Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

The Month of January Dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus

Catholic Schools Week

Buon viaggio Papa Francesco, off on his 40th Apostolic Journey, the 5th one to Africa, and this time to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Saints: Saint John Bosco, Priest (1815-1888); Saint Alban Roe (1583-1642); Saint Thomas Green (c.1560-1642) 

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 7:34 Humility

Mass: Heb 12:1-4; Resp Ps 22; Mk 5:21-43   

May your hearts be ever merry!



Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.
(Heb 12:1-2)

Welcome to Tuesday of Catholic Schools Week and the last day of January 2023. And the Holy Father is off to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The Pontiff is not lacking in an adventuresome spirit. After the Holy Father returns from this trip, he will have visited 60 countries so far during his pontificate. Keep going, Papa Francesco! All said, it is a busy day. 

In the midst of Catholic Schools Week, we have the privilege to commemorate Saint John Bosco, "Apostle of Youth," patron saint of young people, apprentices, and Catholic publishers and editors. That should keep him busy enough. John Bosco essentially dedicated his life to help boys and young men in Turin, Italy, at the time of the industrial revolution. Many of them lived on the streets and were without work or education. Because John Bosco was so shocked to see how many boys ended up in prison before the age of 18, and as a result left to starve spiritually and even physically, he went to work determined to save as many people as he could from a life of degradation. His aging mother even helped him. Before it was all said and done, John Bosco established the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales (the Salesians), in honor of Saint Francis de Sales, helped Saint Mary Dominic Mazzarello form a similar group for girls, survived assassination attempts, and before he died, the Salesians had expanded in Europe and beyond and helped at 130,000 children in 250 houses where they could receive religious instruction, lodging, education, and work opportunities. And what did John Bosco have to say about all of that? "I have done nothing by myself; it was Our Lady who has done everything" through her intercession with God. Saint John Bosco died in the early hours of January 31, 1888, after imparting a message: "Tell the boys I shall be waiting for them all in Paradise." He was canonized by Pope Pius XI, Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934.*

Now, more than a few words from Don Bosco (he's one of my favorites).

You should bear patiently the bad temper of other people, the slights, the rudeness that may be offered you.
(Saint John Bosco)

Never read books you are not sure about ... even if supposing these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?
(Saint John Bosco)

Since last Sunday was what I called "Beatitude Sunday," this one fits ...

Meekness was the method Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to gain hope in God's mercy: Thus He bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.
(Saint John Bosco) 

The principal trap that the devil sets for the young people is idleness. This is a fatal source of all evil. Do not let there be any doubt in your mind that man is born to work, and when he does not do so he is out of his element and in great danger of offending God.
The chief thing is to take the burden on one's shoulders. As you press forward, it soon shakes down and the load is evenly distributed.
First tell the devil to rest, and then I'll rest too.
(Saint John Bosco)

When tempted, invoke your angel. Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: he trembles and flees at your guardian angel's sight.
(Saint John Bosco)

Love of our neighbor consists of three things: to desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse, and hide other's faults.
(Saint John Bosco)

This is one of my favorite's and speaks of the character of John Bosco.

[A saint] was once asked, while playing happily with his companions, what he would do if an angel told him that in a quarter of an hour he would die and have to appear before the judgment seat of God. The saint promptly replied that he would continue playing because I am certain these games are pleasing to God.
(Saint John Bosco)

Not entirely unrelated is this from Pope Saint John Paul II, from an address to American bishops.

The mission of the Catholic school is the integral formation of students, so that they be true to their condition as Christ's disciples and as such work effectively for the evangelization of culture and for the common good of society.
(Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Regions of Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, on their Ad Limina visit, May 30, 1998, #2)


*See Catholic News Agency, "St. John Bosco," for another lively account of a saint. 

Today's photo: Meet Father Cody Ross, Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bellingham, WA (the Evergreen State), Chaplain at Western Washington University Newman Center, and two of his altar servers, seen here on All Souls' Day 2022. I introduce you to Father Cody, a former student of mine I add proudly ☺, because his patron is Saint John Bosco. The padre takes after his patron in various and sundry ways. Not only does he resemble his patron in looks, Father Cody is committed to the youth at WWU. In addition, he is a gymnast just like his patron, who as a child used to "entertain his peers with juggling, acrobatics, and magic tricks before explaining a sermon he heard, or leading them in praying the Rosary." Father Cody even does backflips, now! In fact, he is probably doing more than a few today. Father Cody and his two faithful altar servers certainly give us reason for hope. And if nothing else should inspire us to be faithful to our respective vocations, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, and go about it with joy and gladness of heart. Tomorrow you will meet Father Cody with the Newman students of WWU. Keep going, Father Cody, I am proud of you.

© Gertrude Feick 2023

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