Friday, February 23, 2018
Today is Friday of the First Week of Lent. This date, February 23, the Church commemorates one of the Saints of the Early Christian Church, St. Polycarp of Smyrna (now in Turkey). Polycarp could be invoked as a Patron Saint of the Senior Citizen. He was 86 years old when a persecution against Christian broke out. Polycarp had grown up knowing the Apostle John. Because this stawart Christian leader lived in the first century of Christianity, he is considered a "Father of the Church." Clement of Alexandria, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Ignatius of Antioch are considered "Apostolic Fathers" because they either knew one of the Apostles or were influenced by those who had heard the Apostles.
Friday, February 16, 2018
As we continue the Lenten Season, we pray for those who lost their lives in the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. And we entrust the grieving parents, spouses, siblings, classmates, and family members to the intercession of the loving heart of Mary, Mother of Sorrows. I read an article that gave 15 ways to "Keep Lent" by doing something, or by avoiding certain foods or activities. One suggestion was for those who spend a lot of time in the gym. The author suggested cutting back on the treadmill and putting in more time in reading the Bible, or books on the spiritual life. Listening to CD's or podcasts on our Faith and spiritual lives are other ways to get in some spiritual life training.
Friday, February 02, 2018
Have a Happy February! I looked up the origin of the shortest month of the year. February comes from the Latin "februum" which means "purification." Often the Lenten season begins in this short month which in our northern climate is often the least pleasant. As I write, the weather app on my phone tells me that it will be 32 degrees Fahrenheit when I get ready for Mass tomorrow morning.
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord",and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Simeon came into the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him into his arms and praised God, saying,Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel."While still holding the Divine Child in his arms Simeon prophesied as he drected his words to Jesus' Mother, Mary, "Behold this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted--and you yourself a sword will pierce--so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Here is another prayer from the Publican's Prayer BookFor the Encounter of the Lord O Christ God, who through Your birth have sanctified the virginal womb and have blessed the arms of Simeon, You have come today to save us. When wars prevail, keep your people in peace and strengthen our public authorities in every good deed, for You alone are the Lover of Mankind.
O Mother of our God, Hope and strength of all Christians, watch over those who place their trust in You O Most Pure. Let us, O Faithful, glorify the First-born, the Eternal Word of God, born of the Virgin All-Pure, for we have seen beyond the shadow and the letter of the Law, a sign of Christ in these words: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.As Pope Francis pointed out in his homily given in Rome today, the Encounter in the Temple was not just a meeting with Simeon and Anna. Francis invited us to remember that when Jesus comes into the temple, into his Church, it is a meeting with others, with all the baptized. This episode highlights the totality of membership in the Church: rather than just a "personal relationship with Jesus," being a member of the Church puts me and you into relationships with others. Today in Rome (this Sunday in North America) the Church celebrates Consecrated Life. What's Consecrated Life? It happens when men and women pronounce vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, consecrating themselves for life to the service of God and of his Church. As the Scripture said about Jesus, he was designated, or dedicated, to the Lord God, so men and women who are vowed religious, and lay men and women who live their dedication to God "in the world" are doing their best to imitate Jesus. If you are reading this and you are not a "consecrated religious", not to worry! When you were baptized you were consecrated to God then. The vowed consecrated life is a calling to be a reminder and a witness to the supernatural. We do not work for wages for ourselves, we do not own personal cars or properties. We are free from certain cares to "be" for Jesus.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
On January 19th, thousands of people from all over the USA will convene on the Mall in Washington, DC to witness to the sanctity of all human life in the Annual "March for Life." The March, which employs hundreds of bus coaches, high schooler and even younger students,college students, Gen X'ers, Boomers, and even older folks is a statement on behalf of the unborn.January 22 marks the sad 45th anniversary of the day when the US Supreme Court handed down a decision which de-criminalized abortion.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Today the Church celebrates a Saint of Light in the midst of winter's darkest days: St. Lucy. Her name comes from the Latin lux which means light. One of the first women venerated in the Church since the 4th century, Lucy was a Christian young woman. The story goes that her mother had a debilitating illness. Both Lucy and her mother went to the tomb of the martyr St. Agatha also from Sicily. While there, Lucy had a dream in which St. Agatha came to tell her that her mother would be cured. Lucy, however, would witness to Christ by dying a martyr. A persecution of Christians broke out. A young man who had hoped to marry Lucy turned on her and denounced her as a Christian. Attempts to put her to death failed, until finally an executioner plunged a sword into her heart. Her name is remembered each time that the Roman Canon, or First Eucharistic Prayer, is used at Mass.