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Dear brothers and sisters,
After Jesus spoke with great authority and power in the synagogue, the Gospel (Mk 1: 29-39) this Sunday explains where that authority and power emanate: “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
In her message, Our Lady likewise shows where the power of preaching lies: in fidelity and authenticity. We will read “The Power of the Gospel” (Message 215), from the book “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Mark 1: 29-39)
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Points for Reflection
This was the aftermath of Jesus’ preaching in the synagogue. This took place at the house of Simon and Andrew, where Jesus earlier healed Simon’s mother-in-law from fever. Why is there such a strong demand for Him? Job in the First Reading (Job 7: 1-4, 6-7) helps us envision this. Going through the waves of loss and catastrophe, he all at once felt the full brunt of everything we suffer in this fallen world: the drudgery, misery, troubled nights, restlessness and hopelessness. Never has the human condition been more aptly described than in his own life: “Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.”
With this in mind, we can understand why “everyone” was eager to see Jesus. He is the Lord “who heals the brokenhearted,” our Psalm says (Ps. 147: 1-6). This is what “the whole town” was hoping for: that Jesus would answer their deepest needs, put their messes right, and break the curse of evil, suffering and death. With the appearance of Jesus, Job’s lament was turned into a song of praise: “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”
Remarkably, Jesus finds time and place to pray despite his busy and exhausting routine. Pope Benedict XVI explains this: “Through prayer, Jesus demonstrates his intimate bond with the Father, experiencing His paternity and capturing the power of His love.” Praying is never interrupted by fatigue or busyness as he lives uninterruptedly with the Father. On the contrary, he is wont to pray “very early before dawn” in “a deserted place.” Praying is part of his daily life and enters into all the phases of his ministry, “like a hidden canal irrigating his life and mission and guiding him with increasing firmness to the total gift of self in full accord with the Father’s loving plan” (Catechesis on Prayer, General Audience, November 30, 2011). Praying formed him to be little and single-minded and this is where the authority and the power of preaching emanate.
After his solitude, it was time to take up the work again, this time “to the nearby villages.” Remarkably, God chose this particular method, preaching, in the plan to proclaim the Gospel to all. He could have used many different means; instead, Jesus preached. Here lies the wisdom in it. Preaching anticipates the next course of action that Jesus would hand over to the Church: ”Go out to all the nations and preach the Good News” (Mk. 16:15; Mt. 24:14).
No wonder Paul in the Second Reading (1 Cor. 9: 16-19, 22-23) writes: “Woe to me if I do not preach it!” Apparently fired up with this, he mentioned the word “preach” three times. Equal in every way to the twelve, he fulfilled the mandate to preach the Gospel “free of charge,” depriving himself, so as not to burden anyone with any obligation. He also made it his goal to adapt himself wherever he went, becoming “all things to all,” so that as many as possible could hear him without unnecessary stumbling stones in the path, “to save at least some.”
This is the same zeal we saw in Jesus when he desired to go to all the “nearby villages” and preach the Good News. May we have the same enthusiasm to preach, sharing the Gospel in words and in deed, so that others may have a share in God’s saving love.
November 14, 1980
b. Each day, in different dioceses, you have met in cenacles with hundreds of my beloved sons and with tens of thousands of religious and faithful, making in the cathedrals your consecration to my Immaculate Heart.
c. Through you who have responded, my light spreads ever more in the Church. Thus the Church takes on vigor, confidence and a new impetus in the evangelization and salvation of all nations.
d. Look at this immense nation and the huge number of my children, who still do not know Jesus and who walk in darkness, in the expectation that for these also the light of truth and grace may shine forth. This is the time when the Gospel of salvation must be announced to all the peoples of the earth.
e. The Gospel must be preached to every creature, just as Jesus preached it to you, as the Holy Spirit gave it to the Church.
f. The Gospel must be kept today to the letter. The Gospel must be lived today to the letter. The Gospel must be preached today to the letter. The attempt, undertaken by many, to explain the Gospel in a purely human manner, to ignore its historical and supernatural content, to reduce to natural interpretation that which is contained in it of a divine or miraculous nature, has brought about the weakening of its message and the enfeebling of the efficacy of its proclamation.
g. The power of evangelization is in its fidelity and its authenticity. It is not in the adapting of the message of Christ to the various cultures, but in the bringing of all cultures to Christ that the duty of evangelization, entrusted to you, is carried out.
h. How many of these children of mine would already belong to Christ, if today the power and the impact of evangelization were not weakened!
i. I am for you Mother and Teacher. Just as I accepted, guarded and lived the word of God, so too today I cause it to be accepted, guarded and lived by all of you, my little ones. The divine word must therefore be lived and proclaimed by you to the letter.
j. And so I want to communicate to all of you an enthusiasm for the Gospel. Illumined by its light, announce it to all the peoples of the earth! I am Mother and Teacher of all peoples, and the triumph of my Immaculate Heart cannot come in all its fullness, until I have brought them all to my Son Jesus
k. Live in my Immaculate Heart, and give Jesus to all the peoples of the earth. Soon the deepest desire of my Son will be fulfilled, and, from every part of the five continents, under my guidance, all will hasten to enter into and become part of the one flock under the one Shepherd.
l. For now, I look with motherly tenderness on these children of mine, still far away, and through you I now bless them all and enfold them in my Immaculate Heart.
Points for Reflection
Taking India as reference, from where she gave this message to Fr. Gobbi, the preaching of the Gospel finds significance and urgency in our time when a huge number of people still do not know Jesus and still walk in darkness. “This is the time when the Gospel of salvation must be announced to all the peoples of the earth” (215 d), “just as Jesus preached it to you, as the Holy Spirit gave it to the Church” (215 e).
Our Lady warns us of the effort “by many” to explain the Gospel in a purely human manner, ignoring its historical and supernatural content, thus weakening its message and the efficacy of its proclamation. She urges us to keep, live and preach the Gospel to the letter (215 f).
The power of preaching is in its fidelity (i.e., to the letter) and its authenticity (i.e., historical and supernatural content). It is not in the adapting of the message of Christ to the various cultures, but, rather, in the bringing of all cultures to Christ that the duty of evangelization is carried out (215 g). If the power and the impact of evangelization were not weakened, many people would already belong to Christ (215 h).
Our Lady is the Mother and Teacher of preaching. Just as she “accepted, guarded and lived” the word of God, so also she makes it “accepted, guarded and lived” by all of us. “The divine word must therefore be lived and proclaimed by you to the letter” (215 i).
For us to do this, she wants to transmit to us the “enthusiasm for the Gospel” (215 i) through our consecration to Her Immaculate Heart, in which she gently forms us into the image of Her Son Jesus. She exhorts us to live in her Immaculate Heart and give Jesus to all the peoples of the earth. “Soon the deepest desire of my Son will be fulfilled, and, from every part of the five continents, under my guidance, all will hasten to enter into and become part of the one flock under the one Shepherd” (215 k).
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use. Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur: Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D.,1998
Abp Francesco Cuccarese, D.D, 2007