“Old or New, Laws are Laws; and I’m the Judge!” – Matthew 5:17-19†


 

“Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent” 

 

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote or Joke of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Reflection on Today’s Gospel
  • New Translation of the Mass
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day 
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule

 

 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

QuikTrip Begins Major Recycling Initiative

 

Over the past year QuikTrip, in partnership with Allied Waste, has established a pilot program for recycling in the St. Louis Metro area.

QuikTrip owns and operates 63 locations in the St. Louis area.  They estimate the company will be able to recycle about 90 percent of all trash from its stores.  QuikTrip has set up recycling programs in almost all of its area stores and has switched to more environmentally friendly product packaging.

QuikTrip acknowledges and thanks the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for their assistance in establishing this pilot program for recycling. The company hopes that the recycling program will remain successful and that other retailers will have the opportunity to join in this partnership.

Franciscan Sisters of Mary
gthackrey@fsmonline.org

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Thursday is the half-way point of Lent.  How are you doing with your prayers, sacrifices, and alms-giving?

 

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Today in Catholic History:

 

†   1492 – Ferdinand and Isabella sign the Alhambra decree aimed at expelling all Jews from Spain unless they convert to Roman Catholicism.
†   1984 – Death of Karl Rahner, German theologian (b. 1904)
†   1986 – Death of James Cagney, Catholic American actor (b. 1899)
†   Memorials/Feasts: Saint John Climacus (d. 649);  Saint Quirinus (d. 117); Tola of Clonard (Irish Roman Saint); Blessed Amadeus IX of Savoy

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

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Joke of the Day:

 

 

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Today’s reflection is about Jesus teaching the fullness of Mosaic Law

 

 From http://www.thebricktestament.com

 

(NAB Matthew 5:17-19) – 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.  19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.  But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

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Today’s Gospel reading stresses the permanency value of the Old Testament, including its Mosaic Laws.  After all, it is the word of God.  Jesus Christ is the “person” of the eternal WORD made flesh for our salvation.  In Jesus, God’s law is manifested in a visible way in human form.  There is a divine authority in the “Old” books and words – – and in Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament Laws deserve our total respect and reverence.

We are shown Jesus’ position concerning the Mosaic Law and His teaching of the enforceability to His followers.  Jesus Christ is literally telling all His followers that no law given to Moses on Mount Sinai is invalid, and will not be made invalid “until heaven and earth pass away”.  Luke reports the same notion in a little better twist (at least for me):

 “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of a letter of the law to become invalid.”  (Luke 16:17),

To fulfill the [Mosaic] law appears for most people to mean a “word by word” enforcement of the law in the least detail:

“Until heaven and earth pass away nothing of the law will pass from the law” (Matthew 5:18).

However, the “passing away” of heaven and earth is not necessarily the end of the world as we understand.  In many of our minds, we comprehend a “passing away” as the termination – – a total ending – – of the existing universe; a notion recorded in much apocalyptic literature.  

Jesus’ death and resurrection brought in the “new” and “final” age for all His followers, as prophesied by Isaiah as the time of “new heavens and a new earth“:

“Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

“As the new heavens and the new earth which I will make Shall endure before me, says the LORD, so shall your race and your name endure.” (Isaiah 66:22).

Jesus’ ministry is already breaking in the New kingdom of God.  His mission remained within the framework of Mosaic Law, however, with a significant anticipation of the age to come.  Jesus goes on, in the verses immediately following this Gospel reading, to teach about conduct demanded of a Christian Catholic disciple (cf., Matthew 5:21-48).  Jesus is not expecting less in the laws of God, He is expecting, demanding, much more!  In comparison to OT versus NT Laws, Jesus uses a formula of “You have heard”, “But I say to you”, pattern or formula of speech. In essence, we are told to do the exact opposite of what the expected norm is in society.  We are to love our enemies, to turn the cheek, to place God and others before our needs. 

Why do most people look at God’s law in a negative way, instead of in the positive way it was meant to be?  Is it because these laws of God are perceived to restrict our free will?  

Exactly what are God’s laws anyway?  The Jewish community could refer to the “law” as being the “Ten Commandments” and those other laws found in the five Books of Moses (the Pentateuch).  These “laws” explain the commandments and edicts of God – – for His “chosen” people.  The “law” could also refer to the entire teachings and/or ways of life which God gave to His people – – “Traditions and Precepts”.  

 

The problem with any law is abuse, misuse, misinterpretation, and/or abandonment.  The scribes and Pharisees added many more things to the law; things God did not intend.  On the other side of the spectrum, the Sadducees only recognized the actual law only found in the “Books of Moses”, and disregarding any traditions or laws not in those first five books.  Jesus condemned these intentional errors of interpreting and teaching of the laws by the three groups of Temple leaders.  The “Temple–based” laws placed too high of a hardship on “God’s chosen” people; a hardship God did not intend.  Jesus made it very clear that the essence of God’s law — His commandments, His way of life, and His teachings must be fulfilled to gain entrance to His, – – God’s, – – kingdom.

We have to look at the Mosaic Laws as having three separate precepts or instructions associated to them: moral, legal, and liturgical.  The moral precepts of Mosaic Law still hold true in the New Testament, and in God’s kingdom.  They are a specific, divine-positive, dissemination of the “natural law”.  Jesus Christ, in His physically human and divine presence, gives God’s law a greater power and significance, and a further meaning and fulfillment.

The legal and liturgical precepts were given by God for a specific stage in salvation history – – up to the coming of Jesus Christ.  Christians are not obliged to observe them with the onset of a new period in salvation history – – the “New Covenant” – – with, in, and through Jesus Christ!

 

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The “law of God” is truth!  When we live according to that truth it produces the fruits of righteousness and faith:

Virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Jesus is simply teaching respect and reverence for God’s law – – and for God Himself.  In the Laws, Jesus is teaching us respect and reverence for the Lord’s Day, for parents, for life, for property, for another person’s good name, for oneself, and for one’s neighbor – – the “Ten Commandments” in “scrip note” form.  Respect and reverence for God’s laws teach us the way of love – – love of God and love of neighbor, His earthly creations. 

The Evangelist John, in his poetically beautiful language, states the relationship about God’s law and love so well:

Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (John 14:21)

God gives us the grace to love as He loves, to forgive as He forgives, and to act as He acts.  The Lord Jesus Christ loves virtue, morality, and justice.  He hates wickedness, dishonesty, and injustice.  As His followers, His disciples, we must love His commandments, teachings, and precepts.  We must abhor, detest, and find insufferable every form of sin, immorality, and unjust acts.   

We become the person we are because of those who shaped out lives.  They are our parents, our teachers, our priests, and others we honor, obey, and cherish.  These people gave of themselves to educate us, nurture us, and inspire us.  We learned to be happy, responsible, compassionate, and secure through the examples of our caring and selfless role models.

We also can be an important influence on others by the giving of ourselves.  We can inspire others to stand up and speak out against wrongs in and of society, – – to instead follow God’s (natural) law.  We can help others to take charge in lives, especially when their “world” turns upside down. 

As Catholics, as part of God’s “chosen” people, we should live the same lives at Church and at home, in public life and in our private lives.  How would you answer the following question?

“What would my role models say to me, and about me, right now?”

 

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A Prayer based on verses from:

Psalm 119 

 

“Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your laws.
With my lips I recite all the edicts you have spoken.
I find joy in the way of your decrees more than in all riches.
I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your laws I take delight; I will never forget your word.
Be kind to your servant that I may live, that I may keep your word.
Open my eyes to see clearly the wonders of your teachings.
I will keep your teachings always, for all time and forever.
I will walk freely in an open space because I cherish your precepts.
I will speak openly of your decrees without fear even before others.
I delight in your commands, which I dearly love.
In your kindness give me life, to keep the decrees you have spoken.
Keep your hand ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, LORD; your teaching is my delight.
Let me live to praise you; may your edicts give me help.  Amen”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley

 

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Peter Regalado (1390-1456)

 

Peter lived at a very busy time.  The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) was settled at the Council of Constance (1414-1418). France and England were fighting the Hundred Years’ War, and in 1453 the Byzantine Empire was completely wiped out by the loss of Constantinople to the Turks.  At Peter’s death the age of printing had just begun in Germany, and Columbus’s arrival in the New World was less than 40 years away.

Peter came from a wealthy and pious family in Valladolid, Spain.  At the age of 13, he was allowed to enter the Conventual Franciscans.  Shortly after his ordination, he was made superior of the friary in Aguilar.  He became part of a group of friars who wanted to lead a life of greater poverty and penance.  In 1442 he was appointed head of all the Spanish Franciscans in his reform group.

Peter led the friars by his example.  A special love of the poor and the sick characterized Peter.  Miraculous stories are told about his charity to the poor.  For example, the bread never seemed to run out as long as Peter had hungry people to feed.  Throughout most of his life, Peter went hungry; he lived only on bread and water.

Immediately after his death on March 31, 1456, his grave became a place of pilgrimage.  Peter was canonized in 1746.

Comment:

Peter was an effective leader of the friars because he did not become ensnared in anger over the sins of others.  Peter helped sinning friars rearrange the priorities in their lives and dedicate themselves to living the gospel of Jesus Christ as they had vowed.  This patient correction is an act of charity available to all Franciscans, not just to superiors.

Quote:

“And let all the brothers, both the ministers and servants as well as the others, take care not to be disturbed or angered at the sin or the evil of another, because the devil wishes to destroy many through the fault of one; but they should spiritually help [the brother] who has sinned as best they can, because it is not the healthy who are in need of the physician, but those who are sick (cf. Mt 9:12; Mk 2:17)” (Rule of 1221, Chapter 5).

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

 

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New Translation of the Mass

 

In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass.  It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist.  The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades.  It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.

The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text.  At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning.  At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand.  Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole.  It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.

In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.

 

The memorial acclamations that we currently use

have all been changed. 

The one that is most familiar to us (“Christ has died, Christ is risen …”) has disappeared completely.  The three remaining ones are similar to those in the current missal, but the wording is different in each case.

Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick

 

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Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

Eucharist II

 

Do you ever give public witness to your belief in the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament by stopping by for a brief visit when driving near the church?  Could this be something you could build into your “busy” schedule?

Does your parish encourage the devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?  If not, can you help bring this about, or help with it?  Start with adoration on Holy Thursday evening adoration; or monthly; and then weekly?

Have I ever prayed over (meditated on) the rich understanding of the Eucharist by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1322 to 1419?

 

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Prologue to the
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule:

 

Exhortation of Saint Francis to the Brothers and Sisters in Penance In the name of the Lord!

Chapter 2

Concerning Those Who Do Not Do Penance

 

But all those men and women who are not doing penance and do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and live in vices and sin and yield to evil concupiscence and to the wicked desires of the flesh, and do not observe what they have promised to the Lord, and are slaves to the world, in their bodies, by carnal desires and the anxieties and cares of this life (cf. Jn 8:41).

These are blind, because they do not see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ; they do not have spiritual wisdom because they do not have the Son of God who is the true wisdom of the Father. Concerning them, it is said, “Their skill was swallowed up” (Ps 107:27) and “cursed are those who turn away from your commands” (Ps 119:21). They see and acknowledge; they know and do bad things and knowingly destroy their own souls.

See, you who are blind, deceived by your enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil, for it is pleasant to the body to commit sin and it is bitter to make it serve God because all vices and sins come out and “proceed from the heart of man” as the Lord says in the gospel (cf. Mt 7:21). And you have nothing in this world and in the next, and you thought you would possess the vanities of this world for a long time.

But you have been deceived, for the day and the hour will come to which you give no thought and which you do not know and of which you are ignorant. The body grows infirm, death approaches, and so it dies a bitter death, and no matter where or when or how man dies, in the guilt of sin, without penance or satisfaction, though he can make satisfaction but does not do it.

The devil snatches the soul from his body with such anguish and tribulation that no one can know it except he who endures it, and all the talents and power and “knowledge and wisdom” (2 Chr 1:17) which they thought they had will be taken away from them (cf. Lk 8:18; Mk 4:25), and they leave their goods to relatives and friends who take and divide them and say afterwards, “Cursed be his soul because he could have given us more; he could have acquired more than he did.” The worms eat up the body and so they have lost body and soul during this short earthly life and will go into the inferno where they will suffer torture without end.

All those into whose hands this letter shall have come we ask in the charity that is God (cf. 1 Jn 4:17) to accept kindly and with divine love the fragrant words of our Lord Jesus Christ quoted above. And let those who do not know how to read have them read to them.

And may they keep them in their mind and carry them out, in a holy manner to the end, because they are “spirit and life” (Jn 6:64).

And those who will not do this will have to render “an account on the day of judgment” (cf. Mt 12:36) before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 14:10). 

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3 responses »

  1. Do you ever give public witness to your belief in the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament by stopping by for a brief visit when driving near the church? Could this be something you could build into your “busy” schedule?

    At least when you pass in front of the church make the sign of the cross. There seem to be many who are afraid of the new translation of the mass. That’s priests also. We’ll have to wait and see how it’s accepted.

    • I try to the best of my ability to pray the sign of the cross when passing any place housing Jesus’ boby and blood – – in the Holy eucharist. This includes Churches, but also monasteries, chapels, Catholic institutions such as hospitals, retreat centers, etc. Sadly, most churches are locked, even during the day, unless near mass times or for eucharistic adoration. I even know of one church who has an electric lock door for its Eucharistic Chapel. They have 24 hour adoration, but you need to know the code to get in. Such a sad state in today’s society.

      I also pray the sign of the cross publically when I say my blessing before meals – – even in restaurants, and when I hear bad news and wish to immediately say a pray of intercession.

      Two weeks ago a friend of mine and I were at McDonalds with our bibles open on the table. A middle aged man came up to us in a very friendly way and asked what church we went to. we told him the local Catholic parish. His face to a somber look, and he said, “I did not know Catholic used bibles!” What a great way to Evangelize. Thank you Lord.

  2. First, allow me to congratulate you on the excellent upgrades to your site Dan!!!!!!!!!
    Adoration!!! As minister of the St Francis Fraternity in Hyde Park/ Milton I am always inspired by the way the Lord allows us to start all of our fraternity meetings in Adoration. Truly grounded in Him. As a family united by Francis in Adoration of the Most High. The peace, tranquility, focus and love for the Eucharist is truly present.

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