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Daily Reading

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Sir 44:1, 9-13

Now will I praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time.
But of others there is no memory,
for when they ceased, they ceased.
And they are as though they had not lived,
they and their children after them.
Yet these also were godly men
whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
their heritage with their descendants;
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures,
their posterity, for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out.

Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Saint of the Day

Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

Feast date: Jun 02

On June 2, the Catholic Church remembers two fourth-century martyrs, Saints Marcellinus and Peter, who were highly venerated after the discovery of their tomb and the conversion of their executioner.

Although the biographical details of the two martyrs are largely unknown, it is known that they lived and died during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. In 302, the ruler changed his tolerant stance and pursued a policy intended to eliminate the Church from the empire.

Diocletian and his subordinate ordered the burning of Catholic churches and their sacred texts, as well as the imprisonment and torture of clergy and laypersons. The goal was to force Christians to submit to the Roman pagan religion, including the worship of the emperor himself as divine.

It was at the mid-point of this persecution, around 303, that a Roman exorcist by the name of Peter was imprisoned for his faith. While in prison, tradition holds that Peter freed Paulina, the daughter of the prison-keeper Artemius, from demonic influence by his prayers.

This demonstration of Christ’s power over demons is said to have brought about the conversion of Paulina, Artemius, his wife, and the entire household, all of whom were baptized by the Roman priest Marcellinus.

After this, both Marcellinus and Peter were called before a judge who was determined to enforce the emperor’s decree against the Church. When Marcellinus testified courageously to his faith in Christ, he was beaten, stripped of his clothes, and deprived of food in a dark cell filled with broken glass shards.

Peter, too, was returned to his confinement. But neither man would deny Christ, and both preferred death over submission to the cult of pagan worship.

It was arranged for the two men to be executed secretly, in order to prevent the faithful from gathering in prayer and veneration at the place of their burial. Their executioner forced them to clear away a tangle of thorns and briars, which the two men did cheerfully, accepting their death with joy.

Both men were beheaded in the forest and buried in the clearing they had made. The location of the saints’ bodies remained unknown for some time, until a devout woman named Lucilla received a revelation informing her where the priest and exorcist lay.

With the assistance of another woman, Firmina, Lucilla recovered the two saints’ bodies and had them re-interred in the Roman Catacombs. Sts. Marcellinus and Peter are among the saints named in the Western Church’s most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon.

Pope St. Damasus I, who was himself a great devotee of the Church’s saints during his life, composed an epitaph to mark the tombs of the two martyrs. The source of his knowledge, he said, was the executioner himself, who had subsequently repented and joined the Catholic Church.


Daily Inspiration

The Flying Novena / La Novena Volada

I suspect that if St. Mother Teresa commanded a mountain to be taken up and cast in the sea, the mountain would waste no time to get going. Such was the faith of this amazing woman. 

I learned about her flying novena when I led a small group of women through Fr. Timothy Gaitley’s 33 Days to Marian Consecration. It seems this novena – called a flying novena because she prayed the Memorare nine times in a row instead of nine days or nine hours in a row – was one of the more efficacious weapons in her spiritual arsenal. So great was her faith that she chased the ninth Memorare with a tenth of thanksgiving for the answered request. I can imagine her tiny self next to a giant mountain, praying the ten Memorares and the mountain getting up and dashing off to the sea.

I have experienced the power of the flying novena often and I consider it the prayer that is always answered. I have learned that it is good to have this unwavering and childlike trust in God’s providence. It’s not presumptuous – it’s faith. Our heavenly Father is a generous God who loves to answer our prayers. We just need to believe that. We hear it from Jesus himself in today’s Gospel:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” 

How could we ever doubt? Whether it is St. Mother Teresa’s flying novena or a prayer from your heart, believe. Believe that God your Father desires to give you what you ask for. Believe in his generosity and faithfulness. 

Pope Francis once said that God never tires of forgiving us, it is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness. I believe that God also never tires of giving to us; it is we who get tired of asking. The next time something weighs heavily on your heart, try a flying novena and don’t forget to include the tenth Memorare in thanksgiving for your answered prayer. 

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. 

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Sospecho que si Santa Madre Teresa ordenara que se tomara una montaña y se arrojara al mar, la montaña no perdería tiempo en ponerse en marcha. Tal era la fe de esta mujer asombrosa.

Me enteré de su novena volada cuando dirigí un pequeño grupo de mujeres por el libro “Los 33 Días Hacia un Glorioso Amanecer” por el Padre Timothy Gaitley. Parece que esta novena, llamada novena volada porque la Madre Teresa rezaba el Memorare nueve veces seguidas en lugar de nueve días o nueve horas seguidas, era una de las armas más eficaces de su arsenal espiritual. Tan grande fue su fe que después del noveno Memorare lo rezó una décima vez en acción de gracias por la petición atendida. Puedo imaginarla junto a una montaña gigante, rezando los diez Memorares y la montaña levantándose y corriendo hacia el mar.

He experimentado a menudo el poder de la novena volada y la considero la oración que siempre recibe respuesta. He aprendido que es bueno tener esta confianza inquebrantable e infantil en la providencia de Dios. No es presunción, es fe. Nuestro Padre celestial es un Dios generoso que quiere contestar nuestras oraciones. Sólo tenemos que creerlo. Lo escuchamos del mismo Jesús en el Evangelio de hoy:

Cualquier cosa que pidan en la oración, crean ustedes que ya se la han concedido, y la obtendrán.”

¿Cómo podríamos dudar? Ya sea la novena volada de Santa Madre Teresa o una oración de tu corazón, cree. Cree que Dios tu Padre desea darte lo que pides. Cree en su generosidad y fidelidad.

El Papa Francisco dijo una vez que Dios nunca se cansa de perdonarnos, somos nosotros los que nos cansamos de pedir perdón. Yo creo que Dios también nunca se cansa de darnos; somos nosotros los que nos cansamos de preguntar. La próxima vez que algo te pesa mucho en el corazón, intenta una novena volada y no te olvides de incluir el décimo Memorare en acción de gracias por la respuesta a tu oración.

Acordaos, oh piadosísima Virgen María, que jamás se ha oído decir que ninguno de los que hayan acudido a tu protección, implorando tu asistencia y reclamando tu socorro, haya sido abandonado de ti. Animado con esta confianza, a ti también acudo, oh Madre, Virgen de las vírgenes, y aunque gimiendo bajo el peso de mis pecados, me atrevo a comparecer ante tu presencia soberana. No deseches mis humildes súplicas, oh Madre del Verbo divino, antes bien, escúchalas y acógelas benignamente. Amén.

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Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She writes for Catholic Mom, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can learn more at merridithfrediani.com.

Feature Image Credit: Diego Zamudio, cathopic.com/photo/12806-santa-teresa-de-calcuta