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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 08-21-11, Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
USCCB.oef/New American Bible ^ | 08-21-11 | New American Bible

Posted on 08/20/2011 12:54:44 PM PDT by Salvation

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Archdiocese of Washington

The Gospel today sets forth the biblical basis for the Office of Peter, the Office of the Papacy, for Peter’s successors are the Popes. The word “Pope” is simply an English version (via Anglo-Saxon and Germanic tongues) of the word “papa.” The Pope is affectionately called “Papa” in Italian and Spanish as an affectionate indication that he is the father of the family, the Church.

That Peter receives an office, and not simply a charismatic designation we will discuss later. As to certain objections regarding the office of the Papacy, we will also deal later. But for now lets look at the basic establishment of the Office of Peter in three steps.

I. The Inquiry that Illustrates – The text says, Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?

It should be noted that, in asking these questions, Jesus is not merely curious about what people think of him. He seems, rather, to be using these questions as a vehicle by which to teach the apostles, and us, about how the truth is adequately revealed and guaranteed.

Jesus’ first two questions reveal the inadequacy of two common methods:

1. The Poll - Jesus asks who the crowds say he is. In modern times we love to take polls, and many moderns put a lot of weight in what polls say. More than just politics, many people, Catholics among them, like to point out that X% of Catholics think this, or that, about moral teachings, or doctrines and disciplines. It is as if the fact that more than 50% of Catholics think something, it must be true, and that the Church should change her teaching based on this.

But, as this gospel makes clear, taking a poll doesn’t necessarily yield the truth. In fact ALL the assertions of the crowd were wrong, no matter what percentage thought them. Jesus is not John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets redivivus. So, running the Church by poll taking or democracy seems not to be the model that works.

2. The Panel - Jesus, having taught this implicitly, now turns to a panel of experts, a “blue ribbon committee,” if you will. He asks the twelve, “Who do you (apostles) say that I am?” Here we simply get silence. Perhaps they were looking around like nervous students in a classroom not wanting to answer, lest they look like a fool. The politics on the panel leads not to truth, but to a kind of self-serving, politically correct silence.

That Peter finally speaks up is true. But, as Jesus will say, he does not do this because he is a member of the panel, but for another reason altogether.

Hence the blue ribbon panel, the committee of experts, is not adequate in setting forth the religious truth of who Jesus is.

And through this line of questioning, Jesus instructs through inquiry. Polls and panels are not adequate in yielding the firm truth as to his identity. All we have are opinions, or politically correct silence. Having set forth this inadequacy, the Gospel now presses forth to describe the plan of God in adequately setting forth the truths of faith.

II. The Individual that is Inspired -The text says, Simon Peter said in reply,”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

We are taught here not merely that Peter spoke, but also how he came to know the truth. Jesus is very clear to teach us that Peter spoke rightly, not merely because he was the smartest, (he probably wasn’t), or because some one else told him, (Jesus is clear that flesh and blood did not reveal this to him), and not merely because because he guessed, and just happen to get the right answer. Jesus teaches that Peter came to know the truth and speak it because God the Father revealed it to him. God the Father inspires Peter. There is a kind of anointing at work here.

So here is God’s methodology when it comes to adequately revealing and guaranteeing the truths of the faith: he anoints Peter.

It’s not polls, or panels that God uses, it’s Peter.

And while truths may emerge in the wider Church, reflecting what is revealed, it is only with Peter and his successors that such views can be definitively set forth, and their truth adequately guaranteed. Thus, the other apostles are not merely bypassed by God, but He anoints Peter to unite them and give solemn declaration to what they have seen and heard.

The Catechism says of Peter and his successors, the popes:

When Christ instituted the Twelve, he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them….The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head. This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful. For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”

The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head. As such, this college has supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff. The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council. But there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter’s successor. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #s 880-884 selected)

All these truths point back to this moment when we see how God himself chooses to operate.

And note too, the dimension of faith we are called to have. We are to assent to the Pope’s teaching and leadership not merely because we think he is smarter, or because it might happen that he had power, riches other worldly means that might impress us or compel us to assent. Rather, no, we assent to the Pope because, by faith, we believe he is inspired by God. It is not flesh and blood in which we put our trust, it is God himself, whom we believe has acted on our behalf by anointing someone to affirm the truth, and adequately guarantee that truth to be revealed by God.

And this then leads to the final stage wherein Jesus sets forth a lasting office for Peter.

III. The Installation that is Initiated - The text says, And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus does not merely praise Simon for a moment of charismatic insight. He goes further, and declares that he will build his very Church upon Simon, and thus he calls him, Peter (Rock). And here too, he does not merely mean this is a personal gift or recognition that will die with Peter. In giving him the keys, he is establishing an office, not merely indicating a personal promotion for Peter. This will be God’s way of strengthening and uniting the Church. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus says more of this:

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, all that he might sift you all like wheat, but I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith may not fail; and when thou hast turned again, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:31)

Hence, it is clear once again that God’s plan for the Church is to strengthen one man, Peter and his successors, that in turn the whole Church may be strengthened and united.Thus the Lord Jesus establishes not only Peter, but also his office. This is God’s vision and plan for his Church.

It is true many have objected to this teaching. There is no time here to do a full apologetical  reply to every objection. But frankly most of the objections amount to a kind of wishful thinking by some, who want this text to mean something other than what it plainly means.  Nothing could be clearer that the fact that Jesus is establishing Peter and an office which will serve as a foundation for the unity and strength of his Church.

Some object that within verses Peter will be called “satan” and will later deny Christ. But Jesus knew all this, and still said and did what he does here.

Others object that Jesus is head and foundation, that he is the Rock. True enough, but apparently Jesus never got the objectors’ memo, for it is he himself who calls Peter rock, and establishes him with the authority to bind and loose. It is also true that both Jesus and Peter can be head and rock, in terms of primary and secondary causality (more on that HERE).  And yet again, that Peter and his successors are head and rock by making visible and being the means through which Christ exercises his headship and foundational aspect.

Finally, to return to the title of this post, “If no one is Pope, EVERYONE is pope!For the fact is, without a visible head, there is no principle on earth for unity in the Church. The experiment tried to replace the Pope with scripture and gave it sole authority. But they cannot agree on what Scripture says, and have no earthly way to resolve their conflicts. While they say that authority resides in Scripture alone, the fact is, in claiming the anointing of the Holy Spirit and thus the ability to properly interpret Scripture, they really place the locus of authority within themselves, and become the very pope they denounce. Having denied that there is a Pope they become one themselves. If no one is pope, everyone is pope.

I have read that some objectors think Catholics arrogant in asserting that we have a Pope whom we trust to be anointed by God to teach us without error on faith and morals. But what is more arrogant, to claim there is a Pope other than me, or to in fact act like one myself?

In the end, the experiment is a failed one. Many estimates place the number of  denominations as high as 30,000. I personally think this is slightly exaggerated, but not much. They all claim the Scriptures as their source of truth but differ on many, very essential matters, such as the necessity of baptism, once saved always saved, sexual morality, authority etc. When they cannot resolve things they simply subdivide. There is an old joke, told even among protestants that goes:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!” Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

A strange little joke, and not entirely fair since most Protestants of different denominations I know get along fine personally. But the truth is, the denominations disagree over many very essential things. The Protestant experiment is a failure that leads only to endless divisions. The Church needs a visible head. The Bible alone does not suffice, for there are endless disagreements on how to interpret it. Some one must exist to who all look and agree that he will resolve the differences after listening.

Jesus has installed an individual in this role to manifest his office of rock and head and that individual is Peter and his successors.

Here’s a light-hearted video I put together commemorating the Pope’s many visits to unite and strengthen us.

41 posted on 08/21/2011 6:12:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

When he was the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal James Hickey told a funny story of an experience he had at Reagan National Airport, while on his way to Rome. Even though he was 75 years old and obviously dressed as a bishop, he was told by an embarrassed ticket agent that he had “fit the profile” of an international terrorist, mostly because he held a one-way ticket. As a result, he had to submit to a complete search. Although he was able to laugh about it later, at the time Cardinal Hickey was, shall we say, not amused.

This story just goes to show that none of us wants to be falsely identified or misunderstood. Jesus himself was very concerned about being properly understood, as we heard in today’s gospel. When he asked his friends about who people thought he was, he received a variety of answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, maybe one of the other old prophets come back to life. Yet each of these answers, while not bad in light of the circumstances, was wrong. It was up to Peter who, prompted by the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Jesus wishes to be properly understood, not for his sake, but for ours. This is because our understanding of who Jesus is has profound implications for our behavior. As Christians, we seek to live in imitation of Christ. It follows, then, that the image we have of Christ will largely dictate how we shape our lives in order to conform to his. If we operate with a distorted image of Jesus, we will end up living distorted lives.

All of us here today share common beliefs about Jesus. When we recite the Creed together, we say, “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,” and so forth. Nevertheless, we can profess correct doctrine in Jesus and still operate with a warped image of who he is. Just consider Peter in today’s gospel. He correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah. But then, moments later, as we’ll hear in next week’s gospel, he was appalled to learn that Jesus would be tortured and executed. His image of Jesus, at that time, did not include the possibility of his suffering and death.

Like Peter, most of us operate with a limited understanding of who Jesus is. Which is understandable; as today’s second reading reminded us, the things of God are largely a mystery to us! I have a suspicion that when we meet the Lord face-to-face at the end of our lives, we will be absolutely astonished by the full reality of who he is. In the meantime, however, our image of Jesus needs to be constantly revisited, challenged, and revised.

To do this, it’s important to recall where our images of Jesus have come from. For instance, our culture shapes our image. I once read how Victorian England was scandalized by a painting, called “The Carpenter’s Shop,” that depicted Jesus and the rest of the Holy Family in Joseph’s workplace. They were portrayed as rustic, simple, and poor- just as Scripture and historians tell us they were. Yet the class-conscious Victorian English refused to accept Jesus as portrayed in such a way. Their culture had a warped understanding of Jesus. You and I need to be on guard for how our materialistic, faced-paced, self-centered, and superficial culture might disfigure our image of our Lord.

In addition, our parents play a significant role in shaping our image of Jesus. Their attitudes, prejudices, ways of handling stress, work-habits, intelligence, and temperament all contribute. Distant parents suggest a distant Jesus; angry parents evoke an angry Jesus; happy parents reflect a joyful Jesus, and so forth. Conscious of this, we need to honestly reflect on our experience with our parents and consider how this may have influenced our understanding of Jesus.

Sometimes our image of Jesus is simply a projection of ourselves. This might result in a Jesus who never challenges us and smiles upon everything we do. It might also result in a Jesus who too much reflects our anger and incapacity to forgive each other. This Jesus is quick to punish and slow to pardon, is easy to fear but hard to love. Once an adult daughter asked her mother to forgive some old hurts. Both of them are committed, practicing Catholics. Yet when the mother hesitated to forgive, the daughter asked, “Don’t you think if I told Jesus I was sorry, he’d forgive me?” But the mother said, “I don’t presume to say what Jesus would or would not do.” Sadly, her image of Jesus had been warped by her pain and resentment.

To grow in an authentic understanding of Jesus, we can do several things. First of all, we need to explore the Scriptures, especially the gospels, which paint for us complimentary and complex portraits of the Lord. “Ignorance of the Scriptures,” insisted St. Jerome, “is ignorance of Christ.” We also need to pray- honestly, openly, and frequently- and let the Spirit of Jesus deepen our relationship, and thus deepen our understanding. We need to be active in the Church, the body of Christ, where our brothers and sisters in Christ can help shape our image of Christ. We need to embrace the teachings of the Church, which come with authority and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And we need to try and understand our pain and suffering in light of the Jesus’ cross.

First and foremost, however, you and I need to love. To truly understand Jesus, the one who came not to be served but to serve, who gave up his life that ours might be saved, we need to be generous, sacrificial, and loving people as well. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But when it comes to Jesus, imitation is the key to understanding who he truly is. To love him is to know him, and to know him is to love him.

42 posted on 08/21/2011 6:13:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Gospel Reflections

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I:
Isaiah 22:15,19-23 II: Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Interesting Details
  • (v.13) Caesarea Philippi, where Peter professed that Jesus was the Messiah, is a city built by prince Philip on the slope of Mount Hermon, north of Palestine. This place was known as a place of divine revelation in the Old Testament.
  • (v.16) The term "Messiah" reflects the disciples' hope that Jesus would deliver Israel from its enemies and establish God's kingdom on earth.
  • Verse 16 is parallel to Mk 8:27-28. However Matthew added a further specification of Jesus' identity as the Son of the living God.
  • The phrase the "Son of the living God" corrects any false implications present in the title Messiah. In the Jewish context, the word Messiah has for most people a very precise meaning: the coming Davidic king, the religious/political leader who would restore the power and glory of the nation of Israel. Jesus consistently refuses a political interpretation of his mission.
  • (v.18) In the New Testament, Jesus mentions Peter's name 195 times as compared to 130 times for all the rest of Apostles.

One Main Point

Peter makes his declaration of faith in Christ. Jesus appoints Peter as the leader of the Church as well as the gatekeeper of the kingdom of heaven.

  1. If Jesus comes and asks me who he is, how would I answer? If someone asks me who Jesus is, how do I explain?
  2. Jesus called Peter to be the leader of his Church. In what role does Jesus call me to be?
  3. Imagine myself being present at Caesarea Philippi among the apostles; how does Jesus react (gesture, facial expressions, tone) to Peter's answer? How do the apostles react when Peter is named the leader of the Church?
  4. Put myself in Peter's position; what will I do for the Church?

43 posted on 08/21/2011 6:22:14 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday, August 21

Liturgical Color: Green

The Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared in an apparition in Knock, Ireland on this day in 1879. Our Lady was silent and appeared deep in prayer. Today over a million and a half pilgrims visit the site annually.

44 posted on 08/21/2011 6:27:10 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: August 21, 2011
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Ordinary Time: August 21st

  Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time Old Calendar: Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 15:13-20).

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 22:19-23. Because of the reference to the "key of the house of David" in this text, some Fathers saw in it a messianic prophecy, foretelling the removal from power of the leaders of the Chosen People of the Old Testament, and the transfer of that power to Christ, who in turn handed it to Peter as head of the Church, the new Chosen People.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 11:33-36 in which he offers praise and thanks to God for including everyone in the salvation He offered, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles.

The Gospel is from St. Matthew 16:13-20. Jesus, the true Son of God, became man in order to make all men His brothers and co-heirs with Him, to the divine, eternal kingdom. To carry on His divine mission on earth (after He had ascended into heaven), He founded the Church on the twelve Apostles. This Church was to be God's new Chosen People (hence perhaps the twelve Apostles take the place of the heads of the twelve tribes of the Chosen People of old). It was to be made up of all races from all parts of the world. As its mission was to bring the message of salvation to all men, it was to go on until the end of time. For this Church, this divinely instituted society of human beings, to carry out its mission of helping all men to reach their eternal kingdom, it was necessary to be sure of the road and the aids offered to its members. In other words, the Church should be certain that what it told men to believe and to practice was what God wanted them to believe and to practice. Today's reading from St. Matthew tells us how Christ provided for this necessity. In making Peter the head of the Apostolic College, the foundation-stone of his Church, the guarantor of its stability in the symbol of the keys and the promise that all his decisions would be ratified in heaven, Christ gave him the power of freedom from error when officially teaching the universal Church.

In other words, Peter received the primacy in the Church and the gift of infallibility in his official teaching on matters of faith and morals. As the Church was to continue long after Peter had died, it was rightly understood from the beginning that the privileges given to him and which were necessary for the successful mission of the Church, were given to his lawful successors-the Popes.

This has been the constant belief in the Church from its very beginning. The first Vatican Council solemnly defined this dogma and it was reconfirmed recently in the second Vatican Council. In giving these powers to Peter and to his lawful successors Christ was planning for our needs. In order to preserve and safeguard the right conduct of all its members He provided a central seat of authoritative power in His Church. Through the gift of infallibility He assured us that whatever we were commanded to believe (faith) or to do (morals) would always be what He and his heavenly Father wanted us to believe and to do.

How can we ever thank Christ for these marvelous gifts to his Church, that is, to us? Let us say a fervent: "thank you, Lord; You have foreseen all our needs and provided for them, grant us the grace to do the little part you ask of us in order to continue our progress on the one direct road to heaven."

Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

45 posted on 08/21/2011 6:36:09 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Word Among Us

Meditation: Romans 11:33-36

“Oh, the depth!” (Romans 11:33)

Some remarkable humans have demonstrated the ability to free-dive to the depth of almost one hundred meters underwater—with no oxygen tank, fins, or weights. It’s an astounding feat. But that depth only scratches the surface of the deepest part of the ocean—the Challenger Deep in the Western Pacific, which is nearly eleven thousand meters. The human body is no match for the immense pressures found there!

In today’s second reading, Paul reflects on the extraordinary depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Just as an unaided diver can’t get to the Challenger Deep, neither can the unaided human heart grasp the “unsearchable” depths of God.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Romans 11:34). Curiously, Paul quotes the very same verse from Isaiah in his First Letter to the Corinthians. Only there, he adds: “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Amazing: We can explore the thoughts of the eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty Creator!

Today’s Gospel illustrates this point when Peter calls Jesus the Messiah. Immediately, Jesus praises him—but not for his powers of deduction. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Matthew 16:17). Jesus knew that Peter had to have received this gift from God.

That’s the key word: receive. Revelation is a gift. It isn’t something we can produce on our own. It’s a gift that God wants us to receive with open hearts and quiet minds. It’s God’s words coming alive in our hearts and filling us with his wisdom, his insights, and his peace.

Today at Mass, try to focus your heart on Jesus. Quiet your mind and tell Jesus that you want to receive whatever he wants to give you. Put your worries and cares aside and simply listen. You’ll know that what you heard is from God when your own heart starts echoing Paul’s prayer: To God be glory forever!

“Glory to you, Father, for the mysteries of your plan! Show me the depths of your love.”

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 138:1-3,6,8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)

1. In the first reading from Isaiah, the Lord tells us that Eliakim “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah,” and the Lord will “fix him as a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.” Whether you are a father or not, what can you do to bring greater honor to your family? If you are a father, how would you need to change to be the kind of father to your family that is described in the first reading?

2. When the responsorial psalm asks the Lord not to forsake the work of his hands, it suggests we are a “work in progress.” What specifically can you do to make yourself more available to the Lord for some additional tweaking?

3. In the second reading, St. Paul is almost bowled over just thinking of God’s greatness. Does reflecting on God’s greatness make him more or less approachable to you? Take some time in the upcoming weeks to reflect on God’s greatness and ask him to draw you closer to him?

4. In the Gospel today, Jesus assures Peter and the Apostles that Satan will never prevail against the Church, no matter what happens. This same confidence should inspire you as well, since you are a member of his Church. What steps can you take to increase your confidence in this reality, both in the Church and in your own life?

5. How would you respond to Jesus’ question: “But who do you say that I am?” In particular, what role does Jesus have in your life?

6. The meditation challenges us with these words: “Revelation is a gift. It isn’t something we can produce on our own. It’s a gift that God wants us to receive with open hearts and quiet minds. It’s God’s words coming alive in our hearts and filling us with his wisdom, his insights, and his peace.” What are some revelations you have received from God during prayer and Scripture reading, or at Mass? In what ways has God revealed to you his “inscrutable” plan of salvation and the “depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God”? What steps can you take to open your heart and mind even more to God’s revelation?

7. Take some time now to pray that the Lord would open your heart and mind more deeply to his revelation as you pray, read Scripture, and attend Mass - and also during the course of your day. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

46 posted on 08/21/2011 6:39:13 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim


(A biblical reflection on the 21st ORDINARY SUNDAY, 21 August 2011) 

Gospel Reading: Mt 16:13-20 

First Reading: Is 22:19-23; Psalms: Ps 138:1-3,6,8; Second Reading: Rom 11:33-36 

The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ. (Mt 16:13-20 RSV) 

Who was Jesus? A prophet? A moral teacher? The founder of a new religion? Answers varied just as much in Jesus’ day as they do in ours. What about you? How do you respond when Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15)? An even better question is, “How do you know Jesus is who you say He is?” 

Peter told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son the living God” (Mt 16:16). But how did he know this? By revelation! Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). What tremendous joy Peter must have felt as Jesus confirmed his proclamation that He was indeed the Messiah. Not only was Peter standing in the presence of God; he was also blessed with the deep knowledge of who Jesus is! He had come face-to-face with the long-awaited Savior of all humankind! How blessed Peter was! But we, too, can come into this same understanding of God’s love. 

According to Pope John Paul II, the expression ‘flesh and blood’ is a reference to man and the common way of understanding things. In the case of Jesus, the common way is not enough. A grace of ‘revelation’ is needed, which comes from the Father. (At the Beginning of the New Millennium, 20). 

It is incorrect, however, to think that divine, supernatural revelation is something God gives to just a few, or only in small pieces.  For God loves revealing Jesus to us. Just think of how new parents never feel tired talking about their children. God is not all that different. He pours out His Spirit on us so that our very desire for revelation about Jesus will grow – to the point where we will actually expect to see Jesus’ actions and hear His voice during the day. Even if you have known moments of revelation in the past, God wants to give you much more: “insight into the mystery of Christ” (Eph 3:4), and the confidence to walk in His presence all day long. 

It is encouraging to know that despite this moment of revelation, Peter still messed up – a lot! It is even more encouraging that Peter’s mistakes made him hunger for more revelation. Like Peter, even when we are painfully aware of our weaknesses, we still can ask for more revelation from the Lord. We surely cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord’s face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand.” 

At Mass today, let us ask God to reveal Jesus – the Messiah and Son of God – to us. Let us quiet our minds and open our hearts to his revelation. As we draw near to God and thank and praise Him in the Eucharistic prayer, He can reveal Himself more and more. No matter how far along we are in our walk with the Lord, there is always much more to discover about His love for us and His plan for our lives. 

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me a fresh revelation of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, I want to know You more, so that I can give even more of You away to others. Amen. 

47 posted on 08/21/2011 6:42:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Marriage = One Man and One Woman

Daily Marriage Tip for August 21, 2011:

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:18). In marriage we hold the keys to each other’s heart. Spouses should also know each others’ internet passwords lest one be tempted to lock out the other from personal conversations.

48 posted on 08/21/2011 6:46:18 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday Scripture Study

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

August 21, 2011

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23

Psalm: 138:1-3, 6-8

Second Reading: Romans 11:33-36

Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-20

  • This Sunday’s Gospel reading takes place in the mostly Gentile city of Caesarea Philippi, which was located about 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Originally named Paneas, after the pagan god of shepherds, Pan, it featured a popular shrine to him carved into an immense rock cliff. Jesus chose this backdrop to make an important announcement.
  • Jesus precedes his announcement by taking a kind of poll as to who the crowds were saying that he was. He listens to the various theories, mostly likening him to the prophets of old, especially Jeremiah, the suffering prophet, and Elijah, of who it was predicted, would return to announce the coming of Messiah (Malachi 4:5, or, 3:23 in the NAB or NJB).
  • All are asked, but only Peter replies. Peter’s preeminence among the apostles is often highlighted in the gospels (Matthew 10:2; Luke 22:31-32; John 1:42; 21:15-18). Here Jesus will define that leadership role explicitly (verses 18-19) and as one that that will last as long as the Church exists (verse 18). The first Vatican Council, in defining the dogma of papal primacy and infallibility, specifically references this passage (Vatican I, Pastor aertrnus).



  • The 1st Reading describes the appointment of new chief steward, or prime minister, in the royal House of David. Why does it make sense that Jesus’ Kingdom would be foreshadowed by (and be the fulfillment of) that of his forerunner, King David?
  • In the context of the 2nd Reading, how might you look upon some of the disasters that have befallen Christianity as potential blessings from the Holy Spirit? For example, how might the Holy Spirit use the secularization of modern American culture as a blessing for the Church rather than as a curse?
  • Why did people think that Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah?
  • What was significant about Peter’s confession?
  • How does the Church interpret the insight (verse 17), power (verse 18), and authority (verse 19) given to Peter? What are the “keys to the kingdom”? What do they “bind and loose”?
  • What Greek word translate the Aramaic word Kepha (John 2:41-42)? Why is the change of Peter’s name significant, aside from the meaning of the name itself?
  • When and how did you come to recognize Jesus as “Messiah, the Son of the living God”?
  • In terms of the practical matters of everyday life, how do you answer Jesus’ question to Peter for yourself?

Closing Prayer

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 424, 440-442, 552-553, 881, 1444-1445


Nothing was conferred on the apostles apart from Peter, but several things were conferred upon Peter apart from the apostles.

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum

49 posted on 08/21/2011 6:49:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Peter - Peter Paul Rubens

Isaiah 22: 19-23
Romans 11: 33-36
Mt 16: 13-20

We all want to belong. We all want to be part of a group. The give and take of human interaction from the very moment we come in to this world to the moment we leave it, defines our existence and our self-image.

Teenagers are “groupies” to the point that often the last person they would want to be seen with would be their parents. It’s time they spread their wings and establish their independence. Most often, once they cross the line into early adulthood, their parents are welcomed back into their world. But, the bottom line is that we humans are social animals and we are meant to be together.

In this Sunday’s Gospel it seems that Jesus is curious to hear about what others are thinking of him. He asks his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The title “son of man” was a somewhat obscure title used by Jesus likely in reference to the Messiah as the perfect God/man. What do you hear, he wonders? What's the chatter out there about messianic expectations?

The opinions, not surprisingly, are varied: “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets,” the Apostles respond. In other words, take your pick. Then Jesus poses a more personal question, “Who do you say that I am?” Ah, which of the above listing do you guys believe? What’s your opinion? It’s a very crucial question Jesus asks for they have been his followers for some time now.

The famous response comes from Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” It was not the first time that these disciples recognized Jesus for who he was. Remember the calming of the sea (Mt 14: 22-33) in which these men declared, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” But Peter’s profession went even farther.

To say, “You are the Christ,” was an answer to Jesus original question about who the “Son of Man” was. It isn’t the baptizer nor Elijah nor one of the prophets as was the varied opinions. Peter in essence said to Jesus – “You are he!” In Jesus, God has come to visit his people – the “son of the living God!” And these disciples, later to be sent as Apostles, would carry this message to the world. And Peter, the “rock” of both his person and his faith, would be the center piece around which the Church would gather.

So our Catholic ears hear, Pope Peter I in Jesus’ words – the establishment of what we have come to know as the Vicar of Christ on earth in the Bishop of Rome. But more is implied than just a pivotal position here. As crucial as the Petrine Office is to our Catholic identity and unity, the mission of the Church is established through this recognition by Peter and with him, the other Apostles.

That mission is carried on not just by the Pope, Bishops, us priests and religious. The mission of the Church is the mission of each disciple who has come to recognize Jesus as the “Son of the living God.”

The symbolic “keys to the kingdom of heaven”, given to Peter by Jesus, reassures us that the authority of the Church, though exercised by fallible human beings, is a shared authority between God and humanity. It is in Christ’s name that the Pope must speak, not his own. But it offers each of us the confidence that we know the Church will always prevail. History has shown us this time and again: the Roman Empire, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union have all withered away. Despite great persecution and the blood of millions sacrificed for the Gospel, the Church is still here. At least in recent history, above political parties and secular ideologies. The Church isn’t perfect because it is composed of sinners but it is holy because Christ, its head, is holy.

We surely have seen some notorious and colorful Popes over the centuries.  The names of Julius II and Alexander VI, hands down the most immoral and scandalous among these characters,  and other successors of Peter during the age of the Renaissance just all the more show the protection of the Holy Spirit in spite of our human sinfulness. But among our Pope's we have seen great charismatic saints and men of heroic virtue.  Blessed John Paul II certainly among the "Great."

Jesus promised us this: “. . . upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it . . .” In word and service to others we proclaim that Christ is God come among us in love and truth.

In all things, Charity. Our group identity is that of Christian and Catholic. With Peter and the Apostles still among us we have confidence to  know the Spirit guides and directs us when our own human energy gives out.

Maybe ponder one or two ways you can be Christ to others this week: to a loved one or to a stranger.
Fr. Tim

50 posted on 08/21/2011 7:16:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Insight Scoop

The Roots of the Papacy and the Primacy of Peter

• Isa 22:19-23
• Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
• Rom 11:33-36
• Mt 16:13-20

“The doctrine of the primacy of Peter is just one more of the many errors that the Church of Rome has added to the Christian religion.”

So wrote the Presbyterian theologian Loraine Boettner in his 1962 book, Roman Catholicism, a popular work of anti-Catholic polemics. Although the religious landscape has changed significantly since the early 1960s, there are still many non-Catholic Christians today who agree wholeheartedly with Boettner’s assertions. The Papacy is unbiblical! It has no basis in Scripture! Peter was never singled out as a leader of the apostles!

Growing up in a Fundamentalist home, I believed such statements. But I now agree instead with the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the ‘rock’ of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock” (par 881; cf. 551-53). Some of the reasons for the change in my beliefs are found in today’s readings, which provide some Old Testament context for the papacy and also describe a profound exchange between Jesus and Peter.

First, the Old Testament background. King Solomon and his successors had twelve deputies or ministers who helped the king govern and rule (cf., 1 Kings 4:1ff). The master of the palace, or prime minister, had a unique position among those twelve, as described in today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah. The prime minister wore a robe and sash befitting his office, and was entrusted by the king to wield the king’s authority. The symbol for that authority were “the keys of the House of David,” which enabled the minister to regulate the affairs of the king’s household—that is, of the kingdom. In addition, this prime minister is described by Isaiah as a “father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”

Fast forward to about the year A.D. 30. Jesus and his disciples are in the region of Caesarea Philippi, a pagan area about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. They likely were standing at the base of Mount Hermon in front of a well-known cliff filled with niches holding statues of pagan deities; at the top of the cliff stood a temple in honor of Caesar. Jesus first asked the disciples who other people thought he was. The variety of answers given revealed the confusion surrounding the identity of Jesus, quite similar to the confusion and controversies about Jesus in our own time. 

Jesus asked who they thought he was. It was Peter—brash but correct—who responded with the great acclamation, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, confessing both the divinity and kingship of Jesus. Peter was then addressed singularly by Jesus, who renamed him Petros, or “Rock”. That name was unique among the Jews, reserved in the Old Testament for God alone. Jesus further declared he would build his Church upon the newly named Rock, and he gave Peter “the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” 

This dramatic moment makes little or no sense without the context provided by Isaiah 22 and other Old Testament passages. Jesus, heir of David and King of kings, was appointing Peter to be his prime minister, the head of the Twelve. “The ‘power of the keys’,” explains the Catechism, “designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church” (par 553). The binding and loosing refers to prohibiting and permitting; it also includes the function of rendering authoritative teaching and making official pronouncements.

Does this mean that Peter and his successors are sinless or even somehow divine? No, of course not. They are men in need of salvation, just like you and I. But God has chosen to work through such men in order to proclaim the Gospel, to lead the Church, and to teach the faithful. They are fathers (“pope” means “papa”) who hold a unique office for one reason: they were called by Christ to hold the keys of the household of God.

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the August 24, 2008, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)

Related Articles, Book Excerpts, and Interviews:

Peter and Succession | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
"Primacy in Love": The Chair Altar of Saint Peter's in Rome | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome | Stephen K. Ray
From "The Appeal to Antiquity", Chapter One of The Early Papacy to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451 | Adrian Fortescue
The Essential Nature and Task of the Church | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
On the Papacy, John Paul II, and the Nature of the Church | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Papal Authority in von Balthasar's Ecclesiology | Raymond Cleaveland
Church Authority and the Petrine Element | Hans Urs von Balthasar
Motherhood of the Entire Church | Henri de Lubac, S.J.
Mater Ecclesia: An Ecclesiology for the 21st Century | Donald Calloway, M.I.C.
The Papacy and Ecumenism | Rev. Adriano Garuti, O.F.M.
The Church Is the Goal of All Things | Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
Excerpts from Theology of the Church | Charles Cardinal Journet
Authority and Dissent in the Catholic Church | Dr. William E. May

51 posted on 08/21/2011 7:20:09 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Vultus Christi

Our Lady of Knock

 on August 20, 2011 9:40 PM |

In the Archdeacon's Room at Knock

On the evening of February 5, 2008, whilst on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, I was privileged to pray in the room where The Venerable Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh, Parish Priest of Knock at the time of the apparition, died on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1897.

The room is now used as the Oratory for the community of Daughters of Charity who conduct Saint Mary's Hostel for pilgrims. Sister Elma, the lovely Daughter of Charity then in charge of Saint Mary's Hostel, told me that, according to tradition, it was in that room that Our Lady came and conversed with the Archdeacon before his death.

A Priest Who Loved Mary

It was believed in the parish of Knock that the Archdeacon was frequently graced with visits of Our Blessed Lady. When questioned about this, the Archdeacon replied that "there were a great many other manifestations of which he would not care to speak." Archdeacon Cavanagh had a consuming desire to promote Our Lady's Cause; he habitually referred to the Blessed Virgin Mary as "The ever Immaculate Mother of God."


Charity Toward the Poor Souls

It is not generally known that the apparition at Knock took place on the evening of the very day when Archdeacon Cavanagh had completed offering one hundred Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, without receiving any stipend from the people. Preaching at Knock in 1882, he said, "We leave all our actions at the disposal of the Blessed Virgin Mary for those holy souls who, when released from purgatory, will never forget us. They will pray constantly for us at the throne of God."

Saint Joseph and Saint John

There are particular graces reserved for priests at Knock. In Saint Joseph and Saint John who appeared there together with the Blessed Virgin, one discovers the models of a priestly holiness that is at once paternal and virginal. These are the two men destined by God from all eternity to live in a sacred intimacy with the Virgin Mary. I have the distinct impression that, at the present time, Our Lady is offering to all her priest sons the special grace of a sacred intimacy with herself.

"A rarely mentioned fact about the shrine of Knock is that the parish church is under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. That makes him a hidden but not insignificant presence at the apparitions and at the shrine today. How fitting that the Lord would choose the church of St. John the Baptist as the site for this wonderful apparition with all that it teaches. At Knock he is again acting as the precursor and herald of the Lamb of God. John the Baptist is the "friend of the Bridegroom", and therefore a friend to Christ the Bridegroom in each priest. How great will be his joy if the shrine of Knock would become a place of priestly renewal." Brother Augustine, O.F.M., Conv.

Intimacy With Mary

Could this not be the means by which Mary desires to purify, sanctify, and renew the priesthood in this age of the Church's life? In the intimacy with Our Blessed Lady represented by Saint Joseph and Saint John there is healing even for the most broken among her priest sons. For those most defiled by sin, in Mary's presence there is purity and the recovery of a spotless innocence. For those who have grown weary and lost the fervour of their youth, in Mary's company there is zeal for souls and apostolic boldness. For those who are depressed, close to Mary there is comfort, and to those who are despondent and anxious, she gives hope and peace. Finally, in the intimacy of Mary there is joy for those who fallen prey to the sadness that weakens the soul and opens it to sin.

Made Pure in the Blood of the Lamb

The Immaculate Virgin Mary presents herself to priests today as she presented herself to Saint Joseph and to Saint John. To Saint Joseph, her chaste spouse, she was the Virgin Bride, and to Saint John, the Beloved Disciple of her Son, she was a Mother. In the acceptance of this grace lies the remedy for the weaknesses and inclinations to sin that have soiled the priesthood and brought it low in the eyes of so many in recent years. The desire of Mary's Immaculate Heart is to purify the priesthood and lift it out of the infamy into which it has fallen, so as to make it shine with a wonderful holiness, and with the purity that comes from the Precious Blood of the Lamb. It is the Lamb in the apparition of Knock that casts the whole event in the light of the mysteries revealed to Saint John on Patmos.

Priests at Knock

It seems to me that Our Lady desires that Knock should become a place of pilgrimage for priests. A dimension of Knock, not yet fully developed, is that it must become a place of healing for priests, a place where Mary can restore them to purity and to holiness of life by drawing them into her company. Knock invites all priests to share their lives with Mary by opening their homes and their hearts to her, and by living every moment in her presence.


At Home With Mary

As Virgin Bride, Mary is the image of the Church. Just as Saint Joseph took his Virgin Bride into his home, so too must every priest welcome Mary and discover in her intimacy the nuptial quality of his dedication to the Church. Just as Saint John, obeying the word of Jesus from the Cross, took Mary into his home, so too must every priest shelter her in the space that is most personal to him. The gift of sacred intimacy with the Blessed Virgin Mary, suggested by the apparition at Knock, may well be among the heavenly secrets reserved by her for this time of trial for the Church.

She will impart this gift to every priest who desires it. She will make herself known as the Virgin Bride who brought joy to Saint Joseph, and as the Mother entrusted to Saint John and to those priests in whom the Johannine grace is renewed in every age.

A Pilgrimage for Priests

It is time, I think, for priests and their bishops to go -- as priests together -- in pilgrimage to Knock. Our Lady's Merciful and Immaculate Heart waits for them there. She is ready to open a wellspring of purity, holiness, and renewal for all priests, beginning with those of Ireland. Our Lady of Knock beckons to all priests. She would have her priest sons wash themselves in the Blood of the Lamb, and unite themselves to her Son, Priest and Victim, in the mystery of His Sacrifice. Yes, Knock is for all people, but I believe that it was, from the beginning, destined to be a place of healing and of abundant graces for priests.

A Radiant Priestly Holiness

As I prayed in Archdeacon Cavanagh's room, I understood that Mary longs to show herself to all priests as Virgin Bride and Mother. In Mary's intimacy we priests will find the holiness desired by Christ for each one of us: a radiant holiness, a holiness to illumine the Church in these last days with the brightness of the Lamb. Knock invites priests to remain in adoration before Mary's Son, the Lamb Who was slain. Knock invites priests to wash themselves in His Precious Blood by seeking absolution from all their sins. Knock invites priests to follow Saint Joseph and Saint John by consecrating themselves to Mary as Virgin Bride and Mother.

No Need to Remain Alone

Our Lady of Knock, praying with uplifted hands, is the Mediatrix of All Graces. She is the New Eve given to Christ the New Adam, and given by Him, from the Cross, to all His priests, those whom He has called to continue His mission of salvation in the world. There is no need for any priest to remain alone. The Virgin Mary's Heart is open to all her priest sons, and she will not refuse, to those who ask for it, a participation in the unique grace given Saint Joseph and Saint John in the beginning.

52 posted on 08/21/2011 7:24:47 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Vultus Christi

At Knock: Our Lady of Silence

 on August 21, 2011 9:33 PM |

Grandma Tells Me About Knock

As a small boy, I heard many times about Knock from my Grandmother Margaret Gilbride Kirby (1900-1993). Her Aunt Mary had gone from Finisklin in the Parish of Kiltoghert, County Leitrim to Knock on pilgrimage. Aunt Mary sent my grandmother a little bottle of blessed water from the shrine. Grandma told me what she knew about the apparitions.

Pilgrimage in 1988

Years later, in 1988, I went to Knock together with my parents and my brother Terence. I had the privilege of celebrating Holy Mass on the site of the apparitions: the gable end of the parish church. Several other pilgrimages to Knock marked my life including one in the company of my cousin Mary Parady, and one with my dear friends John Flynn and Father Dan Leary. The grace of Knock clings to me.


The apparition at Knock is unusual in that the Blessed Virgin remained silent. She spoke no message and uttered no warning; she asked for nothing. Our Lady was silent and, at the same time, intensely present to the Immolated Lamb upon the altar, and to the people who watched the apparition. The silence of the Mother of God speaks to my own understanding of actuosa participatio (actual participation) in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There is a silent inward cleaving to the Mystery of the Eucharist that precedes and perfects all other forms of participation in the Holy Sacrifice.

Blessed John Paul II on Silence

The silence of Our Lady at Knock reminds me of a splendid page in Blessed John Paul II's Orientalis Lumen:

One draws close to this presence [of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] above all by letting oneself be taught an adoring silence, for at the culmination of the knowledge and experience of God is his absolute transcendence. This is reached through the prayerful assimilation of scripture and the liturgy more than by systematic meditation.
In the humble acceptance of the creature's limits before the infinite transcendence of a God who never ceases to reveal himself as God - Love, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the joy of the Holy Spirit, I see expressed the attitude of prayer and the theological method which the East prefers and continues to offer all believers in Christ.
We must confess that we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored: in theology, so as to exploit fully its own sapiential and spiritual soul; in prayer, so that we may never forget that seeing God means coming down the mountain with a face so radiant that we are obliged to cover it with a veil (cf. Ex 34:33), and that our gatherings may make room for God's presence and avoid self - celebration; in preaching, so as not to delude ourselves that it is enough to heap word upon word to attract people to the experience of God; in commitment, so that we will refuse to be locked in a struggle without love and forgiveness.
This is what man needs today; he is often unable to be silent for fear of meeting himself, of feeling the emptiness that asks itself about meaning; man who deafens himself with noise. All, believers and non - believers alike, need to learn a silence that allows the Other to speak when and how he wishes, and allows us to understand his words.

Saint Joseph and Saint John

The presence at Knock of Saint Joseph and of Saint John the Evangelist is especially significant to me. They are the two men chosen by God to share most intimately in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Joseph obeyed the word of the Angel of the Lord: "Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost" (Mt 1:20). Saint John, for his part, obeyed the word of the crucified Jesus: "Behold thy mother." "And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own" (Jn 19:27).

The Rosary of the Seven Dolours

Praying the Rosary of the Seven Dolours, one discovers the role of Saint Joseph in the life of the Blessed Virgin by meditating the first three mysteries: 1) the Prophecy of Simeon, 2) the Flight into Egypt, 3) and the Disappearance of the Boy Jesus.

In the last four mysteries, Saint John is present: 4) the Encounter of the Blessed Virgin with Jesus bearing His Cross, 5) the Death of Jesus on the Cross, 6) the Descent of the Body of Jesus from the Cross, 7) the Burial of Jesus. It is reasonable to assume that the Beloved Disciple accompanied the Blessed Virgin along the via crucis; he stood with her at the foot of the Cross, witnessed the removal of Jesus' lifeless body from the Cross and His burial.

Into the Sacrifice of the Lamb

Saint Joseph and Saint John entered in the silence of Blessed Virgin. One cannot live in the company of Mary without being drawn into her silence, that is, into the ceaseless prayer of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, and into the Sacrifice of the Lamb renewed in an unbloody manner on the altars of the world.

53 posted on 08/21/2011 7:26:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

How Did Peter Know?
Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Aug. 21, 2011)

August 21, 2011
Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I know through faith that you are present in my life. I hope in your promise to be with me. I love you, and I know you love me. Accept this prayer as a token of my love.

Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me an experiential knowledge of you.

1. Many People Say Many Things: When Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” he receives many answers. Everyone has his own opinion. Perhaps they are satisfied that their opinions are correct and have stopped seeking; perhaps they are too lazy to pursue the truth any deeper. It is easy to say something, to toss out an answer, to draw a superficial conclusion. We must be careful not to come to a hurried conclusion or be satisfied with what might only apparently be true. Many people say many things about Christ. We must have the tenacity to pursue the profound truth about who he is.

2. How Did Peter Know? How did Peter know that Christ was the Messiah, the Son of the living God? Peter did not say, “The heavenly Father told me that you are the Messiah.” He was probably not even aware that the Father has been working in him. Peter has been traveling with Christ, hearing him speak and seeing him work miracles. He reflected on all this and began to perceive that Christ is much more than just a brilliant teacher. Peter began to see Christ for who he truly is. In the same way God works in our mind and heart, helping us to see clearly the truth of supernatural things. We may not even be aware that the heavenly Father is present, but when we sincerely strive to know Christ and are open to the action of God’s grace in our soul, we, too, come to know Christ for who he really is.

3. Responsibility: Peter’s openness to the action of God’s grace and his recognition of Christ as God bring with them a responsibility – Peter is given the keys of the Kingdom. He is given the task of shepherding and building up the Church. Like Peter, my recognition of Christ comes with a responsibility. God gives me the gift of faith and along with it the responsibility to spread his Gospel. I must take this responsibility seriously. I need to make sure that the good news of the kingdom is proclaimed to all mankind.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, please help me to delve deep into the truth about who you are and not to be satisfied with simply having some vague idea. I want to know you intimately, the same way St. Peter and many holy saints have known you. Grant me this grace not just for my sake, but also for all those souls with whom I will come into contact.

Resolution: I will make a special effort in prayer to come to know Christ better.

54 posted on 08/21/2011 7:29:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Why Don’t You Tell Your Face?

August 20th, 2011 by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Is 22:19-23 / Rom 11:33-36 / Mt 16:13-20

On Sunday morning a man showed up at church with both of his ears terribly blistered, so his pastor asked, “WHAT happened to YOU?”

“I was lying on the couch watching a ball game on TV while my wife was ironing nearby.  I was totally engrossed in the game when she went out, leaving the iron near the phone. The phone rang, and keeping my eyes on the TV, I grabbed the hot iron and put it to my ear.”

“How dreadful,” gasped the pastor. “But how did the other ear get burned?”

“Well, you see, I’d no sooner hung up and the guy called back!”

+            +            +

He just didn’t get it. Lots of folks never get it, never understand how life really works, even at the simplest levels. That’s why Jesus is pressing his followers — and us — so insistently in Sunday’s Gospel: “Do you understand who I am,” he asks, “and what my being here means for you?”

It’s a crucial question.  And there’s one sure way of finding the answer, and that is by checking how we’re living. Are we living like people who know for sure that a loving God is walking at their side at every minute?  Let’s see:

+ Have we stopped wasting our time worrying?

+ Have we put aside posing and posturing and fretting about our image?

+ Have we stopped closing our eyes to our dark side? And stopped avoiding things that seem too much for us?

+ Do we welcome life with a happy heart. Are we glad to wake up in the morning?

+ Do we see how gifted and special we are? At least sometimes, does seeing our own giftedness just make us want to smile?

+ Do we have hearts so full of thankfulness that we instinctively work at helping others be as happy as we are?

If that’s the way we’re living, then we understand who Jesus is, and we know what it means to have him walking with us. It means that we’ve been set free from all kinds of chains and fears and sadness. It means that no matter what, we’re going to be okay. It also means that we have the power to help set other people free from all manner of sadness by showing them HIS face mirrored right here in our own.

A long time ago there was an old Indian chief whose little granddaughter was something of a sourpuss. “Are you happy?” he asked her one day.

“Yes, grandpa,” she replied.

“Well then, my dear, why don’t you tell your face?”

We have every reason to be very happy right here and now because we already have everything we really need: We have God himself!

Why don’t we tell our face, and our heart?

We’ve already got it all!

55 posted on 08/21/2011 7:33:45 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Sunday, August 21, 2011 >> 21st Sunday Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day
Isaiah 22:15, 19-23
Romans 11:33-36

View Readings
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
Matthew 16:13-20



"I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew 16:19

Eliakim was given "the key of the House of David" (Is 22:22). With this key, he could open doors which could never be shut and shut doors which could never be opened (Is 22:22).

Jesus gave this key and other keys to Peter, the apostle on whom He has built His Church (Mt 16:18). These keys are not only the key of David; they are "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 16:19). These keys give the Church such authority that whatever it binds on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever it looses on earth will be loosed in heaven (Mt 16:19).

We all need the keys to shut up whatever is destroying us. We need to turn the keys to open up "the floodgates of heaven" (see Mal 3:10) by opening up our hearts to God's love and truth. The Church is the only place where we can get the keys we need. So, if we're addicted, unforgiving, or guilt-ridden, we should go to Church. If we're looking for answers, hope, or peace, we should go to Church. Her preaching and praying are the keys we need. The Lord especially has made the Sacrament of Confession the key by which we are freed. The Church has the keys. Go to Church!

Prayer: Father, may I not sit in prison for years when the keys are right in front of me.
Promise: "How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!" —Rm 11:33
Praise: Praise You, risen Jesus! You are "the First and the Last and the One Who lives" (Rv 1:17-18). All glory, honor, and praise to You, "King of kings and Lord of lords"! (Rv 19:16)

56 posted on 08/21/2011 7:35:57 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
At the Cross, Mary mourns her Son's death.
In today's world, Mary mourns the deaths of all the aborted children.

57 posted on 08/21/2011 7:36:54 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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