Posted by james0235 on April 1, 2012
“They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”
From the Gospel of Palm Sunday Year B
While listening to the Gospel reading this morning my mind began to wander a bit.
I remembered going to daily Mass during Lent 2011 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, the oldest church in Columbus. I was very early and so I just began looking around the beautiful church.
I began with the crucifixion scene over the high altar and then I moved on to the statues and stained glass windows. And then I got to the Stations of the Cross. I only made it as far as the 5th Station.
While I was familiar with the Gospel account of Simon helping Jesus to carry the cross, and I had prayed it in the Stations of the Cross many times, this was the first time I actually stopped to consider what it actually meant. Jesus tells us that we all have our own cross to bear (Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, 14:27). We all have our weaknesses, our sins, our addictions, our faults that we must deal with every day and sometimes they may be overwhelming. What I realized was that being overwhelmed is okay. Jesus had help carrying his cross and so there is nothing wrong in accepting help carrying ours.
Next, my wandering mind made the leap to a quote from an obscure tv show I am quite fond of. And while a long-cancelled space western doesn’t typically have much to do with the Gospel reading at Mass I thought that this one was really on target.
“When you can’t run you crawl. And when you can’t do that…you find someone to carry you.”
Firefly, The Message
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Posted by james0235 on February 22, 2012
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Collect, Ash Wednesday
We kick of Lent with this, the opening prayer, or Collect, for Ash Wednesday. And what an opening it is. The Church is reminding us that we are at war and “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12 NAB) and our weapon in this fight is the self-restraint that is learned by disciplining the body through fasting.
The very idea of waging a “campaign of Christian service” is very evocative of Matthew 16 where Jesus tells us that the gates of hell will not be able to stand against the Church. This doesn’t just mean that the Church will not be overcome by the powers of hell. Rather, Jesus puts hell itself on the defensive. The Church brings the battle to the forces of evil and she will be victorious.
I couldn’t help but notice the different tone this prayer has compared to previous years considering the new, corrected Mass translations. The previous “translation”, rather than having us wage a “campaign of Christian service” had us asking God to “protect us in our struggle against evil”. It really feels different to be marching to victory rather than cowering in fear.
Posted in lent, liturgy, scripture, spiritual warfare | Tagged: ash wednesday, collect, ephesians, ephesians 6, lent, mass, matthew, matthew 16, opening prayer | Leave a Comment »
Posted by james0235 on March 16, 2011
Are Hades/Sheol and Gehenna the same place? And if they are two different places, what happened to Hades after Christ resurrected?
Sheol/Hades, and Gahenna are all words for hell used in the Bible but they mean very different things.
Sheol is the Hebrew word for the realm of the dead used in the Old Testament. It is sometimes translated as “the netherworld” and it is the resting place of the good (Genesis 37:35) and of the evil (Numbers 16:30).
When the OT was translated from Hebrew to Greek around 200BC the word Hades was used. Today it is still common to see Hades used over Sheol in English translations of the OT because in the early Church (and really for most of Christian history) the Greek OT was the preferred version. Of the 350 OT quotes in the NT (mostly made by Jesus and Paul) around 300 of them quoted from the Greek OT and around 50 quoted from the Hebrew OT.
Sheol/Hades is the same place as the “bosom of Abraham” where both Lazarus and the rich man found themselves after death (Luke 16:19-31). By the Middle Ages it was most commonly referred to as Limbus patrum or the Limbo of the Fathers. It is where the righteous and the unrighteous alike were gathered in death until the Resurrection of Christ. Until Christ redeemed mankind heaven was not reachable. At his death Jesus entered Hades and took the righteous dead with him to heaven. This is known as the “Harrowing of Hell” and is what is meant by “He descended into hell” in the Apostle’s Creed and is likely what is referred to in 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6.
Gehenna is the Greek word used in the New Testament that corresponds to what we typically think of as hell, sometimes called perdition. It is the eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:42-48; Revelation 14:11, 20:10; etc.) of the damned.
The book of Revelation shows Hades (Sheol, the bosom of Abraham, the Limbo of the Fathers) itself being cast into hell (Gehenna) at the Final Judgement. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Posted in apologetics, creed, scripture | Tagged: gehenna, hades, hell, sheol | Leave a Comment »
Posted by james0235 on February 2, 2010
Today, the 40th day after Christmas, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This Feast has a very solid biblical foundation:
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
On the 40th day after giving birth the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the temple to offer a sacrifice in accordance with the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:1-8). She didn’t offer this sacrifice because she was actually made unclean by the birth of Christ but rather it was in order to fulfill “the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” (Luke 2:39). In imitation of this event in the 4th century the Church instituted the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be celebrated on the 40th day after Christamas, February 2nd, every year.
This Feast had 3 emphases:
The Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Leviticus 12:7),
The Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22),
and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles by the prophet Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)
In the revisions to the liturgy following the 2nd Vatican Council this feast was renamed the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (represented by the blessing of candles which are then carried in procession before the Mass) seem to have been de-emphasized slighltly while the Presentation of Christ in the Temple has been emphasized. But, all of these aspects of the Feast are still quite evident in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.
In addition to the Mass we see these aspects of the Feast also displayed in the devotions of the Church. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the 4th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Simeon’s proclamation of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (Luke 2:29-32), known as the Nunc Dimittis or the Canticle of Simeon, – is prayed every night in the Liturgy of the Hours in the Office of Compline (Night Prayer). And the idea of a ritual purification after childbirth can still be seen, albeit quite rarely, in a very beautiful ceremony known as the Churching of Women.
The Churching of Women is performed soon after childbirth. Ideally it was given as soon as a woman was able to return to Church for the first time – which does not necessarily mean the following Sunday. Remember that the care of infants does excuse one from the obligation to attend Mass (CCC 2181). The Churching, also called the Blessing of a Mother after Childbirth in the Roman Ritual – one of the Liturgical books of the Roman Rite, was both a blessing given to a new mother and it was an opportunity for the new mother to give thanks to God for the birth of her child. While it is not actually a ritual purification – the Church does not teach that childbirth makes a woman ritually unclean – it is inspired by the purification rituals that the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates.
The beautiful prayers of the Churching of Women can be found here.
Posted in blessed virgin mary, liturgy, scripture | Tagged: 4th joyful mystery, churching of women, extraordinary form, extraordinary form of the roman rite, feast, feast of the presentation, feast of the purification, joyful mysteries, leviticus 12, liturgy, luke 2, mass, ordinary form of the roman rite, roman rite, rosary | Leave a Comment »
Posted by james0235 on December 17, 2009
Advent has been described as a countdown to the Incarnation and this is very evident, even if not well known, in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite. The first example of a countdown can be seen in the O Antiphons. These Antiphons are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours at Vespers in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite beginning on December 17th. And with the release of the 1970 Roman Missal they are prayed in the Mass of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I have previously written quite a bit about this here.
A lesser known countdown to the Incarnation can be found in the Gospel readings for the Sundays of Advent in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – the 1962 Roman Missal.
The Gospel readings follow a reverse chronological order. We begin on the 1st Sunday of Advent with Luke 21:25-33 where Jesus tells his disciples about his second coming. On the 2nd Sunday of Advent we move back in time to Matthew 11:2-10 where the disciple of John the Baptist ask Jesus if he is the Messiah they have been waiting for. On the 3rd Sunday of Advent we go even further back to John 1:19-28 where John announces that he is not the promised Messiah but rather the precursor. And finally on the 4th Sunday of Advent we have Luke 3:1-6 where John’s mission as the precursor of the Messiah is shown as being foretold by the prophets. (This Gospel is used in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C.)
And when we finally reach the Incarnation we cease our countdown and begin to move forward. The Gospel for the Vigil Mass of the Nativity, Matthew 1:18-21, shows us the angel Gabriel announcing to Joseph that his wife has conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Midnight Mass, Luke 2:1-14, details the birth of Christ. The Gospel of the Mass at Dawn, Luke 2:15-20, gives us the story of the shepherds journeying to see Christ in the manger. And finally the Gospel reading of the Mass during the Daytime, John 1:1-14 is that famous passage that tells us that “the word (who) was in the beginning with God…was made flesh.” This “last Gospel” also is read at the end of almost every Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Now, how cool is that?
Posted in advent, liturgy, scripture | Tagged: advent, extraordinary form of the roman rite, incarnation, liturgy, liturgy of the hours, mass, o antiphons, ordinary form of the roman rite, roman missal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by james0235 on December 6, 2009
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
(Luke 3:1-6 NAB) Gospel, 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C
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Posted by james0235 on November 29, 2009
This is the Introit (Entrance Antiphon) for the Mass of the Roman Rite in both its Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms for the 1st Sunday of Advent. And it was the inspiration for the name of this blog.
Ad te levávi ánimam meam, Deus meus, in te confído, non erubéscam. Neque irrídeant me inimíci mei, étenim univérsi qui te exspéctant non confundéntur.
To you, my God, I lift my soul, I trust in you; let me never come to shame. Do not let my enemies laugh at me. No one who waits for you is ever put to shame.
(Official ICEL translation)
To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.
(1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal)
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Posted by james0235 on May 31, 2009
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
Acts 2:1-11 NAB
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Posted by james0235 on May 21, 2009
I recently came across a quote by Vice President Joe Biden that I found to be quite disturbing. It is something he seems to have said some time ago, all the way back in 2005, and something that apparently every person in the world was aware of but me:
“The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”
(And it appears that Biden’s actual words may have originally been much worse and “cleaned up” by the media.)
Now, this quote came to mind yesterday as I was meditating on a verse from Scripture:
“Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.“ (James 1:27 DRB)
This was the Epistle for Mass this past Sunday, the 5th Sunday after Easter, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This particular verse is also found in other Forms and Rites of the Church. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is the 2nd Reading in Year B on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and it is the 1st Reading on Wednesday of Year II in the 6th Week of Ordinary Time. In the Byzantine Rite it is used on Thursday of the 31st Week after Pentecost.
When the Church sets a verse before us in the Liturgy it is generally a good sign that this verse is particularly important. And when the Church sets a verse before us multiple times it is time to pay special attention.
It seems popular among Christians nowadays to want distance themselves from being “religious”. It is all too often viewed as a bad thing. One frequently hears such things as “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” or “I’m not religious, I have a personal relationship with Christ”.
But, the Apostle James, guided by the Holy Spirit, shows us that being religious is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact it is intended to be a good thing. We are meant to hold to a religion that is “clean and undefiled” and this religion is an active religion – what Catholics would call performing the corporal works of mercy.
Now, the word “religion” comes from the Latin “religare” which means to “re-bind” or “re-connect“. Our religion is what connects or binds us to our God. And as I began to reflect on what it means to be religious I came to the obvious conclusion that Vice President Biden is indeed a religious person. But, his religion is most certainly not “clean and undefiled”. It is impossible to be “unspotted from this world” when one actively seeks to take the lives of the most helpless of victims – the unborn.
Joe Biden’s pro-abortion views and his support of embryonic stem cell research lie in direct opposition to the Catholic faith he claims to hold. Being pro-choice is actually heresy, the “obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (see Code of Canon Law 751 and Catechism of the Catholic Church 2089). Those who fall into heresy actually excommunicate themselves from the Church (see Code of Canon Law 1364) and those who are excommunicated may not receive Communion (see Code of Canon Law 915 and 1332), which Joe Biden does anyway thus committing the additional sin of scandal (see CCC 2285).
So, Joe Biden is right. He is without a doubt a religious person. But, his religion is not the Christian faith. He makes mockery of the sacraments that Christ entrusted to His Church and instead elevates the sacrament of abortion to the position of being the source and summit of his faith and the thing that binds him to his “god”, the power and the fame that he has chosen to embrace instead of Jesus Christ.
I hope that the Vice President appreciates my defense of his assertations that he is in fact religious. And if he has the slightest bit of integrity he will either repent of his evil beliefs or he will stop misleading people into believing that he is still Catholic.
Posted in abortion, evil, liturgy, pro-life, scripture | Tagged: 1st reading, 2nd reading, abortion, bible, biden, byzantine, byzantine rite, epistle, evil, extraordinary form, extraordinary form of the roman rite, james, joe biden, liturgy, mass, ordinary form, rosary, scripture | 1 Comment »
Posted by james0235 on May 21, 2009
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with the them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
Acts 1:1-11 NAB
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