St. Nicholas (270-343 A.D.) was the Greek bishop of Myra (in modern-day Turkey.) He is remembered for his generous, secret gift-giving. In our window, he holds three sacks. This recalls how he once helped a loving father who could not afford dowries for his three unmarried daughters—destining them to a life of destitution, or worse. Under the cover of night, St. Nicholas threw 3 bags of gold coins through their window. (Alternate tellings of this story have him dropping them down the chimney or placing them in the daughters’ drying stockings.) He is also known as the saint who punched the heretic Arius at the council of Nicea in 325 AD. His feast day is December 6th.
14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (July 7, 2013)
15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (July 14, 2013)
16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (July 21, 2013)
17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (July 28, 2013)
18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Aug 4, 2013)
19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Aug 11, 2013)
Solemnity of the Assumption, Year C (Aug 15, 2013)
20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Aug 18, 2013)
21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Aug 25, 2013)
22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Sept 1, 2013)
23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Sept 8, 2013)
24th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Sept 15, 2013)
25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Sept 22, 2013)
26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Sept 29, 2013)
27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Oct 6, 2013)
28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Oct 13, 2013)
29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Oct 20, 2013)
30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Oct 27, 2013)
Solemnity of All Saints, Year C (Nov 1, 2013)
All Souls Day, Year C (Nov 2, 2013)
31st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Nov 3, 2013)
32nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Nov 10, 2013)
33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C (Nov 17, 2013)
Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 24, 2013)
Evangelicals are often some the finest non-Catholic Christians. They get many things right, but they regrettably do not understand Catholicism very well. (If they did, they would become Catholic.) Here is how you can answer some of their most common misunderstandings:
“Why do you Catholics worship Mary?”
Nobody worships Mary, she is only a creature, but she is highly honored as the Mother of God. In this we follow Jesus, who surpassingly fulfilled the commandant “Honor your Father and Mother.” Indeed, Mary is our mother too. (See John 19:27 & Revelation 12:17)
“Why do you pray to Mary and the saints when we can pray to Jesus directly?”
Have you ever asked someone to pray for you? Of course you have, and rightly so. The Bible tells us to “pray for one another” because “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” (James 5:16) We can always pray to Jesus, but sometimes we also ask the saints, our holiest friends, to offer prayers with us and for us, as we see them doing in Revelation 5:8.
“Have you been ‘born-again?’”
Yes, because I am baptized. As Jesus told Nicodemus, one enters the kingdom of God by being “born of water and Spirit.” (John 3:5) Demonstrating what he meant, “After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing.” (John 3:22) Indeed, as St. Peter wrote, “baptism now saves you.” (1st Peter 3:21)
“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”
Yes. For example, I often receive him as my Lord and Savior in the Eucharist. As Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:56)
“Do you believe you can earn salvation by your works, rather than by faith alone?”
No one can earn the initial grace of salvation by their works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) But once God has brought us into his friendship we must cooperate with his grace in our actions, “otherwise [we] will be cut off.” (Romans 11:22) “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17)
“How can you believe that the Pope, a sinner like every man, is infallible?”
The Holy Spirit used sinful men to write the inspired Scriptures. Likewise, God protects the Pope from teaching in error about Christian faith and morals lest the whole Church be led astray. Jesus made St. Peter both the Church’s rock foundation and its chief shepherd on earth. (Matthew 16:18-19) The Pope is St. Peter’s successor in that office.
In the Synoptic Gospels, some Sadducees come forward to challenge Jesus about his teachings on the resurrection. The Sadducees were an upper class Jewish sect of Jesus’ day. Despite disbelieving many popular Jewish beliefs, they dominated the Jews’ religious and political leadership in Jerusalem.
The Sadducees only accepted the Bible’s first five books as inspired and rejected any religious teachings they could not find there; including angels, life after death, and the resurrection of the dead. This is why when the Sadducees try to use an absurd (polyandrous) example to mock Jesus’ belief in the resurrection, he replies by citing the scene of Moses and burning bush from Exodus—a book of Scripture they accept.
The Sadducees administered in the Temple, often served as its priests, and were numerous on the Jewish high counsel—the Sanhedrin—which would go on to condemn Jesus to death for blasphemy. Jesus, however, would go on to demonstrate his contention that “the dead will rise” in his own person.
12 Reasons Why I QUIT Attending SPORTS Events
- The coach never came to visit me.
- Every time I went, they asked me for money.
- The people sitting in my row didn’t seem very friendly.
- The seats were very hard.
- The referees made a decision I didn’t agree with.
- I was sitting with hypocrites—they only came to see what others were wearing!
- Some games went into overtime and I was late… getting home.
- The band played some songs I had never heard before.
- The games are scheduled on my only day to sleep in and run errands.
- My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
- Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches, anyway.
- I don’t want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
After the Great Robot Wars, I imagine pretty much everything we know about John Paul the Great will be dismissed as pious legend.
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
“A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”
“War is a defeat for humanity.”
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and ‘hallelujah’ [“Praise the Lord”] is our song.”
“Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”
“Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which is soars to the truth.”
“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” “
The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
- No Gospel of Luke or Acts of the Apostles.
- No stories about the Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, the Ascension, or Pentecost.
- No parables about the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man & Lazarus, and others.
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, would go unquoted in the Bible (apart from the Wedding Feast of Cana.)
- We wouldn’t know where John the Baptist came from, his parents’ names, or that he was related to Jesus.
- We wouldn’t know about the Good Thief’s conversion.
- We wouldn’t know of Jesus’ appearance on the Road to Emmaus.
- We would have no unified Bible narrative about the emergence and spread of the Early Church.
However, thanks to St. Luke, we are blessed with all of these things today.
St. Wenceslaus of Bohemia & St. Louis of France
Two of Our Stained Glass Saints
We recently celebrated the feast day of St. Wenceslaus, our parish patron. In addition to our statue of him in the back of church, we can see the good king depicted in one of our beautiful stained glass windows. He holds a banner and a shield with his red eagle heraldry for he remains a spiritual leader and defender of his people. Do you know which other luminous saints are featured in our stained glass windows?
Next to St. Wenceslaus’ window stands another holy European monarch, St. Louis IX, the 13th century king of France. (This is the Louis that Missouri’s largest city is named after.) St. Louis was regarded as the first among equals by the kings and rulers of Europe, not only because he commanded the largest army and ruled the wealthiest kingdom, but also because of his admirable character.
Each day, Louis welcomed 13 guests from among the poor to dine with him, and a large number of poor were fed near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were provided a meal, with Louis himself often serving them. Throughout his kingdom, Louis founded hospitals, visited the sick, and kept lists of the needy, whom he assisted regularly. He chose St. Francis as his patron and imitated him in caring for lepers.
When his kingdom came into possession of the believed Crown of Thorns, Louis carried the holy relic in procession barefooted. (This event is depicted in our window.) To house this and other relics connected to Christ’s Passion, Louis had the Gothic Sainte Chapelle built in Paris. It remains one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
Louis’ domestic reforms promoted justice. Before his reign, disputing parties could opt for a “trial by battle,” basically a court sanctioned and regulated duel. St. Louis replaced this with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. His personal reputation for fairness caused the rulers of Europe to choose him to arbitrate the quarrels between them.
Abroad, Louis led two unsuccessful crusades to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. In these campaigns more died from disease than battles, including Louis himself, at age 44. St. Louis was canonized 27 years later, making him France’s only canonized king. His feast day is August 25th.
Good King St. Louis, pray for us!
Based upon the Shroud of Turin, Jesus grew to an adult height of between 5’8″ to 6’1″. (It’s actually a much trickier problem than just measuring the shroud image from head to toe.) On the other hand, in a resurrected body, I suspect someone can be whatever height he or she would like.
Once upon a time, a king had a daughter. Though she was a princess, she was young and immature and needed to grow in many ways. So the king appointed one of his oldest friends to be her guardian, teacher, and guide. The guardian was never far from her, but the princess never felt unfree. The guardian was a great and subtle teacher, often imparting important lessons to her without the princess even noticing. When the princess’ false friends would suggest bad paths her guardian would provide better counsel. Some of these false friends envied the princess and did not want to see her reign–they would attack her in every conceivable way, but her guardian would come to her defense. Out of love for the king and his princess, the guardian’s greatest hope was to raise her up so that he could someday bow down to her as a queen.
The king in this parable is God, the princess (or prince) is you, and the guardian appointed to guard, teach, and guide you is your guardian angel.
If we leave right after Communion
we miss the moment to pray, “Thank you.”
If we leave before the final blessing
we miss out on the gift of God’s favor.
If we leave before the final song
we miss the chance to sing to our Beloved.
If we leave before everyone else
we miss the opportunity to meet them.
If we’re leaving before the Mass is over
we’re missing out on what the Mass is all about.
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a prolific British author and columnist, a convert to the Catholic Faith and a married layman whose cause for canonization has just been opened. I often allude to him because his often-witty wisdom is enduringly insightful for our world and souls today.
Thursday, October 10th I will be hosting a gathering of The G.K. Chesterton Club of La Crosse in Eastman. All are welcome. We will meet at the rectory around 7:10 PM for conversation and beverages. Even if you have never heard of Chesterton before, a fruitful experience is guaranteed. These are the readings we will be discussing:
Alternatively, here are the readings as a PDF file.
● The name Lazarus means “one who has been helped.”
● Though presumably well known while he lived, the rich man’s name is never mentioned. St. Augustine says this is because God did not find the rich man’s name written in heaven.
● The rich man has traditionally been given the name “Dives” (the Latin word for “rich.”)
● Purple was the ancient world’s most expensive clothing color; it took 240,000 sea snails and a complex process to produce one ounce of “Royal Purple” dye.
● Being rich, in and of itself, is not a sin; Abraham, David, and Joseph of Arimathea were all rich and friends of God.
● Dives’ sin was his loveless indifference to a person in need he could have easily helped.
● Dives did not use his mammon to win friends like last week’s Gospel teaches.
● Dogs’ saliva has healing properties. In licking Lazarus’ (salty) wounds the dogs did him more good than Dives ever did.
● Dives couldn’t have missed Lazarus lying at his gate. In fact, Dives apparently even knew his name: “Send Lazarus…”
● Even after his condemnation for failing to serve Lazarus, Dives asks that Lazarus serve him; he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to “cool my tongue” and “to my father’s house.”
● St. Peter Chrysologus sees envy behind Dives’ requests: “He does not ask to be led to Lazarus but wants Lazarus to be led to him.”
● St. Augustine speculates that Dives and his brothers used to make fun of the prophets and doubted there was any existence after death.
● Those who do not see that Moses and the prophets speak about Jesus Christ are also unconvinced by Jesus’ rising from the dead.
● St. Jerome suggests that Dives’ five brothers are the five senses he served and loved so much.
● Even after he is condemned, Father Abraham still calls Dives “Son.” St. Ephraim notes that Abraham, who showed strangers kindness & asked mercy for Sodom, was unable to have mercy on one who showed no mercy.
● Abraham represents God, who forgives only the merciful, but who loves even those who are separated from him forever.