Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A Prayer to Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Lord, we thank you for inspiring Blessed Frederic Ozanam
to establish the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Help us to follow his dream of 'embracing the
whole world in a network of love'
by bringing support and friendship to those we visit:
by helping them achieve self sufficiency and in solidarity to advocate and work for the changes required to create a more just and caring society.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
1 Cor 6:1-11

Brothers and sisters:

How can any one of you with a case against another
dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment
instead of to the holy ones?
Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?
If the world is to be judged by you,
are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?
Do you not know that we will judge angels?
Then why not everyday matters?
If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters,
do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church?
I say this to shame you.
Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough
to be able to settle a case between brothers?
But rather brother goes to court against brother,
and that before unbelievers?

Now indeed then it is, in any case,
a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.
Why not rather put up with injustice?
Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
will inherit the Kingdom of God.
That is what some of you used to be;
but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and in the Spirit of our God.

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

R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

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.

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.

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.

Lk 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.


September 7

Blessed Frederick Ozanam (1813-1853)

A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frederick served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day.

Frederick was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal.

Frederick wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frederick yielded to his father’s wishes and in 1831 arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frederick defended the Church.

A discussion club which Frederick organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club Catholics, atheists and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frederick spoke on Christianity’s role in civilization, a club member said: "Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?"

Frederick was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul formed around Frederick.

Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frederick convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Father Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.

After Frederick earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frederick worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the St. Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences.

In 1846, Frederick, Amelie and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there Frederick hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. The revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the St. Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frederick and his co-workers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris.

Frederick then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frederick wrote. Referring to the poor man as "the nation’s priest," Frederick said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people’s humanity

In 1852 poor health again forced Frederick to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frederick’s funeral, Lacordaire described his friend as "one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world."

Frederick was beatified in 1997. Since Frederick wrote an excellent book entitled Franciscan Poets of the Thirteenth Century and since Frederick’s sense of the dignity of each poor person was so close to the thinking of St. Francis, it seemed appropriate to include him among Franciscan "greats."


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.


O light of light, O Dayspring bright,
Co-equal in thy Father’s light:
Assist us, as with prayer and psalm
Thy servants break the nightly calm.
All darkness from our minds dispel,
And turn to flight the hosts of hell:
Bid sleepfulness our eyelids fly,
Lest overwhelmed in sloth we lie.
Jesu, thy pardon, kind and free,
Bestow on us who trust in thee:
And as thy praises we declare,
O with acceptance hear our prayer.
O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

The Lord's triumphal journey
Psalm 67 (68)

God arises, and those who hate him flee from his sight.

God arises and his enemies are scattered:
those who hate him flee from his sight.
You blow them away like wisps of smoke;
as wax melts in front of a fire,
so the wicked melt away before God.
The righteous are glad and exult in God’s sight;
they rejoice in their gladness.
Sing to the Lord and celebrate his name!
Make a road for him who rides upon the clouds –
“The Lord” is his name.
Rejoice in his sight,
the father of orphans, defender of widows,
God in his holy dwelling-place,
God, who gives the lonely a house to dwell in,
God, who leads captives out into prosperity;
but the rebellious shall live in a desert land.
God, when you set out in the sight of your people,
when you crossed the wilderness – the earth shook.
The heavens sent down dew at your coming –
the God of Sinai, the God of Israel.
At your bidding the rains came, O God,
your inheritance was worn out but you refreshed it.
All your creatures took up residence there,
in your goodness you made a place for the needy.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

God arises, and those who hate him flee from his sight.
Psalm 67 (68)

Our God is a God of salvation, our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.

The Lord gives out the word,
and a great army of maidens brings the news:
“The kings of the armies are fleeing, they are fleeing,
and the fair one at home is dividing the spoils.
While you sleep among the sheepfolds,
the wings of the dove shine with silver,
her feathers glow with green gold.
Through her the Almighty scatters the kings,
and the mountain of Zalmon is white with snow.
The mountain of Bashan is God’s mountain;
the mountain of God is a high-peaked mountain.
Why do you envy it, you high-peaked mountains,
envy the mountain that God has chosen?
The Lord will dwell there for ever.
The chariots of God are ten thousand thousand:
the Lord has come from Sinai to his holy sanctuary.
You have scaled the heights, you have taken captives,
you have received men as gifts
so that even the rebels live with the Lord God.
Blessings on the Lord, day after day!
God will carry us, God our saviour.
Our God is a God of salvation,
our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.
Truly God will break the heads of his enemies,
take the scalps of those who tread the path of crime.
The Lord has spoken:
“I shall bring them back from Bashan,
I shall bring them back from the depths of the sea,
so that your feet may be dipped in blood
and the tongues of your dogs receive food from your enemies.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our God is a God of salvation, our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.
Psalm 67 (68)

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God: celebrate the Lord.

They have seen your processions, O God,
the processions of God, my king, to his sanctuary.
First came the singers, last the musicians,
between them the maidens playing their drums.
“Bless God in the assemblies:
bless the Lord, you who spring from Israel!”
There was young Benjamin, leading them,
the princes of Judah in their rich robes,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
O God, command in your strength;
make firm what you have achieved in us.
From your temple in Jerusalem,
kings shall bring you tribute.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,
the herd of bulls, the lords of peoples.
Let them lie prostrate before you with tribute of silver.
Scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Nobles will come from Egypt,
Ethiopia will stretch out its hands to God.
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
celebrate the Lord.
Sing to God who rides on the highest heavens,
at the origin of all things.
Listen! – he speaks, a voice of power.
Acknowledge the strength of the Lord:
his majesty is over Israel,
his strength is in the clouds.
God inspires awe in his holy place;
he, the God of Israel, gives power to his people;
he gives them strength.
Blessed be God!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God: celebrate the Lord.
I will hear whatever the Lord God has to say:
– words of peace for his people.

Habakkuk 1:1-2:4

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received in a vision.

How long, O Lord, am I to cry for help
while you will not listen;
to cry ‘Oppression!’ in your ear
and you will not save?
Why do you set injustice before me,
why do you look on where there is tyranny?
Outrage and violence, this is all I see,
all is contention, and discord flourishes.
And so the law loses its hold,
and justice never shows itself.
Yes, the wicked man gets the better of the upright,
and so justice is seen to be distorted.
Cast your eyes over the nations, look,
and be amazed, astounded.
For I am doing something in your own days
that you would not believe if you were told of it.
For now I am stirring up the Chaldaeans,
that fierce and fiery people
who march miles across country
to seize the homes of others.
A people feared and dreaded,
from their might proceeds their right, their greatness.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves in the dark;
their horsemen gallop on,
their horsemen advance from afar,
swooping like an eagle to stoop on its prey.
They come for plunder, all of them,
their faces scorching like an east wind;
they scoop up prisoners like sand.
They are a people that scoff at kings,
and laugh at princes.
They make light of all fortresses:
they heap up earth and take them.
Then the wind changes and is gone...
Sinful, he who makes his own strength his god.
Are not you, from ancient times the Lord,
my God, my Holy One, who never dies?
O Lord, you have made this people an instrument of justice,
set it firm as a rock in order to punish.
Your eyes are too pure to rest on wickedness,
you cannot look on at tyranny.
Why do you look on while men are treacherous,
and stay silent while the evil man swallows a better man than he?
You treat mankind like fishes in the sea,
like creeping, masterless things.
A people, these, who catch all on their hook,
who draw them with their net,
in their dragnet gather them,
and so, triumphantly, rejoice.
At this, they offer a sacrifice to their net,
and burn incense to their dragnet,
for providing them with luxury
and lavish food.
Are they then to empty their net unceasingly,
slaughtering nations without pity?
I will stand on my watchtower,
and take up my post on my battlements,
watching to see what he will say to me,
what answer he will make to my complaints.
Then the Lord answered and said,
‘Write the vision down,
inscribe it on tablets
to be easily read,
since this vision is for its own time only:
eager for its own fulfilment, it does not deceive;
if it comes slowly, wait,
for come it will, without fail.
‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights,
but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.’


Only a little while now, a very little while, and he who is to come will be here: he will not delay. My righteous servant will live by faith.

We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved. My righteous servant will live by faith.

A sermon by St Bernard

I shall stand upon my watch-tower to see what the Lord will say to me

We read in the gospel that when the Lord was teaching his disciples and urged them to share in his passion by the mystery of eating his body, some said: This is a hard saying, and from that time they no longer followed him. When he asked the disciples whether they also wished to go away, they replied: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

I assure you, my brothers, that even to this day it is clear to some that the words which Jesus speaks are spirit and life, and for this reason they follow him. To others these words seem hard, and so they look elsewhere for some pathetic consolation. Yet wisdom cries out in the streets, in the broad and spacious way that leads to death, to call back those who take this path. Finally, he says: For forty years I have been close to this generation, and I said: They have always been faint-hearted. You also read in another psalm: God has spoken once. Once, indeed, because for ever. His is a single, uninterrupted utterance, because it is continuous and unending.

He calls upon sinners to return to their true spirit and rebukes them when their hearts have gone astray, for it is in the true heart that he dwells and there he speaks, fulfilling what he taught through the prophet: Speak to the heart of Jerusalem. You see, my brothers, how the prophet admonishes us for our advantage: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. You can read almost the same words in the gospel and in the prophet. For in the gospel the Lord says: My sheep hear my voice. And in the psalm blessed David says: You are his people (meaning, of course, the Lord’s) and the sheep of his pasture. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Hear also the prophet Habakkuk in today’s reading. Far from hiding the Lord’s reprimands, he dwells on them with attentive and anxious care. He says: I will stand upon my watch-tower and take up my post on the ramparts, keeping watch to see what he will say to me and what answer I will make to those who try to confute me. I beg you, my brothers, stand upon our watch-tower, for now is the time for battle. Let all our dealings be in the heart, where Christ dwells, in right judgement and wise counsel, but in such a way as to place no confidence in those dealings, nor rely upon our fragile defenses.


The judgements of the Lord are all before me: I have never neglected his commands. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.

Whoever obeys his word is the one whose love for God has really been made perfect. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.

O God, you have redeemed us and adopted us.

Grant to your beloved children
that their belief in Christ
may bring them true liberty and an eternal inheritance.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.