Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can the name 'Catholic Church' be found in the Bible?


Yes! Let's take a look at the original Greek text of the New Testament:

"Acts 9:31 "Ho men EKKLESIA KATAHOLOS ho Ioudaia kai Galilaia kai Samaeria"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fifth Sunday of Easter - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 14,1-12.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Where (I) am going you know the way."
Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

3rd Sunday of Easter -"Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 24,13-35.

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?"
And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them
who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Catholic Response to "Are You Saved?"

The Catholic Christian answers this question in three stages or levels corresponding to the three meanings the words "saved" and "salvation" have in the Bible. (These meanings are found in the previous section, "Salvation: A Biblical Portrait." )

Catholic Christians can respond that they have been saved. This acknowledges the first meaning of "saved" and "salvation" in scripture--Jesus Christ, Savior, by whose act of salvation we are objectively saved--He died, rose from the dead, saved them from sin.

2 Cor 5:17
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation
Catholic Christians can also respond that they are being saved. This acknowledges the second meaning "saved" and "salvation" have in scripture--the present experience, God's power delivering constantly from the bondage of sin.

1 Cor 15:2
Through it (the gospel) you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
Catholic Christians also respond that they will be saved, that they have hope and confidence that God will give them the grace of perseverance; that they will respond to it; and accept his gift of salvation until their death. This acknowledges the third meaning the words "saved" and "salvation" have in scripture--the future deliverance of believers at the Second Coming of Christ.

Rom 5:9
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.

Friday, March 28, 2008

2nd Sunday of Easter


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 20,19-31.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Empty Tomb

Let's consider the evidence of the Resurrection. And in doing so, we must start with the fact of the empty tomb.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus was buried in the tomb of a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea. Three days later that tomb was empty. It was empty despite the fact that it had been sealed by a huge stone weighing close to two tons and despite the fact that it had been guarded continuously by a special contingent of Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:62-66).

When the soldiers reported their startling discovery of an empty tomb to the chief priests of the Jews, they were given a bribe to tell the people that "His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep" (Matthew 28:11-15).

The significant thing about the reaction of the Jewish leaders is that they did not challenge the fact that the tomb was empty. That's because the tomb was empty. They simply could not argue with that reality, and so they made up a story to explain why the tomb was empty.

And men have been concocting explanations ever since that time. Let's consider some of those explanations, and as we do so, I think you will begin to sense that the shallowness of their arguments speaks louder in many respects than the counter arguments of Christians.

Explanations of the Empty Tomb
1) Confusion - Perhaps the silliest argument of all is that the disciples went to the wrong tomb! Yes, some supposedly learned men have proposed this theory over the years.

Yet, the Gospel accounts tell us that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, both accompanied Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas to the tomb and watched them prepare the body for burial (Matthew 27:57-61 and John 19:38-42). Are we to suppose that when the women returned they could not find their way?

And even if they did get lost and looked in the wrong tomb, did Peter and John do the same thing? Did the Roman soldiers forget which tomb they were guarding? Did Joseph of Arimathea suddenly have a memory lapse as to where his tomb was located? And why didn't the Jewish leaders simply go to the right tomb and produce the body?

The answer is simple: the tomb was empty!

2) Theft - The oldest explanation of the empty tomb is the one the Jews made up and bribed the soldiers to tell namely, that the body of Jesus was stolen by His disciples. Yes, this explanation would have us believe that Peter, Andrew, James and John were body snatchers!

Now wait a minute. Are we really to believe that a small rag-tag band of followers who were scared witless at the arrest of Jesus and who fled into the night to save their own skins, suddenly found the courage three days later to take on a guard of Roman soldiers?

Even more significant, what would have been the motivation of the disciples to steal the body? We're told over and over again in the Scriptures that they did not understand that Jesus was to be resurrected (Mark 9:30-32). Their behavior after the crucifixion testified to this as they sat around in despair mourning the loss of their leader.

And yet, this very group suddenly came alive with hope and went forth boldly proclaiming the Resurrection at the risk of their lives. Are we really to believe that a group of frightened disciples could be transformed into a courageous band of fearless proclaimers by snatching a body, hiding it, and then committing their lives to a lie? That's more difficult to believe than the Resurrection!

3) Hallucination - One of the popular modern day theories has been the idea that the disciples experienced a series of hallucinations. As one advocate of this novel concept has put it, "They experienced a disruption of the physio-chemical structures of the brain in such a way as to be able to see what they desperately wanted to see."

I will grant that Mary Magdalene might have had an hallucination. After all, she was a frightened and frustrated young woman wandering around in a cemetery at day break. As a matter of fact, the reaction of the disciples to her news of the empty tomb and her encounter with angels who informed her of the resurrection indicates that they thought she had been "seeing things" (Luke 24:11).

But what about the appearance of Jesus to all the apostles on three different occasions, or His appearance to 500 believers on a Galilean mountain, or His ascension before a host of disciples? (1 Corinthians 15:5-7 and Acts 1:1-11)

An hallucination is a highly subjective experience and a very personal one. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. To believe that 500 people could have the same hallucination simultaneously takes more faith than a belief in the Resurrection! And furthermore, the hallucination theory does not explain the empty tomb.

4) Hypnosis A- nother modern theory is that the disciples experienced mass hypnosis. The advocates of this idea argue that the disciples so desperately wanted Jesus to rise from the dead that they created an aura of auto-suggestion (or mental hypnosis) and thus, whenever the name of Jesus was mentioned, His disciples believed they could see Him.

Now, mass hypnosis is a probability, with even as many as 500 people, given precisely the right type of controlled environment and the proper mass medium like radio, television, or film. But mass hypnosis without some form of mass media, and without a professional hypnotist, and without ideal conditions, is utterly outside the realm of sound reasoning. So, I ask you, how could 500 people in the open air of a country side, before the invention of mass media, and before the discovery of hypnosis, be subject to mass hypnosis? And how does this explain the fact of the empty tomb? I think it's obvious that the skeptics are grasping at straws.

5) Fainting - This leaves us with a centuries old theory that has recently been popularized by an apostate Christian named Hugh Sconfield. It's called the "swoon theory."

This is the idea that Jesus really didn't die on the cross. Instead, He just passed out and then woke up three days later. Sconfield has revived this idea in his book called The Passover Plot.

Mr. Sconfield would ask us to believe that after Jesus was scourged and crucified, and after He had laid in a cold, damp tomb for three days without food or water, He suddenly revived, removed His burial wrappings, rolled back the stone, and ran around the country side for 40 days without the benefit of even a dose of penicillin or a tetanus shot. Only a fool could believe such utter nonsense!

6) Nostalgia - There is one other theory that has become very popular among modern day liberal theologians. It is what I call the "nostalgia theory." It's the idea that the Resurrection occurred only in the hearts of the disciples.

A few years ago The Dallas Morning News reported this theory had been proposed to the students of SMU by a professor of New Testament theology from the Perkins School of Theology (SMU's seminary). He stated in his incredible Easter "sermon" that Jesus had not really risen from the dead in any literal way. What happened instead, he explained, is that Jesus came alive in the hearts of his disciples as they sat around and discussed his life and teachings just as had been the case with the followers of Martin Luther King after his assassination!

Such a ridiculous concept is a natural outgrowth of liberal apostasy because it leaves them with the kind of Jesus they like one who was only human. Their "messiah" turns out to be a man who meant well, but who in reality was a deluded fool who thought he was God in the flesh.

This theory denies the well documented post Resurrection appearances of Jesus, and like all the other theories, it fails completely to explain the fact of the empty tomb.

A Summary
The tomb of Jesus was empty. It was empty not because it was the wrong tomb. Nor was it empty because the body had been stolen.

The fact of the empty tomb was not based on hallucinations or hypnosis. It certainly was not based on daydreaming or wishful thinking. The tomb was empty! That is an historical fact.

But let me hasten to say that the greatest evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus is not the empty tomb.

Powerful Evidence
The greatest evidence of the Resurrection in Scripture is to be seen in the transformed lives of Jesus' disciples. For within 50 days of His crucifixion, His disciples had been miraculously transformed from a defeated, frustrated, hopeless group of individuals into a confident band of Christian soldiers determined to win the world for their Lord.

Jesus' own brother, James, who did not believe in Him while He was alive, became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. Peter, who denied Him three times in a fit of cowardice, began to proclaim Him boldly, even before the very Sanhedrin Council that had condemned Jesus to death (Acts 4:1-12). A young Christian by the name of Stephen gave his life for Jesus (Acts 7:51-60). And the most ruthless persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus, became the greatest missionary in the history of the church all because he encountered the risen Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9).

I ask you, what more evidence could one demand?

The Most Convincing Evidence
Well, there is more evidence, and I consider it to be the most convincing evidence of all. I have in mind the way in which people's lives continue to be transformed today through their encounter with a living Jesus.

Have you met Him? Have you been born again by placing your faith in Him? Romans 10:9 says "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."

Salvation is to be found in a personal relationship with a living Jesus. Here's how Jesus expressed it: "This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

When one of Jesus' disciples named Thomas finally encountered Him after His resurrection, he cried out, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus replied, "Because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:28-29). I challenge you to believe in the risen Lord, "that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) -Hosanna to the Son of David


Basic Facts About Palm Sunday
Liturgical Color(s): Red
Type of Holiday: Sunday Feast
Time of Year: Sixth Sunday of Lent
Duration: One Day
Celebrates/Symbolizes: Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Alternate Names: Passion Sunday, Fig Sunday, Dominica in Palmis, Kyriake, Heorte Ton Baion, Heorte Baiophoros
Scriptural References: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion (the full name), the first Sunday of Holy Week within the Lenten Season, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem preceding his passion. As he entered, the people of Jerusalem recognized Jesus as their king, saying "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

Traditionally in the Western Church the Palm Sunday service begins with the "blessing of the palms," where the palms used in the procession that follows are blessed. Then a procession into the church building follows. If there cannot be a procession from the outside of the church, a solemn entrance, taking place entirely within the church, may be done. The hymns and psalmody are related to Christ's office as King. Traditionally the Gloria Laus (All Glory Laud and Honor...), written by Theodulf of Orleans, is sung. Many times the worship service contains a "preaching of the passion," where different events in the last days of Christ are read publicly within the Eucharistic service. Palm Sunday is also called Fig Sunday, because figs were traditionally eaten that day, memorializing the fig tree cursed by Christ after his entry into Jerusalem. In England Palm Sunday was called Olive or Branch Sunday, Sallow or Willow, Yew or Blossom Sunday, or Sunday of the Willow Boughs, named for the local replacements for the traditional palm branches.

Various customs have developed to celebrate Palm Sunday. In the Slavic countries, the faithful walked through their buildings and fields with the blessed palms, praying and singing ancient hymns. They then laid palm pieces on each plot of ground, in every barn, building, and stable, as a petition was made for protection from weather and disease, and for a blessing upon the produce and property.

History

The pilgrim Egeria attests to a Palm Sunday procession taking place in the Jerusalem Church at the end of the 4th century. In the Gallican Bobbio Missal of the 8th century we find a reference to blessing of the palms, which symbolize the victory of Christ. The more elaborate celebrations of the Middle Ages have been replaced by simpler services in the Western Church. Many denominations, including Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians celebrate Palm Sunday, in addition to Catholics and Eastern Christians.

Traditions
Blessing of the Palms
Eating Figs
Placing Palm Pieces at Different Locations
Singing the Gloria Laus

Symbols
The Palm Branch

Sunday, March 9, 2008

5th Sunday of Lent - "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live"


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 11,1-45.

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him, saying, "Master, the one you love is ill."
When Jesus heard this he said, "This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?"
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
He said this, and then told them, "Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him."
So the disciples said to him, "Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved."
But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly, "Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him."
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go to die with him."
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
(But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, "The teacher is here and is asking for you."
As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled,
and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."
But some of them said, "Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?"
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, "Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me."
And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go."
Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Friday, February 22, 2008

3rd Sunday of Lent - Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 4,5-42.

So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
(The woman) said to him, "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?"
Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."
Jesus said to her, "Go call your husband and come back."
The woman answered and said to him, "I do not have a husband." Jesus answered her, "You are right in saying, 'I do not have a husband.'
For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true."
The woman said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth."
The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything."
Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking with you."
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, "What are you looking for?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people,
Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat."
But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
So the disciples said to one another, "Could someone have brought him something to eat?"
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.
Do you not say, 'In four months the harvest will be here'? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving his payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that 'One sows and another reaps.'
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work."
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me everything I have done."
When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."

Chair of Peter


Portable chair preserved at the Vatican and believed to be a chair used by Saint Peter, the extant testimony referring to it dating from the 2nd century. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome has been celebrated from the early days of the Christian era on 18 January, in commemoration of the day when Saint Peter held his first service in Rome. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, commemorating his foundation of the See of Antioch, has also been long celebrated at Rome, on 22 February. At each place a chair (cathedra) was venerated which the Apostle had used while presiding at Mass. One of the chairs is referred to about 600 by an Abbot Johannes who had been commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great to collect in oil from the lamps which burned at the graves of the Roman martyrs. One of these phials, preserved in the cathedral treasury of Monza, Italy, had a label reading, "oleo de sede ubi prius sedit sanctus Petrus" (oils from the chair where Saint Peter first sat). The Mass for both feast days is the same; the Collect is as follows:
"Oh, God, who, together with the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, didst bestow on blessed Peter Thy Apostle the pontificate of binding and loosing, grant that by the aid of his intercession we may be released from the yoke of our sins."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2nd Sunday of Lent - "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 17,1-9.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid."
And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, "Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feast of History Our Lady of Lourdes


Our Lady of Lourdes
Optional Memorial
February 11th

History of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France is the most visited pilgrimage site in the world -- principally because of the apparent healing properties of the waters of the spring that appeared during the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux.

The first apparition occurred February 11, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place July 16, of the same year. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy during these apparitions, as was witnessed by the hundreds who attended the later visions, though no one except Bernadette ever saw or heard the apparition.
The mysterious vision Bernadette saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle, where she and friends had gone to gather firewood, was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. She described the Lady as clothed in white, with a blue ribbon sash and a Rosary handing from her right arm. Now and then the apparition spoke to Bernadette.

One day, the Lady told the girl to drink of a mysterious fountain within the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign. But Bernadette scratched at the ground, and a spring immediately bubbled up and soon gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. The priest said he would not believe it unless the apparition gave Bernadette her name. After another apparition, Bernadette reported that the Lady told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception". Though the girl was unfamiliar with the term, the Pope had declared the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in 1854.

Four years after Bernadette's visions, in 1862, the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition" of Our Lady. A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized a special office and a Mass, in commemoration of the apparition, and in 1907 Pius X extended the observance of this feast to the entire Church; it is now observed on February 11.
(Various sources; principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)

Friday, February 8, 2008

1st Sunday of Lent


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread."
He said in reply, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you and 'with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."
At this, Jesus said to him, "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sunday Gospel - February 3, 2008



Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5,1-12.

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Presentation of Jesus/Purification of Mary


Candlemas

Also called Purification of the Blessed Virgin and Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Church feast of 2 February in honor of the purification of the Virgin Mary, and commemorates the offering of the infant Jesus in the Temple. Popular in centuries past, candles were blessed and carried in procession, signifying the entry of Jesus as the light of the world.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saint for the day - St. Thomas Aquinas


Also known as
Angelic Doctor; Doctor Angelicus; Doctor Communis; Great Synthesizer; The Dumb Ox; The Universal Teacher

Memorial
28 January

Profile
Son of the Count of Aquino, born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples. Educated by Benedictine monks at Monte Cassino, and at the University of Naples. He secretly joined the mendicant Dominican friars in 1244. His noble family kidnapped and imprisoned him for a year to keep him out of sight, and deprogram him, but he rejoined his order in 1245.

He studied in Paris from 1245-1248 under Saint Albert the Great, then accompanied Albertus to Cologne. Ordained in 1250, then returned to Paris to teach. Taught theology at University of Paris. He wrote defenses of the mendicant orders, commentaries on Aristotle and Lombard's Sentences, and some bible-related works, usually by dictating to secretaries. He won his doctorate, and taught in several Italian cities. Recalled by king and university to Paris in 1269, then recalled to Naples in 1272 where he was appointed regent of studies while working on the Summa Theologica.

On 6 December 1273 he experienced a divine revelation which so enraptured him that he abandoned the Summa, saying that it and his other writing were so much straw in the wind compared to the reality of the divine glory. He died four months later while en route to the Council of Lyons, overweight and with his health broken by overwork.

His works have been seminal to the thinking of the Church ever since. They systematized her great thoughts and teaching, and combined Greek wisdom and scholarship methods with the truth of Christianity. Pope Leo VIII commanded that his teachings be studied by all theology students. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1567.

Born
c.1225 at Roccasecca, Aquino, Naples, Italy

Died
7 March 1274 at Fossanuova near Terracina of apparent natural causes; relics interred at Saint-Servin, Toulouse, France; relics translated to the Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse on 22 October 1974

Canonized
1323

Patronage
academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo

Prayers
Devoutly I Adore Thee (Adoro te devote)
Prayer of Thanksgiving After Mass
Prayer re...
Sion Lift Thy Voice and Sing
Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

Representation
chalice; monstrance; ox; star; sun; teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet; teaching

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sunday Gospel - January 27, 2007


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 4,12-23.

When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen."
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,
and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sunday Gospel - January 20, 2007


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 1,29-34.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'
I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.
I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Baptism of the Lord


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 3,13-17.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?"
Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Epiphany of the Lord


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 2,1-12.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage."
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.