Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dominica Secunda Adventus: For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 11:2-10
In that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
6th Homily on the Gospels.
The sight of so many signs and so many mighty works should have been a source of wonder, and not a stumbling-block. And yet the unfaithful Jer. xxxi. 5. found these very works a rock of offence, when they afterwards saw Him Who had worked so many miracles dying on the Cross. Hence Paul saith: "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness." 1 Cor. i. 23. It is indeed folly in the eyes of men to say that the Author of life died for men and thus men put as a stumbling-block to hinder them from coming to Jesus, the very thing that doth oblige them the most unto Him. For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dominica Prima Adventus: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 21:25-33
In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great,
1st on the Gospels.
Our Lord and Saviour wisheth to find us ready at His second coming. Therefore He telleth us what will be the evils of the world as it groweth old, that He may wean our hearts from worldly affections. Here we read what great convulsions will go before the end, that, if we will not fear God in our prosperity, we may at least be scourged into fearing His judgment when it is at hand.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dominica XXII post Pentecosten: "Cuius est imago haec?"


From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 22:15-21
At that time: The Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Comm. on Matth. Can. 23
The Pharisees had oftentimes been put to confusion, and were not able to find any ground to accuse Him out of anything that He had hitherto said or done. His words and works are, of necessity, faultless, but still, from spite, they set themselves to seek in every direction for. some cause to accuse Him. He was calling all to turn away from the corruptions of the world, and the superstitious practices of devotion invented by men, and to fix their hopes upon the kingdom of heaven. They therefore arranged a question calculated to entrap Him into an offense against civil government, namely: "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not?"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Feast of Christ the King

From the Encylical Letters of Pope Pius XI

Litt. Encycl. Quas primas diei 11 Decembris 1925

Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom," since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

The foundation of this power and dignity of Our Lord is rightly indicated by Cyril of Alexandria. "Christ," he says, "has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature." His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled." We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price"; our very bodies are the "members of Christ." Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son." In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices? It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October - the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be renewed yearly.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

29th Sunday, A: "Render to God What is God's"

“Render to God What is God’s”

Christ is here to serve you
Wash your feet

Do you have to move around?

Talk?

Make noise?

No

Most important active participation for all of us at Mass is that which we cannot see

It happens in silence, interiorly
You have a rich interior life

This is who you are

But if you do not truly possess it you cannot give it

“We cannot give what we do not have”
What is God’s?
Your mind?
Your heart?
Your money?
Your time?

All of these and more: Christ’s total self-giving on the Cross here at Mass and at every Mass, is the key to understanding the love He asks of us.

God does not ask us to do anything He does not first do Himself: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole mind, heart, soul and strength”

The dictatorship of noise so present in our lives today hampers and make difficult this self-giving necessary for loving God and others. Frustrates loving.

Silence enables us to possess ourselves. To encounter God. To give ourselves to Him.

Two very short periods of silence are mandated in the Mass we celebrate tonight which was put together after Vatican II: after the homily and after Communion. We have done our best to implement these opportunities for recollection here at our parish. Some of you may not have encountered this in other parishes because it was not implemented carefully and consistently for many years.

But there is another way that silence was organically offered in the Mass before being discarded with Vatican II as an excuse. The canon of the Mass (also known as Eucharistic Prayer I) was intoned in a low voice so that the people could hear themselves pray along. They followed the text of the prayer in their missals as many of you have continued to do even though the Mass is now offered also in English. We will do that this evening, allowing God to enter more powerfully through the silence made possible this way, enabling us to enjoy more fully the sense of intimacy with God we always have in the Mass.

Though He is always present here, especially in the Eucharist, sometimes the noise crowds Him out.
We can begin here and now to defeat the tyranny of noise with the power of holy silence and even carry this force for prayer and holiness with us throughout the week.

The Lord Himself invites us to do this. He will be with us, especially in the silence. Give Him permission.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dominica XIX post Pentecosten: "The soul of the righteous is heaven"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 22:1-14
At that time, Jesus spoke by parables unto the chief priests and Pharisees, and said: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
38th on the Gospels.
I remember that I have often said that, in the Holy Gospel, the Church as she now is, is called the kingdom of heaven, for the kingdom of heaven is indeed the assembly of the righteous. The Lord hath said by the mouth of His Prophet: The heaven is My throne. Isa. lxvi. 1. Solomon saith: The throne of wisdom is the soul of the righteous. And Paul saith that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. i. 24. From these passages we may clearly gather that if wisdom be God, and wisdom's throne be the soul of the righteous, and God's throne be the heaven, then the soul of the righteous is heaven. Hence also the Psalmist saith, speaking of holy preachers: The heavens declare the glory of God. xviii. 2.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dominica XVIII post Pentecosten: Christ by things which were seen wrought things which were not seen.


Matt 9:1-8
At that time: Jesus entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And so on.

Homily by St. Peter Chrysologus, Archbishop of Ravenna.
Sermon 50.
This day's reading hath shown us an instance of how Christ, in those things which He did as Man, worked deep works of God, and by things which were seen wrought things which were not seen.The Evangelist saith Jesus "entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His Own city." Was not This He Who had once parted the waves hither and thither, and made the dry ground appear at the bottom of the sea, so that His people Israel passed dry-shod between masses of water standing still, as through an hollow glen in a mountain? Was not This He Who made the depths of the sea solid under the feet of Peter, so that the watery path offered a firm way for human footsteps?