Saturday, April 16, 2016


Col 2: 12

You have been buried with Christ in Baptism,
through which you also rose again
by faith in the working of God,
who raised him from the dead, alleluia.


O God, who in the font of Baptism
have made new those who believe in you,
keep safe those reborn in Christ,
that, defeating every onslaught of error,
they may faithfully preserve the grace of your blessing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

ACTS 9:31-42

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace.
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him,
“Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.”
He got up at once.
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.”
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.

How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD

R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.

R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.

O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.

JN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

JN 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them,

“Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,

“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve,

“Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him,

“Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

April 16

St. Bernadette (1844 - 1879)

St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre's, the local parish church, on January 9. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, 
she lived the rest of her life in poor health.

On Thursday, February 11, 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, when a very beautiful lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha).

The woman wore blue and white and smiled at Bernadette before making the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell to her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray. Bernadette later described the woman as "uo petito damizelo," meaning "a small young lady. Though her sister and friend claimed they were unable to see her, Bernadette knew what she saw was real.

Three days later, Bernadette, her sister Marie, and other girls returned to the grotto, where Bernadette immediately knelt, saying she could see "aquero" again. She fell into a trance and one girl threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock that shattered on the ground. It was then that the apparition disappeared.

On February 18, Bernadette said "the vision" asked her to return to the grotto each day for a fortnight. With each visit, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary and the period of daily visions became known as 
"la Quinzaine sacrée," meaning "holy fortnight."

When Bernadette began to visit the grotto, her parents were embarrassed and attempted to stop her, 
but were unable to do so. On February 25, Bernadette claimed to have had a life-changing vision.

The vision had told her "to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there" as an act of penance. The next day, the grotto's muddy waters had been cleared and fresh clear water flowed.

On March 2, at the thirteenth of the apparitions, 
Bernadette told her family the lady sad "a chapel should be built and a procession formed."

During her sixteenth vision, which Bernadette claims to have experienced for over an hour, was on March 25. Bernadette claimed she had asked the woman her name, but her question was only met with a smile. Bernadette asked again, three more times, and finally the woman said, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Though many townspeople believed she had indeed been seeing the Holy Virgin, Bernadette's story created a division in her town. Many believed she was telling the truth, while others believed she had a mental illness and demanded she be put in a mental asylum. 
Some believed Bernadette's visions meant she needed to pray for penance.

Church authorities and the French government rigorously interviewed the girl, and by 1862 they confirmed she spoke truth. Since Bernadette first caused the spring to produce clean water, 69 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau, and after what the Church claimed were "extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations," no one was able to explain what caused the cures.

The Lourdes Commission that initially examined Bernadette, ran an analysis on the water but were only able to determine it contained a high mineral content. 
Bernadette believed it was faith and prayer that was responsible for curing the sick.

Bernadette asked the local priest to build a chapel at the site of her visions and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is now one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Many other chapels and churches has been built around it, including the Basilica of St. Pius X, which can accommodate 25,000 people and was dedicated by the future Pope John XXIII when he was the Papal Nuncio to France.

Following the miracles and constructions, Bernadette decided she did not like the attention she was getting and went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, where she was taught to read and write. Though she considered joining the Carmelites, her health was too fragile.

On July 29, 1866, Bernadette took the religious habit of a postulant and joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers. Her Mistress of Novices was Sister Marie Therese Vauzou and the Mother Superior at the time named her Marie-Bernarde, in honor of her grandmother.

Bernadette spent the rest of her life there working as an infirmary assistant, and later a sacristan. People admired her humility and spirit of sacrifice. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. "How can I?" she answered quickly. 
"The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant."

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee and was unable to take part in convent life. She died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard at the age of 35 on April 16, 1879, while praying the holy rosary.

Even on her deathbed Bernadette suffered severe pain and, keeping with the Virgin Mary's admonition of "Penance, Penance, Penance," she proclaimed "all this is good for Heaven!" Bernadette's last words were, "Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me. A poor sinner, a poor sinner."

The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph, which was within the confines of the convent. Permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph, 
where a very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

Thirty years layer, on September 22, two doctors and a sister of the community exhumed her body. They claimed the crucifix and rosary she carried had been oxidized but her body remained incorrupt. 
The incorruption was cited as one of the miracles supporting her canonization.

The group washed and redressed Bernadette's body then buried it in a new double casket. The Church exhumed her body again on April 3, 1919, and the doctor who examined her said, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."

In 1925, Bernadette's body was exhumed yet again. This time relics were sent to Rome and an imprint of her face was molded, which was used to create a wax mask to be placed on her body. There were also imprints of her hands to be used for the presentation of her body, which was placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the mother house in Nevers.

In 1928, Doctor Comte published a report on Bernadette's exhumation in the second issue of the Bulletin de I'Association medicale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes, where he wrote:

"I would have liked to open the left side of the thorax to take the ribs as relics and then remove the heart which I am certain must have survived. However, as the trunk was slightly supported on the left arm, it would have been rather difficult to try and get at the heart without doing too much noticeable damage.

"As the Mother Superior had expressed a desire for the Saint's heart to be kept together with the whole body, and as Monsignor the Bishop did not insist, I gave up the idea of opening the left-hand side of the thorax and contented myself with removing the two right ribs which were more accessible.

"What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon."

Saint Bernadette is often depicted in prayer with a rosary or appealing to the Holy Virgin. She was beatified in 1925 and canonized by Pope Piuis XI in December 1933. Saint Bernadette is the patroness of illness, 
people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.


Love’s redeeming work is done,
fought the fight, the battle won.
Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er!
Lo, he sets in blood no more!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal!
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
death in vain forbids him rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
Lives again our victor King;
where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save;
where thy victory, O grave?
Soar we now where Christ has led,
following our exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise,
ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrection thou!

Psalm 106 (107)
Thanksgiving after rescue

Let them thank the Lord for his love,
for the wonders he does for men.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his kindness is forever.
Let them say this, the people the Lord has redeemed,
those whom he rescued from their enemies
whom he gathered together from all lands,
from east and west, from the north and the south.
They wandered through desert and wilderness,
they could find no way to a city they could dwell in.
Their souls were weary within them,
weary from hunger and thirst.
They cried to the Lord in their trouble
and he rescued them from their distress.
He set them on the right path
towards a city they could dwell in.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness,
for the wonders he works for men:
the Lord, who feeds hungry creatures
and gives water to the thirsty to drink.
They sat in the darkness and shadow of death,
imprisoned in chains and in misery,
because they had rebelled against the words of God
and spurned the counsels of the Most High.
He wore out their hearts with labor:
they were weak, there was no-one to help.
They cried to the Lord in their trouble
and he rescued them from their distress.
He led them out of the darkness and shadow of death,
he shattered their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness,
for the wonders he works for men:
the Lord, who shatters doors of bronze,
who breaks bars of iron.

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.

Let them thank the Lord for his love,
for the wonders he does for men.

Psalm 106 (107)

They have seen the Lord’s deeds and the wonders he does.

The people were sick because they transgressed,
afflicted because of their sins.
All food was distasteful to them,
they were on the verge of death.
They cried to the Lord in their trouble
and he rescued them from their distress.
He sent forth his word and healed them,
delivered them from their ruin.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness,
for the wonders he works for men:
Let them offer a sacrifice of praise
and proclaim his works with rejoicing.
Those who go down to the sea in ships,
those who trade across the great waters –
they have seen the works of the Lord,
the wonders he performs in the deep.
He spoke, and a storm arose,
and the waves of the sea rose up.
They rose up as far as the heavens
and descended down to the depths:
the sailors’ hearts melted from fear,
they staggered and reeled like drunkards,
terror drove them out of their minds.
But they cried to the Lord in their trouble
and he rescued them from their distress.
He turned the storm into a breeze
and silenced the waves.
They rejoiced at the ending of the storm
and he led them to the port that they wanted.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness,
for the wonders he works for men:
let them exalt him in the assembly of the people,
give him praise in the council of the elders.

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.

They have seen the Lord’s deeds and the wonders he does.

Psalm 106 (107)

The upright see and rejoice;
they consider the love of the Lord.

The Lord has turned rivers into wilderness,
he has made well-watered lands into desert,
fruitful ground into salty waste
because of the evil of those who dwelt there.
But he has made wilderness into ponds,
deserts into the sources of rivers,
he has called together the hungry
and they have founded a city to dwell in.
They have sowed the fields, planted the vines;
they grow and harvest their produce.
He has blessed them and they have multiplied;
he does not let their cattle decrease.
But those others became few and oppressed
through trouble, evil, and sorrow.
He poured his contempt on their princes
and set them to wander the trackless waste.
But the poor he has saved from their poverty
and their families grow numerous as sheep.
The upright shall see, and be glad,
and all wickedness shall block up its mouth.
Whoever is wise will remember these things
and understand the mercies of the Lord.

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.

The upright see and rejoice;
they consider the love of the Lord.

God has given us a new birth into living hope, alleluia,
– through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, alleluia.

First Reading
Apocalypse 11:1-19

I was given a long cane as a measuring rod, and I was told, ‘Go and measure God’s sanctuary, and the altar, and the people who worship there; but leave out the outer court and do not measure it, because it has been handed over to pagans – they will trample on the holy city for forty-two months. But I shall send my two witnesses to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world. Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they like. When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for three-and-a-half days, not letting them be buried, and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, 
because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.’

After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here’, and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud. Immediately, there was a violent earthquake, and a tenth of the city collapsed; seven thousand persons were killed in the earthquake, 
and the survivors, overcome with fear, could only praise the God of heaven.

That was the second of the troubles; the third is to come quickly after it.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and voices could be heard shouting in heaven, calling, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ The twenty-four elders, enthroned in the presence of God, prostrated themselves and touched the ground with their foreheads worshipping God with these words, ‘We give thanks to you, Almighty Lord God, He-Is-and-He-Was, for using your great power and beginning your reign. The nations were seething with rage and now the time has come for your own anger, and for the dead to be judged, and for your servants the prophets, for the saints and for all who worship you, small or great, 
to be rewarded. The time has come to destroy those who are destroying the earth.’

Then the sanctuary of God in heaven opened and the ark of the covenant could be seen inside it. 
Then came flashes of lightning, peals of thunder and an earthquake, and violent hail.


The power to rule over the world belongs now to our Lord and his Messiah,
and he will rule forever and ever, alleluia.

His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty and every empire will serve and obey him,
and he will rule forever and ever, alleluia.

Second Reading
From a commentary on the gospel of John
by Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Christ gave his own body for the life of all men

“I am dying for all men,” says the Lord. “I am dying to give them life through myself and to redeem the whole human race through my humanity. In my death, death itself will die and man’s fallen nature will rise again with me. I wanted to be like my brothers in every respect, so I became a man like you, a descendant of Abraham.” Understanding this well Saint Paul says: As the children of a family share the same flesh and blood, he too shared our human nature so that by his death he could destroy the power of the devil, the prince of death. Death itself and the prince of death could be destroyed only by Christ, who is above all, giving himself up as a ransom for all.

And so, speaking as a spotless victim offering himself for us to God the Father, Christ says in one of the psalms: You desired no sacrifices or offerings, but you have prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sin offerings. Then I said, “Behold, I am coming.” He was crucified for all, desiring his one death for all to give all of us life in him. It was impossible for him to be conquered by death; nor could he who by his very nature is life be subject to corruption. Yet we know that Christ offered his flesh for the life of the world from his own prayer, Holy Father, protect them, and from his words, For their sake I consecrate myself. By saying that he consecrates himself he means that he offers himself to God as a spotless and sweet-smelling sacrifice. According to the law, anything offered upon the altar was consecrated and considered holy. So Christ gave his own body for the life of all, and makes it the channel through which life flows once more into us. 
How he does this I will explain to the best of my ability.

When the life-giving Word of God dwelt in human flesh, he changed it into that good thing which is distinctively his, namely, life; and by being wholly united to the flesh in a way beyond our comprehension, he gave it the life-giving power which he has by his very nature. Therefore, the body of Christ gives life to those who receive it. Its presence in mortal men expels death and drives away corruption because it contains within itself in his entirety the Word who totally abolishes corruption.


I am the good shepherd,
I know my sheep,
and I lay down my life for them, alleluia.

I have come that men may have life,
and may have it in all its fullness,
and I lay down my life for them, alleluia.

Let us pray.

God our Father,
by the waters of baptism
you have given new life to those who believe in you.
Protect these new-born members of Christ,
help them to resist all false beliefs,
and so keep intact the grace of your blessing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.