Propers of the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Introit   Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to You: be my helper, forsake me not, do not despise me, O God, my Saviour. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? ℣. Glory be … Hear, Lord …

Collect   O GOD, who hast prepared for them that love You such good things as pass understanding: pour into our hearts such love toward You, that we, loving You in all things and above all things, may obtain Thy promises which exceed all that we can desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

 Epistle (1 Pet. 3:8-15) Dearly beloved: be all of one mind, having compassion for one another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble; not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for to this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil and do good; let him seek after peace, and pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers, but the countenance of the Lord against them that do evil things. And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer anything for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled; but sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.

Gradual   Behold, O God our protector, and look on Thy servants. O Lord God of hosts, give ear to the prayers of Thy servants. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 20. 1.) In Thy strength, O Lord, the king shall joy; and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly. Alleluia

Gospel (Matthew 5:20-24) At that time Jesus said to His disciples: Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother: Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say: Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against You, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother; and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.

Offertory   I will bless the Lord, who hath given me understanding; I set God always in my sight; for He is at my right hand, that I be not moved.

Secret  Be merciful, O Lord, to our humble pleading: and favourably receive these offerings of Thy servants and handmaidens, that what each of us has offered to the honour of Thy Name, may profit us all unto salvation. Through our Lord …

Communion One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life

Postcommunion Grant, O Lord, we beseech You, that we whom Thou hast fed with the heavenly Gift, may be cleansed from our hidden sins and delivered from the snares of our enemies. Through our Lord …


A Third Extract from Fr P. Joseph: “Healing the Family Tree”

This is the third extract from Fr Peter Joseph’s article “Healing the Family Tree,” at

Responsibility            Some Catholics claiming to expel the influence of troublesome ancestors are really just misled by new age influences, which play upon desperate people’s sensitivities and susceptibilities. It is typical of the new agers to teach others to look elsewhere than themselves for the source of their problems. This is a big problem in today’s world, namely refusing to take responsibility for our own choices and decisions. So some seek to blame their parents, or ancestors, or evil spirits, or a curse that was placed upon them. It is also extremely imprudent to tell people afflicted with fears that their problems are caused by demons or ancestors binding them. Such explanations are only calculated to make them worse. What they do need is formation in the virtues of fortitude and trust in God.

We all know that in certain families there is a bigger tendency to alcoholism or gambling or reckless daring or other vices. But we also know that within a single family there are some siblings who are like chalk and cheese. Our basic temperament may be a given, but our character, which is what we do with it, is up to us. If we co-operate with the grace of God, we can overcome temptation, unhealthy proclivities and bad example. We can acquire new virtues. From sinful parents, God can and does produce saints!  Only mindless determinism tries to lock people into a box for the rest of their lives.

Beliefs without foundation   A few years ago, a nun wrote to Bishop Brennan of Wagga Wagga to ask if she could come and do a seminar on ‘healing your family tree.’ He replied, as he told me himself, that he did not believe in any such doctrine, and that it was contrary to Scripture and the Fathers. There is a book by an Italian theologian, Father Renzo Lavatori, on the demonology of the Fathers of the Church. In that thorough book, and in other learned tomes on the teachings of the Fathers, you will not find a single Father of the Church who taught anything about evil spirits following your ancestral line, or healing your family tree by identifying the ancestor who is holding you bound. I would go further and say that no Father, no Doctor of the Church, no Saint, no Pope, no Council ever taught or even implied any such thing. It is a pure fiction without foundation in Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition. There is not a word on the subject in the 688 pages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a mythical notion imported from sects outside the Church.

Curses Often, healing your tree is meant to liberate you or your family from some curse. But do curses work? Unlike the sacraments of the Church, curses or spells do not work ex opere operato (by virtue of the rite itself). God has not given the devil such unfailing power. His influence is limited, sporadic and determined by God. The rituals and formulas prescribed by the devil and his agents have no intrinsic force, but are mere devices employed by the devil: to deceive and degrade the gullible; to increase his hold over his victims and extract their subservience; to ape the rituals of the Church; and to gain for himself the worship due to God alone. So it is that curses and superstitions seem to work only on those who believe in them! In other words, they are purely psychological, or if demons are at work, they can work only where the recipient of the curse starts to worry about it. So, in either case, the answer is to despise any attempt to curse you, trust in God, practise your religion faithfully and be at peace.

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