What Happened to our “Alleluia” & the Gloria?

February 26, 2015

Glorious Godlike Creatures   You may have noticed that the Gloria and the Alleluia have gone missing since Ash Wednesday. “Alleluia” is Hebrew for “Praise the Lord,” (literally, “Praise Yahweh,”) and it is typically sung before the proclamation of the Gospel. The Gloria, an ancient hymn of ecstatic praise to God, is usually sung at Sunday Masses. However, in Lent, the Church sets both of these aside.

Throughout this penitential season, we deprive ourselves of things so that we may be more perfectly prepared to celebrate Easter joy. By refraining from saying “Alleluia” or singing the Gloria (except for Solemnities) during Lent, their Easter resurrection is made that much more special.

Reflections on The Passion of the Christ

February 26, 2015
  • Jesus Writing on the Ground from the Passion of the Christ with Jim CaviezelThe 2004 film begins quoting Isaiah 53, “He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah foretold Christ’s sufferings seven centuries before they came to pass.
  • We see a full moon, for Passover was always celebrated upon a full moon (similar to how Easter is always the Sunday after the first full moon following spring equinox on March 20th.)
  • We find Jesus in the garden, praying the psalms to his Father: “Rise up, defend me” (Ps 94) “Save me from the traps they set for me” (Ps 141) “Shelter me, O Lord, I trust in you. In you I take my refuge.” (Ps 16)
  • Satan appears in the garden; androgynous, attractive, and deathly pale. He speaks doubts to Jesus: “Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin? No one can carry this burden… No one. Ever. No. Never. … Who is your Father? Who are you?” Jesus never speaks to the devil throughout the film, but here he stands, locks eyes with Satan, and crushes the snake’s head underfoot. This recalls God’s words to the ancient serpent in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.
  • Awoken from her sleep, the Virgin Mother senses something is awry. She asks Mary Magdalene, “Why is this night different from every other night?” She answers, “Because once we were slaves and we are slaves no longer.” This quotes the traditional dialogue of the Jewish Passover meal ritual.
  • Given the choice, the crowd calls for the unsavory prisoner Barabbas, a violent revolutionary, to be freed instead of Jesus. “Barabbas” means “Son of the Father.
  • At the pillar, Jesus quotes Psalm 108: “My heart is ready, Father. My heart is ready.” In Hebrew, to say “very,” you repeat a word twice. To say something is so in the greatest measure, it is said thrice (e.g. “Holy, Holy, Holy.”) The Romans directing the flogging of Jesus say “Satis / Enough” three times.
  • The angry crowd from the Passion of the ChristPilate presents the lacerated Jesus saying, “Ecce Homo / Behold (the) man!” The shot is from behind, emphasizing the angry, riotous mob in the background, for these words are a critique of fallen man/mankind.
  • Pilate asks, “Shall I crucify your king?” The high priest replies, “We have no king but Caesar,” denying the kingship of God.
  • The 14 Stations of the Cross make appearances throughout the film, including the three times Jesus falls.
  • Embracing his cross, Jesus alludes to Psalm 116: “I am your servant Father. Your servant and the son of your handmaid.
  • Mary, recalling when Jesus once fell as a child, rushes to his side. Jesus tells her, “See, Mother, I make all things new,” foreshadowing Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.
  • Veronica, who gives Jesus her veil to wipe his face, has a name which means “true image.”
  • Jesus’ experiences at Golgotha are paralleled with flashbacks to the Last Supper. Jesus is stripped, the bread is uncovered. His cross is raised, the Host is lifted.
  • The Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross calls Jesus, “Flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart…” echoing the words of Adam toward Eve.
  • On the cross, Jesus quotes Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

21 Ideas for Lent

February 18, 2015

Prayer

  • Practice intentional, daily prayer.
  • Pray with passages from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
  • Pray the Stations of the Cross communally or on your own.
  • Read spiritual books and talk about them with Jesus.
  • Learn more about a saint and grow closer to him or her.
  • Pray the Rosary, imagining yourself present at each of the mysteries.
  • Attend daily Mass.

Fasting

  • Buy nothing that you do not need.
  • Drink water in place of other beverages.
  • Refrain from complaining.
  • Say only good things about others unless your duty requires otherwise.
  • Keep from the TV, internet, smart phone, iPad, and/or radio.
  • Sleep without a pillow.
  • Choose a distant parking space.

Almsgiving

  • Save the money you would normally spend on something else to donate to a cause.
  • Fill a give-away box with things you don’t really need.
  • Clear your closet of clothes the clothes you don’t wear and give them away.
  • When you go shopping, pick up non-perishable food items for the food bank.
  • Contribute to our diocesan annual appeal to support Christ’s work.
  • Give those living in nursing homes or the homebound the gift of a visit.
  • Say three loving things to your spouse and kids each day.

Renewing Your Baptismal Vows

January 11, 2015

On this feast day of our Lord’s baptism, let us renew the vows of our own baptisms:

Baptism of Christ, the Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altar, c. 1485/1500Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?  (“I do.”)

Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?

Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Encountering Jesus at His Ministry’s Beginning & End

January 9, 2015

Comparing John 1:35-43 & 20:11-18

  • John the Baptist is with two of his disciples when he points out Jesus “the Lamb of God” passing by. Jesus turns, sees the two disciples following him, and asks, “What are you looking for?
  • Mary of Magdala is with two angels at the empty tomb when Jesus comes by. She turns around and sees Jesus, but does not know it’s him. He asks her, “Whom are you looking for?
  • John the Baptist’s two disciples answer Jesus, “Rabbi, (that is, Teacher) where are you staying?
  • Mary, recognizing the risen Lord, says to him, “Rabbouni!” (which also means Teacher.)
  • Jesus tells the curious duo, (one of whom we are told is St. Andrew the Apostle) “Come, and you will see.
  • Jesus tells the overjoyed Mary, “Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.

Points for Reflection:

St. Mary Magdalene Clings to Jesus□ We first come to Jesus looking for something. (“What are you looking for?”) But we are in fact looking for a Someone. (“Whom are you looking for?”)

□ Our search begins with curiosity, but grows finally into love.

□ Jesus is a Teacher to them all, but he more than a teacher to Mary of Magdela. (Similarly, in Matthew’s telling of the Last Supper, all the apostles call Jesus “Lord,” while Judas calls him merely, “Rabbi.”)

□ Jesus makes the first two apostles, but he makes Mary (as the Church Fathers call her) “the Apostle to the Apostles.

□ Jesus draws us near (“Come and see,”) and then he sends us forth on mission (“Go to my brothers and tell them…”)

□ Jesus’ baptism leads to his tomb and resurrection.

□ Jesus, who dwelt on earth, now dwells in His Father and Our Father’s house. Jesus wills that we come to dwell with him, in Heaven, as it is on earth.

Mysteries of the Holy Family

December 26, 2014
  • Mary with Jesus in Swaddling ClothesThe Holy Family’s first Christmas was both stressful and joyful.
  • Jesus the Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread.”
  • Jesus was born and laid to rest in caves. His body was wrapped, in birth and death.
  • Joseph taught carpentry to Him through whom all things were made.
  • Mary taught prayers to God.
  • St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Family, is now universal patron of the Church.
  • St. Mary, the bearer of one child, is now mother of all Christians.

The Christmas Proclamation

December 23, 2014

This proclamation recalls the great events which set the stage for the birth of Jesus Christ within our human history. Its reading has traditionally preceded the Mass of Christmas Eve.

The 25th Day of December,
   when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;
   when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow 1 in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace;
   in the 21st century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees 2;
   in the 13th century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt;
   around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;
   in the 65th week of the prophecy of Daniel 3;
   in the 194th Olympiad 4;
   in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome;
   in the 42nd year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus5,
   the whole world being at peace 6,
   JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:
   The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

* * * * * * *

  1. That is, the rainbow.
  2. The land of Chaldea would be modern-day Iraq.
  3. The Book of Daniel, chapter 9, foretold that “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: then transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated, everlasting justice will be introduced…” Seventy times 7 years, equals 490 years, which corresponds with the time between Daniel’s prophesy and Christ’s crucifixion.
  4. The ancient Olympics were held every 4 years & attracted widespread attention, as sports do today.
  5. He was Julius Caesar’s immediate successor.
  6. Caesar Augustus’ reign began an era of relative peace in the empire lasting two centuries. This Roman Peace (or Pax Romana) allowed the Gospel message to spread quickly across the known world.

A Christmas Lessons & Carols Program

December 23, 2014

1st Reading : The Christmas Proclamation
1st Song : “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
2nd Reading : The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
2nd Song: “Away in a Manger”
3rd Reading : The Shepherds are Heralded by Angels
3rd Song: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
4th Reading : The Shepherds Come to the Manger
4th Song: “O Come All Ye Faithful”
5th Reading : The Shepherds Go Forth Rejoicing
5th Song: “Joy to the World”

Christmas Lessons & Carols Readings & Songs
Christmas Lessons & Carols Songs Only

 

 

The Biggest Catholic News Stories of 2014

December 17, 2014

January:
Tens of thousands of pro-lifers, mostly young people, ‘March for Life’ in Washington, D.C.

February:
A report by a U.N. committee on children criticizes the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

March:
Nearly 200 associated Catholic groups file a class-action lawsuit against the HHS contraceptive-abortifacient-sterilization insurance coverage mandate.

Canonization_2014-_The_Canonization_of_Saint_John_XXIII_and_Saint_John_Paul_IIApril:
Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul the Great are canonized by Pope Francis, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in attendance.


May
:
A planned satanic ‘Black Mass’ at Harvard University is canceled following a strong public outcry.

June:
Vatican theologians approve a miracle for the beatification of Bishop Fulton Sheen (however, the process is indefinitely suspended in September due to an inter-diocesan impasse.)

July:
The U.S. Supreme Court rules 6 to 3 in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious liberty (boding well for Catholic religious conscience cases.)

August:
After atrocities against Christians and Muslims, the U.S. begins airstrikes on ISIS.

September:
Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, WA is named the new archbishop of Chicago, replacing the ailing Cardinal Francis George.
Extraordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican, October, 2014
October
:
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family meets at the Vatican and reaffirms Catholic teachings.

November:
Cardinal Raymond Burke is appointed the new patron of the Knights of Malta.

December:
Pope Francis announces a consistory to name new cardinals in February of 2015.

Who is John? — 3rd Sunday of Advent—Year B

December 15, 2014

St. John the Baptist PreachingGospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28

Who are you?
“I am not the Christ.”
Are you Elijah?
“I am not.”
Are you the Prophet?
“No.”

While St. Peter denied Christ three times to his shame, St. John the Baptist denied himself three times to his glory.

Questions & Answers About Advent

November 26, 2014

What is an “advent?”

An “advent” is a coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important. It comes from the Latin word for “arrival.”

What does Advent season prepare for?

The coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world.

How many years ago was Jesus born?

About 2,014 years ago. That event is fittingly the basis our calendar, for Jesus’ Incarnation is the center of history.

When will Jesus come again in glory?

We do not know precisely, so we must always be ready and prepared for Him.

Why do Isaiah & St. John the Baptist feature in our Sunday readings?

These two prophets preached the coming of the Jewish Messiah and the Kingdom of God He would establish.

What does purple symbolize?

Purple is an ancient symbol for royalty. Jesus will come to us as the King of kings.

Gaudete Sunday Advent CandlesWhy an Advent wreath?

The evergreen branches woven into a circle symbolize eternity and everlasting life.

Why four Advent candles?

They count the four Sundays that precede Christmas.

Why is one candle different?

One candle is rose-colored to mark the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

What is special about the 3rd Sunday?

It marks (more or less) the halfway point on our journey to Christmas. It is called Gaudete Sunday.

What does “Gaudete” mean?

Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.

“Long Live Christ the King!”

November 22, 2014

     We tend to think of Mexico as one of the most Catholic countries around, but for a time in 1920’s it was illegal to celebrate the Mass there. That did not stop priests like Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. from ministering to people clandestinely. After many close calls, Fr. Pro was captured by the police and sentenced to death on false charges that he was somehow connected to a bombing assassination plot.

Blessed Miguel Pro before the firing squad, November 23, 1927.

     When he was led out for his execution by firing squad, Fr. Pro blessed the soldiers, knelt and quietly prayed for a time. He declined a blindfold and faced his executioners with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other. He held out his arms in imitation of the crucified Christ and shouted, “May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, you know that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!” Just before the firing squad was ordered to shoot, he proclaimed, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) When the initial shots failed to kill him, a soldier shot him point-blank. The anti-Catholic government had a photographer on hand to capture these moments for propaganda purposes, but soon after the images were published their possession was made illegal; seeing the Catholic priest, dying bravely and faithfully, was an inspiration to the oppressed people.

Acknowledging Christ As Our King

November 22, 2014

Sophie Scholl Arrest     Imagine if the United States of America had no protections for religious freedom. Imagine if on your way to Mass today you were pulled over by secret police and put under arrest. When you ask, “What have I done,” they reply, “You’re accused of being a believing Catholic Christian.” The police have had you under intense surveillance for several weeks; wire-tapping your phone, monitoring your computer, searching your personal belongings, and recording your movements and activities. Imagine yourself in this situation and consider this question: when all of the evidence is presented against you at trial, will there be enough evidence to find you guilty of being a believing Catholic Christian?

Could their informants testify that you observe Fridays as a day of penance and Sundays as a day of rest, that you faithfully go to Mass and frequent the sacrament of reconciliation? Could anyone testify that they heard you say positive things about Jesus Christ or speak up for the Catholic faith when it was mocked or criticized in your presence? Could they put into evidence some rosary, Bible, or other Catholic book marked with your fresh fingertips? Would they have hidden-camera footage of you praying before meals at a restaurant? Would they have grainy night-vision footage of you praying before going to bed, or first thing in the morning, making the tell-tale sign of the cross.

Sophie Scholl TrialThe judge, looking down from his bench, says, “It is alleged that you were picked up on your way to Mass. We realize that people get mixed-up with these hateful superstitions for different reasons. Maybe you went there unthinkingly, out of custom or habit. Perhaps you felt pressured by your relatives or neighbors. The punishment for being found guilty of being a believing Catholic is grave, but if you would simply acknowledge your mistake and renounce Jesus Christ we will let you go.”

How would you answer? Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us:

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

We may never face red martyrdom, but we decide whether or not to acknowledge Jesus Christ as our King in many little ways. As Jesus says:

The person who is faithful in very small matters is also faithful in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” (Luke 16:10)

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year A)

November 22, 2014

1st Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 1, 2013)

3rd Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 15, 2013)

4th Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 22, 2013)

Christmas, Year A (Dec 25, 2013)

Feast of the Holy Family, Year A (Dec 29, 2013)

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Year A (Jan 1, 2014)

Solemnity of the Epiphany, Year A (Jan 5, 2014)

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year A (Jan 12, 2014)

3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Jan 26, 2014)

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Year A (Feb 2, 2014)

5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 9, 2014)

6th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 16, 2014)

7th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 23, 2014)

8th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Mar 2, 2014)

1st Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 9, 2014)

2nd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 16, 2014)

3rd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 23, 2014)

4th Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 30, 2014)

5th Sunday Lent, Year A (Apr 6, 2014)

Palm Sunday, Year A (Apr 13, 2014)

Holy Thursday, Year A (April 17, 2014)

Easter Sunday, Year A (Apr 20, 2014)

Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A (Apr 27, 2014)

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 4, 2014)

4th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 11, 2014)

5th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 18, 2014)

6th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 25, 2014)

7th Sunday of Easter, Year A (June 1, 2014)

Pentecost Sunday, Year A (June 8, 2014)

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (June 15, 2014)

Solemnity of Corpus Christi (June 22, 2014)

Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29, 2014)

14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 6, 2014)

15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 13, 2014)

16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 20, 2014)

17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 27, 2014)

18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 3, 2014)

19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 10, 2014)

Solemnity of the Assumption, Year A (Aug 15, 2014)

20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 17, 2014)

21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 24, 2014)

22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 31, 2014)

23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 7, 2014)

Feast of the Holy Cross, Year A (Sept 14, 2014)

25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 21, 2014)

26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 28, 2014)

27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 5, 2014)

28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 12, 2014)

29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 19, 2014)

30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 26, 2014)

Solemnity of All Saints, Year A (Nov 1, 2014)

Feast of All Souls, Year A (Nov 2, 2014)

Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran (Nov 9, 2014)

33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Nov 16, 2014)

Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 23, 2014)

Was the Book of Revelation Written for Us?

November 17, 2014

Monday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time—Year II
Readings: Revelation 1, Luke 18:35-43

     The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

Revelation’s island of Patmos and its seven churches in Asia Minor (or modern-day Turkey)

        So begins the most misunderstood book of the Bible. The Book of Revelation speaks of “what must happen soon” and of an appointed time which is “near,” but to whom is it speaking? Some answer this question historical-critically; it is addressing seven particular churches in Asia Minor during the first or second century. Others answer eschatologically; it is describing the wonders and travails awaiting the generation which will immediately precede Jesus’ return. But what about the many generations who come and go between those two bookend eras of Christian history? Was Revelation addressed or applicable to them? In what sense was its prophetic message truly “near” or “soon” for all that time?

        The Book of Revelation involves specific historical contexts in the past and describes a historical climax (apparently) still to come, but it also speaks to Christians of every age. Consider today’s gospel: Jesus heals a blind man and declares the saving power of his faith or faithfulness (“pistis” in the Greek.) How narrowly should we interpret this gospel? Are the miracles and message of Jesus Christ intended only for the people of His time and place? Is the Gospel of Luke meant only for the first century Christians to whom it was written? Rather, the whole of Sacred Scripture, co-authored and inspired by the Holy Spirit who sees all of history simultaneously, speaks to the life and times of every Christian. Corruptions of the world, persecutions of the Church, manifestations of God’s power, and triumphs of His people belong to every age. The Book of Revelation truly tells “[God’s] servants what must happen soon” because these realities are always “near.”

Three Crosses Line Break


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