LITURGY OF THE DAY: Friday-Saturday-Sunday January 30 - February 1, 1998
FRIDAY, January 30, 1998
First Reading: 2 Samuel 11: 1-4m 5-10, 13-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51: 3-7, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Mark 4: 26-34
SATURDAY, January 31, 1998
First Reading: 2 Samuel 12: 1-7, 10-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51: 12-17
Gospel Reading: Mark 4: 35-41
Saint John Bosco, Priest, Religious Founder, and Educator
Born on the feast of the Assumption just outside Turin, Italy in 1815, Saint John Bosco or Dom Bosco grew to become the "Apostle of the youth." By showing love and care for the young, he was able to shape thousands of lives. Raised by a very pious mother, John, in his own youth, had a dream vision of boys cursing, fighting, punching and cajoling others to do the same. In this dream he was told to show these youths the evils of sin and the beauty of virtue.
Our Blessed Mother appeared to him, placing her hands on John. This was a sign he was to be a priest. He paid his own way through school and the seminary, working as a baker, a tailor, a farmer, shoemaker and carpenter. Ordained in 1841, his grandiose dreams to help the young seemed to take a detour when he was assigned to the ghettos of Turin. Undaunted, he worked tirelessly using the talents he had acquired moonlighting throughout his seminary training. Those talents paid off in recruiting a number of priests which led to forming the Religious Society of Salesians, thus named for their patron Saint Francis de Sales whose feast we celebrated one week ago. It was not easy for John. His life was threatened often, but his faith in God pulled his new Order and this dedicated saint through the rough times. In 1859 Pope Pius IX gave general approval for the Salesians. His fame as an educator spread across the continent and over the seas to America. John Bosco became on of the greatest pioneers of modern vocational education.
He was totally devoted to the Pope and demanded the same of his brother priests and the youth they taught. This, in large part stemmed from a spectacular and prophetic vision he received in 1962 from Our Lady in which he was given to see the Barque of Peter, a large boat, with the supreme pontiff standing afront on the bow and all around was a naval battle with ships being tossed and fro, but not the Barque of Peter for it was guided by two pillars which acted as beacons. On top of one pillar was the Holy Eucharist and on top of the other was the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady imparted the message to St. John, "There will be chaos in the Church. Tranquility will not return until the Pope succeeds in anchoring the boat of Peter between the twin pillars of Eucharistic Devotion and Devotion to Our Lady. This will come about one year before the end of the century."
When he died on January 31, 1888 at the age of 73 in Turin he he was responsible for over 800 Salesian priests with over sixty Salesian foundations established as well as the Daughters of Our Lady, Help of Christians
which he founded in 1872 in order to provide for the poor and neglected young girls. On Easter Sunday in 1934 Pope Pius XI canonized this crusader of vocations.
SUNDAY, February 1, 1998
First Reading: Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 31; 13: 4-13
Gospel Reading: Luke 4: 21-30
MONDAY, February 2, 1998
First Reading: Malachi 3: 1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24: 7-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 2: 14-18
Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 22-40
The Presentation of Jesus is also called the Purification, or Candlemass Day, since on this day the Church blesses the candles used in the procession (if there is one) and which will be used to bless throats on the next day - the feast of Saint Blase. The main focus of course is on the Presentation of Jesus which is in accordance with the old Jewish Law given from God to Moses for the Jewish women after childbirth. A mother was still considered unclean and not to appear in public for 40 days after the birth of a son, and 80 days after the birth of a daughter. At the end of this period, the first place she was to go with her husband was to the temple. There, at the door of the tabernacle she was to present a young pigeon or a turtle dove as a sin-offering. The ideal offering was a lamb, the highest immolation one could offer, as documented throughout the Old Testament - specifically with Abraham and Isaac and culminating with the Sacrifice of the Lamb - Jesus Christ on the Cross. However, very few could afford to donate a lamb for the altar. Therefore, they were allowed to substitute a second turtle-dove in lieu of a lamb. Once the high priest sacrificed these gifts to Almighty God, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity and free to return to a normal life with all its privileges. In accordance with all this, the Blessed Mother, accompanied by her chaste husband Saint Joseph, complied, bringing Jesus with them since there was also a Hebrew code commanding the first-born be brought to the temple and presented to God. Hence, the Presentation. The Gospel Reading in Luke 2: 22-40 relates all that happened
in the temple. Though the Virgin Mary was always pure she still was obedient to the law and humble in all she was asked to do by God and by man. There was also present in the mysteries of the Purification and the Presentation, a third "mystery", that of the prophecies of the holy Simeon and the prophetess Anna. Simeon knew immediately that
this child was the Messiah. This was foretold by the prophet Malachi in his book of the Old Covenant and selected as the first reading in this feast's celebration of the Mass. He was also charged by God to reveal further the sorrows Mary would undergo by her fiat to God. The second reading in Hebrews 2: 14-18 reveals much of what Our Lady understood, especially verse 18 where Paul writes: "For in that He Himself has suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted." Yes, Jesus walked in our shoes, so to speak, which allows us to follow in His footsteps.