Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time,
October 23 2011
Bottom line: The new translation – that we will start using in just five weeks – will help us better express our love for God through Jesus. He is consubstantial with the Father. And because of Jesus, we dare to call God “Father.”
Two weeks ago I spoke to you about the revised English missal. I highlighted two changes: Instead of saying “and also with you,” the congregation will respond, “and with your spirit.” And during the consecration the priest will speak about Jesus’ blood shed “for many.”
This Sunday I would like to again address the upcoming changes. This fits with the Gospel since Jesus gives us the two great commandments – love of God and love of neighbor. The most important way we express our love for God is by participating in the Mass. Here we renew Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He unites us to his self-offering to the Father. So the Mass is the greatest prayer – the greatest expression of love for God. It is also the best thing we can do for our neighbor. Everyone needs prayer and the most perfect prayer is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The new translation will help us enter more profoundly into the Mass. If we receive it attentively, it can give us a deeper understanding of our relation to the Father through Jesus. Let me give a couple of examples.
First, beginning on November 27, we will have an updated translation of the Nicene Creed – the one we normally say after the Prayers of the Faithful. Instead of saying that Jesus is “one in being with the Father,” we will say, “consubstantial with the Father.” Consubstantial is not a not a word we use in ordinary conversation, but when you break it down, you can see what it means: “con” signifies “together” and “substantial” refers to “substance.” Jesus is the same substance together with the Father – like ice and steam are the same substance: water. Jesus is as completely God as is the Father – and the Holy Spirit.
That is who Jesus is. We will also have a change that will help understand what he does for us. As an introduction to the Our Father, the celebrant will use these words: “…we dare to say.” To dare is different than to be confident or to have courage.
This might seem like a small change, but let me give an illustration of the difference between daring and courage: Suppose Bill Gates gives a party for his family at the Space Needle. He rents the whole thing and has invited only his family. You, however, want to attend – desperately. You somehow slip by the guards and the next thing you know, you are standing in a small group, a few feet away from Bill himself. One of his bodyguards realizes you don’t belong and pulls you away. He asks what you are doing here and you say, “I just had to be here.” The guard is not going to applaud your courage. He is more likely to say, “How dare you!”
Now suppose further: When the guard starts hauling you to jail, Bill Gates’ son come running, he speaks your name and throws his arms around you. Bill sees it and says, “Come in. I am going to consider you a member of my family. In fact, I am going to make you legally my son.”
Something similar happens in the Mass. I am not a natural son of the Father. But because of Jesus I have become an adopted child. So have you through your baptism. For that reason we dare to call God “Our Father.”
Think about it. If I became an adopted son of Bill Gates, my worries would be over – at least my financial ones. But in comparison to God, Bill Gates’ fortune is like a grain of sand.* God, by way of contrast, owns the earth – and all it contains. And all the galaxies and even the dark matter belong to him. Yet you and I dare to address him as, “Father.”
So we can see from these two examples: The new translation – that we will start using in just five weeks – will help us better express our love for God through Jesus. He is consubstantial with the Father. And because of Jesus, we dare to call God “Father.” Amen.
*If you ask what Gates’ fortune is, it is not roomful of gold or even a stack of bank notes. It is electronic digits somewhere in the computers of financial institutions. The digits (like gold or checks or currency) represent a spiritual reality: shared consciousness – the covenant that has resulted from a long history of conversations among humans. We sometimes speak about religion offering spiritual rewards while other pursuits offer material rewards. The reality is almost exactly the opposite: Most of what the world calls wealth exists in a spiritual form; what Jesus offers is blatently material – resurrected bodies living on a new earth.
General Intercessions for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (from Priests for Life)
A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
October 23, 2011
They are at it again. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus’ opponents enlist a lawyer to do what lawyers do best- ask a question that puts a person on the hot seat. “Which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:34-40). If the law consisted in only the Ten Commandments, this would be tough enough. But the written “Torah” included many more moral, ceremonial, and dietary prescriptions.
30th Sunday: Everyday Saints
Today’s Gospel reading revolves around the question: “Which commandment of the Law is the greatest?” Another way to put this question is to ask, “What do I need to do to achieve salvation?” It seems like a reasonable question. It certainly fits in with our computer motivated desire to find an instant solutions to a problem. “Tell me what to do, I’ll do it and that’s that.” The only problem is serving God takes a lot more than a simple action. “Love God with your whole mind, your whole heart, and your whole soul, and love your neighbor as yourself,” is more an attitude in life than a list of things to do.
The Essential Qualities of Prayer
In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'” (Luke 11:1) People simply want to know, “How should I pray? Can you help me grow my prayer life?”
Woman dies of cancer after refusing treatment in order to save unborn child
Stacie Crimm was 41, single, and unexpectedly pregnant, when she was diagnosed with head and neck cancer this past July. Faced with the agonizing decision of whether to expose her unborn child to a potentially fatal course of chemotherapy, Crimm decided to put her own life on the line instead.
Does the Bible Prohibit Religious Images?
Earlier, I came across this discussion, in which an iconoclast Protestant accuses the Catholic Church of eliminating the Second Commandment because we have statues… and then asks how to add an image to his post. Bravo, irony!
But this is a real stumbling block for a lot of Protestant Christians, and even Catholics often are left a bit uneasy, unsure how to rectify what the Bible seems to say with what the Church teaches. So let’s have a serious discussion about idolatry and iconoclasm.
The Intriguing Saint Thomas More
The figure of Saint Thomas More intrigues Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and has ever since his death. Why is that?
Saint Faustina’s Vision of Hell (The 7 Characteristics of Hell)
Today there is an unspoken assumption that “everyone” is going to Heaven. Fire and brimstone theology is certainly not fashionable, and it has never been comfortable. Moreover, Balthasar’s “dare that we hope that all men be saved” has led to “how dare you suggest that not all men are saved!!!”
“He was the only Apostle who was not a Jew. He never saw Christ. …”
… All that is written in his eloquent but restrained Gospel he acquired from hearsay, from witnesses, from the Mother of Christ, from disciples, and from the Apostles. His first visit to Israel took place almost a year after the Crucifixion.
Tolerance, Decadence and Violence
The dictatorship of relativism decrees that tolerance is the only virtue. Because there is no such thing as truth I must tolerate ‘your truth’ and you must tolerate mine. The problem with this is that tolerance must eventually end in decadence. It ends in decadence because if there is no truth, then there are also no moral standards, and if there are no moral standards, then anything goes, and if anything goes, then decadence is the result.
Bob Hope and His Ladies of Hope
Bob Hope — “the most honored entertainer” ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, for his achievements in theater, radio, film, TV, philanthropy and business, and an extraordinary record of service to country, with 199 USO shows around the globe — won the biggest prize of all in the waning days of his life when he converted to Catholicism.
Evidence and Faith
The problem is not that we do not have enough faith, but that we don’t really understand what faith is, and because believers themselves do not understand the concept of faith, and hawk about the wrong ideas of faith it gives ammunition to the doubters, atheists and agnostics.
10 Things Catholic catechists should know
Fish have to swim. Birds have to fly. Catholics have to go to Mass on Sundays. Once, it all seemed self-evident. Especially the Catholic part. Being Catholic simply meant you knew and did certain things — again, like go to Mass.
How Catholics Read and Study the Bible
Let’s suspend disbelief in God for a moment.
To understand a Catholic studying the Bible, that disbelief in God must be suspended. We believe in God, even when we struggle or question. Our belief in God gives us reason to hope. Disbelief is not seen as enlightenment, but a serious internal struggle. I do not believe God is ever disproved; I believe he is replaced.
How to Be a Catholic Woman on Campus
The parting words of a friend still rang in my ears, “You have your whole life ahead of you. The world at your feet.” I mustered up all the wisdom I possessed from my 18 years, gathered my bags and set off hundreds of miles to a foreign and exciting new destination: college.
I had a vague realization that entering a university somehow marked the end of childhood and the onset of adulthood. Mostly, though, I concentrated on my dreams, waiting to be discovered and fulfilled, and a new identity that needed to be forged
Mother Teresa and Me… and Me Too
Some things are meant to be shared. Friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of those things. I personally know three people who were friends with Mother Teresa and like a second-class relic, those second-class friendships leave me feeling somehow closer to her. Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is one of those friends who was blessed to have known the little nun that captivated the world.
Open Letter To My Catholic Priests
My dear priests,
The thought of composing this letter came to me Saturday afternoon after I left the confessional and knelt down for my penance. I’m not sure why it came to me then and there, but what is important is that it did and I’ve a few things to say to all of you who hold the office of the priesthood in the Catholic Church and are faithful in the manner you carry out your vocation.
Holiness in the Midst of Holocaust
Pope John Paul II offered an answer to the horror of the Holocaust.
“Can it still be a surprise to anyone that the Pope born and brought up in this land, the Pope who came to the See of St. Peter from the diocese in whose territory is situated the camp of Oswiecim (Auschwitz), should have begun his first encyclical with the words ‘Redemptor Hominis’ and should have dedicated it as a whole to the cause of man, to the dignity of man, to the threats to him, and finally to his inalienable rights that can so easily be trampled on and annihilated by his fellowmen?”
The Eucharist in the Early Church, Through Non-Christian Eyes
One of the things I’ve pointed out before is that the writings of the Church Fathers are devoid of (1) Church Fathers teaching something contrary to Transubstantiation on the Eucharist, and (2) Christian objections to Transubstantiation by taught by certain Church Fathers. That is, all of the Church Fathers can be lumped into “clearly Catholic,” or “hard to tell” on this topic, without anyone apparently denouncing the Catholic view as incorrect, much less idolatry.
Halo Shapes: Round or Triangular?
When I was learning to paint icons I was taught that the halo is not simply an arbitrary symbol, but rather a direct representation, albeit stylised, of the uncreated light shining from the saint.
2012 is Year of Faith, What Does It Mean?
Every so often the Pope will denote a spiritual theme for the year. For instance, we’ve recently seen the “Year for Priests”, the “Year of St. Paul”, and the “Year of the Eucharist”. According to an announcement this morning, it looks we’re on the verge of another one, this particular year devoted to Faith.
According to Pope Benedict XVI, the “Year of Faith” will officially begin on October 11, 2012 and will last until November 24, 2013.
Teresa of Avila: Patron of Catholic Writers and Headache Sufferers!
St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated on October 15, was a mystic, writer, reformer, and the founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1970, she was one of the first women to be named a Doctor of the Church.
In 1577 St. Teresa’s guide for spiritual development, The Interior Castle (in Spanish, El Castillo Interior) was published. In the book, she envisioned the soul as a crystal globe in the shape of a castle containing seven mansions, each representing one stage in the journey of faith. The final stage, the seventh castle, is union with God.
Ten Rules for Great Parenting
Play with your children every day
– This tires them out for bedtime.
Kiss your children before they go to bed
– That way you can tell if they actually brushed their teeth or they just ran the
toothbrush under the faucet.
Hug Your Children
– There are many reasons to hug your children, but a great one is that your child can’t get into too much trouble if you have your arms around them.
Pope Benedict XVI: The Meaning of Life
“Modern man is often confused and cannot find answers to the many questions which trouble his mind in reference to the meaning of life,” said the Pope. And yet, he observed, man “cannot avoid these questions which touch on the very meaning of self and of reality.” Consequently, modern man often despairs and simply withdraws from “the search for the essential meaning of life,” settling instead for “things which give him fleeting happiness, a moment’s satisfaction, but which soon leave him unhappy and unsatisfied.”