josephine Bakhita” Photographer and Date are UNKNOWN
[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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