Divine Mercy Sunday
- Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
- Today in Catholic History
- 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
Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:
The Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Sunday [TODAY]), is a relatively new addition to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Celebrating the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, as revealed by Christ Himself to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000, the day that he canonized Saint Faustina.
A plenary indulgence (the forgiveness of all temporal punishment resulting from sins that have already been confessed) is granted on the Feast of Divine Mercy if to all the faithful who go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and “in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’).”
A partial indulgence (the remission of some temporal punishment from sin) is granted to the faithful “whom, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.”
John Paul the Great is Beatified today. One more step till he is officially declared a Saint in the Catholic Church. I am excited and in awe.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1555 – Death of Marcellus II, [Marcello Cervini], Italian Pope (1555), at age 53
† 1572 – Death of Pius V, [Antonio Ghislieri], great-inquisiteur/Pope (1566-72) (born 1504)
† 1948 – Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical “Auspicia quaedam”, an encyclical on worldwide public prayers to the Virgin Mary for World peace and the solution of the problem of Palestine.
† 1987 – Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
† Feast/Memorials: Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker; Saint James the Less; Saint Philip the Apostle; Saint Andeol; Saint Asaph; Saint Brieuc; Saint Sigismund of Burgundy; Saint Theodulf; Saint Augustin Schoeffer
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Joke of the Day:
Today’s reflection is about Thomas coming to believe because he saw Jesus at His first appearance to the Eleven, (soon to be) “Apostles” and touched His wounds.
(NAB John 20:19-31) 19 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.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” 24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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 nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book. 31 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.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to the disciples on numerous occasions after they discovered His tomb was empty. This appearance happens on the evening of the first day on which He rose from the dead.
The “mystery” of Jesus’ Resurrection is that He personally and truly appeared to His disciples, His followers, NOT as a spirit but in bodily (“resurrected” flesh and blood) form. However, as with His appearances to Mary Magdalene and the travelers on the road to Emmaus, Jesus’ bodily form was not readily recognized to His disciples.
Yes, the Resurrected Jesus had a physical presence, but the disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus Christ unless He allowed them. His Resurrected body, though “transfigured”, nonetheless, showed the five marks of His crucifixion: hands, feet, and side. The “Risen” Jesus chose to reveal the glory and magnificence of His Resurrection to His disciples, – – gradually, – – over a forty-day period of time.
Today’s Gospel puts the spotlight on Thomas, the Apostle. John’s Gospel also calls him “Didymus” (Hee, hee; what a funny name. “Yo, Diddy-man, let’s play ball.”). Didymus is the Greek word for “twin”. The name “Thomas” is actually the Aramaic word for twin. Other manuscripts give Thomas
yet another name: “Judas”. I am glad this “other” name is not well known in Catholic tradition; it would get too confusing with a “Judas (Thomas)”, a “Judas (Iscariot)”, and a “Judas” Thaddeus, also called “Jude”.
Thomas was the last of the original twelve “Apostles” to meet the “Resurrected” Jesus Christ. He also was the first disciple to go with Jesus to Jerusalem at this last Passover time. Thomas was a bona fide, natural pessimist to me. Maybe, in reality, he was just skeptical of tales and stories about people rising from the dead. When Jesus proposed that they visit Lazarus two days after receiving news of his illness, Thomas said to the disciples:
“Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).
While Thomas deeply loved the Lord, he lacked the courage to stand with Jesus during His passion and crucifixion. After Jesus’ death, Thomas apparently withdrew from the other disciples. He wanted solitude rather than fellowship in his time of difficulty and hardship. He doubted the women, even Mary Magdalene, who reported seeing the “Resurrected” Jesus Christ. He even doubted his fellow disciples, hand-picked by Jesus Christ Himself, as he too was one of the “chosen” few. When Thomas finally gained the courage to rejoin the other disciples, Jesus made His presence known to them again, and to him personally. Jesus then reassured him that He had indeed overcome death and had “Risen” again to new life in, with, and through God, His heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit. He also reassured them all in His appearing to them, that they will rise again, as well.
John’s narrative of the appearance of Jesus to His disciples, without or with Thomas, has somewhat rough parallels in Mark and Luke’s Gospels,
as compared to today’s John 20:19-23;
“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 his, 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.’” (John 20:19-23).
Now, compare these verses above with the following verses from Mark and Luke. First, from Mark:
“(But) later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’” (Mark 16:14-18).
And, then from Mark:
“While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’” (Luke 24:36-39).
Even after the two (at least) disciples saw the empty tomb after they heard the reports of Jesus’ appearance to the Mary Magdalene and other women; these same disciples (not just Thomas) were still weak in their faith, and extremely fearful of being arrested by the Jewish and Roman authorities.
Jesus’ “Resurrected” – – Transfigured and perfected – – human body was then, and is now free of earthly physical limitations and constraints. Jesus Christ appeared to His frightened and hiding disciples despite the fact that their doors were locked.
Thomas, as revealed in verse 24, was not with the other disciples when the “Risen” Jesus appeared to them that first night. Ten of the Twelve Apostles (Judas was already dead and Thomas was absent) are gathered together, in one room or building, in Jerusalem out of extreme fear.
Jesus greeted His disciples with the gift of “peace” and the gift of the “Holy Spirit”. In doing so, Jesus freed them from their fears and anxieties, and then commissions them to continue the work of the Resurrection that He has begun; His mission, now theirs:
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21)
During His appearing, Jesus showed the integral, vital, and fundamental connection between “the gift of the Holy Spirit” and God’s “forgiveness of sins”. Jesus did what only love, and trust, and faith actually, naturally, and even supernaturally does. He commissioned His weak and timid Apostles to carry the Gospel – – His Word – – to the ends of the earth: to all peoples and nations.
This sending out, this commissioning, of the Apostles parallels the “sending out” of Jesus by His heavenly Father: God. Jesus fulfilled His mission through His perfect love, trust and obedience to the will and plan of His heavenly Father. Jesus called His disciples, AND, He calls each of US to do the same. Just as Jesus gave His first disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, He also “breathes” on each of us, imparts to each of us, the exact same Holy Spirit, who equips us with power, grace, and strength to do His will of His Father, and their Father in heaven:
“Jesus said to her, ‘Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”‘” (John 20:17)
Jesus greets His followers twice using the same words of greeting both times: “Peace be with you.” I believe this greeting was customary among all
the Jewish people. He greets them with the same warmth and affection as He displayed to them prior to His Passion and dying.
“Peace be with you” may have been simply an ordinary greeting for Jesus to give, however, John intends here to echo an earlier verse:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27).
This theme of rejoicing in this reading also repeats and reinforces an earlier verse in John’s Gospel:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (John 16:22).
Jesus, in essence, recreates His customary character of familiarity, closeness, and understanding of His Apostles as friends, and even brothers, in
using this “customary” greeting.
John mentions Jesus showing His disciples “His Hands and His side” in order to dispel any thought of His presence being ONLY a spirit. Luke talks about His “hands and feet,” basing his version on Psalm 22:17:
“’Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:39-40);
“Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet –.” (Psalm 22:17 – RSV).
There is no longer any doubt of the image before them being that of Jesus Christ, Himself, truly “Risen” from the dead.
By means of Jesus’ sending: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you“, the eleven trusted and personally picked disciples were made “Apostles”, which means, “those sent with full authority”. Another example of Jesus sending His disciples out into the world with God’s authority can be found just a little earlier in John’s Gospel, in which He Himself prays:
“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.” (John 17:18).
It is note-worthy that John does not use the noun “Apostle” in reference to the eleven “hand-picked” men. The solemn mission or “sending” is also the subject of the post-resurrection appearances to the eleven men in the Synoptic Gospels.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew
Now, Mark says:
“He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’” (Mark 16:15).
And, Luke says:
“… repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47).
Universal power, “full authority”, belongs to the risen Jesus. And He freely gave the eleven a mission that is also universal. They were sent out to
make disciples of all nations: Gentiles and Jews alike; and this required a participation in the universal power and fulfillness of authority of Jesus Christ Himself. As Apostles now sent, they have become full delegates of Jesus Christ, their Lord and their God.
Pope Leo XIII explained how Jesus Christ conveyed His mission on earth to the Apostles:
“What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved to do: this He actually did. ‘As the Father bath sent me, I also send you’ (John 20:21). ‘Ad thou bast sent Me into the world I also have sent them into the world’ (John 17:18). […] When about to ascend into heaven He sends His Apostles in virtue of the same power by which He had been sent from the Father; and he charges them to spread abroad and propagate His teaching. ‘All power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going therefore teach all nations….teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:18-20). So that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those disobeying should perish. ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believed not shall be condemned’ (Mark 16:16). […] Hence He commands that the teaching of the Apostles should be religiously accepted and piously kept as if it were His own – ‘He who hears you hears Me, he who despises you despises Me’ (Luke 10:16). Wherefore the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as He is the ambassador of the Father. ‘As the Father sent Me so also I send you’ (John 20:21).” (Pope Leo XIII, Satis cognitum, 6/29/1896).
The Apostles are “ambassadorsbof Christ”. In this ambassadorship mission, Bishops are the successors of the Apostles; Bishops also then share in Jesus’ consecration, mission, and divine authority:
“Having sent the apostles just as he himself been sent by the Father, Christ, through the apostles themselves, made their successors, the bishops, sharers in his consecration and mission. The office of their ministry has been handed down, in a lesser degree indeed, to the priests. Established in the order of the priesthood they can be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission entrusted to priests by Christ.” (Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, Presbyterorrum Ordinis, 12/07/1965)
This action of “Breathing on them” recalls a verse from Genesis:
“The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7).
God breathed on the first man, Adam, and gave him life. Just as Adam’s life came from God, so now the disciples’ – – now Apostle’s – – new spiritual life comes directly from Jesus, Son of God, through the Holy Spirit.
“Breathing on someone” brings to my mind prophesies found in Ezekiel 37. In his prophesy, Ezekiel sees the revivification (an imparting a new life, energy, or spirit to something or somebody) of the “dry bones” of the whole house of Israel. It is a very interesting chapter and read, so please read which deals with prophesies of the salvation of all Israel, hundreds of years prior to Jesus Christ’s birth.
Today’s Gospel reading is John’s version of the “Pentecost” narratives: the Holy Spirit coming onto them. There is a definite connection presented between the imparting of the Holy Spirit with Jesus Christ’s glorious and magnificent ascension to His heavenly Father that makes for an awesome
vision or image.
The Council of Trent defined that the power to forgive sins is exercised in the sacrament of penance, also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Matthew uses very similar words in describing this grace imparted to the “Eleven” Apostles, and continuing through their spiritual descendants: Catholic Bishops and Priests, all of whom being in a direct line of faith with the first Bishops: the Apostles.
“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19);
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18).
There are many instances in rabbinic literature of the binding-loosing imagery used today. In reflection, I believe there are several meanings to this metaphor of “binding and loosing”. I think two others meanings have a special importance to these words, “binding and loosing”: the giving of authoritative teaching, and the lifting or imposing of the ban of excommunication.
The Apostles’ exercise of authority in the Catholic Church on earth is confirmed in heaven. In this way, there is an authoritive and intimate connection between the Catholic Church on earth and the kingdom of heaven.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is, for me, the most inspiring and uplifting manifestation of God’s mercy. This beautiful Sacrament of the Catholic Church is described so vividly in Jesus Christ’s parable of the prodigal son (cf., Luke 15:11-32). God always awaits us, with His arms wide open (open as wide as when He was on the Holy Cross), waiting for us to turn, to repent and to return completely to Him. If we do so, He will immediately and lovingly forgive us, restoring us to the dignity of being His son and daughter.
The Popes have consistently recommended for Catholics to have a regular practice of using this most beautiful and loving of Sacraments:
“To ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, we will that the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it, genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself.” (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, 88, 6/29/1943)
Thomas initially doubted that the one present before him could be the “Risen” Jesus Christ. After Jesus placed Thomas’ fingers into the wounds of His crucifixion, Thomas extolled:
“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
Thomas’ reply is not simply exaltation, a feeling of intense or excessive happiness, awe, and exhilaration. It is a declaration, a venerable “act of faith” in the divinity of Jesus Christ. These words were an unexpected and abrupt prayer of faith, praise, and joy, still often used by Catholics, especially as an act of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist (the Eucharist – Communion).
Consider John’s following statement:
“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.” (John 20:30-31)
In making this statement, John is using a literary inclusion with the first verse of his Gospel:
“… and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
I have been asked many times what “THE WORD” actually means. I believe an exact definition cannot ever be truly completed as it is such an intimate and truly “living” study; yet, here is an answer I think comes fairly close:
“The Word” (the Greek word is “logos”) is a term which combines God’s living, very active, and creative word; incarnate pre-existing Wisdom; being THE instrument or tool of God’s creative activities; and the definitive, authoritative, completely full, the supreme precision and clearness of His truth, love, and trust for us.
“THE WORD” is our Bible! – – our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”: the B.I.B.L.E.!
“Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29):
This verse of today’s Gospel can be viewed as a type of beatitude, maxim, or guiding principle from Jesus Christ, meant for future generations. What He is saying is that faith, and not sight, is what truly matters.
Like everyone else, Thomas needed the grace of God in order to “believe”. However, in addition to God’s grace, he was given an extraordinary confirmation of Jesus’ living presence, power, and divinity. Just imagine how Thomas felt having Jesus Christ place his fingers into His wounds. Thomas’ faith would have had more worth if he had truly accepted and believed the testimony of the other Apostles without any need for proof. Revealed truths are normally transmitted by word; by the “testimony” of others who, – – sent by Jesus Christ, and aided by the Holy Spirit, – – preach the Word: the bond, the guarantee, and the security of faith in Jesus Christ:
“He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’” (Mark 16:15-16)
The final two verses (performing many other signs, and coming to believe) in today’s Gospel reading are unmistakably a start of John’s conclusion
to his Gospel. He clearly states, as only a good author does, his reason for writing the book. These last verses sum up John’s whole purpose for writing his Gospel – – to have all people believe Jesus Christ was, and is now, the true Messiah, the “Christ”, the Son of God announced by the prophets in the Fist Testament (Covenant). He wrote this Gospel, so that all who read would believe this saving truth, – – the heart and foundation of Revelation, – – that Jesus Christ is God, and by believing this begin to share and participate in His eternal life.
What I found interesting for me, personally, in researching these verses I discovered that a few manuscripts from the early Church actually state: “continue to believe”, instead of John’s “come to believe” (verse 31). I believe John implied a missionary purpose for His Gospel. He was urging his readers to go out and witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. John has a definite opinion on eyewitness testimony leading to the “truth”:
“An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe.” (John 19:35).
Other manuscripts (the “few” early ones that I just mentioned), suggest to me that its readers consisted of Christians whose faith needed to be deepened or motivated by their particular book.
In concluding, I see the story of Thomas as an excellent exemplification of our Catholic experience today. We are ALL called to believe “without
seeing”! Thomas’s doubt is, in reality, hardly surprising from a “human” understanding. The reports of Jesus’ appearance were barely credible to the disciples who had seen Him, witnessed Him, being brutally crucified, died, and then hastily buried.
Thomas’s human nature compelled him to want physical, observable, and provable, “hard” evidence that the person who appeared to the disciples after Jesus’ death – – was indeed – – the same Jesus who had been crucified and buried. Thomas was given a special opportunity, by Jesus Christ Himself, to actually and personally take action on his desire for this “hard” proof. He is OUR eye-witness that Jesus is really “Risen” and “Alive” today, in OUR lives.
When Thomas recognized his Master, his friend, and his Leader, he came to believe. He proclaimed that Jesus was “truly Lord and truly God!” Through the gift and grace of faith, we also proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord, Savior, and our God. My daily “mantra” prayer which I repeat continuously throughout the day mirrors Thomas’ exclamation:
“My God and My All; I Love You and I Trust You!” (DEH)
Jesus died and rose that we too might have new life in Him. Jesus Christ offers each of us a new life in His Holy Spirit so that we may know and walk with Him personally in His “new way of life”. Jesus Christ offers to each of us, personally and individually, a new way of life, given through the power of His Resurrection, and all of these are continued in the seven Sacraments of the Holy Catholic “Universal” Church.
Think about Thomas’s response to the reports of the risen Jesus Christ. Is Thomas’s doubt a reasonable one? How does Jesus respond to Thomas? (Is it with frustration, anger, or love?) Jesus grants Thomas the evidence that he needed to believe, but Jesus also affirmed the faith of those who will be called upon to believe without a “hard-proved” first-hand experience.
Many of us can relate to Thomas’s response to the news that the disciples had seen Jesus. We want to see for ourselves too. We grow in faith by learning to trust the experiences and knowledge of others. Through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, we receive the same “Holy Spirit” that Jesus brought to His first disciples. We are among those who are “blessed” because we believe without having seen.
Many of us have heard the saying “Seeing is believing!” Take some time to consider what this saying really means. What are some things we believe because we see them? (My parent’s love for me is an example) Is there anything we believe without seeing? (For me, it’s Santa and the tooth fairy, along with protons and neutrons). Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith sometimes asks us to believe things we cannot see with our eyes.
We are among those whom Jesus called “blessed”. What is the basis of your faith in Jesus Christ? It should be the witness of the first disciples (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the rest of the Apostles), the Holy Gospels, the continuing activity of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of others, and in the community of the Catholic Church.
“Act of Faith”
“O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because in revealing them you can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
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.
During the Preparation of the Gifts, the prayers of the priest have several changes, but the only change for the assembly is the addition of the word “Holy” to the response just before the Prayer over the Offerings. Where we now say, “for our good and the good of all his Church,” the new text says, “for our good and the good of all His Holy Church.”
Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick
A Franciscan’s 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)
Franciscan Formation Reflection:
Daily Conversion II
What is the “spirit of lent” in the church year?
Was Francis a Christian “fundamentalist”?
In what ways do change and conversion require detachment and humility (a form of poverty)?
Secular FranciscanOrder (SFO)
Rule #’s 1 & 2 of 26:
01. 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.
02. The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.