Holy Innocents

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At the time of the Nativity, they are those innocent children martyrs massacred by Herod, in his search and fear, of the Christ child. With them comes another Christmas revelation, and that is the Christian attitude towards Children. Herod’s actions two thousand plus years ago were nothing new, and in many parts of the world today similar mistreatment of children exist today. Might one of the messages of that first family be their attitude towards innocent children? Mary did after all say yes to that angel Gabriel and accepted her Son as the Savor. Joseph too decided against divorcing Mary, he listened to an angel and agreed to support her and her Child. Elizabeth accepted Jesus as Lord before birth. Jesus Christ in His teaching constantly asks that children come to him. While the Holy Family do see their Son uniquely as the son of God, Lord and Savior; I can’t help but wonder if that was not one of the characteristics of newborn Christians. Did they see hope and salvation through their children and the youth of the world. Was their view and attitude towards innocent children the exact opposite of those such as Herod? To look at today, is the Christian charism to raise children to their full potential as a  true means to give glory to God, and how does this contrast against those who view children as something to exploit? It is just one more thing to ponder while looking at that Nativity, when gazing on that Christ child. In looking at that Christ Child, can you see the promise of all children? That is part of the Christmas celebration, the celebration of children.

Immaculate Mary (the Patroness of the United States), Juan Diego, and the Lost Sheep

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Here is a lightly read post from a few years back :

Sometimes what I find interesting is the clustering of readings, and saints, and seasons, memorials and feast days. It is looking at the liturgical calendar not as disconnected days, but as a continuous celebration. Yesterday it was the feast if the Immaculate Conception, today Juan Diego, and today the gospel of Jesus going for the lost sheep.

For the Immaculate Conception, I can ponder its teaching of Mary conceived without the stain of original sin, and I can think of Mary as the Patron of a new “immaculate world.” Mary, the model of the new Eve is also patron of a New World. Into that New World comes the European missionaries who carry Christ across the seas, as Mary carried Christ in her womb. The fruit of those missionaries is Juan Diego, and through Juan comes a new title for Mary that is Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It is Immaculate Mary that is the model for Church, and it is that Church brings her Son to this new world. In that lies a mission, the Churches evangelical mission, and a responsibility; to bring Christ as Mary did which is to serve God and not our individual selfish needs. Immaculate Mary is indeed born without sin.

In thinking of that Immaculate Mary and the journey to the new world, I can also ponder in the back of my mind Jesus going after the lost sheep. In His journey for these sheep, many times he too journeyed by boat across the Sea of Galilee where he cured many, and conquered many demons. To go back to the boats of Europe sailing to the new world, I think did their mission emulate Jesus’s and did they faithfully follow the guidance of Immaculate Mary? That’s a complicated question, but in many ways they did work under the guidance of Mary of that title and many times they did not. Man is sinful, and bears that burden of original sin. Many times they brought their demons rather than chase them out, it’s the sinful nature of man.

The counter argument then is this; was the New World Immaculate before those Christian explorers arrived? Again, one for the scholars but I would guess not; they too were human and bore that stain of original sin. And then there is Juan Diego, caught between both those worlds who discovers Mary, Immaculate Mary in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus saved a sheep through the intercession of his Mother. I wonder then as those Europeans who entered this New World, I wonder how many of them were brought salvation anew through their encounters with people like Juan Diego? It’s a ramble, and a journey. The truth though is that Immaculate Mary does the journey with us. She is present in the Old and the New World, and ever Immaculate to guide us on our little rambles through life.

revisiting old wineskins

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To continue with the wedding of the third Epiphany, Jesus enters into a confrontation with the Pharisees regarding His Apostles and disciples noncompliance with Judaic law. In every marriage, it is not just the couple that enters into a union, it also is the couples “families.” The dialogue that is exchanged is not uncommon between in-laws. The exchange is proof of a wedding taking place, and what would a wedding be without family arguments?

Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.

Mk 2:18-22

The rest of this post was composed from a similar gospel, though from a different evangelist. At the time I hesitated to post this because it played large in the news.

September 4, 2015

Todays readings were all about old versus new; old cloth and new cloth, old and new wine, old and new wineskins, old and new testaments. Jesus declares His preaching’s as new, and not something grafted to, or amended onto older traditions. His is “a new creation.”

In reading these passages there is the message about how Jesus’s message relates to the religion of tradition, in reading these passages today there is some contemplation on the worlds contrasts and conflicts and comparisons. The news has been full of these. One contrast going on has been the enormous migration from the conflicts of the Mideast to the shores of Europe. It is the travel from an old land to new, and from conflict hopefully to peace. The movement from one culture to another. With this old wine poured into new wineskins, or new fabric attached to old; I cant help but wonder what will happen. It is not difficult to see the tension as Europe seeks to confront a crisis heaped upon them.

Lk 5:33-39

The pressures being placed on them are enormous, and heated disagreements on how to handle the crisis are bound to erupt. I hope though that those citizens of Europe remember their Christian heritage, and the good news of healing. I hope they are able to bring healing and comfort to a migrating people torn by war and violence. The contrasts and dissimilarities between East and West are historically legendary, hopefully this time around those differences will be lessened and they will come together in peace. Hopefully the pain and suffering will transform into something good, where old hostilities are be replaced with a new compassion and understanding.

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

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The first reading Dn 1:1-6, 8-20 speaks of David as a involuntary member of the Babylonian captivity. It the lengthy reading the wise David argues his way out of eating the food of his captors that would have violated his religion. The discourse certainly speaks of David’s skills in the argument of persuasion, but that’s not really the point. The first reading must be evaluated in the context of the gospel reading. That gospel reading Lk 21:1-4 tells of the poor woman who donates to the temple from her meager purse. She does not donate from her excess, but from money that was essential.

He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

What links these two stories? In both I think David and that woman preserve what is essential to their lives. The woman gives to the faith that is fundamental to her existence, and David follows the precepts of his religion that fundamentally define who he is.  In both they loved their God with their whole heart and soul, and both did that with every resource available to them, and it mattered not how limited those resources were..

Christ the King

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Christ, King of the Universe is the closing reading of a liturgical year. Next week starts Advent, which begins the next calendar year. Superimpose the two, just for a moment. The King is a mature figure, and the feast clearly points to the return of Christ. Advent, is the awaiting of the Nativity of Christ, but also points towards Christ the King. One a conclusion, the other a beginning; yet both address the eternal. One can’t separate the Christ that majestically returns from the one that humbly enters creation. They are the same. The Christ of Christ the King might hint towards judgement, and that judgement gives hint of the reason for Advent. Both these days also speak to history. The Nativity was an historical event, the day the solemnity of Christ the King was instituted also was a reaction to history. 1929 was an era of changes for the Christendom of Europe. Monarchies were collapsing, and dictators were filling the void. The religious day was counterpoint to the political turmoil, a flock’s reminder of who the true King is. Read that reading where Pontius Pilot questions Christs Kingship. Politics are there too, and a monumental change is set into motion.

Did I say anything new? I don’t think so, I am just pondering this day. With one thought a year ends and a new one begins. In another thought there is a link of unbroken continuity. Does one day point towards the LORDS judgement, and the other HIS mercy? Does one gain importance over the other, does the feast of the King emphasize the importance of the Advent as a time of preparation? Does today serve as a reminder not only of that second coming of Christ, but does it also contrast two natures of the same Christ; judgement and forgiveness? Shouldn’t one also be reminded of the lessons of history, our history? The battles of yesterday and today, there is a political context to this day after all.

This is one of those days that raises more questions that it does to provide answers a day reminiscent of the same parables “Christ the King” preached. This day can’t be the conclusion of something eternal, yet one day hints towards an end and the other a beginning. Paradoxically, Christ has neither beginning nor end. How can we await the return of a God that never abandoned us? Perhaps in this day lies the meaning of the word majesty? Ours is a majestic King, a mysterious King, a King of justice, and of mercy. A King of wisdom and understanding.