Wednesday of 4th Week of Lent
- 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:
I received well over 100 Birthday wishes from my friends on Facebook. I hope I said thanks to each and every one, but if I missed anyone – – THANKS. It’s great being 39 again (13th time).
I wish to thank Mary Wainscott, PhD, SFO for giving such a fantastic talk/PowerPoint presentation to members of my local Fraternity this past week. It was on Sts. Francis and Clare, and on Franciscan history and spirituality. If you get a chance to hear her presentation, please do so. It is well worth it.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1252 – Death of Peter of Verona, [Peter Martyr], Italian inquisitor, at age 45
† 1483 – Birth of Raphael, Italian painter and architect (d. 1520)
† 1830 – Birth of James Augustine Healy, Macon Ga, 1st black Roman Catholic bishop|
† 1901 – Birth of Pier Giorgio Frassati, Italian Catholic (d. 1925)
† 2003 – Death of Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Canadian religious figure (b. 1912)
† Feasts/Memorials: Saint Marcellinus of Carthage (d. 413); St. Sixtus
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Joke of the Day:
Today’s reflection is about Jesus claiming the same authority to work as God the Father.
(NAB John 5:17-30) 17 But Jesus answered them [the Jews], “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God. 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. 20 For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. 22 Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. 25 Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself. 27 And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.
Do you recognize God’s work in your life, – – His sanctifying grace, His love, and His trust in you? Through the actions of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, we can be converted, – – transformed into His likeness, — if we simply allow.
The Jewish religion belief, law, and teachings on the “Sabbath observance” were based on God’s resting on the seventh day as found in the Torah:
“Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:2-3),
“In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11).
“Philo” (an early first century AD Jewish Biblical philosopher from Alexandria), and some rabbis were firm in believing that God’s providence remained active on the Sabbath, keeping care of all things in existence, giving life in birth, and taking away life in death. Other rabbis taught that God rested from creation, but not from judging, ruling, and otherwise governing.
Jesus claimed the same authority to work as God the Father in today’s story. Also, Jesus asserted the same authority over “divine” choices, privileges, and sanctions: an authoritative power over life, death, and judgment.
The religious authorities of Jesus’ time period of fully human yet fully divine existence refused to accept Jesus’ authority to heal and to speak for God; an authority given to Him in the name of His (and ours) heavenly Father. He answered their “criminal” charge by indicating God’s purpose for creation, redemption, and salvation: – – to save and restore life. When they continued, and charged Jesus of making Himself equal to and with God, He replied that He was not acting independently of God because His relationship is that of an affiliation of a Father and Son. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God.
Jesus’ identity to God the Father is based on complete obedience. Jesus always did what His Father in heaven wanted of Him. His obedience was not based on submission or power but on a pure and true love of His Father: God. The union between Jesus and the Father is a harmonious union of total love. We too are called to submit our lives to God with the same love and obedience which Jesus demonstrated.
They charged Jesus as a “Sabbath-breaker“, as a “blasphemer“. They wanted to eliminate (kill) Jesus because He claimed the same authority and power as God. They needed to remove His threat of power (from the inhabitants in the area) over them.
Jesus Christ answered the Jews charges with the following specific proverb:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also.” (John 5:19)
This proverb (or it may be a parable) is taken from the long-held Jewish tradition that an apprenticeship in a trade is modeled on that of his father’s trade. Jesus’ dependence on God the Father is enough justification for doing what the He does. He is not acting apart from God; He IS God on earth. The Holy Trinity is ONE in three distinct persons and two distinct natures: truly and fully human, and truly and fully divine! They cannot be separated, yet are separate. (Confused? That’s why it is called a “mystery”! As THE true agent of God the Father, Jesus never acted on His own authority, but only on what He “received” from His Father.
Jesus is teaching His followers, His disciples the importance of listening to God in all our daily activities; regular and mundane, and especially in the extraordinary and surprising behaviors and actions that we experience in our earthly human existence. We are to do what God wants us to do, without any explanation required or solicited from Him. We are to surrender ourselves to Him and His will.
Jesus’ mission, which was given to Him by His heavenly Father, is to “give life” to those who believe in Him. Anyone choosing to not follow Jesus, refusing to believe in His teachings, trust, and love, needs to remember that they will be judged by Jesus, along with those following His path, when He returns.
In verse 21, Jesus is stating a divine right and choice when He says God the Father “gives life”. In the Old Testament, I found six such divine prerogatives mentioned:
“Learn then that I, I alone, am God, and there is no god besides me. It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them, and from my hand there is no rescue.” (Deuteronomy 32:39);
“The LORD puts to death and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.” (1 Samuel 2:6);
“When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death, that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!” (2 Kings 5:7);
“For he scourges and then has mercy; he casts down to the depths of the nether world, and he brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape his hand.” (Tobit 13:2);
“But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.” (Isaiah 26:19);
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” (Daniel 12:2).
“Judgment” (verse 22) is yet another divine prerogative. In the Old Testament, it is often expressed as a concept in which a person is either acquitted or condemned. Here are two such examples from Deuteronomy and the Psalms:
“Surely, the LORD shall do justice for his people; on his servants he shall have pity. When he sees their strength failing, and their protected and unprotected alike disappearing ...” (Deuteronomy 32:36);
“Grant me justice, God; defend me from a faithless people; from the deceitful and unjust rescue me.” (Psalm 43:1).
In today’s Gospel reading, John presents a realized eschatology (the body of religious doctrines concerning the human soul in its relation to death, judgment, heaven, and hell), through Jesus Christ and His mission and teachings. John also predicted a future eschatology or divine prerogative found in an Old Testament prophesy from the book of Daniel:
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” (Daniel 12:2).
In conclusion, we will see more and greater marvels, teachings, and miracles from Jesus in upcoming Gospel readings. He raises Lazarus from the dead. He confronts His accusers. He is tortured by scourging. And finally, He is crucified on the Holy Tree of salvation and redemption. He did all this SOLELY as a payment for our sins, and for our salvation.
For me, the greatest thing He did however was on an early Sunday morning three days after His death on the cross. His resurrection showed us that eternal life with Him is not only possible, not only achievable, it is promised to those who truly and fully love, trust, and worship our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ in all ways, and always!
Redemption has been paid for us by Jesus. Not only did Jesus pay for our sins, there was enough “change” left over to give it out to anyone wanting. Take and use this “change” in your life. Our conversion must be an ongoing daily event, a daily “change”!
God’s love and mercy is without end. Even on the Sabbath, God’s love and mercy must be paramount in our lives. Jesus continues to show God the Father’s love and mercy, including on the Sabbath days rest.
To accept the Holy Trinity is life,
To reject the Holy Trinity is death!
“Saint Francis’ Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament”
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.
When the priest invites us to share in the Lord’s Supper, we now say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” With the new Missal, we will respond:
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The use of “under my roof” is a reference to the Gospel passage where the centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant but says he is not worthy for Jesus to enter his house (Luke 7:6). The other change is “my soul” instead of “I”, which focuses more clearly on the spiritual dimension of the healing we seek.
Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Crescentia Hoess (1682-1744)
Crescentia was born in 1682 in a little town near Augsburg, the daughter of a poor weaver. She spent play time praying in the parish church, assisted those even poorer than herself and had so mastered the truths of her religion that she was permitted to make her holy Communion at the then unusually early age of seven. In the town she was called “the little angel.”
As she grew older she desired to enter the convent of the Tertiaries of St. Francis. But the convent was poor and, because Crescentia had no dowry, the superiors refused her admission. Her case was then pleaded by the Protestant mayor of the town to whom the convent owed a favor. The community felt it was forced into receiving her, and her new life was made miserable. She was considered a burden and assigned nothing other than menial tasks. Even her cheerful spirit was misinterpreted as flattery or hypocrisy.
Conditions improved four years later when a new superior was elected who realized her virtue. Crescentia herself was appointed mistress of novices. She so won the love and respect of the sisters that, upon the death of the superior, Crescentia herself was unanimously elected to that position. Under her the financial state of the convent improved and her reputation in spiritual matters spread. She was soon being consulted by princes and princesses as well as by bishops and cardinals seeking her advice. And yet, a true daughter of Francis, she remained ever humble.
Bodily afflictions and pain were always with her. First it was headaches and toothaches. Then she lost the ability to walk, her hands and feet gradually becoming so crippled that her body curled up into a fetal position. In the spirit of Francis she cried out, “Oh, you bodily members, praise God that he has given you the capacity to suffer.” Despite her sufferings she was filled with peace and joy as she died on Easter Sunday in 1744.
She was beatified in 1900 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Although she grew up in poverty and willingly embraced it in her vocation, Crescentia had a good head for business. Under her able administration, her convent regained financial stability. Too often we think of good money management as, at best, a less-than-holy gift. But Crescentia was wise enough to balance her worldly skills with such acumen in spiritual matters that heads of State and Church both sought her advice.
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:
Franciscan Spirituality II
As a Secular Franciscan, how are you finding ways to spread the faith of Jesus Christ?
By what means can you accomplish this goal today?
Whom does the Church tell us to evangelize? (see Pope Paul VI: “Evangelii Nunciandi“.) Do we do it?
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 6 & 7 of 26:
6. They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.
Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialog of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.
7. United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance” and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel calls “conversion.” Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily.
On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace.