The Holy Father’s (The Pope) Prayer Intention’s for June, 2010:
General Intention: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God.
Missionary Intention: That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities numerous missionary vocations, willing to fully consecrate themselves to spreading the Kingdom of God.
It is the first day of June, and I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday weekend. Hopefully we all remembered and prayed for all veterans and military personnel, living and dead.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1480 – Birth of Tiedemann Giese, Polish Catholic bishop (d. 1550)
† 1495 – Friar John Cor records the first known batch of scotch whisky.
† 1571 – Death of John Story, English Catholic
† 1846 – Death of Pope Gregory XVI (b. 1765)
† 1903 – Birth of Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky C.Ss.R Bishop and Martyr (d. 1973)
† Today is Commemoration of Justin Martyr (Eastern Orthodox).
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Men have never wearied of political justice: they have wearied of waiting for it. – G.K. Chesterton
Today’s reflection is about Civic and Religious Duties.
They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to him to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him. (NAB Mark 13:13-17)
Who were the “Pharisees and Herodians?” Of the three major religious societies of Judaism at the time of the New Testament, the Pharisees were often the most vocal and influential. The name Pharisee in its Hebrew form means separatists, or the separated ones. They were the most bitter and deadly opponents of Jesus Christ, and His message.
The Pharisees perhaps meant to obey God at first, but eventually they became so devoted and extremist to only a small portion of the Jewish Laws that they became blind to the “Messiah” when He was in their very midst. They saw His miracles and heard His Words, but instead of receiving it with joy they did all that they could to stop Him; to the point of getting Him killed because He truthfully claimed to be the “Son of God.”
The Herodians on the other hand were one of the Jewish parties of Jerusalem and Judea during the human lifetime of Jesus Christ. Unlike the other Jewish groups, the Herodians were primarily a political group, rather than religious. The Herodians were supporters of Herod. While the Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Jesus Christ because they viewed Him as a competitor for religious leadership of the people, the Herodians opposed Jesus because they viewed His growing popularity as a political threat to their Roman masters.
In the conflicts Jesus had with the Herodians, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Temple Scribes, Jesus vanquished his adversaries with simple and honest responses and parables to their questions; reducing them to silence. In Mark 12:34, it is written, “And when Jesus saw that (He) answered with understanding, He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” What a simple, yet profound, statement! I firmly believe we have as much difficulty with the concept today, as the Disciples of Christ did two-thousand years ago. Jesus did not say, “Give to Caesar nothing, and give everything to the Church.” Nor did He say, “Make sure what you give to Caesar is in no way associated with the Church.” Jesus made it clear that we had a duty not only to the Church, but also to the people around us, to the civic leaders, and to society as a whole. To be a good Catholic is to be a good citizen as well. There is both a “physical” king, and a “spiritual” king to which we answer. Jesus was not to rule by the force of military might, but by service to all. He was not to be a political “Messiah.”
What do we owe to the government and others, and what do we owe to Christ and the Church. Church precepts are easy, because they have been written down, and easily found. The five duties of ALL Catholics:
1. To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and rest from servile labor on these days.
2. To receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year, if aware of committing a mortal sin, more often.
3. To receive Holy Communion at least once a year, between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday.
4. To observe the fast days and abstinence days established by the Church.
5. To contribute to the support of the Church
How sad that so many Catholics today do not adhere to ANY of these five simple precepts of our Church. Some people get upset and disgusted that these “C&E” (Christmas and Easter) Catholics only come to Mass twice a year if that, AND then go to Communion on top of it! I instead have a strong feeling of sadness and spiritual pain that these misguided (those usually self-guided) individuals don’t know how bad they are hurting themselves, and the Church community as a whole, by putting their own needs and selfishness over following a few simple rules.
There are other practices that a good Catholic should also be involved with. The Church has broken them down into two categories: “Corporal” and “Spiritual” Works of Mercy. Being a good citizen involves, but is not limited, to these various works.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are the seven practices of Catholic charity toward our neighbor’s body:
1. Feeding the hungry
2. Giving drink to the thirsty
3. Clothing the naked
4. Sheltering the homeless
5. Visiting the sick
6. Visiting the imprisoned
7. Burying the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are the seven practices of Catholic charity toward our neighbor’s soul:
1. Admonishing the sinner
2. Instructing the ignorant
3. Counseling the doubtful
4. Comforting the sorrowful
5. Bearing wrongs patiently
6. Forgiving injuries
7. Praying for the living and the dead
Being a good Catholic is nothing more than doing your best, being your best, and living your best. We are to love all others because they are creations of God, and we are to be good Stewards of the gifts and resources God has given us. When Jesus said, “Repay to Caesar … and to God …,” He was, and still is, extolling a need for an organizational flow in order to have a safe and orderly society; with realistic requirements, needs, and almsgiving in this world and in the next. Jesus recognized the civil authority and its rights, but He warned that greater rights belong to God.
In this world, it involves paying taxes, adhering to the laws of society, and value the Church precepts, including the “works of mercy.” In the next world, it involves simply honoring and praising our Creator, which will be easy for me as I am getting a head start well before getting there!
Give to Caesar the coins, and to God your heart!
A Prayer to Mary for Politicians & the USA
“O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most critical time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. We beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son. Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins in our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection. Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people. Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Free us from the falsehood that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life. Grant our Country the wisdom to proclaim that God’s law is the foundation on which this nation was founded; and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life. Amen”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Joseph the Worker
Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.
In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.
“The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15). The Father created all and asked humanity to continue the work of creation. We find our dignity in our work, in raising a family, in participating in the life of the Father’s creation. Joseph the Worker was able to help participate in the deepest mystery of creation. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, ‘Go to Joseph’” (see Genesis 41:44).
In Brothers of Men, René Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus speaks about ordinary work and holiness: “Now this holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of word, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God…in relation to this mystery, involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living.”
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
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #1:
The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God — laity, religious, and priests – who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church.