Daily Readings and Homily – 2020-12-26 – Fr. Leonard

>> A READING FROM THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES STEPHEN, FILLED WITH GRACE AND POWER WAS WORKING GREAT WONDERS AND SIGNS AMONG THE PEOPLE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE SO-CALLED SYNAGOGUE OF FREEDMEN, CYRENIANS AND ALEXANDRIANS AND PEOPLE FROM CILICIA AND ASIA CAME FORWARD AND DEBATED WITH STEPHEN BUT THEY COULD NOT WITHSTAND THE WISDOM AND THE SPIRIT WITH WHICH HE SPOKE WHEN THEY HEARD THIS, THEY WERE INFURIATED AND THEY GROUND THEIR TEETH AT HIM BUT HE, FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT LOOKED UP INTENTLY TO HEAVEN AND SAW THE GLORY OF GOD AND JESUS STANDING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD AND HE SAID “BEHOLD, I SEE THE HEAVENS OPENED AND THE SON OF MAN STANDING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.” BUT THEY CRIED OUT IN A LOUD VOICE, COVERED THEIR EARS AND RUSHED UPON HIM TOGETHER THEY THREW HIM OUT OF THE CITY, AND BEGAN TO STONE HIM THE WITNESSES LAID DOWN THEIR CLOAKS AT THE FEET OF A YOUNG MAN NAMED SAUL AS THEY WERE STONING STEPHEN, HE CALLED OUT, “LORD JESUS, RECEIVE MY SPIRIT.” ♪ VERBUM DOMINI ♪ >> ♪ DEO GRATIAS ♪ >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS, O LORD, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT ♪ >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS, O LORD, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT ♪ >> ♪ BE A ROCK OF REFUGE FOR ME, A MIGHTY STRONGHOLD TO SAVE ME, FOR YOU ARE MY ROCK, MY STRONGHOLD! LEAD ME, GUIDE ME, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR NAME ♪ >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS, O LORD, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT; YOU WILL REDEEM ME, O LORD, O FAITHFUL GOD ♪ ♪ AS FOR ME, I TRUST IN THE LORD ♪ LET ME BE GLAD AND REJOICE IN YOUR MERCY ♪ >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS, O LORD, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT ♪ >> ♪ DELIVER ME FROM THE HANDS OF MY ENEMIES AND THOSE WHO PURSUE ME ♪ ♪ LET YOUR FACE SHINE ON YOUR SERVANT ♪ ♪ SAVE ME IN YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE ♪ >> ♪ INTO YOUR HANDS, O LORD, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT ♪ >> ♪ ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ♪

>> ♪ ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ♪ >> ♪ BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD: ♪ THE LORD IS GOD AND HAS GIVEN US LIGHT ♪ >> ♪ ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ♪ >> FATHER: ♪ DOMINUS VOBISCUM ♪ >> ♪ ET CUM SPIRITU TUO ♪ >> FATHER: ♪ LECTIO SANCTI EVANGELII SECUNDUM MATTHEUM ♪ >> ♪ GLORIA TIBI, DOMINE ♪ >> FATHER: JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: “BEWARE OF MEN, FOR THEY WILL HAND YOU OVER TO COURTS AND SCOURGE YOU IN THEIR SYNAGOGUES, AND YOU WILL BE LED BEFORE GOVERNORS AND KINGS FOR MY SAKE AS A WITNESS BEFORE THEM AND THE PAGANS WHEN THEY HAND YOU OVER, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT HOW YOU ARE TO SPEAK OR WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY YOU WILL BE GIVEN AT THAT MOMENT WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY FOR IT WILL NOT BE YOU WHO SPEAK BUT THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER SPEAKING THROUGH YOU BROTHER WILL HAND OVER BROTHER TO DEATH, AND THE FATHER HIS CHILD; CHILDREN WILL RISE UP AGAINST PARENTS AND HAVE THEM PUT TO DEATH YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL BECAUSE OF MY NAME, BUT WHOEVER ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE SAVED.” ♪ VERBUM DOMINI ♪ >> ♪ LAUS TIBI, CHRISTE ♪ >> Father: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL YOU KNOW, THIS IS STILL CHRISTMAS WE AS CATHOLICS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS FOR 8 DAYS, THE CHRISTMAS OCTAVE AND THEN WE HAVE THE SEASON THAT CONTINUES FURTHER UNTIL THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD BY JOHN THE BAPTIST YESTERDAY WE HAD A GLORIOUS CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S BIRTH WE REFLECTED ON HIM COMING INTO THE WORLD SO MUCH LOVE, SO MUCH LIGHT WE MEDITATED ON WHY HE CAME, TO SAVE US, TO REDEEM US, BUT YET TODAY, WE NOW SPEAK ABOUT DEATH JESUS, OF COURSE, CAME INTO THE WORLD TO DELIVER US, TO SAVE US, BUT HE CAME TO DIE FOR US THAT’S HOW HE DELIVERS US THAT’S HOW HE SAVES US, BY DYING AND IN DYING, HE SHOWS US HOW TO DIE AND THE FIRST ONE TO DIE FOR JESUS THE LORD, THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR IS THE SAINT WE CELEBRATE TODAY, SAINT STEPHEN AND SAINT STEPHEN AS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST FAITHFULLY, DEVOUTLY AND CHARITABLY FOLLOWS HIM TO THE END HIS LIFE AND EVEN HIS DEATH IS PATTERNED ON THE LORD’S SO WE HAVE AN EXAMPLE TODAY OF HOW WE ARE TO FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST YOU KNOW, JESUS, OF COURSE, CAME INTO THIS WORLD WITH EVERY GOOD INTENTION, HE IS GOD, HE IS THE LORD

BUT IT’S A WORLD THAT IS FILLED WITH EVIL, WITH CRUELTY AND BRUTALITY, WITH VIOLENCE AND MURDER AND PRIDE BUT YET HE COMES HERE TO SHOW US HOW TO LIVE AND HOW TO LOVE AND AS WE SEE IN THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE DEVIL PEEKS IN SEVERAL TIMES AND ENCOUNTERS JESUS BUT JESUS NEVER BREAKS HE IS GOD HE IS THE LORD AND HE CONQUERS HIM WITH LOVE, WITH THE TRUTH AND WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE THE SAME WAY THAT’S HOW WE CONQUER THIS WORLD IS BY THE TRUTH OF THE LORD AND BY HIS LOVE YOU KNOW, WE, AS CHRISTIANS, WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD WE’RE BROUGHT INTO HERE IT’S A GIFT FROM GOD AND THE WAY TO SALVATION COMES THROUGH THE ONE WHO IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE — THE LORD AND IN FOLLOWING HIM AND PATTERNING OUR LIVES ON HIS AND OBSERVING ALL AS HE COMMANDS, WE WILL FAITHFULLY AND DEVOUTLY CONQUER THIS WORLD; WE WILL BE SAVED JUST LIKE SAINT STEPHEN IS TODAY OF COURSE, THERE’S GOING TO BE HARD TIMES JESUS NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY WHAT DOES HE TELL US IMMEDIATELY? TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME THAT’S DIFFICULT HE SAYS WE’RE GOING TO BE PERSECUTED, WE’RE GOING TO BE REJECTED, JUST LIKE HE WAS AND THIS COULD BE A CONSOLATION BECAUSE WHEN WE’RE RECEIVING THIS PERSECUTION, WHEN WE’RE UNDERGOING THIS REJECTION IT’S A GOOD THING, BECAUSE WE’RE LIVING LIKE JESUS SO REMEMBER IN THE BOOK OF ACTS, THE FIRST CHRISTIANS START IMMEDIATELY RIGHT AFTER PENTECOST, THEY GO OUT EVANGELIZING, TEACHING PEOPLE ABOUT THE LORD, SPEAKING ABOUT HIS RESURRECTION, ABOUT THE GRACE HE GIVES US AND MANY BEAUTIFUL THINGS ABOUT THE LIFE OF JESUS AND THEY’RE MET RIGHT AWAY WITH PERSECUTION, WITH IMPRISONMENTS AND WITH BEATINGS THE BOOK OF ACTS TELLS US THESE CHRISTIANS EMBRACED THE SUFFERING FOR THEM IT WAS A CONSOLATION WHY? BECAUSE THEY WERE LIVING THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST SEE, THIS IS THE TYPE OF FAITH WE NEED TO HAVE, JUST LIKE THOSE EARLY CHRISTIANS AND LIKE STEPHEN AND WHAT WE SEE IN ST STEPHEN, HE IS THERE TEACHING IN THE BOOK OF ACTS HE GIVES A LITTLE BIBLICAL HISTORY AND REFLECTS ON ABRAHAM AND MOSES, SPEAKS ABOUT CERTAIN TYPOLOGICAL THINGS THAT TELL US ABOUT THE LORD, A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PROFITS, YOU KNOW, JUST TO GIVE SOME UNDERSTANDING OF WHO JESUS IS AND HOW HE WAS FORETOLD EARLY ON BUT OF COURSE THE PHARISEES, THE SCRIBES, THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM, THEY REJECT THAT THEN THEY START TO STONE HIM BUT YET IN HIS HEART, HIS MIND, HIS SOUL IS CONSUMED WITH LOVE OF THE LORD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS BURNING WITHIN HIM AND YEAH, I’M SURE AT THE STONING, AS THE ROCKS HIT HIM, THAT HE FELT SOME PAIN BUT IMMEDIATELY, HE IS THINKING OF JESUS, OF HIS DEATH, HE IS THINKING OF GOING TO THE CROSS, TO THE CRUCIFIXION AND IN DOING THAT, HE STARTS TO IMITATE JESUS CRUCIFIED “FORGIVE THEM, LORD DO NOT COUNT THIS AGAINST THEM I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.” THEN HE PASSES INTO THE NEXT LIFE, EMBRACED BY THE LORD

IT SAYS JESUS IS STANDING THERE AND HE MEETS HIM UPON HIS DEATH WHAT A GLORIOUS WAY TO DIE MANY OF THE SAINTS, MANY PEOPLE HAVE DESIRED TO BE MARTYRED WE CAN PRAY FOR THAT DESIRE IT’S NOT AN EASY DESIRE TO HAVE THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF MARTYRDOM THERE’S MARTYRDOM BY DEATH THERE’S ALSO A WHITE MARTYRDOM TOMORROW WE CELEBRATE ST. JOHN, THE APOSTLE, JOHN THE BELOVED HE LIVED A WHITE MARTYRDOM HE NOT DIE BY A KILLING — THEY DIDN’T KILL HIM BUT HE GAVE HIS ENTIRE SELF TO THE LORD THAT’S A WHITE MARTYRDOM HE DIED IN SERVICE TO THE LORD, GIVING AND LOVING AND THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD DESIRE, JUST TO LIVE LIKE JESUS CHRIST IN EVERY WAY BUT YOU KNOW, IT IS SCARY IT IS FRIGHTENING TO BE REJECTED AND PERSECUTED AND JUST THE THOUGHT OF VIOLENCE DONE AGAINST US THAT’S NOT EASY WE DON’T WANT THAT WE DON’T WANT TO HURT, WE DON’T WANT PAIN AND YOU KNOW, THAT’S JUST NORMAL AND NATURAL BUT YET GOD CALLS US INTO THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF HIS GRACE HE TEACHES — ST. PAUL TEACHES US THAT — OR JESUS TELLS US THAT MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS ST. PAUL SAYS, I WOULD RATHER BE WEAK, SO THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME AND IN DOING THIS, NATURALLY, IT HURTS BUT WHEN WE’RE LIVING IN THE GRACE AND POWER OF THE LORD, WE’RE INTO THE SUPERNATURAL AND SEE, THIS IS WHERE THE FAITH HAS TO COME IN, THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE THE STRENGTH NECESSARY TO ENDURE THE CROSS, TO ENDURE THE PAIN OF PERSECUTION AND REJECTION HE SAYS IT TODAY IN THE GOSPEL HE SAYS DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE PERSECUTION I’M GOING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU; I’M GOING TO PROVIDE JUST LIKE HE DID FOR SAINT STEPHEN AND REMEMBER, THAT’S WHAT WE — THAT HAS TO BE OUR MENTALITY THERE, OUR MIND SET, OUR FAITH, THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE SO LET’S NOT BE AFRAID TO GO OUT AND SPEAK OUT, TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST AND PEOPLE WHO WORK OUT THERE IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF INDUSTRY: MEDICINE, EDUCATION — SPEAK ABOUT WHAT IS MORALLY AND ETHICALLY RIGHT FOR THE SAKE OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD BE A GOOD EXAMPLE IN YOUR HOME, IN YOUR WORKPLACE, IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS, IN THE PLACES YOU SOCIALIZE, STRIVE TO IMITATE JESUS CHRIST AND FOLLOW HIM IN EVERY WAY SO THAT YOU MAY ILLUMINATE HIS PRESENCE BY YOUR OWN PRESENCE AND BE ANOTHER CHRIST DON’T BE AFRAID OF THAT ANYMORE WE TALK ABOUT CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IT’S ALL OVER THE WORLD THIS COUNTRY IT EXISTS OF COURSE, BUT IT’S FAR MORE SEVERE IN OTHERS YOU KNOW, YOU GO TO THE MIDDLE EAST, FOR EXAMPLE, OR PARTS OF AFRICA AND ASIA AND VIOLENCE IS DONE EVERY DAY TO CHRISTIANS SOMETIMES THEY CAN’T EVEN WORSHIP PUBLICLY OR THEY’RE IN HIDDEN PLACES THE FRIARS HAVE THIS WEB SERIES CALLED “INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE FRIARY.” SOMETIMES ON THE INSIDE PART WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DO INSIDE, AND OUTSIDE WE INTRODUCE YOU TO OUR FRIENDS I WAS IN CALIFORNIA AND I INTERVIEWED A YOUNG LADY NAMED GIA, AND SHE STARTED AN ORGANIZATION CALLED MARCH FOR THE MARTYRS AND IT BRINGS AWARENESS TO CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN THE WORLD AND THIS INTERVIEW IS GOING TO BE ON THE FRIARS YOUTUBE CHANNEL AND FACEBOOK, THE FRANCISCAN MISSIONARIES OF THE WORD YOUTUBE THIS WEDNESDAY, BUT SHE IS GOING TO SPEAK ABOUT THE KIND OF WORK SHE DOES AND WHY SHE IS BRINGING AWARENESS TO THIS AND HOW PEOPLE CAN GET INVOLVED, SUPPORT PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS BECAUSE A LOT — THERE’S A LOT OF PERSECUTION OUT THERE THAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT OF COURSE THE MEDIA IS NOT REPORTING THIS THEY’RE IGNORING IT BUT THIS IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

AND AT THE SAME TIME WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS REMEMBER, FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS, WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE HURTING HIM, ASKING FOR MERCY ON THEIR BEHALF, WHICH IS ALL OF US, AND THEN SAINT STEPHEN DOING THAT AS WELL, THAT’S WHERE WE HAVE TO BE SO, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, GOD WILL GIVE US EVERYTHING WE NEED TO ENDURE ANY KIND OF PERSECUTION, REJECTION, EVEN MARTYRDOM SO BE NOT AFRAID ANYMORE JESUS SAID, IF THE WORLD HATED ME, IT’S GOING TO HATE YOU IF THE WORLD REJECTED ME, IT’S GOING TO REJECT YOU BUT HE SAYS, WAIT, IF THE WORLD REJECTS YOU, IT REJECTS ME AND IF THE WORLD REJECTS ME IT REJECTS THE ONE WHO SENT ME, THE FATHER GOD IS ON OUR SIDE WE, WITH THE POWER OF GOD IN US, WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS IF GOD IS FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? TRUST THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART AND SOUL AND STRENGTH, LOVE HIM AND WALK IN HIS WAYS GOD BLESS YOU ALL