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Ordinary Time: November 28th

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Other Commemorations: St. James of the Marches, Priest (RM)


November 28, 2007 (Readings on USCCB website)


Lord, increase our eagerness to do your will and help us to know the saving power of your love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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During the final week of the ecclesiastical year, the language of the liturgy becomes very earnest and impressive. The Last Judgment with all its terrors is approaching. By this reminder the Church desires to make us realize our responsibilities, but she also desires to show us in Christ's judgment His crowning victory and the completion of His work of redemption. We should be inspired with confidence and very great hope at the thought that He who will come to judge us is the very same who came into this world to save us. Throughout the liturgical year the Church never ceases to remind us of this.

The Child is the criteria of the measure that God has given to humanity
We might compare God's plan for humanity to a most original mosaic composed of numerous small pieces which fit together perfectly. Each piece is indispensable, since it is part of the whole which will appear in its full beauty only at the end.

God's love has a marvellous masterpiece to create with each of his creatures, in this work Divine Providence does one part and our freedom does the other, to put in place all the tiny pieces of which the mosaic is composed. A mosaic is pleasing when it is complete when there are no missing pieces; but to complete the work it is necessary to follow the order of divine Providence, or there will be confusion instead of harmony. Who, except God who thought of me from all eternity, knows which little pieces make up my mosaic? He alone sees the whole, no one else! He who “he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love, marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure, to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1,4-6).

His infallible work, which we call Providence, unifies our life if we open to the Will of God! If we were truly people of faith we would pay much more attention to the little decisions of every day, and learn to direct them in keeping with the plan Jesus has for us, putting His will before ours.

A person who lives with total trust in God, is attentive and notices the signs He gives, so that our personal story can become part of the history of salvation. We are too distracted by the thought of the world which teaches man to “take hold” of his life, to despise humble things and tend towards 'great' things, considered important. Instead in the logic of God, revealed by the Gospel of Jesus, the important measure is not 'greatness', instead 'humility' is the scale God prefers to judge our history. We are reminded of this by the Holy Father with stupendous words: “at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness — or lack of it — to the Child who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because he is the criterion of the measure that God has given to humanity”(Benedict XVI, Angelus 10 December 2007).

It is precisely behind a fragment that we often find the greatness, the beauty and the love of God. Is not the human body itself, with its wonderful constitution, the product of innumerable microscopic parts? This is how it is in the world of God. His great plan of love for each of us is formed of innumerable 'parts' which He has made and put together to form one unique masterpiece of grace! If man really puts his trust in God, then one day he will marvel at the wonders Grace has worked in him: blessed are the pure of heart for they will see what God has made of their life!

A Christian cannot underestimate little things done with love: a meeting, a reflection, a piece of advice, a helping hand, a letter…one day he will hear Jesus say to him: I was there behind that meeting, that reflection, that advice, that act… Even the smallest event in our life acquires meaning if we learn to pass it under that special microscope called faith!

“If your faith is the size of a mustard seed ” (Mt 17,20), could this not mean faith which is able to see little things? Which recognises God's footsteps, his passing among us, in the little things? Things the world does not even consider worth looking at. “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children” (Mt 11,25). Little things which hide great things, the Father can reveal them only to humble persons, those whose eyes are not concupiscent, thirsting for greatness. Mary's faith was the greatest of all because her humility was also the greatest. Advent is an opportunity for us to walk with Her along the path of the little things, so we may resemble more closely the 'Child' about to be born … the criteria of measure which God has given to humanity” (Benedict XVI).

— Mgr. Luciano Alimandi, Agenzia Fides 12/12/2007; righe 49, parole 717

Things to Do:

  • Today would be a good time to meditate on our own last end. Maybe pick up the Imitation of Christ and read Book 1 Chapter 24.

  • Make sure you have your Advent wreath ready, candles and all. Decide what ceremony and prayers you will use with your family.

  • If you are going to make or use an Advent calendar or the Jesse tree gather everything you need today.

  • If you plan to stir-up plum pudding on Sunday be sure you have all the ingredients.

St. James of the Marches
The small town of Montebrandone, on the eastern coast of Italy, called the March of Ancona, gave birth to this Saint in the year 1391. While still young he was sent to the University of Perugia, where his progress in learning soon qualified him to be chosen preceptor to the children of a young gentleman of Perugia. He went with him to Florence, to aid in the administration of a juridical office the nobleman had obtained there; but realizing that he was about to be engulfed in the whirlpool of worldly excesses in which he found himself, Saint James applied himself to prayer and recollection, and thought of entering the Carthusian Order.

When traveling one day near Assisi, however, he went into the Church of the Portiuncula to pray, and moved by the fervor of the holy men who there served God and by the example of their blessed founder Saint Francis, he determined to petition in that very place for the habit of the Order. He was then twenty-one years of age; he received the habit near Assisi, at the convent of Our Lady of the Angels. He began his spiritual war against the world, the flesh and the devil in prayer and silence in his cell, joining extraordinary fasts and vigils to his assiduous prayer. He fell ill with a number of different illnesses which for thirty years he endured with heroic patience, without ever exempting himself from saying Holy Mass or assisting at the offices in common. For forty years he never passed a day without taking the discipline.

When, through the response of the Mother of Heaven to his prayers, he became able to preach, he carried out that ministry with such great fervor and power that he never failed to touch the most hardened hearts and produce truly miraculous conversions. He joined Saint John of Capistrano to preach a crusade against the Turks, who had become masters of Constantinople and were terrorizing Western Europe. At Buda he effected the miraculous cessation of a furious sedition by simply showing the crucifix to the people; the rebels themselves took him upon their shoulders and carried him through the streets of the city. At Prague he brought back to God many who had fallen into error, and when a magician wanted to dispute with him, he rendered him mute and thus obliged him to retire in confusion. He traveled through the northern Provinces, into Germany, Dalmatia, Hungary, Poland, Norway and Denmark and many other places; he went without any provisions other than his confidence in God. If he found no aid or was without lodging he rejoiced in his union with Lady Poverty, to whom he was joined by his religious profession.

When he was called back to Italy to labor against a heresy, he acquired new persecutors who attempted in several ways, including ambushes, poison, calumny and the arousing of seditions against him, to do away with him. But God delivered him each time from the most adroitly conceived artifices. When chosen as Archbishop of Milan, he fled, and could not be prevailed on to accept the office. He brought about several miracles at Venice and at other places, often by the simple Holy Name of Jesus written on a paper. He raised from dangerous illness the Duke of Calabria and the King of Naples. The Saint died in the Franciscan convent of the Holy Trinity near Naples, to which city the Holy Father had sent him at the prayer of its King, Ferdinand. The date was the 28th of November of the year 1476; he was ninety years old, and had spent seventy of those years in religion.
—Excerpted from Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Patronage: Monteprandone, Italy; Naples, Italy

Symbols and Representation: priest holding in his right hand a chalice from which a snake is escaping; chalice and serpent; Franciscan holding a chalice and a veil; Franciscan with a staff, castanets at his girdle, pointing to IHS (from

Highlights and Things To Do:

  • St. James is considered one of the "fathers of the modern pawnshop!...To combat extremely high interest rates, James established montes pietatis—literally, mountains of charity—nonprofit credit." organizations that lent money on pawned objects at very low rates. (from Franciscan Media).
  • Read more about St. James:
  • St. James lived a very austere life. He was a skinny man who dressed in a tattered habit. He fasted every day until his health began to fail. The pope ordered him to eat as a public service, and St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. We can't think to possibly take up the same practices, but his approach in loving God and giving of his whole self is an inspiring example.
  • The Order of Friars Minor are known as the "Observants," usually called Franciscan friars. Their official name: "Friars Minor" with the abbreviation OFM. The Franciscan saints John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano, and Bernardine of Siena, and James Marche are considered the “four pillars” of the Friars Minor. All four of these saints were well-known for their preaching.
  • St. James Marche's body is incorrupt, and has been preserved in Santa Maria La Nova in Naples until 2001. They were transferred in 2001 to Santuario Santa Maria delle Grazie e San Giacomo della Marca (Church of Our Lady of Grace and St. James of the Marches.