Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 10-17-03, Memorial, St Ignatius of Antioch, bishop & martyr
Posted on 10/17/2003 7:04:12 AM PDT by Salvation
Brothers and sisters:
What can we say that Abraham found,
our ancestor according to the flesh?
Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works,
he has reason to boast;
but this was not so in the sight of God.
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
A worker's wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due.
But when one does not work,
yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is credited as righteousness.
So also David declares the blessedness of the person
to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.
Ps 32:1b-2, 5, 11
R (see 7) I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the Lord imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, "I confess my faults to the Lord,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
R I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
"Beware of the leaventhat is, the hypocrisyof the Pharisees.
"There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows."
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Avoid evil practices; indeed, preach against them. Hear your bishop, that God may hear you. Work together in harmony,: struggle together, run together, suffer together, rest together, rise together, as stewards, advisors and servants of God. So be patient and gentle with one another, as God is with you.
--St. Ignatius of Antioch
Title: Loyalty and Faithfulness! Author: Mark Shea Date: Friday, October 17, 2003
Proverbs 16:6 By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
By Christ's loyalty and faithfulness to his Father, he left the glory of heaven to become human among the cattle dung and straw of a stable. By his loyalty and faithfulness to us, he stuck with us and did not call down twelve legions of angels, even when we came to haul him away on trumped up charges, hand him over to thugs, and treat him like cattle dung. By Christ's loyalty and faithfulness, he humbled himself unto death, even death on a cross. And by that loyalty and faithfulness, our sin was atoned for. Now we can receive that atonement by our loyalty and faithfulness to Christ and live to avoid evil and fear God.
Homily of the Day
Title: Eternal Life Is a Gift, Not a Reward Author: Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D. Date: Friday, October 17, 2003
Rom 4:1-8 / Lk 12:1-7
Just about everyone who ends up reading this homily today has almost certainly been baptized and made some kind of commitment to walking in the Lord's footsteps. Ideally that should mean that all the parts of our lives are well integrated and in full alignment with one another. So, for example, our conduct in the parish parking lot after mass should match the way of living we prayed about just minutes earlier. Likewise, our conduct of our household, our business practices, and our private lives should be well matched with our faith commitment and the example of Jesus. In a word, our deeds should match our faith words across the board.
But that's not the way it works with us in reality. For everyone of us, there are locked rooms, sometimes full of secrets, sometimes their contents well known to all, but locked in any case, and cut off from the rest of the "house" that is our life. Our goal, as we strive to grow more holy and more whole is to open those rooms, face what's inside, and realign what's there to match what's best in us. It's a lifelong process, one that in fact will not be finished even when we die. Thus, as we face the Lord after we've taken our last breath after a lifetime of labor, we'll still not be able to say, "I've come to claim my reward." Instead, we'll know more clearly than ever that the eternal life we've always hoped for remains a gift that our Father wants to give us, not because we've earned it but because He is Good.
Thanks be to our good God!
he Bishops Speak
Title: Be Not Afraid - Consistency and Courage III Author: William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore Date: Friday, October 17, 2003
(This homily was given in the year 1995. This is one in a series of homilies from the American Bishops who have reflected on the great acts of Pope John Paul II.)
Presidential Address, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 13, 1995 Part 3 of 3
In the cultural maelstrom, which pulls many people in so many directions, there are signs among Catholic people of our land that they see in this moment a new and precious possibility. Their question is no longer, "How little do I have to believe, and how little do I have to do to stay in the Church?" Rather it is, "How much of this rich and complex tradition have I made my own?" Responses to RENEW and other renewal efforts demonstrate their own desire to see how they can be more fully Catholic in their personal and professional lives. They want to be able to defend their faith, to proclaim it to others, to bring its truth to bear on the renewal of American democracy.
In these next few days we are assembled as stewards of this rich and complex tradition, inviting our people again to see themselves as "the living stones" out of which God will build a new Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
And so together we seek to call them to the faith and holiness of Jesus, light of the world, and to the deeds of charity, justice and peace for which the Church must speak as she shares in the joy and hope and sadness and struggle of that same world.
In New York, in response to questioning from journalists, at a press conference in which we participated together, Dr. Navarro-Valls described the Holy Father as "in love" with the United States. And that love has prompted Pope John Paul to refresh our own sense of direction. After this visit, I do not think many will consider that statement an exaggeration, nor is it an exaggeration for me to say: "Holy Father, we love you."
And our neighbors love him and respect his message. Following his departure I received, and I am sure the other host bishops have as well, many comments from our neighbors of other Churches and other faiths. Said one active Protestant who never thought that she would watch a Papal Mass on television, and yet remained at her set throughout the day, "he is not just a Catholic Pope, he is universal."
And he was speaking to all citizens of our land when he said, "Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like but in having the right to do what we ought."
In the light of that reminder, I suggest we of the Catholic Church in the United States build now on what we have already done ourselves nationally and locally, build in an ecumenical and, where possible, an interfaith way to address the areas where there is broad agreement on what we ought to do. Within the past year, in fact, national leaders in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities have individually expressed an interest in joining with us to:
- promote a restoration of basic moral teaching in the public schools (This interfaith effort is already happening in many communities.);
- oppose, within the constitutional limits already acknowledged, pornography in all forms, especially that directed at children;
- approach entertainment media leaders and advertisers regarding immorality and violence in the media;
- strengthen the family by putting in place, on a community-wide basis, solid marriage preparation programs which increase the likelihood of successful marriages and decrease the rate of failure;
- promote "True Love Waits" and similar programs to motivate teens to live chastely before marriage; and
- work with the news and entertainment media to help them understand and convey the deep and genuine religious and moral dimensions of life which so often seem strained out of reporting and programming.
This is crucial in our country where each week more people participate in public worship than in the spectator sports which receive so much more attention.
The Holy Father encouraged us to preach and to live the gospel of Jesus and the gospel of life, in the context of democracy, and to seek partners on our pilgrimage. And may God's blessing be with us all, for "in God is our trust."
Mother Teresa on Love
A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.
We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.
Each time anyone comes into contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us. We must radiate Gods love.
Intense love does not measure. . . it just gives.
To be true, love has to hurt . . . Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you." He loved until it hurt.
The important thing is not how much we accomplish, but how much love we put into our deeds every day. That is the measure of our love for God.
God loves me. I'm not here to just fill a place.... He has chosen me for a purpose. I know it. He will fulfill it if I don't put an obstacle in His way. He will not force me. God could have forced Our Lady. Jesus could have come "just like that." ... But God wanted Mary to say yes. It is the same with us. God doesn't force us, but He wants us to say yes.
(This material courtesy of LoveMatters.com.)
Resurrection vs. DaVinci 10/17/03
Dan Browns blockbuster novel, The DaVinci Code, will certainly outsell N.T. Wrights The Resurrection of the Son of God by a factor of 10,000:1, and probably more. Quite unintentionally, though, Dr. Wrights book is the perfect response to The DaVinci Code.
What underwrites Dan Browns novel is anti-Christian slander the charge that the early Christians deliberately lied about Jesus, his friendships, and his fate in order to keep women subjugated. Really.
Jesus, you see, was not a carpenter and itinerant preacher of the Kingdom but a wealthy religious intellectual with aspirations to Davids throne. His well-healed and royally inclined lover, Mary Magdalene, is the "holy grail," because she held within herself the blood of Jesus while bearing his children. After Constantine legalized Christianity, the Church rewrote the story to suit its, and Constantines, imperial purposes. Thus the truth (sic) about Jesus and the origins of Christianity can only be found in the "gnostic Gospels," ancient texts never incorporated into the New Testament but unearthed by archaeologists in recent decades. These esoteric texts reveal the story the Church has suppressing for almost two millennia, often by violence.
All of which could be dismissed as the most ludicrous rubbish were it not for the fact that recent academic work on the gnostic Gospels has tilted, if in a more refined way, toward a thesis not unlike Dan Browns in The DaVinci Code. I recently saw a whole slew of such books displayed on a single table in a large bookstore under the rubric, "Now that youve read The DaVinci Code...". (I asked the store manager whether they were planning a display entitled "Now that youve read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the classic anti-Semitic canard. He didnt know what I was talking about.)
Im almost ashamed to mention The Resurrection of the Son of God in this context. To put it simply, this is the most exciting work of biblical scholarship Ive read in twenty years. It gave me the same kind of intellectual thrill and spiritual glow I experienced when I first read Servais Pinckaers The Sources of Christian Ethics in the late 1990s: the sense of being in the hands of a master teacher who has an astonishing amount of material at his fingertips, wears his scholarship lightly, has original things to say, says them brilliantly, swats critics deftly, and in doing all of that changes the state of the question. Wrights Resurrection 700+ pages of closely argued analysis of biblical texts, early Christian documents, and other ancient sources isnt leisure reading. Those willing to work through it, though, will come away with their Easter faith re-confirmed on a solid historical foundation.
Yes, thats right, a historical foundation. For Wrights argument is that the only historically satisfactory explanation of the rise of the early Church and the only satisfactory reading of the relevant texts (Pauls references to the Resurrection in his letters and the four Gospel accounts) lead to the conclusion that "Jesus was bodily raised from the dead." As Dr. Wright puts it, briskly, "...the only possible reason why early Christianity began and took the shape it did is that the tomb really was empty and that people really did meet Jesus alive again." Yes, Wright continues, this involves "accepting a challenge" to the way we usually think about the world and the way it works. But if were willing to think outside-the-box of conventional modern world views, "the best historical explanation for all these phenomena is that Jesus was indeed bodily raised from the dead."
In other words, N.T. Wright uses the skills of historical-critical scholarship precisely to affirm the historicity of "the resurrection of the Son of God." A more thoroughgoing demolition of the trendy scholarship and pseudo-scholarship underneath The DaVinci Code could not be imagined.
The Resurrection of the Son of God (Fortress Press) will be of special interest to bishops, priests, and deacons preparing homilies and to teachers charged with transmitting the Churchs faith to the next generation. For too long now, in Wrights Anglican Church as well as in the Catholic Church, the resurrection has been preached and taught under a cloud of debunking. By contrast, Wrights Resurrection is a brilliant example of critical affirmation.
George Weigel is author of the bestselling book The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church.
Basilicas and Shrines 10/17/03
With the upcoming diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception a rather lengthy title to say the least I have wondered what is the difference between a basilica and a shrine? How are these different from a cathedral?
Basilica, cathedral and shrine are distinct terms but not mutually exclusive. For instance, a basilica may be a shrine, and a cathedral may be a basilica. A good description of each will be helpful.
The basilica structure was developed by the ancient Romans for their monumental public halls located on the fora, or public squares. Strictly speaking, the basilica is a parallelogram with the width of the building being neither greater than one-half nor less than one-third the length. At one end was the entrance with a portico and at the other end was the apse. There was one main aisle flanked on either side by an aisle (or two, or even three) with columns separating the aisles. Since the ceiling of the main aisle was higher than that of the side aisles, a clerestory was added atop the columns to allow light to enter the basilica. Numerous examples of ancient basilicas exist, particularly in Italy.
When the Church was allowed to have "churches" after the legalization of Christianity, the basilica form was easily adapted. Actually, many of the old public basilicas or pagan temple basilicas were transformed into churches: The bishops cathedra was located in the apse flanked by seats for the clergy. In front of the cathedra was the altar, with a canopy, or baldachino, over it. Nearby the altar was the pulpit. Because of the size of the basilica, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in a side chapel or even in a suspended tabernacle near the altar. The congregation gathered in the main aisle, the nave. Church basilicas usually had a forecourt enclosed with a colonnade; the forecourt had a well where the faithful could wash their hands and lips before entering for Mass. Later modifications to the strict Roman style were made, like the addition of transepts, during the Romanesque and Gothic periods.
Later the term "basilica" was used to identify churches of historic and spiritual importance. Usually, these churches are built in the basilica style, but the key criterion is that they are important places. The Holy Father officially designates a church as a basilica. Therefore, when one speaks of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, the title "basilica" refers to the historic and spiritual importance of the church itself and the honor bestowed upon it by the Pope. Traditionally, a basilica has displayed a conopoeum, or pavilion (something looking like a big umbrella), made with alternating silk panels of red and yellow, the colors of the papal government, and topped with a cross; this conopoeum was originally used to shelter the patriarch. Other traditional basilica items are the clochetta (a musical kind of device composed of a handle, a bell and the insignia of the basilica that was used in procession) and the cappa magna (a violet cape worn by the canons (basilica officials) during liturgical services). Lastly, each basilica has a "holy door" which is opened only during a time of special pilgrimage as declared by the Holy Father; for example, the year 2000 was declared a "Holy Year," and the holy door of St. Peters was opened (as well as the holy doors of all other basilicas) and a special indulgence was granted to pilgrims who visited and fulfilled the other requirements.
Traditionally, a distinction is also made between a major basilica and a minor one. The seven major basilicas are in Rome: St. Peter in the Vatican, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Lawrence, St. Sebastian and the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. The first four of these basilicas are technically called the "primary major basilicas." These seven major basilicas remain the important pilgrimage churches when visiting Rome.
A minor basilica is any other important church in Rome or throughout the world which has been officially designated a basilica by the Holy Father. An example of a minor basilica is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
A "cathedral" is the chief church of a diocese and in itself is also a parish church. The bishop is technically the pastor of the cathedral parish, and appoints a rector to manage its spiritual and temporal affairs. The word "cathedral" comes from the Latin cathedra, meaning "throne." The cathedra represents the position and authority of the bishop, and the place where he resides in the territory of his jurisdiction. The cathedra is located within the cathedral near the altar, oftentimes in the apse. The cathedral may be a basilica. For instance, the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is also a basilica.
A "shrine" is a church or other sacred place where a relic is preserved, like the Shrine of St. Jude in Baltimore; where an apparition has taken place, like the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland or the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City; or where an historical event of faith has taken place, like the Shrine of the Our Lady of the Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, where the early Jesuit missionaries were martyred. A shrine may also be a place designated to foster a belief or devotion; for example, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (a basilica and a shrine) was built to foster devotion to our Blessed Mother in the United States, particularly since she is the patroness of America under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Shrines are regulated by the local bishop, and national shrines are designated as such by the national conference of bishops.
To bring this all together in an example, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Md. (which has on display a conopoeum) is not only a basilica and a shrine, but also the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the first Catholic cathedral in the United States. So one church may be simultaneously a basilica, a cathedral and a shrine.
Fr. Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria. If you enjoy reading Fr. Saunders' work, his new book entitled Straight Answers (400 pages) is available at the Pauline Book and Media Center of Arlington, Virginia (703/549-3806).
(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)
|Friday, October 17, 2003
In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, American President Franklin Roosevelt announced, We have nothing to fear but fear itself. In todays reading from Luke, Jesus states, I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid (Luke 12:4). President Roosevelt was speaking about a political and economic crisis; Jesus, however, was speaking about an even more important spiritual crisis. Fear can paralyze the soul. It can weaken our resolve to avoid temptation and cooperate with Gods grace. It can replace courage with cowardice and hope with despair. Yet in all of this, we show ourselves to be human. Even Jesus was dreadfully afraid in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The good news is that with Gods help we can overcome our fears. True courage does not consist in being fearless but in acting on Gods will even when we are afraid. The problem is not that we have fear at all, but the extent of our fear. Surely, since he was shot by a would-be assassin in 1981, Pope John Paul II still experiences a level of fear whenever he must make public appearances. But he continues to do so.
In our own little way, so it is with us. A hymn from the churchs liturgical prayer states: We all have secret fears to face, our minds and motives to amend. Through prayer, the comfort of others, and the inner strength provided by Gods grace, we all can accept our fears and find the help we need to amend our minds and our motives. Then, we will see our fears diminish and we will be rooted more and more in love.
Being human means being weak in ourselves but strong in Christ, being sinful in ourselves yet saintly in him, being fearful in ourselves but courageous through his Spirit. St. Thérèse of Lisieux once said that even our most noble actions are tainted with some measure of weakness. Yet even in our imperfect toddling steps toward God, we still can give him glory. Consider the different weaknesses in Jesus apostles and be convinced that it is the power on high that in the end is victorious. May Jesus grant all of us the peace that passes all understanding.
Dear Jesus, I praise you and I exalt you. You are my rock and refuge. May I cling to you as a child clings to his father. I love you.