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Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
MEMORIAL OF DAMASUS I, POPE
Don’t get too comfortable

When Saint Damasus rose to the position of pope in the fourth century, the church faithful were in the midst of coming to terms with their legalization into the Roman state and the subsequent decline of their persecution. It was within this context that Damasus led the church to a veneration for the local martyrs of their past. Enjoying now a state of legal security, Damasus believed that honoring local martyrs and seeking their intercession and protection would instill in Catholics an appreciation for their distinctive spiritual identity. Today in America, Catholics enjoy a freedom and comfort in their faith as few ever have, yet across the globe faithful people continue to be martyred. Look to the figure of these martyrs today as a reminder of faith.

TODAY'S READINGS: Isaiah 40:1-11; Matthew 18:12-14 (182). “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” 

©2018 TrueQuest Communications. TakeFiveForFaith.com; mail@takefiveforfaith.com. All rights reserved. Noncommercial reprints permitted with the following credit: Reprinted with permission from TakeFiveForFaith.com. Scripture citations from the New American Bible Revised Edition. For more information about Take Five and our regular contributors, go to PrepareTheWord.com. Free daily email and app available online at TakeFiveForFaith.com/subscribe.

ALWAYS BE READY

A mother was explaining, to her little girl, the death of her father. The mother said: “God has sent for your father and will send for us, but I do not know just when.” Finally, the little girl said: “If we do not know just when God is going to send for us, do you not think we had better pack up and get ready to go? God might send when we are not ready.”

Vatican City, Dec 10, 2018 / 12:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Everyone should, according to his or her specific gifts, fight to protect the fundamental rights of individuals, Pope Francis said Monday in a message to an international gathering on the topic.

“Each person is therefore called to contribute with courage and determination, in the specificity of their role, to the respect of the fundamental rights of every person,” the pope wrote Dec. 10.

“Especially [the rights] of those [who are] ‘invisible:’ of many who are hungry and thirsty, who are naked, sick, a stranger or imprisoned, who live on the margins of society or are discarded.”

“This need for justice and solidarity,” he pointed out, “has a special significance for us Christians, because the Gospel itself invites us to turn our gaze to the least of our brothers and sisters, to be moved to compassion and to concretely commit ourselves to alleviate their suffering.”

Pope Francis’ message was sent to the international conference “Human Rights in the Contemporary World: Achievements, Omissions, Negations,” taking place in Rome Dec. 10-11 at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Held on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the conference included a keynote by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, given Dec. 10, and panels by international experts in the field of human rights.

Also present at the conference were members of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps and representatives of the United Nations, Council of Europe, the bishops’ Justice and Peace commission, the academic world, and civil society.

“I wish, on this occasion,” the pope wrote, “to address a heartfelt appeal to those with institutional responsibilities, asking them to place human rights at the center of all policies, including those of development cooperation, even when this means going against the current.”

On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “an in-depth reflection on the foundation and respect for human rights in the contemporary world seems opportune,” he said, adding that he hopes it will herald in a “renewed commitment to the defense of human dignity, with special attention to the most vulnerable members of the community.”

He noted that contemporary society continues to fall short of upholding and protecting the equal dignity of all human beings as it should, with many injustices continuing in the world today, including that of great disparity in wealth, with one part of society living “in opulence” and another “disowned, despised, or trampled.”

He listed, in particular, “the unborn children who are denied the right to come into the world,” “those who do not have access to the indispensable means for a dignified life,” those without access to education or just work, those forced into slavery or inhuman conditions, those subjected to torture “or who are denied the opportunity to redeem themselves,” and the victims of “forced disappearance” and their families.

“My thoughts,” he said, “also go to all those who live in a climate dominated by suspicion and contempt, which are the subject of acts of intolerance, discrimination and violence because of their racial, ethnic, national or religious affiliation.”

Pope Francis also recalled those who suffer violations of their fundamental rights due to armed conflicts “while unscrupulous merchants of death are enriched at the price of their brothers’ and sisters’ blood.”

“In the face of these serious phenomena, we are all called upon [to help],” he said.

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