Jesus Psalm 4

March 31, 2015

Answer me when I call, my saving God.
When troubles hem me in, set me free;
take pity on me, hear my prayer.

How long, O people, will you be hard of heart?
Why do you love what is worthless, chase after lies? Selah

Know that Jesus works wonders for his faithful one;
Jesus hears when I call out to him.

Tremble and sin no more;
weep bitterly within your hearts,
wail upon your beds,
offer fitting sacrifices
and trust in Jesus.

Many say, “May we see better times!
Jesus, show us the light of your face!” Selah

But you have given my heart more joy
than they have when grain and wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and fall asleep,
for you alone, Jesus, make me secure.


Jesus Psalms substitute instances of “(the) Lord” with “Jesus” as a way to pray the psalms anew.

Jesus Psalm 34

March 30, 2015

I will bless Jesus at all times;
his praise shall be always in my mouth.
My soul will glory in Jesus;
let the poor hear and be glad.

Magnify Jesus with me;
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought Jesus, and he answered me,
delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him and be radiant,
and your faces may not blush for shame.
This poor one cried out and Jesus heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

The angel of Jesus encamps
around those who fear him, and he saves them.
Taste and see that Jesus is good;
blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.

Fear Jesus, you his holy ones;
nothing is lacking to those who fear him.
The rich grow poor and go hungry,
but those who seek Jesus lack no good thing.

Come, children, listen to me;
I will teach you fear of Jesus.
Who is the man who delights in life,
who loves to see the good days?

Keep your tongue from evil,
your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of Jesus are directed toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
Jesus’ face is against evildoers
to wipe out their memory from the earth.

The righteous cry out, Jesus hears
and he rescues them from all their afflictions.
Jesus is close to the brokenhearted,
saves those whose spirit is crushed.

Many are the troubles of the righteous,
but Jesus delivers him from them all.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
those who hate the righteous are condemned.
Jesus is the redeemer of the souls of his servants;
and none are condemned who take refuge in him.


Jesus Psalms substitute instances of “(the) Lord” with “Jesus” as a way to pray the psalms anew.

“One on His Right, the Other on His Left”

March 24, 2015

Revealing fascinating prophetic connections between Moses, Joshua, Samson, and Jesus Christ on the Cross; featuring the religious paintings of James Tissot (1836-1902.)

A Game of Monopoly & the Rich Man

March 10, 2015

Lazarus at the Rich Man's DoorGospel: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday, 2nd Week of Lent

    A UC-Berkley psychology professor sets two people down for an experiment: the pair will play a game of Monopoly with modified rules. One player will get the Rolls Royce while the other will be the old shoe. The player with the car will start with $2,000 and play by standard Monopoly rules, while the old shoe’s player gets $1,000, rolls just one die (making doubles impossible,) and collects only $100 for passing “Go.” Who gets which is decided by a fateful coin-flip. At the end of the game, the professor asks the winner (invariably the Rolls Royce player) whether they feel like they deserved to win the game. And the winner always says ‘yes.’

    I can understand the winner’s perspective. At the beginning of the game both players had a fair chance of winning (for either could have ended up with the car,) but the winner won that coin flip, played by the rules, and did what was necessary to arrive at victory. If the winner had cheated the loser, stealing cash or refusing rents, then that victory would feel undeserved.

Abraham, Lazarus, and the Rich Man    The Rich Man who showed no concern for poor Lazarus may have felt like one of those Rolls Royce players. He “dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day,” but nothing in the text indicates that he had defrauded or exploited anyone to obtain his wealth. Maybe he looked at poor people like Lazarus and shrugged, “Some receive what is good in their lifetimes while others receive what is bad,” words that Father Abraham would throw back in his face. Perhaps the Rich Man had not so much perpetrated evils, but rather (ignoring the Scriptures) felt no responsibility to help the less fortunate outside his door.

    May the one who reads this—a winner in the coin-toss of life—not be condemned for failing to give alms.

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. The Host is lifted, his cross is raised.
  • 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.


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