Our Lady of Arabia / Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Readings: Is 62:1-5; Ps 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-12

“MAKE SURE YOU INVITE JESUS AND MARY!”

Johnny Carson (who hosted the Tonight Show for 30 years), was interviewing an eight-year-old boy one night. The young man was asked to appear on the Late Show because he had rescued two friends from a coal mine outside his hometown in West Virginia.  As Johnny questioned him, it became apparent that the boy was a Christian.   Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday school.  When the boy said he did, Johnny inquired, “What are you learning in Sunday school?” “Last week,” the boy replied, “our lesson was about how Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine.” The audience burst into laughter and applause.   Keeping a straight face, Johnny asked, “And what did you learn from that story?” The boy squirmed in his chair. It was apparent he hadn’t thought about this. But then he lifted up his face and said, “If you’re going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus and Mary!”

And that is precisely the message of today’s Gospel: make sure you invite Jesus and Mary wherever you live and wherever you go – they are the only ones you’ll ever need.   In other words, today’s Gospel lesson is about the sufficiency of Christ in our lives and the power of his Mother’s intercession.

Make the miracle happen!

At a festival in India, each villager was asked to contribute to the celebrations by pouring a bottle of mahuda (country liquor) into a large barrel. When the festivities began, people began to drink from the barrel and realized that it was only water. One man thought, “If I pour a bottle of water into a large barrel of mahuda, nobody will notice the difference.” He did not think that everybody would have the same thought! – What gift has God given you that you are ready to share with others? If Jesus were to put his barrel before you what gift would you share with him? Surrender all, Then life will be like the Cana wine jars: bubbling and overflowing over! Francis Gonsalves in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’

The Help You Give to Others Will Always Return To You!

A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.

He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: “I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson.”

The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt.

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: “If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me.”

The same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. The place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hair with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent the whole day on her feet.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, could be so kind and giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get the change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: “You don’t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you.” The waitress found four more one hundred bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed? Especially now, when the baby would soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him the good news. Then she kissed him and whispered; “Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

Paid in Full with One Glass of Milk!

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year’s later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words: “Paid in full with one glass of milk”

The Mouse in the House (Source: Soup-heart)

There are many people in today’s world that want nothing to do with helping other people. Their thought is, “Why should I go out of my way to help them with the problem that they are facing? It has nothing to do with me.” Well, sometimes this decision can come back to affect them. The story today clearly illustrates why, sometimes, we should go out of our way to help others.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain? The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.”” I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. “Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house — like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember…..the mouse in the house.

FIRST READING: The message from Isaiah sees potential in the midst of squalor. Jerusalem had been devastated by the Babylonian Exile, but would revive, despite the low mood of the returnees.

PSALM: Psalm 96 is a hymn of praise, not only for the nation, but for all nations.

SECOND READING: St. Paul wrote to the assembly in Corinth about spiritual gifts, that they might vary in type and degree, but they are all present in a person to do one thing, ie, promote the faith and not the ego.

GOSPEL: John’s Gospel presents the famous Wedding at Cana, where Jesus was petitioned by his mother to perform his first public sign. The changing of water into wine was a sign that resonated with his followers and caused them to believe.

God is a God of miracles. Jesus, during his ministry in this world performed many miracles. The first miracle of Jesus was turning the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. We can learn many truths from this incident, namely…..INVITATION, INTERCESSION, INSTRUCTION, INSTRUMENTS AND INSPIRATION

1.INVITATION: John 2:1,2

If we want to experience a miracle, we must first invite Jesus into our lives. Jesus was invited to the wedding at Cana. If Jesus had not been invited to that wedding the miracle would not have taken place. We must invite Jesus into every area of our lives. We must seek his blessing and his guidance in every aspect of our lives.

2.INTERCESSION: John 2:3,4

The second step for a miracle is to intercede before the Lord, and to make our requests known to him. At the wedding in Cana when they ran out of wine, Mary the mother of Jesus made it known to Jesus. We should take all our burdens to Our Blessed Mother and ask her to intercede for us. Instead of rushing to our friends and relatives to share our problems, we must first take it to the Lord ain prayer.

3.INSTRUCTION: John 2:5.

The third step is to be taught obedience to the commandments of the Lord. At the wedding in Cana, Mary, the mother of Jesus told the servants to do whatever Jesus commanded them to do. It was obedience to the instructions of Jesus that enabled them to experience the miracle. We must be careful to obey the instructions that the Lord gives to us. We must live according to the Word of God.

4.INSTRUMENTS: John 2:6.

The Lord uses instruments to perform his miracle. At the wedding in Cana the Lord used the water that was available to perform a miracle. Jesus used five loaves and two fishes that was available to feed the five thousand. The Lord can use whatever we have to perform miracles. He can use even ordinary vessels to reveal his power. We should allow the Lord to use whatever we have for his glory.

5.INSPIRATION: John 2:7,8.

Here Jesus intervened and performed a miracle by turning the water into wine and his disciples believed in him. The miracle that Jesus performed inspired the disciples and caused them to develop a strong faith in the Lord. We must cause every miracle that the Lord performs to become an inspiration for us to have a greater and deeper faith in him.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If YOU want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

“HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WOULD BE IF ALL COULD ADMIRE HOW MUCH WE ARE FOR ONE ANOTHER, HOW WE ENCOURAGE AND HELP EACH OTHER” – POPE FRANCIS

Too often the trend in our society is for people to be separated from others, to be cut off from the great mass of humanity, and in doing so to be dehumanized a little bit more with each step.

Cars have taken us off the streets, where we used to greet each other and stop to chat. Cubicles have taken away a bit of the humanity in working, as have factories and even computers to some extent. Television has planted us firmly in our living rooms, instead of out with other people. Even movie theaters, where many people get together, cut us off from true conversation because we’re staring at a big screen. Mobile and social networking have made us more distant than near. And while I’m not railing against any of these inventions, what we must guard against is the tendency of that individuality to have us focused on ourselves to the exclusion of our fellow human beings. The tendency towards selfishness rather than giving, on helping ourselves rather than helping our brothers and sisters in humanity. I’m not saying we’re all like that, but it can happen, if we’re not careful. So strike back against the selfishness and greed of our modern world, and help out a fellow human being today. Not next month, but today.

Helping a fellow human being, while it can be inconvenient, has a few humble advantages:

1.      It makes you feel better about yourself;

2.      It connects you with another person, at least for a moment, if not for life;

3.      It improves the life of another, at least a little;

4.      It makes the world a better place, one little step at a time;

5.      And if that kindness is passed on, it can multiply, and multipy.

So take just a few minutes today, and do an act of kindness for another person. It can be something small, or the start of something big. Ask them to pay it forward. Put a smile on someone’s face.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s something to get you thinking — I’m sure you can come up with thousands more if you think about it.

26 Ways to Help Others today!
In other words to be another “MARY AT THE WEDDING OF CANA”.

1.      Smile and be friendly. Sometimes a simple little smile can put a warm feeling in someone else’s heart, and make their day a little better. They might then do the same for others.

2.      Call a charity to volunteer. You don’t have to go to a soup kitchen today. Just look up the number, make the call, and make an appointment to volunteer sometime in the next month. It can be whatever charity you like. Volunteering is one of the most amazing things you can do.

3.      Donate something you don’t use. Or a whole box of somethings. Drop them off at a charity — others can put your clutter to good use.

4.      Make a donation. There are lots of ways to donate to charities online, or in your local community, church, school, etc. Instead of buying yourself a new gadget or outfit, spend that money in a more positive way.

5.      Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday or Christmas gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a certain charity.

6.      Stop to help. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or somehow in need of help, stop and ask how you can help. Sometimes all they need is a push, or the use of your cell phone.

7.      Teach. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know. This could be teaching your grandma to use email, teaching your child to ride a bike, teaching your co-worker a valuable computer skill, teaching your spouse how to clean the toilet. OK, that last one doesn’t count. ;-)

8.      Comfort someone in grief. Often a hug, a helpful hand, a kind word, a listening ear, will go a long way when someone has lost a loved one or suffered some similar loss or tragedy.

9.      Help them take action. If someone in grief seems to be lost and doesn’t know what to do, help them do something. It could be making funeral arrangements, it could be making a doctor’s appointment, it could be making phone calls. Don’t do it all yourself — let them take action too, because it helps in the healing process.

10.  Buy food for a homeless person. Cash is often a bad idea if it’s going to be used for drugs, but buying a sandwich and chips or something like that is a good gesture. Be respectful and friendly.

11.  Lend your ear. Often someone who is sad, depressed, angry, or frustrated just needs someone who will listen. Venting and talking through an issue is a huge help.

12.  Help someone on the edge. If someone is suicidal, urge them to get help. If they don’t, call a suicide hotline or doctor yourself to get advice.

13.  Help someone get active. A person in your life who wants to get healthy might need a helping hand — offer to go walking or running together, to join a gym together. Once they get started, it can have profound effects.

14.  Do a chore. Something small or big, like cleaning up or washing a car or doing the dishes or cutting a lawn.

15.  Give a massage. Only when appropriate of course. But a massage can go a long way to making someone feel better.

16.  Send a nice email. Just a quick note telling someone how much you appreciate them, or how proud you are of them, or just saying thank you for something they did.

17.  Show appreciation, publicly. Praising someone on a blog, in front of co-workers, in front of family, or in some other public way, is a great way to make them feel better about themselves.

18.  Donate food. Clean out your cupboard of canned goods, or buy a couple bags of groceries, and donate them to a homeless shelter.

19.  Just be there. When someone you know is in need, sometimes it’s just good to be there. Sit with them. Talk. Help out if you can.

20.  Be patient. Sometimes people can have difficulty understanding things, or learning to do something right. Learn to be patient with them.

21.  Tutor a child. This might be difficult to do today, but often parents can’t afford to hire a tutor for their child in need of help. Call a school and volunteer your tutoring services.

22.  Create a care package. Soup, reading material, tea, chocolate … anything you think the person might need or enjoy. Good for someone who is sick or otherwise in need of a pick-me-up.

23.  Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them. You don’t have to take on that cause by yourself, but join others in signing a petition, speaking up a a council meeting, writing letters, and otherwise making a need heard.

24.  Offer to babysit. Sometimes parents need a break. If a friend or other loved one in your life doesn’t get that chance very often, call them and offer to babysit sometime. Set up an appointment. It can make a big difference.

25.  Love. Simply finding ways to express your love to others, whether it be your partner, child, other family member, friend, co-worker, or a complete stranger … just express your love. A hug, a kind word, spending time, showing little kindnesses, being friendly … it all matters more than you know.

26.  PRAY: A moment of silence to spend before the Lord in silence can help us recharge our energy and can play a vital role to spread the positive vibes.

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
– William Shakespeare


SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY OF ARABIA

THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY OF ARABIA IS CELEBRATED ON SATURDAY
BEFORE THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (WITH PERMISSION TO
CELEBRATE IT ON SUNDAY OR ON FRIDAY ACCORDING TO NO. 58 OF
NORMAE UNIVERSALES DE ANNO LITURGICO ET DE CALENDARIO )

Approved Texts of the Mass
English | Italian | Latin

Few are aware that Our Lady has been in Arabia for the last thousand three hundred years. Mention of her is even made in the Holy Quran: “O Mary, verily God hath chosen thee above all women of the world.” (Chap. III, Section 5, 45th verse)

The oldest “Our Lady of Arabia” was a picture brought from Mount Carmel. It was framed at the beginning of May 1948, to be used in the Chapel, a room in C.Q. 2B (Fr. Stella’s living quarters in Ahmadi) for May devotions.

On 8th December 1948 – the day of the blessing of the mini “Chapel” on the Ridge, this picture was kept near the altar. According to Church records, devotion to Our Lady of Arabia started on that day … the day, on which the Chapel in her honour was dedicated. To the officiating clergy, as well as to the faithful attending, the title of ‘Our Lady of Arabia’ seemed quite “new”. Yet the Right Rev. Apostolic Administrator of Arabia had approved it. It was meant to fulfill the prophecy of the Blessed Virgin contained in the ‘Magnificat’, “Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!” (Luke 1:48)

The picture remained in the Chapel till May 1949. Later, it was replaced by a small Statue of the Legion of Mary. However, to represent Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Arabia, Fr. Stella wanted to have a special Statue made in her honour. He decided to use a replica of the Statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, venerated in her basilica on Mount Carmel – the birthplace of the entire Carmelite Order. An Italian firm in Rome, “Rosa and Zanzio Ditta” was requisitioned to make the replica, carved out of a solid block of cedar from Lebanon.

It was not long before the supreme sanction was granted. The Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, himself gave a grand lead to this devotion to Our Lady of Arabia, and on 17th December 1949, on the eve of the Great Jubilee Year, in the Vatican Palace, he personally blessed the new Statue of Our Lady of Arabia, and consented to be photographed in prayer before it.

The Statue was received in Kuwait and formally enthroned on 6th January 1950, amidst triumphal rejoicing at her Shrine in Ahmadi. It is with great nostalgia that the first parishioners might recall the sunny, Friday afternoon, the Statue was transported in a jubilant procession from the Shuwaikh Port to reside in the ‘mini’ Chapel, and to be venerated as Patroness and Protector of the Oilman.

In the Holy Family Cathedral (Kuwait City), there is a replica, yet, smaller Statue of our Lady of Arabia. It was blessed by H.H. Pope Pius XII on 16th September 1954 in Castle Gondolfo. It was presented by the parish of St. Teresa in Rome to the young Sodalists from Kuwait in 1954, during their pilgrimage to Rome during the Marian Year.

A month after the new Church in Ahmadi was blessed in the year 1956, at the beginning of May devotions, the venerated Statue of Our Lady of Arabia was transferred from the Chapel to the new Church, in a great procession of torch-lights.

Three Bishops joined in the procession. H.H. Pope Pius XII showed his devotion once more to Our Lady of Arabia by presenting the shrine in Ahmadi with a big, decorated candle, chosen among those offered him at Candlemas in 1956.

In 1956, Bishop Stella sent a petition to the Holy See to proclaim Our Lady of Arabia, Patroness of the Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait. The following year, granting the request of the new Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait, H.H. Pope Pius XII, by a pontifical decree, dated 25th January, 1957, “Regnum Mariae” declared Our Lady of Arabia the Principal Patron of the territory and Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait.

On 25th March 1960, the feast of Our Lady’s Annunciation, His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay crowned the Statue of Our Lady of Arabia in the name, and by the authority of the Holy Father Pope John XXIII. The ceremony was performed in the large, paved square in front of the Church at sunset. More than four thousand people were crowded in, when His Eminence Cardinal Gracias, the Papal Legate, was escorted, under the canopy to the dais, where over an altar, the Statue of Our Lady was held high over the crowd.

The two crowns (for Our Lady and the Baby Jesus in her arms) were finely chiselled, weighed over two pounds of pure gold, and were adorned with diamonds and rubies and other precious stones, also, a large pearl of the Gulf was offered by the Bishop. The two precious crowns had been blessed on 17th March 1960 by the H.H. Pope John XXIII.

The history of this devotion already gives evidence that favours have been granted which compare with those bestowed by Our Lady at other famous shrines. At the Church in Ahmadi, on Saturday evenings, before the celebration of the Holy Mass, people recite the Perpetual Novena to Our Lady of Arabia. Near the Statue of the Queen of Arabia, letters with requests for favours or thanksgiving for benefits granted, are kept in a special box, and a mention is made during the Novena. (COURTESY: WWW.AVONA.ORG; WWW.BAHRAINCATHEDRAL.ORG

LET US PRAY FOR THE NEW CATHEDRAL PROJECT DEDICATED TO OUR LADY OF ARABIA, THAT IT MAY START SOON.

MAY GOD BLESS ALL THE DONORS AND THE VICARIATE FOR
THEIR CONSTANT SUPPORT TO THE CATHEDRAL.

OUR LADY OF ARABIA PRAY FOR US!
HAPPY FEAST TO ALL OUR PARISHIONERS!

Fr. Gaspar Fernandes, OFM Cap.

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