Thursday, 26 November 2020

MARANATHA - COME, LORD JESUS, C

 Sunday, November 29, 2020
 

First Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 2

L-Ewwel Ħadd tal-Avvent



Reading 1    ISAIAH 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7

You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.

Qari I       mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Isaija 63, 16b-17.19b; 64, 2-7
Int, Mulej, missierna, ismek il-Feddej tagħna minn dejjem. Għaliex, Mulej, iġġegħelna nwarrbu minn triqatek, u twebbsilna qalbna biex ma nibżgħux minnek? Erġa’ lura minħabba l-qaddejja tiegħek, it-tribujiet li huma wirtek. Mhux li kont iċċarrat is-smewwiet u tinżel minn hemm! U jitheżżu l-muntanji quddiemek meta int tagħmel għeġubijiet li ma konniex nistennew, u sa mill-qedem qatt ma smajna bihom! Widna qatt ma semgħet, għajn qatt ma rat Alla bħalek, Alla li jħabrek għal min jittama fih. Int tilqa’ lil min jagħmel is-sewwa bil-ferħ, lil dawk li jiftakru fi triqatek. Ara! Int kont mgħaddab għalina, u aħna dnibna. Domna fi dnubna, u kontrik qomna għal ħafna żmien. Tniġġisna lkoll kemm aħna, bħal ċarruta maħmuġa l-aħjar għemejjel tagħna; bħal werqa lkoll dbilna u ħżunijietna bħal riħ ġarrewna. Ħadd ma hawn li jsejjaħ ismek, li jitħarrek biex iżomm miegħek. Għax int ħbejt wiċċek minna, u rħejtna f’idejn ħżunijietna. Madankollu, Mulej, int missierna; aħna t-tafal, u inti l-fuħħari; aħna lkoll għemil idejk. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm      PSALM 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Salm Responsorjali       Salm 79 (80), 2aċ.3b.15-16.18-19
R/. (4): Reġġagħna għal li konna, Alla tal-eżerċti;

itfa’ fuqna d-dija ta’ wiċċek, u nkunu salvi
O Ragħaj ta’ Iżrael, agħti widen,
Int li qiegħed fuq il-kerubini, iddi:
Qajjem il-qawwa tiegħek,
u ejja ħa ssalvana. R/.

Erġa’ ejja, Alla tal-eżerċti;
ħares mis-sema, u ara,
u żur ’il din id-dielja.
Ħu ħsieb dak li ħawlet lemintek,
ir-rimja li int kabbart għalik. R/.

Ħa tkun idek fuq il-bniedem ta’ lemintek,
fuq il-bniedem li int saħħaħt għalik.
Aħna ma nitbegħdux minnek;
roddilna l-ħajja, u aħna nsejħu ismek. R/.

 
Reading II      1 CORINTHIANS 1:3-9
Brothers and sisters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Qari II       mill-Ewwel Ittra lill-Korintin 1, 3-9
Ħuti: Grazzja u sliem mingħand Alla Missierna u l-Mulej Ġesù Kristu! Jiena niżżi ħajr dejjem lil Alla tiegħi minħabba fikom għall-grazzja li Alla takom, lilkom fi Kristu Ġesù; fih intom stagħnejtu f’kollox, f’kull kelma, f’kull għerf daqs kemm ix-xhieda ta’ Kristu kienet imwettqa fikom. Għalhekk m’intom nieqsa minn ebda don, intom u tistennew id-dehra ta’ Sidna Ġesù Kristu. Huwa hu li jwettaqkom sal-aħħar biex tkunu bla ħtija fil-jum ta’ Sidna Ġesù Kristu. Alla jżomm kelmtu, minnu kontu msejħin biex tidħlu fix-xirka ta’ Ibnu Sidna Ġesù Kristu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel      MARK 13:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Evanġelju       Qari skond San Mark 13, 33-37
F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Kunu għajnejkom miftuħa, ishru, għax ma tafux meta se jasal il-waqt. Jiġri bħal meta bniedem ikun siefer u telaq mid-dar, iħalli kollox f’idejn il-qaddejja tiegħu, kull wieħed fuq xogħlu, u lil tal-bieb jordnalu biex jibqa’ jishar Mela ishru, għax ma tafux meta jiġi Sid id-dar, jekk hux filgħaxija, jew f’nofsillejl, jew xħin jidden is-serduk, jew inkella mas-sebħ, li ma jmurx jiġi għal għarrieda u jsibkom reqdin. U dak li qiegħed ngħid lilkom, qiegħed ngħidu għal kulħadd: ishru!”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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"But Whatever Gain I Had, I Counted as a Loss for the Sake of Christ" 

St. Paul: Model of True Christian Conversion

First Advent Sermon by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap, Pontifical Household Preacher and Cardinal-elect.


The following is the first of three Advent sermons that Fr. Cantalamessa will deliver here this Advent on the theme "'When the Fullness of Time Had Come, God Sent his Son, Born of a Woman - Going With St. Paul to Meet the Christ Who Comes."

St Paul is a great model and grace for the Church, and someone always worth looking to for direction.  But this also presents a danger: that of reflecting on Paul, his personality and his doctrine without taking the next step from him to Christ. The Holy Father warned against this risk in the homily with which he proclaimed the Pauline Year in the general audience of last July 2, stating: "This is the purpose of the Pauline Year: to learn from St. Paul, to learn the faith, to learn about Christ." This danger has occurred so many times in the past, to the point of giving a place to the absurd thesis according to which Paul, not Christ, is the real founder of Christianity. Jesus Christ was for Paul what Socrates was for Plato: a pretext, a name, under which to put his own thought.

The Apostle, as John the Baptist before him, is an index pointing to one "greater than he," of which he does not consider himself worthy to be an Apostle. The former thesis is the most complete distortion and the gravest offense that can be made to the Apostle Paul. If he came back to life, he would react to that thesis with the same vehemence with which he reacted in face of a similar misunderstanding of the Corinthians: "Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:13).

Another obstacle to overcome, also for us believers, is that of pausing on Paul's doctrine on Christ, without catching his love and fire for him. Paul does not want to be for us only a winter sun that illuminates but does not warm. The obvious intention of his letters is to lead readers not only to the knowledge of but also to love and passion for Christ.

To this end I wish to contribute the three meditations of Advent this year, beginning with this one today, in which we reflect on Paul's conversion, the event that, after the death and resurrection of Christ, has most influenced the future of Christianity.

1. Paul's Conversion Seen From Within

The best explanation of St. Paul's conversion is the one he himself gives when he speaks of Christian baptism as being "baptized into the death of Christ" -- "buried with him" to rise with him and "walk in newness of life" (cf. Romans 6:3-4). He relived in himself the paschal mystery of Christ, around which, in turn, all his thought will revolve. There are also impressive external analogies. Jesus remained three days in the sepulcher; for three days Saul lived as though dead: He could not see, stand, eat, then, at the moment of baptism, his eyes reopened, he was able to eat and gather his strength; he came back to life (cf. Acts 9:18).

Immediately after his baptism, Jesus withdrew to the desert and so did Paul, after being baptized by Ananias, he withdrew to the desert of Arabia, namely, the desert around Damascus. Exegetes estimate that there were some 10 years of silence in Paul's life between the event on the road to Damascus and the start of this public activity in the Church. The Jews sought him to death, the Christians did not yet trust him and feared him. His conversion recalls that of Cardinal Newman, whose former brothers of Anglican faith considered a renegade and Catholics looked upon with suspicion because of his new and ardent ideas.

The Apostle had a long novitiate; his conversion did not last a few minutes. And it is in this his kenosis, in this time of deprivation and silence that he accumulated that bursting energy and light that one day would pour over the world.

We have two descriptions of Paul's conversion: one that describes the event, so to speak, from outside, on a historical note, and another that describes the event from within, on a psychological or autobiographical note. The first type is the one we find in the three relations that we read about in the Acts of the Apostles. To it also belong some references that Paul himself makes of the event, explaining how from being a persecutor he became an apostle of Christ (cf. Galatians 1:13-24).

The second type belongs to Chapter 3 of the Letter to the Philippians, in which the Apostle describes what the encounter with Christ meant to him subjectively, what he was before and what he became afterward; in other words, in what the change in his life consisted existentially and religiously. We will concentrate on his text that, by analogy with the Augustinian work, we can describe as "the confessions of St. Paul."

In every change there is a "terminus a quo" and a "terminus ad quem," a point of departure and a point of arrival. The Apostle describes first of all the point of departure, that which was first:

"If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, as to zeal a persecutor of the Church, as to righteousness under the law blameless" (Philippians 3:4-6).

We can easily make a mistake in reading this description: These were not negative titles, but the greatest titles of holiness of the time. With them Paul's process of canonization could have been opened immediately, if it had existed at that time. It is as if to say of one today: baptized the eighth day, belonging to the structure par excellence of salvation, the Catholic Church, member of the most austere order of the Church (the Pharisees were this!), most observant of the Rule, etc."

Instead, there is a point at the top of the text that divides in two the page and life of Paul. It is divided by an adverse "but" that creates a total contrast: "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).

In this brief text the name of Christ appears three times. The encounter with him has divided his life in two, has created a before and an after. A very personal encounter (it is the only text where the Apostle uses the singular "my," not "our" Lord) and an existential encounter more than a mental one. No one will ever be able to know in-depth what happened in that brief dialogue: "Saul, Saul!" "Who are you, Lord? I am Jesus!" He describes it as a "revelation" (Galatians 1:15-16). It was a sort of fusion of fire, a beam of light that even today, at a distance of 2,000 years, illuminates the world.

2. A Change of Mind


We will attempt to analyze the content of the event. It was first of all a change of mind, of thought, literally a metanoia. Up to now Paul believed he could save himself and be righteous before God through the scrupulous observance of the law and the traditions of the fathers. Now he understood that salvation is obtained in another way. I want to be found, he says, "not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:8-9). Jesus made him experience in himself that which one day he would proclaim to the whole Church: justification by grace through faith (cf. Galatians 2:15-16; Romans 3:21 ff.).

An image comes to mind when reading the third chapter of the Letter to the Philippians: A man is walking at night in a thick wood in the faint light of a candle, being careful that it does not go out; walking, walking as dawn arrives, the sun comes out, the faint light of the candle turns pale, to the point that it is no longer useful and he throws it away. The smoking wick was his own righteousness. One day, in the life of Paul, the sun of righteousness arose, Christ the Lord, and from that moment he did not want any other light than his.

It is not a question of a point along with others, but of the heart of the Christian message. He would describe it as "his Gospel," to the point of declaring anathema whoever dared to preach a different Gospel, whether it be an angel or he himself (cf. Galatians 1:8-9). Why such insistence? Because the Christian novelty consists in this, which distinguishes it from every other religion or religious philosophy. Every religious proposal begins by telling men what they must do to save themselves or to obtain "illumination." Christianity does not begin by telling men what they must do, but what God has done for them in Christ Jesus. Christianity is the religion of grace.

There is a place -- and how great it is -- for the duties and observance of the Commandments, but then, as response to grace, not as its cause or price. We are not saved by good works, though we are not saved without good works. It is a revolution of which, at a distance of 2,000 years, we still try to be aware. The theological debates on justification through faith of the Reformation and onward have often hampered rather than favored it because they have kept the problem at the theoretical level, the texts of opposing schools, rather than helping believers to have the experience in their life.

3. "Repent, and Believe in the Gospel"


However, we must ask ourselves a crucial question: who is the author of this message? If it were the Apostle Paul, then those would be right who say that he, not Jesus, is the founder of Christianity. But he is not the author; he does no more than express in elaborated and universal terms a message that Jesus expressed with his typical language, made of images and parables.

Jesus began his preaching saying: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). With these words he already taught justification through faith. Before him, to be converted meant to "go back" (as indicated by the Hebrew term shub); it meant to return to the broken Covenant, through a renewed observance of the law. "Return to me [...], return from your evil ways," God said through the prophets (Zechariah 1:3-4; Jeremiah 8:4-5).

Consequently, to be converted has a primarily ascetic, moral and penitential meaning and it is affected by changing one's conduct of life. Conversion is seen as a condition for salvation; the meaning is: Repent and you will be saved; repent and salvation will come to you. This is the predominant meaning that the word conversion has on the lips of John the Baptist (cf. Luke 3:4-6). However, on Jesus' lips this moral meaning takes second place (at least at the beginning of his preaching) in regard to a new meaning, unknown until now. Manifested also in this is the epochal leap that is verified between the preaching of John the Baptist and that of Jesus.

To be converted no longer means to return to the ancient Covenant and the observance of the law, but to make a leap forward, entering into the new Covenant, to seize this Kingdom that has appeared, to enter it through faith. "Repent and believe" does not mean two different and successive things, but the same action: repent, that is believe; repent by believing! "Prima conversion fit per fidem," St. Thomas Aquinas would say, the first conversion consists in believing.[1]

God took the initiative of salvation: He has made his Kingdom come; man must only accept, in faith, God's offer and live the demands afterward. It is like a king who opens the door of his palace, where a great banquet is ready, and, being at the door, invites all passersby to enter, saying: "Come, all is ready!" It is the call that resounds in all the so-called parables of the Kingdom: The hour much awaited has struck, take the decision that saves, do not let the occasion slip by!

The Apostle says the same thing with the doctrine of justification through faith. The only difference is due to that which has occurred, in the meantime, between the preaching of Jesus and that of Paul: Christ was rejected and put to death for the sins of men. Faith in the Gospel ("believe in the Gospel"), is now configured as faith "in Jesus Christ," "in his blood" (Romans 3:25).

What the Apostle expresses through the adverb "freely" ("dorean") or "by grace," Jesus said with the image of receiving the Kingdom as a child, namely, as a gift, without putting forward merits, appealing only to the love of God, as children count on the love of their parents.

For some time exegetes have discussed whether or not one must continue to talk about the conversion of St. Paul; some prefer to speak of a "call," rather than conversion. There are those who would like the outright abolition of the feast of the conversion of St. Paul, as conversion indicates a detachment and a giving up of something, and a Jew who converts, as opposed to a pagan, must not give up anything, he must not pass from idols to the worship of the true God.[2]

It seems to me we are before a false problem. In the first place, there is no opposition between conversion and call: a call implies a conversion; it does not replace it, as grace does not replace freedom. However, above all we have seen that evangelical conversion is not about denying something or going back, but a reception of something new, a leap forward. To whom was Jesus speaking when he said: "Repent and believe in the Gospel"? Was he not speaking perhaps of the Jews? The Apostle referred to this same conversion with the words: "But when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:16).

In this light Paul's conversion appears to us as the model of true Christian conversion that consists first of all in accepting Christ, in "turning" to him through faith. It is a finding, not a giving up. Jesus does not say: A man sold all he had and began to look for a hidden treasure; he said: A man found a treasure and because of this sold everything.

4. A Lived Experience


In the document of agreement between the Catholic Church and the World Federation of Lutheran Churches on justification through faith, presented solemnly in St. Peter's Basilica by John Paul II and the archbishop of Uppsala in 1999, there is a final recommendation that seems of vital importance to me. In essence, it says this: The moment has come to make of this great truth a lived experience on the part of believers, and no longer an object of theological disputes between experts, as happened in the past.

The Pauline Year offers us the propitious occasion to live this experience. It could give a shove to our spiritual life, a breath and a new freedom. Charles Peguy recounted, in the third person, the story of the greatest act of faith of his life. A man, he said (and it is known he was speaking of himself) had three sons. On a bad day all three fell ill at the same time. Then he did something audacious. Thinking about it again admiringly, it must be said that it really was a daring act. Just as three children are sometimes gathered together and hoisted, almost jokingly, into the arms of their mother or nurse, who laughs and says to take them away because they are too many and too heavy, so he, daring man that he was, had taken -- one understands with prayer -- his three sick children and had peacefully put them into the arms of him who has charge of all the sorrows of the world. "Look," he said, "I give them to you, I turn and run away, so that you will not give them back to me. I don't want them any more, you see it well! You must be concerned with them." (Apart from the metaphor, he had gone on foot on a pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres to entrust his three sick children to Our Lady). From that day on, everything went well, naturally, because it was the Holy Virgin who was involved. It is also curious that not all Christians do as much. It is so simple, but no one ever thinks of what is simple.[3]

The story is useful to us at this moment because of the idea of the audacious act; because it relates to what is being discussed. The key to everything, it is said, is faith. But there are different types of faith: there is faith-assent of the intellect, faith-trust, faith-stability, as Isaiah calls it (7:9): of what faith does one refer to when speaking of justification "through faith"? It is a question of an all-together special faith: faith-appropriation!

Let us listen to St. Bernard on this point who says, "What I cannot obtain by myself, I appropriate (usurp!) with trust from the pierced side of the Lord, because he is full of mercy. My merit, therefore, is God's mercy. I am certainly not poor in merits, as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are many (Psalm 119:156), I too will abound with merits. And what about my justice? O Lord, I will remember only your justice. In fact, it is also mine, because you are for me justice on the part of God."[4] It is written, in fact, that "Christ Jesus ... became for us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30) -- for us, not for himself!

St. Cyril of Jerusalem expressed, with other words, the same idea of the audacious act of faith: "O extraordinary goodness of God toward men! The righteousness of the Old Testament pleased God in the toil of long years; but what they were able to obtain, through a long and heroic service acceptable to God, Jesus gives to you in the brief space of an hour. In fact, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and that God has resurrected him from the dead, you will be saved and introduced into paradise by the same one who introduced the good thief."[5]

Imagine, writes Cabasilas, when developing an image of St. John Chrysostom, that an epic fight is taking place in the stadium. A courageous man has confronted the cruel tyrant and, with enormous effort and suffering, has beaten him. You have not fought, you have made no effort or suffered wounds. However, if you admire the courageous man, if you rejoice with him over his victory, if you weave a crown for him, stir and shake the assembly for him, if you bow with joy to the winner, if you kiss his head and shake his right hand; in sum, if you are so delirious for him as to consider his victory yours, I tell you that you will certainly have a part of the winner's prize.

But there is more: Suppose the winner had no need of the prize he won, but desires, more than anything else, to see his supporter honored and considers the prize of his fight the crowning of his friend, in such a case, will that man, perhaps, not obtain the crown if he has not toiled or suffered wounds? Of course he will obtain it! Well, it happens in this way between Christ and us. Although not having yet toiled and fought -- although not having yet any merit -- nevertheless, through faith we extol Christ's struggle, admire his victory, honor his trophy which is the cross and valuable for him, we show vehement and ineffable love; we make our own those wounds and that death.[6] Thus it is that salvation is obtained.

The Christmas liturgy will speak to us of the "holy exchange," of the "sacrum commercium," between us and God realized in Christ. The law of every exchange is expressed in the formula: That which is mine is yours and that which is yours is mine. It derives that, that which is mine, namely sin, weakness, becomes Christ's; that which is Christ's, namely holiness, becomes mine. Because we belong to Christ more than to ourselves (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), it follows, writes Cabasilas, that, inversely, the holiness of Christ belongs to us more than our own holiness.[7] This is the thrust in the spiritual life. Its discovery is not done, usually, at the beginning, but at the end of one's own spiritual journey, when all the others paths have been experienced and one has seen that they do not go very far.

In the Catholic Church we have a privileged means to have a concrete and daily experience of this sacred exchange and of justification by grace through faith: the sacraments. Every time I approach the sacrament of reconciliation I have a concrete experience of being justified by grace, "ex opere operato," as we say in theology. I go out to the temple and say to God: "O God, have mercy on me a sinner" and, like the publican, I return home "justified" (Luke 18:14), forgiven, with a brilliant soul, as at the moment I came out of the baptismal font.

May St. Paul, in this difficult year we're living, obtain for us the grace of making like him this audacious thrust of faith.
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Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest. Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 22 July 1934, ordained priest in 1958. Divinity Doctor and Doctor in classical literature. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household in which capacity he still serves, preaching a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent. Pope Francis has now named him as a Cardinal-elect in honour  of his works.


 
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Thursday, 19 November 2020

THE KING IS COMING

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lectionary: 160 

Solennità ta' Sidna Ġesù Kristu Sultan tal-Ħolqien Kollu




Reading 1      EZEKIEL 34:11-12, 15-17
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark.  I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.  The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.
 
Qari I       mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Eżekjel 34, 11-12.15-17
Dan jgħid Sidi l-Mulej: Arawni, hekk jien se nfittex in-nagħaġ tiegħi u nieħu ħsiebhom. Bħalma r-ragħaj jaħseb fil-merħla tiegħu meta jsib ruħu f’nofs in-nagħaġ imxerrda tiegħu, hekk naħseb jien fin-nagħaġ tiegħi, u nsalvahom minn kull fejn xterdu fi żmien is-sħab u s-swied tal-ajru. Jiena stess nirgħa n-nagħaġ tiegħi, u jiena nserraħhom. Oraklu ta’ Sidi l-Mulej. Jiena nfittex il-mitlufa, irreġġa’ lura l-imxerrda, ninfaxxa l-ġrieħi tal-miġrugħa, u nqawwi l-marida. Inħares is-smina u l-qawwija, u nirgħahom bil-ġustizzja.  Imma għalik, merħla tiegħi, hekk jgħid Sidi l-Mulej: Ara, jiena nagħmel ħaqq bejn nagħġa u nagħġa, bejn imtaten u bdabad. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm      PSALM 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Salm Responsorjali      Salm 22 (23), 1-2a.2b-3.5-6
R/. (1): Il-Mulej hu r-ragħaj tiegħi, xejn ma jonqosni
Il-Mulej hu r-ragħaj tiegħi,
xejn ma jonqosni;
f’mergħat kollha ħdura jqegħedni. R/.

Ħdejn l-ilma, fejn nistrieħ, jeħodni;
hemm hu jrejjaqni.
Imexxini fit-triq tas-sewwa
minħabba l-isem tiegħu. R/.

Int tħejji mejda għalija
quddiem l-għedewwa tiegħi.
Biż-żejt tidlikli rasi,
u l-kalċi tiegħi tfawwarli. R/.

Miegħi, iva, jimxu t-tjieba u l-ħniena
il-jiem kollha ta’ ħajti.
U ngħammar f’dar il-Mulej
sakemm indum ħaj! R/.


Reading 2      1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

Qari II      mill-Ewwel Ittra lill-Korintin 15, 20-26.28
Ħuti, Kristu kien imqajjem tassew mill-imwiet, l-ewwel frott fost dawk li raqdu. Għaliex, jekk permezz ta’ bniedem feġġet il-mewt, bi bniedem ukoll iseħħ il-qawmien mill-imwiet. Għax bħalma l-bnedmin kollha jmutu f’Adam, hekk ilkoll jiksbu l-ħajja fi Kristu. Imma kulħadd skond kif imissu; jibda l-ewwel frott li hu Kristu; wara, dawk li huma ta’ Kristu, f’jum il-miġja tiegħu. Imbagħad it-tmiem, meta Kristu jerħi s-saltna f’idejn Alla l-Missier, wara li jkun qered kull ħakma u kull setgħa u kull qawwa. Għax jeħtieġ li hu jsaltan sa ma jqiegħed l-għedewwa kollha taħt riġlejh. L-aħħar għadu li jinqered tkun il-Mewt. U meta kollox ikun imqiegħed taħtu, imbagħad l-Iben stess jitqiegħed taħt Dak li jkun qegħedlu kollox taħtu, sabiex Alla jkun kollox f’kollox. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Gospel      MATTHEW 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Evanġelju      Qari skond San Mattew 25, 31-46
F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Meta jiġi Bin il-bniedem fil-glorja tiegħu u bl-anġli kollha miegħu, imbagħad joqgħod fuq it-tron glorjuż tiegħu. U quddiemu jinġabru l-ġnus kollha, u hu jifridhom minn xulxin, bħalma r-ragħaj jifred in-nagħaġ mill-mogħoż: in-nagħaġ iqegħedhom fuq il-lemin tiegħu u l-mogħoż fuq ix-xellug.  Imbagħad is-Sultan jgħid lil dawk ta’ fuq il-lemin tiegħu: “Ejjew, imberkin minn Missieri, ħudu b’wirt tagħkom is-Saltna li tħejjiet għalikom sa mill-ħolqien tad-dinja. Għax jien kont bil-ġuħ u tmajtuni, kont bil-għatx u sqejtuni, kont barrani u lqajtuni, kont għeri u libbistuni, kont marid u ġejtu tarawni, kont fil-ħabs u ġejtu żżuruni”.  Imbagħad iweġbuh il-ġusti: “Mulej, meta rajniek bil-ġuħ u tmajniek, jew bil-għatx u sqejniek? Meta rajniek barrani u lqajniek, jew għeri u libbisniek? Meta rajniek marid jew fil-ħabs u ġejna nżuruk?”. U s-Sultan iweġibhom u jgħid: “Tassew, ngħidilkom, kull ma għamiltu ma’ wieħed mill-iżgħar fost dawn ħuti, għamiltuh miegħi”. Imbagħad jgħid ukoll lil dawk ta’ fuq ix-xellug: “Morru minn quddiemi, misħutin, fin-nar ta’ dejjem li tħejja għax-xitan u għall-anġli tiegħu. Għax jien kont bil-ġuħ u ma tmajtunix, kont bil-għatx u ma sqejtunix, kont barrani u ma lqajtunix, kont għeri u ma libbistunix, kont marid u fil-ħabs u ma ġejtux iżżuruni!”.  Imbagħad huma wkoll iweġbuh: “Mulej, meta rajniek bil-ġuħ, jew bil-għatx, jew barrani, jew għeri, jew marid, jew fil-ħabs, u aħna ma waqafniex miegħek?”. Iweġibhom imbagħad u jgħidilhom: “Tassew, ngħidilkom, dak li ma għamiltux ma’ wieħed min dawk iż-żgħar, anqas miegħi ma għamiltuh”. U dawn imorru fit-tbatija ta’ dejjem u l-ġusti fil-ħajja ta’ dejjem”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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REFLECTION:
Before Him All Nations Will be Gathered

Gospel Commentary by Cardinal-elect Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap, Pontifical Household Preacher.

The Gospel of the last Sunday of the liturgical year presents us with the concluding moment of human history: Judgment Day. Jesus says in Matthew 25: “When the Son of man will come in glory with all his angels, he will sit upon the throne of glory, and before him all nations will be gathered and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

The first message contained in this Gospel does not have to do with the form or the outcome of the judgment, but the fact that there will be a judgment, that the world does not come from chance and does not end in chance. This world begins with: “Let there be light ... Let us make man.” And ends with: “Come, blessed of my Father ... Depart from me, accursed ones.” At the beginning of the world and at its end there is a decision of an intelligent mind and a sovereign will.

This beginning of the millennium is characterized by a heated debate over evolutionism and creationism. Reduced to its essentials, on the one side there are those who, appealing -- not always rightly -- to Darwin, believe that the world is a fruit of blind evolution, dominated by natural selection, and, on the other side, those who, although they admit a form of evolution, see God at work in the evolutionary process itself.

Some time ago at the Vatican there was a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which treated the theme "Scientific Insight Into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life." Distinguished scientists from around the world participated: some believers, some not, some were Nobel Prize recipients.

On the RAI 1 programme on the Gospel that I used to host I had interviewed one of the scientists, Professor Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health in the US. I asked him: “If evolution is true, is there still room for God?” He answered: “Darwin was right in formulating his theory according to which we descend from a common ancestor and there have been gradual changes over long periods of time, but this is the mechanical aspect of how life came to form this fantastic panorama of diversity. This does not answer the question of why there is life.”

“There are aspects of humanity,” he continued, “that are not easily explained: Like our moral sense, the knowledge of good and evil that sometimes leads us to make sacrifices that are not dictated by the laws of evolution. These laws would suggest that we preserve ourselves at all costs. This is not a proof, but does it not perhaps indicate that God exists?”

I also asked Collins whether he had first believed in God or in Jesus Christ. He said: “Until the age of about 25 I was an atheist, I did not have a religious formation, I was a scientist who reduced almost everything to the equations and laws of physics. But as a doctor I began to meet people who were faced with the problem of life and death, and this made me think that my atheism was not an idea that had a basis. I began to read texts about rational arguments for faith that I did not know.

"First I arrived at the conviction that atheism was the least acceptable alternative, and little by little I came to the conclusion that a God must exist who created all of this, but I did not know about this God. This led me to conduct research to find out what the nature of God is, and I found it in the Bible and in the person of Jesus. After two years of research I decided that it was not more reasonable to resist and I became a follower of Jesus.”

A major promoter of evolutionism in our days is the Englishman Richard Dawkins, the author of the book “The God Delusion.” He is now promoting a public campaign to put placards on buses in English cities that read: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life.” If I put myself in the shoes of a parent with a handicapped, autistic or gravely sick child, or a farm worker who has lost his job, I wonder how such a person would react to that announcement: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life!” "Probably": He doesn't even exclude the possibility that God could exist! But if God doesn't exist, the believer loses nothing. On the other hand, the nonbeliever loses everything.

The existence of evil and injustice in the world is certainly a mystery and a scandal, but without faith in a final judgment, it would be infinitely more absurd and more tragic. For many millennia of life on earth, man has become accustomed to everything; he has adapted to every climate, become immune to every disease. But there is one thing that he has not gotten used to: injustice. He continues to feel it intolerable. And it is to this thirst for justice that the universal judgment will respond.

Not only God will desire it, but, paradoxically, men will too, even the wicked ones. “On the day of the universal judgment, it will not only be the Judge who will descend from heaven,” the French poet Paul Claudel wrote, “but the whole earth will rush to the meeting.”

The solemnity of Christ the King, with the Gospel of the final judgment, responds to the most universal of human hopes. It assures us that injustice and evil will not have the last word and at the same time it calls on us to live in such a way that justice is not a condemnation for us, but salvation, and we can be those to whom Christ will say: "Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." [Translated from the Italian original by Joseph G. Trabbic]

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Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest. Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 22 July 1934, ordained priest in 1958. Divinity Doctor and Doctor in classical literature. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household in which capacity he still serves, preaching a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent. Pope Francis has recently nominated him as a C\ardinal-elect.

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Thursday, 12 November 2020

 Sunday, November 15, 2020
Thirty-third  Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 157

It-Tlieta u Tletin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena


Reading 1      PROVERBS  31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Qari I     Għeluq tal-Ktieb tal-Proverbi 31, 10-13.19-20.30-31
Mara ta’ ħila min isibha? Tiswa ħafna aktar mill-ġawhar. Fuqha tistrieħ qalb żewġha, u dan żgur ikunlu ta’ ġid. Riżq tajjeb iġġiblu, u mhux ħażin, il-jiem kollha ta’ ħajjitha. Tfittex suf u ħjut tal-qoton, u taħdmu bil-qalb b’idejha. Tmidd idejha għall-magħżel, jaqbdu d-dussies idejha. Tiftaħ mal-fqir idejha, tmidd idejha lejn l-imsejken. Qarrieqa l-ħlewwa tal-mara, fiergħa sbuħitha; mara li tibża’ mill-Mulej ta’ min ifaħħarha. Agħtuha mill-frott ta’ xogħol idejha. Ħa jfaħħruha f’bibien il-belt l-għemejjel tagħha. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm      PSALM 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Salm Responsorjali      Salm 127 (128), 1-2.3.4-5
R/. (1a): Hieni kull min jibża’ mill-Mulej

Hieni kull min jibża’ mill-Mulej,
kull min jimxi fit-triqat tiegħu!
Mix-xogħol ta’ idejk inti tiekol;
hieni int, u riżqek tajjeb! R/.

Martek tkun bħal dielja għammiela
fl-irkejjen ta’ darek;
uliedek bħal xitel taż-żebbuġ
madwar il-mejda tiegħek. R/.

Ara, kif ikun imbierek il-bniedem
li jibża’ mill-Mulej!
Ibierkek il-Mulej minn Sijon!
Jalla tara l-ġid ta’ Ġerusalemm
tul ħajtek kollha!
Jalla tara wlied uliedek! R/.


Reading 2     1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, "Peace and security," then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.

Qari II      mill-Ewwel Ittra lit-Tessalonkin 5, 1-6
Dwar il-ħin u ż-żmien, ħuti, ma għandix bżonn niktbilkom. Intom tafu sewwa li Jum il-Mulej jiġi għal għarrieda bħal ħalliel bil-lejl. Meta kulħadd jibda jgħid: “Sliem u mistrieħ”, dak il-ħin stess, bħal-luġigħ fuq mara li tkun waslet għall-ħlas, tiġi fuqhom għal għarrieda l-qerda u ma jeħilsu b’xejn. Ħuti, intom m’intomx fid-dlam biex Jum il-Mulej jeħodkom għal għarrieda bħal ħalliel. Intom ilkoll ulied id-dawl u wlied il-jum; aħna m’aħniex ulied il-lejl, anqas ulied id-dlam. Għalhekk ma għandniex norqdu bħall-oħrajn, iżda nishru u ngħixu bil-qjies.  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej

Gospel      MATTHEW 25:14-30
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one-- to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master's money. "After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, 'Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.'His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, 'Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.'His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?  ow then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.  For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"
 
Evanġelju       Qari skond San Mattew 25, 14-30

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu din il-parabbola: “Wieħed li kien se jsiefer, sejjaħ lill-qaddejja tiegħu u ħallielhom ġidu f’idejhom. Lil wieħed tah ħames talenti, lil ieħor tnejn, u lil ieħor wieħed, kull wieħed skond il-ħila tiegħu. U siefer. Dak li kien ħa l-ħames talenti mar minnufih iħaddimhom u qala’ ħamsa oħra. Hekk ukoll dak li kien ħa tnejn qala’ tnejn oħra. Iżda dak li ħa wieħed mar ħaffer fl-art u ħeba flus sidu. Wara ħafna, sid dawk il-qaddejja raġa’ lura u beda jagħmel il-kontijiet magħhom. Resaq quddiemu dak li kien ħa ħames talenti u ġieblu ħames talenti oħra. “Sinjur – qallu – ħames talenti ħallejtli f’idejja; hawn, ara, qlajt ħamsa oħra”. Qallu s-sinjur: “Sewwa, qaddej tajjeb u fidil; int kont fidil fil-ftit, u jien se nafdak fuq ħafna; idħol fl-hena ta’ sidek”. Resaq ukoll dak li kien ħa żewġ talenti, u qallu: “Sinjur, żewġ talenti ħallejtli f’idejja; hawn, ara, qlajt tnejn oħra”. Qallu s-sinjur: “Sewwa, qaddej tajjeb u fidil; int kont fidil fil-ftit, u jien se nafdak fuq ħafna; idħol fl-hena ta’ sidek”. Iżda resaq ukoll dak li kien ħa talent wieħed, u qal: “Sinjur, lilek nafek bħala raġel aħrax, taħsad fejn ma żrajtx u tiġbor fejn ma xerridtx. Bżajt, u mort ħbejt it-talent tiegħek fl-art: hawn, ara, għandek dak li hu tiegħek”. Qabeż is-sinjur u qallu: “Qaddej ħażin u għażżien, kont taf li jien naħsad fejn ma żrajtx u niġbor fejn ma xerridtx. Mela kien imissek mort qegħedt flusi l-bank biex, meta niġi, kont immur niġborhom bl-imgħax. Ħudulu mela t-talent u agħtuh lil dak li għandu l-għaxar talenti. Għax kull min għandu, jingħatalu, u jkollu żżejjed ukoll; iżda min ma għandux, jitteħidlu saħansitra dak li għandu. U lil dan il-qaddej bla fejda itfgħuh ’il barra fid-dlam; hemmhekk ikun hekk il-biki u t-tgħażżiż tas-snien””. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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Faith,  the Sacraments, and the Woman
 

Gospel Commentary by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap, Pontifical Household Preacher and Cardinal-elect.

This Sunday's Gospel is the parable of the talents. Unfortunately, in the past the meaning of this parable has been habitually distorted, or at least very much reduced.

Hearing talk of talents we immediately think of natural gifts of intelligence, beauty, strength, artistic abilities. The metaphor is used to speak about actors, singers, comedians, etc. The usage is not completely mistaken, but it is secondary. Jesus did not intend to speak of the obligation of developing one's natural gifts, but of developing the gifts given by him. On the contrary, sometimes it is necessary to curb this tendency to focus on one's own talents because this can easily become careerism, a mania of imposing oneself on others.

The talents that Jesus is speaking about are the Word of God and faith: in a word, the kingdom proclaimed by him. In this sense the parable of the talents stands alongside that of the sower. The different outcomes of the talents given correspond to the different fates of the seeds cast on the ground by the sower -- some produce 60%, some are buried beneath thorns or eaten by birds.

Today faith and the sacraments are the talents that we Christians have received. The parable thus obliges us to examine our conscience: What use are we making of these talents? Are we either like the servant who made them bear fruit or like the one who buried them? I would compare it to a Christmas present that one has forgotten and left unopened in a corner.

The fruits of natural talents become irrelevant to us when we die or, at best, pass on to those who come after us; the fruits of spiritual talents follow us into eternal life and one day will gain us the approval of the divine Judge: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Since you have been faithful in small things I will give you authority over greater things. Enter into the joy of your master."

Our human and Christian duty is not only to develop our own natural and spiritual talents, but also to help others develop theirs. In the contemporary world there are people whose job it is to be "talent scouts." They are people who can pick out hidden talents -- in painting, singing, acting, sports and so on. They help those with the talents to cultivate them and find them sponsors. They do not do this for free or for the love of art, but to get a percentage of the earnings of the talented people they discovered, once they succeed.

The Gospel invites us all to be talent scouts, not for the love of gain but to help those who are unable to begin developing their talents on their own. Humanity owes some of its geniuses and best artists to the altruism of the friends of these people, who believed in them and encouraged them when no one else did. One exemplary case that comes to mind is Theo Van Gogh, who supported his brother Vincent financially and morally his whole life, when no one believed in him and he was unable to sell any of his paintings. They exchanged more than 600 letters, documents of great humanity and spirituality. Without Theo Van Gogh, we would not have the many paintings of his brother that everyone loves and admires.

The first reading invites us to reflect on a particular talent that is both natural and spiritual: the talent of femininity, the talent of being a woman. This reading contains the famous praise of women that begins with the words: "A perfect woman, who can find her?" This praise, which is so beautiful, has one defect, which does not come from the inspiration but from the epoch in which it was written and the culture that it reflects. If we pay attention, we see that the praise has entirely to do with what the woman does for the man. Its implicit conclusion: Blessed is the man who has such a woman. She makes him nice clothes, brings honour to his house, allows him to hold his head high among his friends. I do not think women today would be enthusiastic about this laud.

Putting this limitation aside, I would like to underscore the relevance of this praise of women. Everywhere there is the demand to make more room for women, to value the feminine genius. We do not believe that "the eternal feminine will save us." Daily experience shows that women can lift themselves up, but also that they can let themselves down. They also need Christ's salvation. But it is certain that, once she is redeemed and "liberated" by him, on the human level, from ancient subjections, she can help to save our society from some inveterate evils that threaten it: violence, will to power, spiritual aridity, scorn for life, etc.

After so many ages that took their name from man -- from the ages of "homo erectus" and "homo faber," to the age of "homo sapiens" today, we might hope that there will finally come, for humanity, the age of woman: the age of the heart, of tenderness, of compassion. It was devotion to the Virgin that, in past centuries, inspired respect for women and their idealisation in literature and art. The woman of today, too, can look to her as a model, friend and ally in defending the dignity and the talent of being a woman.  [Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest. Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 22 July 1934, ordained priest in 1958. Divinity Doctor and Doctor in classical literature. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household in which capacity he still serves, preaching a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent. Pope Francis has recently announced his election to Cardinal.

ADVENT WITH FR CANTALAMESSA -   This Advent you can log on to an incredible 26-day journey to discover the Great Joy of the season....a free retreat with Cardinal-elect Raniero Cantalamessaand retreat master  Chris Stefanick - for FREE! You will learn about the deepest desires of your heart, why we sometimes fail to realize those desires, and how to actually achieve true, lasting, and unshakeable joy in and through Jesus Christ. To register log on here - https://coaching.reallifecatholic.com/unshakeable-joy?mc_cid=8e61e31bae&mc_eid=5bf5b74544

Thursday, 5 November 2020


Sunday, November 8, 2020
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 154

It-Tnejn u Tletin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena



Reading 1        WISDOM 6:12-16
Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.

Qari I        Qari mill-Ktieb tal-Għerf 6, 12-16
L-għerf jiddi, bla qatt ma jnemnem, malajr jagħrfuh dawk li jħobbuh, u jsibuh dawk li jfittxuh. Hu jħabrek biex jidher lil dawk li jixtiquh. Min ibakkar ifittxu, ma jitħabatx, għax ħdejn biebu bilqiegħda jsibu. L-aqwa tal-għaqal hu li taħseb fl-għerf, u min jishar għalih malajr jeħles mill-inkwiet. L-għerf idur u jfittex lil dawk li jixirqulu, kollu ħlewwa jidhrilhom fit-triq, u jiltaqa’ magħhom f’kull ħsieb tagħhom. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm         PSALM 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

I will remember you upon my couch,
and through the night-watches I will meditate on you:
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Salm Responsorjali        Salm 62 (63), 2.3-4.5-6.7-8
R/. (2b): Mulej, Alla tiegħi, ruħi bil-għatx għalik

Alla, Alla tiegħi int; lilek ħerqan infittex.
Ruħi bil-għatx għalik,
għalik imxennaq jiena,
bħal art niexfa, maħruqa, bla ilma. R/.

Għalhekk ġejt narak fit-tempju mqaddes tiegħek,
biex nitgħaxxaq bis-setgħa u l-glorja tiegħek.
Għax it-tjieba tiegħek aħjar mill-ħajja,
xufftejja jxandru t-tifħir tiegħek. R/.

Għalhekk inbierkek tul ħajti kollha;
ngħolli idejja u nsejjaħ ismek.
Bħal b’ikel mill-aħjar li jsemmen nimtela,
u jgħannilek fommi b’xufftejn ferrieħa. R/.

Meta, mimdud fuq friexi, fik niftakar,
u naħseb fuqek fis-sahriet tal-lejl.
Għax inti kont għajnuna għalija,
għad-dell ta’ ġwenħajk ngħanni bil-ferħ.
R/.

Reading 2        1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18 OR 4:13-14

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.

Qari II        mill-Ewwel Ittra lit-Tessalonkin 4, 13-18
Ma rridux li ma tkunux tafu, ħuti, fuq il-mejtin biex ma ssewdux qalbkom bħall-oħrajn li ma għandhomx tama. Jekk aħna nemmnu li Ġesù miet u qam mill-imwiet, hekk ukoll Alla jiġbor miegħu lil dawk li raqdu f’Ġesù. Dan ngħidulkom fuq il-kelma tal-Mulej, jiġifieri li aħna li nkunu għadna hawn ħajjin għall-miġja tal-Mulej, ma mmorrux qabel dawk li jkunu raqdu. Għaliex il-Mulej innifsu mal-kmand, mal-leħen ta’ l-arkanġlu u t-tromba ta’ Alla, jinżel mis-sema, u dawk li jkunu mietu fi Kristu jqumu l-ewwel. Imbagħad aħna li nkunu ħajjin, li nkunu għadna hawn, ninħatfu magħhom fis-sħab biex niltaqgħu mal-Mulej fl-ajru. Hekk inkunu dejjem mal-Mulej. Agħmlu l-qalb lil xulxin b’dan il-kliem.  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Gospel         MATTHEW 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.  Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.  Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Evanġelju        Qari skond San Mattew 25, 1-13
F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu din il-parabbola: “Is-Saltna tas-Smewwiet ixebbhuha ma’ għaxar xebbiet li ħarġu bl-imsiebaħ tagħhom biex jilqgħu l-għarus. Ħamsa minnhom kienu boloh u ħamsa għaqlin, il-boloh ħadu l-imsiebaħ imma ma ħadux żejt magħhom, waqt li l-għaqlin ħadu mhux biss l-imsiebaħ iżda wkoll iż-żejt fil-kwies. L-għarus iddawwar ma ġie, u għalhekk ilkoll ħadhom in-ngħas u raqdu. Imbagħad f’nofs ta’ lejl instama’ min jgħajjat: “Ara l-għarus! Oħorġu ilqgħuh!”. Dawk ix-xebbiet qamu lkoll u ħejjew l-imsiebaħ tagħhom. Iżda l-boloh qalu lill-għaqlin: “Agħtuna ftit żejt minn tagħkom, għax l-imsiebaħ tagħna jintfew”. Qabżu l-għaqlin u qalu: “Għandu mnejn ma jibqax biżżejjed, la għalina u lanqas għalikom! L-aħjar morru għand tal-ħanut u ixtru għalikom”. Xħin dawk marru biex jixtru jiġi l-għarus; dawk li kienu lesti daħlu miegħu għall-festa tat-tieġ, u l-bieb ingħalaq. Saflaħħar waslu wkoll ix-xebbiet l-oħra, u bdew jgħidu: “Sinjur, Sinjur, iftħilna!”. Iżda hu weġibhom u qal: “Tassew, ngħidilkom, lilkom ma nafkomx”. Ishru, mela, għaliex la tafu l-jum u lanqas is-siegħa”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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 "Where Are We Going?" 

asks Fr Cantalamessa

The Pontifical Household Preacher and Cardinal-elect Fr Raniero Cantalamessa ofmCap  comments on Sunday’s Gospel and discusses the parable of the 10 virgins.


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When commenting on the parable of the 10 virgins, we do not want to emphasize so much what differentiates the young maidens (five are wise, and five are foolish), as what unites them: All are going out to meet the bridegroom.

This allows us to reflect on a fundamental aspect of Christian life — its eschatological orientation, that is, the expectation of the Lord’s return and our encounter with him. It helps us to respond to the eternal and disturbing question: Who are we and where are we going?

Scripture says that in this life we are “foreign pilgrims,” we are “parishioners,” as “paroikos” is the word of the New Testament that is translated as pilgrim and exile (cf. 1 Peter 2:11), and “paroikia” (parish) is the translation of pilgrimage or exile (cf. 1 Peter 1:17).

The meaning is clear. In Greek, “para” is an adverb and it means next. “Oikia” is a subject and it means house. Therefore, it means to live next to, or near, not inside, but beside. For this reason, the term indicates someone who lives in a place for a time, the passer-by, or the exile; “paroikia” indicates, therefore, a provisional house.


The life of Christians is a life of pilgrimage and exile. Christians are “in” the world, but not “of” the world (cf. John 17:11,16). Their true homeland is in heaven, and they await Jesus Christ the savior to come (cf. Philippians 3:20). They do not have a stable dwelling, but are on the way to their future one (cf. Hebrews 13:14). The whole Church is no more than a great “parish.”

The second-century letter to Diogenes defines Christians as men who “inhabit their own homelands, but as foreigners; they participate in everything as citizens, but endure everything as foreigners; every foreign land is their homeland, and every homeland is foreign to them.” It is, however, a special way of being “foreign.”

Some thinkers of the age also defined man as a “foreigner in the world by nature.” But the difference is enormous: The latter considered the world as the work of evil, and because of this, they did not recommend commitment to it as expressed in marriage, in work, in the state. There is nothing of all this in the Christian. Christians, the letter says, “marry as everyone and beget children,” “they take part in everything.”

Their way of being “foreign” is eschatological, not ontological. Namely, the Christian feels himself a foreigner by vocation, not by nature, in as much as he is destined to another world, and not in so far as he proceeds from another world. The Christian sentiment of acknowledging oneself foreign is founded on the resurrection of Christ: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1). That is why he does not reject creation in its fundamental goodness.

In recent times, the rediscovery of the role and commitment of Christians in the world has contributed to attenuate the eschatological meaning, to the point that there is almost no talk of the last things: death, judgment, hell and paradise. But when the expectation of the Lord’s return is genuinely biblical, it does not distract from the commitment to brothers; rather, it purifies it.

It teaches to “judge with wisdom the goods of the earth, orienting ourselves always toward the goods of heaven.” St. Paul, after reminding Christians that “the time is short,” concluded saying: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

To live awaiting the Lord’s return does not even mean to want to die soon. “To seek the things that are above” means, rather, to orient one’s life in view of the encounter with the Lord, to make this event the pole of attraction, the beacon of life. The “when” is secondary, and must be left to the will of God.  [from Italian original published in "Famiglia Cristiana"; translation by ZENIT]

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Thursday, 29 October 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020
Solemnity of All Saints
Lectionary: 667

Solennità - Il-Qaddisin Kollha



Reading 1        REVELATIONS 7:2-4, 9-14

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen.  Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever.  Amen." Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
 
Qari I        mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 7:2-4,9-14
Jiena, Ġwanni, rajt Anġlu ieħor tiela’ bis-siġill ta’ Alla l-ħaj min-naħa tal-Lvant, u b’leħen għoli għajjat lill-erba’ Anġli li lilhom kienet ingħatat is-setgħa li jagħmlu l-ħsara lill-art u lill-baħar, u qalilhom: “Tagħmlulhomx ħsara lill-art u lill-baħar, anqas lis-siġar, qabel ma nkunu stampajna s-siġill fuq il-ġbin tal-qaddejja ta’ Alla tagħna”. Imbagħad smajt x’kien il-għadd tal-issiġillati: mija u erbgħa u erbgħin elf issiġillat minn kull tribù ta’ wlied Israel. Wara dan, ħarist, u ara, kien hemm kotra kbira li ħadd ma jista’ jgħoddha, minn kull ġens u tribù, minn kull poplu u lsien, weqfin quddiem it-tron u quddiem il-Ħaruf, lebsin ilbiesi twal bojod, u bil-friegħi tal-palm f’idejhom. U għollew leħinhom u bdew jgħidu: “Is-salvazzjoni nafuha lil Alla tagħna li qiegħed fuq it-tron, u lill-Ħaruf”. L-Anġli kollha kienu qegħdin madwar it-tron u madwar ix-Xjuħ u l-erba’ Ħlejjaq Ħajjin, u waqgħu wiċċhom fl-art quddiem it-tron jagħtu qima lil Alla u jgħidu: “Ammen. It-tifħir u l-glorja, il-għerf, ir-radd ta’ ħajr u l-ġieħ, il-qawwa u s-saħħa lil Alla tagħna, għal dejjem ta’ dejjem! Ammen”.  Imbagħad wieħed mix-Xjuħ qabad u staqsieni: “Dawn li għandhom l-ilbiesi twal bojod fuqhom min huma, u minn fejn ġejjin?”. “Inti taf, sinjur,” għidtlu jien. Imbagħad qalli: “Dawn huma dawk li ġejjin mit-taħbit il-kbir, u l-ilbiesi tagħhom ħasluhom u bajduhom fid-demm tal-Ħaruf”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm        PSALM 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Salm Responsorjali        Salm 23 (24), 1-2.3-4ab.5-6
R/. (ara 6): Dan hu n-nisel ta’ dawk li jfittxu wiċċek, Mulej.

Tal-Mulej hi l-art u kulma fiha,
id-dinja u kulma jgħix fiha.
Għax hu fuq l-ibħra waqqafha,
u fuq ix-xmajjar wettaqha. R/.

Min jista’ jitla’ fuq l-għolja tal-Mulej,
min joqgħod fil-post imqaddes tiegħu?
Min għandu jdejh indaf u qalbu safja,
min ma tax ruħu għall-frugħa. R/.

Dan ikollu barka mingħand il-Mulej,
u l-ħlas li ħaqqu minn Alla, is-Salvatur tiegħu.
Dan hu n-nisel ta’ dawk li jfittxuh;
li jfittxu ’l wiċċek, Alla ta’ Ġakobb. R/.


Reading 2       1 JOHN 3:1-3
Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

Qari II        mill-Ewwel Ittra ta’ San Ġwann  3:1-3
Għeżież: Araw b’liema mħabba ħabbna l-Missier: nistgħu nissejħu wlied Alla, u tassew aħna. Għalhekk id-dinja ma tagħrafniex, għax ma għarfitx lilu. Għeżież, issa nafu li aħna wlied Alla, imma x’sa nkunu ’l quddiem mhux muri lilna. Madankollu nafu li, meta hu jidher, aħna nkunu bħalu, għax narawh kif inhu. Kull min għandu din it-tama fih, isir safi bħalma safi huwa Kristu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Gospel        MATTHEW 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.  He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Evanġelju       Qari skont San Mattew 5:1-12a  
F’dak iż-żmien: Ġesù kif ra l-folol, tela’ fuq il-muntanja, u wara li qagħad bilqiegħda, resqu lejh id-dixxipli tiegħu. U hu fetaħ fommu u qabad ikellimhom u jgħid: “Henjin il-fqar fl-ispirtu, għax tagħhom hija s-saltna tas-Smewwiet. Henjin l-imnikkta, għax huma jkunu mfarrġa. Henjin ta’ qalbhom ħelwa, għax huma jkollhom l-art bħala wirt. Henjin dawk li huma bil-ġuħ u l-għatx tal-ġustizzja, għax huma jkunu mxebbgħa. Henjin dawk li jħennu, għax huma jisbu ħniena. Henjin dawk li huma safja f’qalbhom, għax huma jaraw ’l Alla. Henjin dawk li jġibu l-paċi, għax huma jissejħu wlied Alla. Henjin dawk li huma ppersegwitati minħabba fil-ġustizzja, għax tagħhom hija s-Saltna tas-smewwiet. Henjin intom, meta jgħajrukom u jippersegwitawkom u jgħidu kull deni fuqkom bil-gideb minħabba fija. Ifirħu u thennew, għax ħlaskom kbir fis-smewwiet”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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Life After Death

Gospel Commentary for All saints and All Souls Days by (soon to be Cardinal) Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap, Pontifical Household Preacher.


The feast of All Saints' Day and the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed have something in common, and for this reason, have been placed one after the other. Both celebrations speak to us of what's beyond. If we didn't believe in a life after death, it would not be worth it to celebrate the feast of the saints, and even less, to visit the cemetery. Who would we go to visit or why would we light a candle or bring a flower?

Thus, everything in this day invites us to a wise reflection: "Teach us to count our days," says a Psalm, "that we may gain wisdom of heart." "We live like tree leaves in autumn" (G. Ungaretti). The tree in spring blooms again, but with other leaves; the world will continue after us, but with other inhabitants. Leaves don't have a second life; they disintegrate where they fall. Does the same happen to us? That's where the analogy ends. Jesus promised: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in, even if he dies, will live." This is the great challenge of faith, not just for Christians, but also for Jews and Muslims, for everyone who believes in a personal God.

Those who have seen the movie "Doctor Zhivago" will remember the famous song from Lara, the sound track. The Italian version says: "I don't know what it is, but there is a place from which we will never return …" The song points to the meaning of the famous novel by Pasternak on which the movie is based: Two lovers find each other, seek each other, but they are those whom destiny (we find ourselves in the tumultuous epoch of the Bolshevik Revolution) cruelly separates, until the final scene when their paths cross again, but without recognizing one another.

Every time I hear the notes of this song, my faith brings me almost to shout out inside me: Yes, there is a place from where we will never return and from where we will not want to return. Jesus has gone to prepare it for us, he has opened life for us with his resurrection and he has indicated the path to follow him with the passage of the beatitudes. A place where time will stop to make way for eternity; where love will be full and total. Not just the love of God and for God but also all honest and holy love lived on earth.

Faith doesn't free believers from the anguish of having to die, but it soothes us with hope. A preface of the Mass (for All Souls' Day) says: "If the certainty of having to die saddens us, the hope of future immortality consoles us." In this sense, there is a moving testimony that also comes from Russia. In 1972, in a clandestine magazine a prayer was published that had been found in the jacket pocket of a soldier, Aleksander Zacepa, composed just before the World War II battle in which he would die.

It says:

"Hear me, oh God! In my lifetime, I have not spoken with you even once, but today I have the desire to celebrate. Since I was little, they have always told me that you don't exist. And I, like an idiot, believed it. I have never contemplated your works, but tonight I have seen from the crater of a grenade the sky full of stars, and I have been fascinated by their splendour. In that instant I have understood how terrible is the deception. I don't know, oh God, if you will give me your hand, but I say to you that you understand me …

"Is it not strange that in the middle of a frightful hell, light has appeared to me, and I have discovered you?  I have nothing more to tell you. I feel happy, because I have known you. At midnight, we have to attack, but I am not afraid. You see us.

"They have given the signal. I have to go. How good it was to be with you! I want to tell you, and you know, that the battle will be difficult: Perhaps this night, I will go to knock on your door. And if up to now, I have not been your friend, when I go, will you allow me to enter?

"But, what's happening to me? I cry? My God, look at what has happened to me. Only now, I have begun to see with clarity. My God, I go. It will be difficult to return. How strange, now, death does not make me afraid."  [Translation by Zenit]

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