January 28, 2017

Thomas Aquinas

January 28, 2017:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

  • 'Star' tie pin:  From Abraham came descendants as numerous as the stars (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  By faith Abraham offered up Isaac (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  The Lord promised he'd save us from the hands of all who hate us (canticle)
  • 'Cross' pin:  "Let us cross to the other side" (gospel)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  St. Thomas, 'doctor' of the Church
  • 'Boat' tie bar:  Disciples took Jesus with them in a boat, and other boats were with him (gospel)
  • White in shirt:  Liturgical color for St. Thomas
Listen
For gospel

For 1st reading
    For canticle

By  St. Thomas Aquinas
Pope Francis
To March for Life participants:  Warm greetings to the many thousands of young people from throughout America gathered for this year's March for Life!  I'm close to you in prayer.  I'm grateful for your impressive testimony to the sacredness of every human life.  “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right…  can justify a decision to terminate that life.”  May this event, where so many speak out on behalf of the most defenseless, mobilize consciences in defense of the right to life and help ensure effective measures to protect it.
To Congregation for Consecrated Life:  Today's hemorrhaging of religious orders is weakening consecrated life and the Church herself.  Though some leave for good reasons, discerning they don't have a religious vocation; but what happened to those who leave years after their final profession?  Many factors affect fidelity to one’s vocation.  The primary factor is a “provisional” culture, which leads to an a la carte life, a slave to fashion.  This culture induces the need for 'side doors' open to other possibilities; it feeds consumerism and forgets the beauty of a simple and austere life, and it can cause a void.  It can also produce a powerful practical relativism that judges everything by self-realization, often extraneous gospel values.  In society economic rules replace morality and propose a vision that discards people.
Young people seek a genuine spiritual life but can be seduced by worldliness, looking for success at any price, easy money, easy pleasure.  We must counter this by infecting them with gospel joy, or else they can succumb.
People living the consecrated life sometimes offer “counter witness” to fidelity:  routine, fatigue, the weight of managing structures, internal divisions, seeking power, worldly governance, authority that's either authoritarian or laissez-faire.  For consecrated life to keep its prophetic mission and its fascination, and be a school of faithfulness, it must maintain the centrality of Jesus, its strong mission, show the beauty of following Christ, and radiate hope and joy.
Pay special attention to your communal life:  communal prayer, prayerful scripture reading, active participation in the sacraments, internal dialogue and communication, fraternal correction, mercy towards sinners, and shared responsibilities.  It's hard to stay faithful walking alone or guided by people who don't listen carefully and patiently...  Many religious vocations are lost for lack of good leaders.
Read
  • Heb 11:1-2, 8-19  Faith is the realization of what's hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.  By faith Abraham obeyed, going out, dwelling in tents, receiving power to generate, thinking the one who promised was trustworthy; from him came countless descendants....  They died in faith, not receiving what had been promised but seeing it from afar.  They desire a heavenly homeland, and God prepared a city for them.  By faith Abraham offered up Isaac...
    Waves
    (Animate)
  • Lk 1:69-75  "Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people."  He raised up for us a savior.  He promised he'd save us from our sins and all who hate us.  He promised to show mercy and remember his covenant.  He swore to set us free from our enemies to worship him, holy in his sight, forever.
  • Mk 4:35-41  Jesus' disciples took him in the boat, and other boats were with him.  Waves were filling the boat, but Jesus was asleep.  "Teacher, we're perishing!" / [to sea] "Be still!"  The wind ceased.  “Why are you terrified?  Don't you have faith yet?" / “Who is this whom wind and sea obey?”
St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Universalis:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedictine-educated Dominican, reconciled Christianity and Aristotle, wrote Summa Theologica and poetry for Corpus Christi liturgy.  After vision at Mass that made his writings seem like straw, he stopped.  [This great theologian and philosopher is patron of all Catholic educational establishments.]  May the Spirit inspire us to love God with our minds as well as hearts; and if we come across something apparently contradicting our faith, may we investigate...
Original works online
  • Passionist:  Jesus was frustrated with the apostles' lack of faith as they gave into their fears in a situation that called for belief.  We all fail to put faith in God.  May we continue to nurture the gift of faith; it'll see us through both good and challenging times.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Why are you afraid?"  Jesus' sleeping presence on the sea reveals his disciples' sleeping faith; they were afraid even though their Lord was with them.  The Lord is ever present to us, still asking why we're afraid.  Faith enables us to relate to God with trust and reliance, believing and keeping his word.  If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.  Courage working with faith enables us embrace God's word with confidence and act on it with hope.  The Holy Spirit strengthens our faith and trust and enables us to act with justice and kindness even in the face of opposition.