St. Justin gave us a clear picture of the Mass in 150 B.C..

Friday, 6/1/18

Justin, as  a student of Plato and Aristotle, fell into conversation with an old Cristian who made him see that although he knew about God he did not know God personally, and this revelation led to his being baptized Christian.

As a very studious and devout Christian, he opened as school for Christianity next to the Roman senate. When he heard senators making accusations, he posted corrections for what they said. For instance, when a Roman senator declared that Christians worshipped a goat , Justin, in 150 A.D. posted the posted the following description of our Mass.

"On that day which is called after the sun, all who are in the towns and in the country gather together for  a communal celebration. And then the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets  are read as much as time permits.

After the reader has finished his task, the one presiding gives an address, earnestly admonishing his hearers to practice these beautiful teachings in their lives.  

Then, together all stand and recite prayers. and bread and wine mixed with water are brought, and the president offers prayers and thanksgivings as much as in him lies. The people chime in with Amen.

Then takes place the distribution to all attending of the things over which the thanksgiving has been spoken, and the deacons bring a portion to the absent. Besides, those who are well to do give whatever they will. What is gathered is deposited with the one presiding who therewith helps widows and orphans."   

When Mary heard that Elizabeth was about to have a child she visited her,

Thursday, 5/31/18

The angel Gabriel told her that it was already the sixth month with the elderly Elizabeth, so Mary put all other matters aside, and set off alone to give support to the old lady.

We should see her making this dangerous trip as a message to us for responding to those in need.

When ©od,In the Second Chapter of Genesis, looked closely at the first human he created, what he said was,  "It is not good for the man to be alone."

What God said then still holds true, especially in regard to the sick and those who cannot make it on their own.

Bestir yourself. Go give support to those who long for it.

Among the Gentiles those who exercise authority lord it over them. but it cannot be that way with you.

Wednesday, 5/30/18

Two of the Apostles, the brothers John and James, asked Jesus to give them positions of authority when he came into his kingdom, but Jesus said there would be no such nobility among his followers.

Rather, in his kingdom, our church leaders would need to be the servants of the rest.

However, after the year 500 A.D our church leaders took on titles of majesty, demanding that they be addressed as "lords."

We might be better off if we led simpler lives.

Our Church leaders should not lord o over people

Th For says, "You must be holy because I am holy."

Tuesday, 5/29/18

Our entering into a covenant with God obliges us to be holy because he is holy. That puts to mind the obligation old time serfs had of dressing in the livery of their masters.

What is involved in being holy? Can you help me out with this?  Of what does God's holiness consist?

I like Dante's summation of God's holiness as the orderliness of his world's creation, while the human  quality reflecting God's holiness would be his and our complete truthfulness.
Monday, 5/28/18

In Our Lord's time there was a strict devision between the wealthy and the poor, with Jesus saying it was more difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of a  needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

It's a funny thing, but in ages when even religious people had a respect for the well-to-do that they did away with  Our Lord's imagery by saying that one of the gates through Jerusalem's walls was so much narrower than the rest that it was nicknamed "the Needl'e's Eye."

Our Lord's condemnation of wealthy people flaunting their importance over the poor could also be applied to white-skinned people who were flaunting their importance over dark skinned people. As well, his condemnation could be invaded against people who make much of their noble birth.

Vatican II did not openly attack classes of people that saw themselves as superior, instead, it made much of every person created in God's image.

 

The Trinity is a mystery that we can understand to some degree.

Sunday, 5/27/18

In declaring the Trinity to be a mystery that we cannot fully understand, we are seeing it as a truth which, although we cannot fully understand, is not completely beyond understanding.  It is a truth that is not altogether beyond our understanding.

No, we should apply our feeble powers toward understanding the Trinity as far as we can. To that end I like thinking of the Trinity in two ways.

First in likening it to a mystery of three persons, I like recalling ancient Greek plays in which a single actor would wear three different masks through which he spoke ( per sona).

Secondly, I feel I can approach some understanding of the mystery that is both simple and complex by applying to it the saying of Dante, "All things among themselves an order, and this order is the  form that makes the universe like God."

Phillip Neri was one of our Church's most likable saints.

Saturday. 5/26/18

Today we honor St. Phillip Neri. one of our Church's most likable holy men. Born to  a wealthy Florentine family in 1515. Phillip at eighteen was sent to Venice to learn that family's shipping business. After some success at that, he was set free to study the Bible. and to wonder the streets of Rome,  questioning people about their relationship with God.

He became a favorite with two of Rome's classes of young people. He became the protector to all the young women who's poverty sent to  selling their bodies. Begging for support from his rich friends in Florence, he set up hundreds of those ladies in honorable businesses in Rome. Then, while studying  Theology on his own, he had scores of young seminarians coming to him in their evenings for religious discussions.

The older clergy in Rome, seeing Phillip as a fine influence on students, gave him a chapel from where they could increase participation in their studies and in aiding the poor. With the pope's blessing, these groups became the start of the Church's Ortorian Fathers.

In marriage the two became one.

Friday, 5/25.18

Jesus said divorcing and entering a new marriage were not an option open t to any of us. But,  Moses had allowed it in some cases. As well, we should not condemn anyone to continue in a relationship that presents a real danger to his or her life.

Our Lord's prohibition would keep one from giving the name of marriage to what from the start is regarded as temporary.

Like, once I formed a friendship with a college boy for whom his parents had contracted what for what they saw as an advantageous  marriage. But with that son determined on marrying another; the family allowed him to enter into a Five Year Marriage with that Sweetheart. The boy showed me a copy of the invitation they ha d printed for that five-year marriage.


In marriage the two became one.

God will reward anyone living in abundance when he comes to the aid of a very needy child of God

Thursday, 5/24/18

Jesus said that anyone who gives a cup of cold water to you because you belong to Christ will not lose his reward.

The same will certainly be true for anyone who gives a cup of water to you because you belong to God the Father.

All wealth, all money, belongs to God the Father, and he certainly will reward anyone living in abundance when that one comes to the aid of a needy child of God.

Whoever is not against us is for us.

Wednesday. 5/23/18

When the Apostles saw strangers using the name of Jesus for driving out demons hey forbad them; but Jesus told them they were wrong for doing that, He said, "Anyone who is not against us is for us.

Following from that, we should not object to Protestants using the name of Jesus to perform good works.

"Draw new to God, and he will draw near to you."

Tuesday, 5/22/18

St. James tells us, "Draw near  to God, and he will draw near to you."

The other day someone asked me what I prayed for. And, I know I should nor brag about it, but I said that all I pray for is for God to bring me closer to what he expects of me.

Oh, I know I do pray for the well-being of others. Like today at Mass we all prayed for a successful back surgery for a nine-year-old girls named Anna.

Butt, for the most part, we pray for God's help in getting us to practice the Beatitudes and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

That would be in line with what St. James tells us: we pray to bring ourselves closer to God, so that he might be closer to us.
Monday, 5/21/18

Today we honor Mary, as the Mother of our Church. Our  feelings are enhanced by the reading from Chapter One of the Acts of the Apostles. There, after the Ascension of Jesus, the Apostles returned to the Upper Room where Mary joined them in deliberating over what to do next.

In saying the "Hail Mary" over and over in my Rosaries, I put aside the obligation of thinking on the meaning of her prayer. I liken the attention I then give to Mary to be like  my holding my mother's hand when as a five-year-old i went Christmas shopping with her in a big department store.

As that five-year-old, while holding tight to  my mother's hand, I would be going all my attention to the wonders around me. So, in saying my Rosaries I give all  my attention to the Mysteries of the Rosary, while reciting the "Hail Mary's" as an equivalent of hold tight to my mother's hand.

Still. at times. as today, I like savoring ever word of Gabriel's greeting  to Mary.

God superimposed his Feast of Pentecost on a farming holidays.



Sunday, 5/20/18

There is beauty in the way God blends the natural and the supernatural for Pentecost. Mediterranean countries sow their Winter wheat on the  last full moon in Autumn. They eat the first grains the night of the first full moon in Spring.

They worked then to gather the whole of the harvest in by fifty hard days of field work. Their name for that fiftieth day was Pentecost. It was the beginning of a rich new year. With the coming of the Holy Spirit it is the birthday of our Church,




Today, for while, we say goodbye to Paul and John.

Saturday, 5/19/18

Today, for a while at least, we say goodbye to Paul and John.

At the conclusion of his "Acts Of The Apostles" St.Luke left Paul under "house arrest" in Rome, where after two years, Paul would suffer a crucifixion brought about by his Jewish foes.

We leave John, supposedly in the company of Mary. He was compiling his account of incidents from the life of Jesus. He said he chose only those stories that showed how Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, so that by believing in him we might have life.

Friday, 5/18/18

Jesus, in telling Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep, gave him a superior position among his apostles; but he did not give any precise description of his superior status. Subsequent events might have altered our understanding of Peter's powers.

For one thing, in 250 a.d. Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, called on all of Christendom to see union with Rome as the essential requirement of being called Christian. However, Cyprian denied the pope's right to name bishops outside of Rome.  The First Vatican Council seemed to go against that in ceding universal jurisdiction to the popes.







The Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Thursday, 5/17/18

Paul's life was saved by a fight springing up between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. To get a grasp on the animosity between this two groups we must go back nine hundred years,

In 1000 b.c. King David promised the crown after hum to Solomon, the son if Bathsheba. Now,  Solomon was a mild mannered man, and he let his half-brother Adonijah to begin acting as though he were king.

When Bathsheba complained to a dying David, he summoned the priest Zadoc, ordering him to immediately consecrate  Solomon as king. That Zadoc, fully aware of the strength of Adonijah, felt he was bringing death on himself by blocking Adonijah; but the whole nation rose up so strongly in  support  of him, that they rewarded his heroism by setting up the tradition that allowed only descendants of Zadoc to become high priests.  

That tradition ws humored for eight hundred years unto 160 b.c. when the only living descendent of Zadoc was an imbecile. To save the country, the strong family of the Maccabees promoted their Jonathan to serve as high priest. His supporters, seeing themselves as the legal descendants of Zadococ, called themselves the Sadocites. oe Sadducees.

The old-time loyal party called themselves the Pharisees, or Separitists.


They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

Wednesday, 5/16/18

What did Jesus mean by saying we should not strive to belong to this world? He was not telling us to  down-play our complete dependence on the  air, food, and social contacts that make up our worldly atmosphere.

Obviously, he was contrasting the value we put on life in this world with life in the next. And, to put value in the next life takes more than letting out heads swim in the clouds. What it takes are efforts to bring ourselves and others to measure up to what God planned for us in creating us.



"I do believe. Help my unbelief."

Tuesday. 5/15/18

The Gospel presents us with Our Lord's prayer that he and his followers might be together in heaven. His prayer is meant to be an example for us. We must pray that we and our dear ones might be together in heaven.

 I, for one, run into a difficulty there. It is this: do I believe firmly enough to utter this prayers whole heartedly?

When you or I run into the weakness of our faith, we might turn to that story in Chapter Nine of Mark's Gospel. A man had a son who behaved irrationally, like throwing himself in the fire. When the man begged Jesus to rid his son of such abnormalities, Jesus replied that he could cure the son his his father believed.

The father said, "I believe, but help my unbelief." So  we must pray as well, saying, "I do live, help my unbelief."

St. Matathias who was well known for his open kindliness' was chosen to take the place of Judas

Monday, 5/14/18

When the Apostles came together after the betrayal of Judas, Peter led the other Apostles into choosing a new twelfth apostle to take the place of Judas. They chose the easy-going and gentle Mattathias to take his place.   

The Bible had nothing to say about the subsequent adventures of Mattathias; but oddly, I I had a priest friend named Mattathias; and far from his being easy-going and gentle; he was a man with an uncontrollable temper. His hot temper brought him to an early death.

What I learned from my association with the Mattathias with the uncontrollable temper, was that some of us are born sweet, and some of us sour, and we must make the best of it.

As Jesus was lifted up through the clouds. we too will be lifted up.

Sunday, 5/13/18

I cherish the memory of a lady called Maria Smyth. She loved the clouds, and she dreamed of being lifted up through the clouds. She looked forward to dying, and then to being lifted up and up through the glorious clouds.

Today, on the Feast of Our Lord's Ascension we are asked to picture not our own passage through the clouds,  but that of Our Lord's triumphant passage from us forty days after his Resurrection.

Today's readings make many far fetched promises to us. We will speak in new tongues and we will be able to handle deadly substances. What about it? Will these promises come to be fulfilled?

Well. we believe that all things are possible with God. So we can safely picture ourselves joining Marie Smyth being lifted us through the glorious clouds.

God will not forget his scattered folks.

Friday, 5/11/18

Each of today's readings has its own message. In the first reading, God told Paul not to be troubled by all  the wickedness around hum in Corinth; because God had many of his own people there. That was a surprising thing for God to say, since on the east Corinth was a port city on the Aegean, while in the west, it was a port city on the Adriatic. Thievery and prostitution thrived in  both ports. When we look around us in Jacksonville we find many more of God's people than Paul could find in Corinth,

In the Gospel God assured hose of lost here below, that he would see us again.During World War Two when England and France were cut off from each other by five years of Nazi occupation, the refrain, "I'll see you again" kept their hopes alive on both sides. No matter how bad things are here below, God proises us, "I'll see you again."










Paul's great lecture in the Aeropogus was the ancient world's greatest speach.

Wednesday, 5/9/18

The setting for Paul's greatest speech was altogether unique. Athens was where Socrates, Apollo, and Aristotle had expouded their deep ideas. Where our cities cherish their sporing arenas, Athens had an open center for new ideas.

Each of the cities of northern Greece and Macedonia had been so loyal to its own families of gods that they had cast aside Paul, and his adherence to  a single creator.

Fled south to Athens. Paul found  a warmer welcome there. Summong up his belief in the single creator by saying, "He is not far from any of us, for in him we live and move and have our being."  

Our early Church followed Plato, while our later Church follows Aristotle. ristotle

Tuesday, 5/8/18

Christianity emerged from a Greek culture that was split between the following of Plato and Aristotle.Their difference came from Plato's belief that  our souls are created before our bodies, while Aristotle believed that our souls and bodies were created together.

For its first thousand years Christianity was dominated by the Platonic belief that our souls are created before our bodies. Going along with that belief, there  emerged the belief that our souls are captives of our bodies. This belief had holy people punishing their bodies to force them to release our souls from inprisonment. Early saints like St Anthony and St. Patrick were famous for punishing their bodies to make them release their souls

In 1100 the Christians at Cordova in Spain recovered the teachings of Aristotle that advices us to  cultivate healthy bodies in heathy suls.



















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"In this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.

Sunday, 5/6/18

Jesus said, "In this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another."
That means that if you want to bear the name of a Christian, you must wish the well being of those whose views differ from yours.

We must pray for such fellow Christians, while striving honestly to come to be of one mind with them.

Luke, who wrote The Acts of the Apostles, entered his narrative in Chapter Sixteen, verse eleven.

Saturday, 5/5/18

Our first reading today is from Chapter Sixteen of the Acts of the Apostles, and a surprising thing come along with verse eleven. eighteen.

The Acts of the Apostles was written by St Luke, and up to verse eleven of Chapter Sixteen, Luke wrote about the travels of Paul and his other companions, ending with telling us that they arrived at Troas, the ancient Troy.

Then suddenly, Luke himself entered his narrative by writing, "We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace.

Today's Gosepl deals with the ratification of the New Covenant.

Friday, 5/4/18

A covenant binds two peoples as one, and it has three parts. First, the two parties must become one by adopting themselves to each other. . We saw this in the Old Covenant with God saying, "You will be my people, and I will become your God."

Secondly, since the greater party cannot give itself up to become like the lesser party, the lesser party must bend. So, in the Old Covenant the lesser party had to adapt itselff to God, by living up to God's Commandments. In the New Covenant we adapt ourselves to union with God by loving each other as Jesus has loved us.

Thirdly, to have one life, the parties must exchange the same blood. In the Old Covenant this happened by the young men sprinkling the blood of steers over  the whole assembly, and over God's altar. In the New Covenant Jesus, at the Last Supper offers his own blood as the blood of the New Covenant.







Thursday, 5/3/18

Today, in honoring the Apostles James and Phillip, we recall last Sunday's Gospel in which Philip said, "Show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

Please excuse me for going back over what I said in relation to our knowing God. For it  I brought up  the story put together by Dante seven hundred ago.

Dante, who in 1300 was driven from his birthplace of Florence, felt that his sinfulness was too great for him to be saved. However, he came to rely on his two great loves. One was for the Roman poet Virgil who had lived fourteen hundred years earlier; the other was for the saintly Beatrice who had gone to heaven twelve years earlier.

Dante's theme for his great epic had Virgil escorting Dante through hell and  Purgatory. The sights of punishment there, one by one, turned Dante away from his sinfulness.

Virgil, as an unbaptized sinner could nor lead Dante into heaven. Dante, when he arrived there was struck by a strong anomaly: while  he was seeing all things for first time, they seemed somehow familiar to him. Beatrice explained how this came about, she said, "All things0 possess an order between themselves, and this order is the form that makes the universe lil\e God."

The unerring progression of musical sounds in our scales, and of the mathematical progression of the colors of the rainbow show us something of what God is like.

The lord began his sacrificial death for us at the Last Supper.

Wednesday, 5/2/18

Writing in Greek, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul gave us direct accounts of what Jesus said over the bread and wine at the Last Supper. If we directly translate their words into English, we see that Jesus, speaking in the Present Tense, said, "This is my body which is for you," and, "This is my blood this is poured out for you."

However, our Church, both in its English version of the New Testament, and in the word given the priest to speak at Mass, switches the tense of Our Lord's words, having him say. "This is my body which will be for you," and "This is my blood which will be poured out for you."

Th Church makes those changes to accent the part Christ's death on the cross makes in the sacrificial  death offered for us. However, if we allow Our Lord's to remain as they were in the New Testament accounts of them, we would be seeing his commitment to a sacrificial death as having been initiated at the Last Supper.

Our Lord's table blessing  at the Last Supper had three part to it. First, he asked the disciples to join with him in thinking God for his favors; secondly he made them aware of their being in conversation with God; thirdly he asked them to be physically and mentally one with him as a pleasing gift, one Eucharist, offered to the Father.