I wish to briefly address a topic this evening that has become increasingly relevant in our society: the danger of blindly following political candidates and government officials. In a world filled with political polarisation and division, it is crucial for us, as Catholics, to remember that Jesus Christ is our only true King.
In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.” (22:21) Jesus is teaching us about the distinction between our earthly obligations as citizens and our ultimate allegiance to our God. While we are called to be responsible citizens and to be aware of issues in the world and to engage, when necessary, the political process, we must do so with discernment and a deep awareness of our Christian values. First and foremost, we must recognise that no political candidate or government official is infallible or without flaws. They are human beings, like all of us, and are susceptible to error, corruption, and self-interest. When we blindly follow political leaders, we risk placing our trust in fallible individuals and expecting them to fulfil our hopes and dreams. We are cautioned against this in the Bible. “Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth: in that day all their thoughts shall perish” (Psalm 145:2-4, Douay-Rheims)
Today I would like to take a brief moment to share with you the life and legacy of a remarkable saint, Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, commonly known as Padre Pio. His life was a testament to the boundless mercy and love of our God, and his example continues to inspire us today. He was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in the small Italian town of Pietrelcina. From a young age, he exhibited a deep devotion to God and a wholehearted desire to serve Him. At the age of 15, he entered the Capuchin Friars and took the name Pio. Little did anyone know that this humble friar would one day become one of the most beloved and revered saints of the 20th century.
One of the most striking aspects of Padre Pio’s life was his close and mystical relationship with our Lord, which was exemplified by the stigmata—the wounds of Christ—that he bore on his hands, feet, and side. For over 50 years, he carried these wounds, sharing in the physical sufferings of Christ. It was not only the physical wounds that made Padre Pio a true follower of Christ; it was his unwavering faith, his deep prayer life, and his commitment to the Sacraments that set him apart. Padre Pio once said, “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart. In fact, on certain occasions, you should only speak to Him with your heart.” He lived this truth daily, spending long hours in prayer and offering himself as a living sacrifice to God. His life was a constant reminder to us that prayer is our lifeline to the divine, a means of drawing closer to God and seeking His will in our lives.
Vigil of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (and Commemoration of St. Eusebius)
At that time: As Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that gave Thee suck. But He said, Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it. (Luke 11: 27-28)
General Devotions for Monday: “King of virgins and lover of chastity…” (Fr. Lasance Missal, page 1806)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who tirelessly seeks out His sheep, and His love knows no bounds. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.” (John 10:11). These words reveal the depth of Jesus’ love for us. He is not a hired hand who abandons the sheep in times of danger or difficulty. Instead, He willingly sacrifices Himself for us, His beloved flock. Just imagine the depth of this love—the love that led Jesus to endure the agony of the Cross for our salvation. He took upon Himself the weight of our sins, bearing the punishment that we deserved. He suffered humiliation, betrayal, and death, all out of love for you and me. This is the measure of His love—selfless, sacrificial, and unfathomable.
However, Jesus’ love does not end with His sacrifice on the Cross. He continues to shepherd us, guiding us on the path of righteousness, protecting us from the snares of the evil one, and leading us to eternal life. He knows each one of us intimately, and He calls us by name. He is the Good Shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep and rejoices when they are found. (Matthew 18:10-14)
“If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Romans 6:8, NAB)
In this verse, St. Paul reminds us of a truth that lies at the very heart of our Catholic faith: we have died in Christ. This reality, although it may seem paradoxical, holds the key to our redemption and the hope of eternal life. In the waters of baptism, we were united with Christ in a profound and mystical way. As the water flowed over us, we were cleansed of our sins and incorporated into the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. In that beautiful moment, we died to our old selves, to our old way of life, and we were reborn as children of God.
Through baptism, we share in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead, we too have died to sin and risen to newness of life. Our old self, marked by selfishness, pride, and the pursuit of worldly pleasures, has been crucified with Christ. We have been set free from the bondage of sin, and now we live in the grace and freedom of the children of God.
The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Seven Dolors, is a traditional Catholic devotion that focuses on seven events or moments in the life of the Blessed Mother Mary that caused her great suffering.
The Seven Sorrows
The prophecy of Simeon – When Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the Temple, the Prophet Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her soul.
The flight into Egypt – When King Herod sought to kill the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt.
The Didache is a brief early Christian text written in the first century AD. Here are some encouraging passages from the text:
“My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honour him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord.” (ch. 4)
This passage encourages believers to honour and remember those who teach the word of God.
Mary is called the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. As such, Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ in His humanity and divinity. This belief is central to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, which holds that God became human in the person of Jesus Christ.
The title “Mother of God” is not intended to suggest that Mary is the source of God’s divinity or that she existed before God. Rather, it is a recognition of her unique role in salvation history as the mother of the incarnate Son of God. This title has been used in Christian tradition since ancient times and has been affirmed by various councils and theologians throughout history.
Authentic Catholicism, as opposed to Catholicism in name only, refers to the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church as they have been passed down through the centuries, based on the Bible, sacred tradition, and the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church). It is a way of life that seeks to follow the example of Jesus Christ, His teachings, and the teachings and traditions of the Apostles as interpreted by the Holy Church.
Authentic Catholicism includes belief in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, the resurrection, the sacraments, and the authority of the Church. It calls attention to the importance of prayer, participation in the sacraments, and works of charity and justice.
As Catholics, one of our most treasured beliefs is the belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We believe that the bread and wine used in Mass become the body and blood of Jesus Christ through the process of transubstantiation. This means that while the bread and wine appear to be unchanged, their substance is transformed into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
The belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is not a new one. In fact, it can be traced back to the earliest days of Christianity. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) He goes on to say, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.” (John 6:54) While some of His disciples found this teaching difficult to accept and turned away from Him, the apostles, particularly Peter, affirmed their faith in Jesus and His teachings.