Building up the Body of Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, 29 April 2020

Acts of the Apostles 8:1-8 ><)))*> 000 <*(((>< John 6:35-40

Our empty church since March 17, 2020.

Once again, O Lord Jesus Christ, your Body the Church is facing severe trials and difficulties at this moment of history with the pandemic COVID-19 that have closed churches worldwide even in Rome, Italy which is one of the worst hit countries of the corona disease.

Since the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the Church has always been persecuted but never defeated. On the contrary, it was during the persecutions when your Church had really grown beyond leaps and bounds, so to speak.

St. Catherine lived at that time when she was able to unite warring factions in Europe as well as in the Church with her counsels while through her, many individuals found directions in life with her holiness, teachings and directions.

And while churches remain closed with dim prospects of opening soon, you never fail to send us men and women full of devotion to you who continue to work tirelessly in building your Body, the Church.

One of them is Fr. Jun Villanueva from the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan who was infected with COVID-19 while serving in New York.

As he recovered from the deadly disease celebrating Mass in his parish, he had a wonderful realization that many of us priests have seem to forget:

“Then I realized that the Mass is not a show but our union with Jesus, whether there are people or none… from then on I started to look at the situation from that perspective”.

CBCP News, 27 April 2020

In the first reading we are told of the zeal of Saul in destroying the early church alongside the devotion of the early disciples in keeping the young church alive.

Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.

Acts of the Apostles 8:2

Only St. Luke used that adjective “devout” in the New Testament to describe people of “good heart, ready to believe, and then act openly and with courage” according to Timothy Clayton of the book “Exploring Advent with Luke”.

Devout people make thing happen for God like St. Stephen and the early Christians.

From Google.

Devout people give themselves to God wholly like St. Catherine and all the saints who remained attuned with the Holy Spirit like Philip in the first reading today, ready to follow its promptings and leads.

Give us the same gift of devotion to you, Jesus, the “Bread of Life” who had come down from heaven so we can build up your Church as your body here on earth.

Help us avoid the pitfalls of pride and self-centeredness that tend to destroy the unity of your Body, the Church.

Most specially, keep us devoted to you in the Blessed Sacrament like St. Catherine of Siena with whom you have shown in a vision while she was sick the celebration of the Eucharist in their chapel making her a patroness of those in television. Amen.

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