Flosculus 16th Sunday

Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43

About two decades ago, when I was in St. Joseph Junior Seminary, the so called Thomas Nyutu was appointed in-charge of the manual labour. He was not only hard working but in the process of protecting his vocation, he was aggressive in making sure the manual work is done and dome well.

In one occasion, the junior seminarian were asked to go to the maize field to do weeding. It was a solemnity and the rile was a free day. So, the seminarian under Thomas proceeded to the farm and hurriedly did the work which seeimingly was well done and Thomas was happy. Two days later, the rector Ngich (now one of the few people allowed ti enter the church with not only one cap but two), went to the field and realized almost a quoter of the farm the maize were withering.

It is at that moment he realized that many maize were uprooted with weeds by seminarian who were angrily working, speaker included, and replanted. Their roots couldn’t hold on. From that time, the rector learned to be patient with young seminarians. 

The Gospel of today we meet a cleaver farmer who asked his servants not to go weeding because they might uproot the wheat too. That is what we learn about the patience of God in allowing the evil to coexist with good.

St. John Paul II wrote an encyclical on the mystery of suffering. He explained why God allow evil and good to coexist. My brother Fr. John Kasyoka (Machakose,Kenya) also wrote a philosophical explanation of the same basing his argument on Kierkergard.

Health is sweet to those who have experience of sickness. God created everything and saw it was good but the Satan brought evil into the world. But what we should be happy of is that at the end the good will win. The evil will be thrown into the fire. All we need to do is to allow the good to grow.

There is this story about two “hyenas” in a human being. They are in constant fighting. One asked a sage which of the two will win. The sage replied, “The one you feed well and most.” Yes, if you feed the evil more than the good, the evil will win.

We are called to remember that God is merciful and slow to anger and judge justly. We should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us to know which “hyena” we need to feed most. The Kingdom of God is in each and everyone of us. It will only grow when we water it and take care of it.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us.

16°Domenica 23° Luglio ’17


Il regno del cielo e come..
(Sap xii, 13, 16-19; Rom viii, 26-27; Mt xiii, 24-43)

Vale la pena di ricordare che è seminato a buon grano, il mondo.

La meditazione del libro della Sapienza ce lo ricorda: se guardiamo con onestà al creato concludiamo che Dio è l’artefice di tanta armonia e che, quindi, egli è giusto e mite.
Il mondo è bello, l’uomo è buono. Difficile crederlo, in certi momenti.
Quando, come in questi giorni, qualcuno sgozza i ragazzi, israeliani o palestinesi che siano, pensando di fare una cosa giusta. E la tenebra sembra prevalere.

Eppure Gesù lo dice con serenità e forza, forse abbiamo disimparato a guardare bene, a leggere dietro le apparenze, a cogliere l’essenziale.
Un nemico semina la zizzania, di nascosto, di notte. Il bene e il male crescono insieme, ce ne accorgiamo quando la realtà di gonfia, cammina, si allarga. Quando cresciamo.

La saggezza del padrone ci stupisce: rimanda a casa propria gli zelanti servi che volevano un bel prato all’inglese, devotamente motivati a strappare la zizzania.

«Usate pazienza», dice il padrone, per non correre il rischio di strappare il grano buono nella foga risanatrice.
La Parola seminata domenica scorsa, il Regno di Dio cresce spartendo il campo con la tenebra, l’oscurità, la zizzania. È l’esperienza che tutti i figli della luce fanno prima o dopo: dopo duemila anni di Vangelo l’erba malvagia sembra soffocare l’annuncio di salvezza. A parole tutto funziona, ma nei fatti dobbiamo arrenderci all’evidenza: nonostante Cristo ci abbia salvato, l’uomo stenta ad imparare. La salvezza è cosa seria e il Maestro Gesù sa che luce e tenebra si affrontano e che le tenebre fanno più rumore. Non c’è che una cosa peggiore del male: abituarsi ad esso, renderlo quotidianità ineluttabile, fingere di ignorarlo, pensare che fra luce e tenebre, in fondo, sia meglio vivere in un bel nebbione.

Oppure fare i talebani, sostituirsi a Dio, essere più devoti di Dio, diventare dei fustigatori volendo a tutti i costi fare pulizia, rimettere ordine, togliere la zizzania costi quel che costi.

Santa Teresa di Gesù Bambino, prega per noi 

Ha sete di te, Signore, l’anima mia…

Salmo 62


O Dio, tu sei il mio Dio,  
dall’aurora io ti cerco,  
ha sete di te l’anima mia,  
desidera te la mia carne  
in terra arida, assetata, senz’acqua.  
   
Così nel santuario ti ho contemplato,  
guardando la tua potenza e la tua gloria.  
Poiché il tuo amore vale più della vita,  
le mie labbra canteranno la tua lode.  
   
Così ti benedirò per tutta la vita:  
nel tuo nome alzerò le mie mani.  
Come saziato dai cibi migliori,  
con labbra gioiose ti loderà la mia bocca.  
   
Quando penso a te che sei stato il mio aiuto,  
esulto di gioia all’ombra delle tue ali.  
A te si stringe l’anima mia:  
la tua destra mi sostiene.

Flosculus 22’07’2017

John 20.1-2.11-18

How much is the little Maria of Magdala loved? Symbol of mercy and forgiveness received, the saint combines three historical figures: forgiven sinner, Lazarus’s sister, and a disciple from Magdala.

In Vézelay, in Burgundy, an extraordinary Romanesque cathedral houses, according to tradition, the mortal remains of Saint Mary Magdalene. That place has thus become the temple of tenderness and forgiveness, of mercy and compassion. Through an initiatory journey, the pilgrim experimented with the measure of God’s goodness. Just before leaving one of the three doors of the façade, a capital on the top, inaccessible to sight, reveals the paradox of paradoxes. The sculptor depicts the hanging of Judas, the cursed altar. The representation is the usual medieval one: Judas’s soul comes out of his body as a demon destroys it. But on the other side a shepherd, the good shepherd, carries poor Judah. The shepherd’s face is divided in half, mixing joy to suffering. It is Christ who brings the soul of Judas behind him. Only in that place you could dare so much. Mary of Magdala continues to remind us of the unlimited measure of God’s infinite love. She who has experienced unconditional forgiveness, still invites us to become disciples of compassion.

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.

The Penitent

Feastday:July 22

She St. Mary was given the name ‘Magdalen’ because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords’ Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus’ empty tomb. Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars – along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (“the man born blind”), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72. St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments. 
More about this saint: St. Mary Magdalen (Feast day – July 22) Mary Magdalen was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life. When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Mary came to weep at His feet. Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus let such a sinner touch Him, but Our Lord could see into Mary’s heart, and He said: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much.” Then to Mary He said kindly, “Your faith has made you safe; go in peace.” From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles. When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only of His sufferings. No wonder Jesus said of her: “She has loved much.” After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning. Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: “Mary!” It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalen, the repentent sinner.

With Regard to the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, should have a proper Preface.

THE NEW PREFACE OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE

download (2)

With the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments on 3 June 2016 the celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene was elevated to the rank of Feast in the Roman Calendar and, given this special status, has been enriched by a proper preface to be inserted into the Missale Romanum on 22 June.

While as from the tenth century “Saint Mary Magdalene the Perfume bearer” was celebrated on this day in Constantinople, western tradition following the interpretation of Saint Gregory the Great has generally united in one person Mary of Magdala, the penitent woman forgiven by Jesus and Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus.

Thus she began to be commemorated liturgically in the West on 22 July from the eleventh century in Rome, spreading everywhere else during the twelfth century. We know of the existence of some medieval prefaces; Hispanic, Ambrosian and Frankish in origin, that present the memory of Saint Mary Magdalene in the light of the three women mentioned in the Gospels (cf. Corpus praefationum, CCSL 161, nn. 164, 609, 1154, 1281, 1573, 1585). The reform of the liturgical books after Vatican II, however, kept the
memorial of 22 July solely to Mary of Magdala, reviewing the readings, prayers and antiphons of the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours in the process.

A preface in honour of the Magdalene – unifying the three figures – is attested to in the
Ambrosian tradition (cf. n. 609 of the Corpus praefationum), where up until the post-conciliar reform it was found in the Missale Ambrosianum on 22 July together with the prescription to recite the Creed during the Mass which Schuster explained thus: “The Greeks gave Mary of Magdala the glorious title of isapóstolos, because she was the first who announced to the world, even to the Apostles themselves, the resurrection of the Lord. For this reason the Credo is recited in today’s Mass” (Liber sacramentorum, vol. VIII, Torino 1927, p.94). Today, the Missale Ambrosianum (Mediolani 1981, n. 349/6, p. 681) has changed the text of the preface in order to harmonise it with the memory solely of Mary of Magdala.

The new preface in the Missale Romanum is also framed within the actual physiognomy of the Feast and illuminated by the Gospel passage of John 20: 1-2, 11-18 (the Missale of 1962 uses the passage of the penitent woman from Luke 7: 36-50). Today in fact one listens to the account of the apparition of the Risen Lord and of his gradual self-revelation to Mary of Magdala who is given the particular mandate to go and announce the Mystery she has just experienced to the Apostles.

Here is the text:

“Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos te, Pater omnipotens, cuius non minor est misericordia quam potestas, in omnibus praedicare per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui in horto manifestus apparuit Mariae Magdalenae, quippe quae eum dilexerat viventem, in cruce viderat morientem, quaesierat in sepulcro iacentem, ac prima adoraverat a mortuis resurgentem, et eam apostolatus officio coram apostolis honoravit ut bonum novae vitae nuntium ad mundi fines perveniret. Unde et nos, Domine, cum Angelis et Sanctis universis tibi confitemur, in exsultatione
dicentes: Sanctus”.

(Unofficial translation: “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, to
glorify you in all things, almighty Father, whose mercy is no less than your power, through Christ our Lord.

He appeared in the garden and revealed himself to Mary Magdalene, for she had loved him while he was alive, seen him dying on the Cross, sought him as he lay in the tomb, and was the first to adore him newly risen from the dead. He honoured her with the task of being Apostle to the Apostles, so that the good news of new life might reach the ends of the earth. And so, Lord, with all the Angels and Saints, we, too, give you thanks, as in exultation we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…”).

Nestled within the initial protocol is the beautiful expression which praises the all-powerful Father, “cuius non minor est misericordia quam potestas”, drawn from the Missale Gothicum Vat. Reg. lat. 317 (edited by L.C. Mohlberg, Herder Roma, n. 70, p.21).
The body of the preface then focuses our attention on two actions of Christ: “apparuit
Mariae Magdalenae… et honoravit eam apostolatus officio”. Above all it says that after having been taken for someone he is not, Christ manifests himself clearly to Mary in the garden beside the  empty tomb, guiding her to remember the past in light of the present experience, summed up in four verbs – “dilexerat, viderat, quaesierat, adoraverat” – having as their object the One whom she had loved while he was alive, whom she had seen die on the cross, whom she had then seen laid in the sepulchre and whom now she adored risen from the dead. Nor should we omit to mention the references in the rhymed scansion “viventem, morientem, iacentem, resurgentem”. The source for
this sequence, with the new addition of the last word, is a passage from De vita beatae Mariae Magdalenae, attributed to Rabanus Maurus but datable to the twelfth century (he unites the three Marys as one), and who describes the believing gaze of the Magdalene thus: «crediditque indubianter, quem videbat Christum Filium Dei, verum esse Deum, quem dilexerat viventem, vere a mortuis resurrexisse, quem viderat morientem; vere Deo Patri esse aequalem, quem quaesierat in sepulcro iacentem» (cap. XXVI, PL 112, 1474).

The fact that Mary was the “first” to see the Risen Lord is attested to by the Gospel of John. This datum did not escape the notice of liturgical tradition: it is recorded, for example, by the above mentioned prefaces n. 1154: “primum se beatae Mariae Magdalenae vivum exhibuit” and n. 1585: “quem prima resurrexisse nuntiavit a mortuis Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum”, and also the hymn ad Laudes: “tu prima vivi ab inferis es testis atque nuntia” (Liturgia Horarum, die 22 iulii); John Paul II also recalls this fact in Mulieris dignitatem n. 16.

In second place, the preface says that Christ “eam apostolatus officio coram apostolis
honoravit”. This expression is also owed to the already mentioned Vita attributed to Rabanus Maurus, in which we read that Mary: “apostolatus officio quo honorata fuit fungi non distulit…” (cap. XXVII, PL 112, 1475). If the Apostles were to ensure that “bonum novae vitae nuntium ad mundi fines perveniret”, it was Mary’s task to bear them the gospel of the Living Christ. Saint Gregory the Great recalls this fact: “Tantumque apud eum locum gratiae invenit, ut hunc ipsis quoque apostolis, eius videlicet nuntiis, ipsa nuntiaret” (Homiliae in Evangelia, Hom. XXV: CCSL CXLI p. 215).
Indeed this “apostolatus officium” received from the Lord himself also earned her the title “apostolorum apostola” from Saint Thomas Aquinas (In Ioannem Evangelistam expositio, c. XXX, L III, 6), an eloquent appellation that has been used as the title for the new preface. The same pseudo-Rabanus Maurus observed that “Salvator… ascensionis suae eam ad apostolos instituit apostolam, digna mercede gratiae et gloriae, primoque et praecipue honoris privilegio, digne pro meritis omnium ministrarum suarum remunerans signiferam, quam ante modicum instituerat resurrectionis evangelistam, et ait illi ‘Vade ad fratres meos, et dic eis’” (cap. XXVII, PL 112, 1474).

Finally, in recalling that Christ “in horto manifestus apparuit Mariae Magdalenae” the
preface evokes, by way of contrast, the garden of paradise in which Eve was the harbinger of death. Such a connection did not escape the notice of Saint Gregory the Great who observed: “Ecce humani generis culpa ibi absciditur unde processit. Quia in paradiso mulier viro propinavit mortem, a sepulcro mulier viris annuntiat vitam, et dicta sui vivificatoris narrat, quae mortiferi serpentis verba narraverat. Ac si humano generi non verbis Dominus, sed rebus dicat: De qua manu vobis illatus est potus mortis, de ipsa suscipite poculum vitae” (Homiliae in Evangelia, Hom. XXV: CCSL CXLI p. 212).
The final protocol is taken from the praefatio II de Sanctis of the Missale Romanum.

+Arthur Roche
Archbishop Secretary
of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Dalle Omelie sui vangeli di Santo Padre San Gregorio Magno.

San Gregorio Magno, papa {(Om. 25, 1-2. 4-5; PL 76, 1189-1193) Ardeva del desiderio di Cristo}

  Maria Maddalena, venuta al sepolcro, e non trovandovi il corpo del Signore, pensò che fosse stato portato via e riferì la cosa ai discepoli. Essi vennero a vedere, e si persuasero che le cose stavano proprio come la donna aveva detto. Di loro si afferma subito: «I discepoli intanto se ne tornarono di nuovo a casa»; poi si soggiunge: «Maria invece stava all’esterno, vicino al sepolcro, e piangeva» (Gv 20, 10-11).
  In questo fatto dobbiamo considerare quanta forza d’amore aveva invaso l’anima di questa donna, che non si staccava dal sepolcro del Signore, anche dopo che i discepoli se ne erano allontanati. Cercava colui che non aveva trovato, piangeva in questa ricerca e, accesa di vivo amore per lui, ardeva di desiderio, pensando che fosse stato trafugato.
  Accadde perciò che poté vederlo essa sola che era rimasta per cercarlo; perché la forza dell’opera buona sta nella perseveranza, come afferma la voce stessa della Verità: «Chi persevererà sino alla fine, sarà salvato» (Mt 10, 22).
  Cercò dunque una prima volta, ma non trovò, perseverò nel cercare, e le fu dato di trovare. Avvenne così che i desideri col protrarsi crescessero, e crescendo raggiungessero l’oggetto delle ricerche. I santi desideri crescono col protrarsi. Se invece nell’attesa si affievoliscono, è segno che non erano veri desideri.
  Ha provato questo ardente amore chiunque è riuscito a giungere alla verità. Così Davide che dice: «L’anima mia ha sete di Dio, del Dio vivente, quando verrò e vedrò il volto di Dio?» (Sal 41, 3). E la Chiesa dice ancora nel Cantico de Cantici: Io sono ferita d’amore (cfr. Ct 4, 9). E di nuovo dice: L’anima mia è venuta meno (cfr. Ct 5, 6).
  «Donna perché piangi? Chi cerchi?» (Gv 20, 15). Le viene chiesta la causa del dolore, perché il desiderio cresca, e chiamando per nome colui che cerca, s’infiammi di più nell’amore di lui.
  «Gesù le disse: Maria!» (Gv 20, 16). Dopo che l’ha chiamata con l’appellativo generico del sesso senza essere riconosciuto, la chiama per nome come se volesse dire: Riconosci colui dal quale sei riconosciuta. Io ti conosco non come si conosce una persona qualunque, ma in modo del tutto speciale.
  Maria dunque, chiamata per nome, riconosce il Creatore e subito grida: «Rabbunì», cioè «Maestro»: era lui che ella cercava all’esterno, ed era ancora lui che la guidava interiormente nella ricerca.

Ufficio della Lettura @eflex