Tagged: Bible

Peter: our first Holy Father

Holy Fathers copy

Lord to whom shall we go?

Peter and everyone with him were completely surprised at all the fish they had caught. His partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were surprised too.
Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you will bring in people instead of fish.” The men pulled their boats up on the shore. Then they left everything and went with Jesus.”
Luke 5:9-11

This post took me a while to write. It’s hard to find reliable sources for our first Holy Father.
For how great the church is at keeping records (baptism records anyone?), they aren’t on the fast track to put everything on the website in English.
Some day, you know, when there are Latin teachers all over the place and I have time (read: when I make time) I might learn how to read it. Or Aramaic or Hebrew. I’ll add those to the list.
Peter. Let’s talk Peter.
Peter, the patron saint of fishermen… and bridge makers.
Simon Peter.
His brother was Andrew the apostle, and Philip the apostle grew up (or lived) in the same town.
According  to Clement of Alexandria, Peter was married and had children. Some tradition says that Peter’s wife was martyred.
Peter was a friend of (our friend) John the Baptist. Peter and Andrew were Jewish rebels hanging out with John the Baptist before Jesus showed up.
Peter was one of the first Jesus selected to become a disciple.

Then they left everything and went with Jesus.”

Oh, what a great example.

Clearly, we can learn a lot from St. Peter, our first pope. Our first Holy Father.
Matthew 16:17-19

Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heave; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

The rock and the keys really stand out to me.
Upon Peter (Cepha, rock) he built his Church. It’s interesting that people so often over look this (looking at you protestants). I guess there are different interpretations, but thank goodness we have the Church to hold on to the teachings and traditions.
Christ built his Church on Peter, and through Peter we have the Apostolic tradition. He didn’t say, upon everyone I build my Church… Upon Peter. We need our Church leaders to be Vicars of Christ for us. We need them. Christ ordered Peter to feed his sheep. We need to be feed properly.
Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus (1870):
We teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidence, a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church of God was immediately and directly promised to the blessed apostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.
According to New Advent, this interpretation (the Catholic interpretation) of Christ’s words to Peter were held until the 16th century.
Church tradition holds that Peter was martyred in Rome, though there was some speculation on this.
 
Council of Ephesus, Philip, the roman legate
For “no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives” and presides and “exercises judgment in his successors” the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood.
I would love to know more about this man that saw our Lord die, then continued Jesus’ mission. While he may have acted cowardly and denied Jesus, he was brave and continued you on.
It really is because of Peter’s strength that we have the Church… and of course, Jesus.
God Bless!
Happy Semptember!
Looking for Pope Linus? Here you go!

Resources: The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

If you’re looking for information on the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist…

I’ve got you covered. I didn’t have time for full-blown research for a learn something post. I apologize. This week has just been hectic for me at work and at home.

I have great news about the young adult group at my new parish… but I want to wait to share that news.

Here’s a bunch of great sources for information on St. John the Baptist.

First, the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

523: St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

Prepare the way for the Lord…

I don’t have a strong devotion to St. John the Baptist, though it’s easy to see why one could develop such a devotion. (there’s an idea if you don’t have one)

The seat of my archdiocese is at St. John the Evangelist (another name for St. John the Baptist).

Here’s a New Advent post about St. John the Baptist.

Something on the unreliability of Catholic tradition… at least on specific dates: (from New Advent)

“The date of John the Baptist’s death, 29 August, assigned in the liturgical calendars can hardly be relied upon, because it is scarcely based upon trustworthy documents. His burial-place has been fixed by an old tradition at Sebaste (Samaria). But if there be any truth in Josephus’s assertion, that John was put to death at Machaerus, it is hard to understand why he was buried so far from the Herodian fortress. Still, it is quite possible that, at a later date unknown to us, his sacred remains were carried to Sebaste.”

Of course, the Bible doesn’t have any dates in it or anything. You know, they kind of missed that in writing things down.

I’m really not a stickler on dates. As long as it comes around about the same time every year… once a year, I’m good.

Here’s an article on Catholic Online.

Check out Catholic Bloggers, Jen @ Conversion Diary and Catholic Cuisine for more about this great memorial. No reason not to celebrate every time we can! I’m sure as the day turns into tomorrow (the memorial) there will be more posted online.

God bless.

I hope my week settles down soon. I’ll have more this Friday and this weekend.

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Learn something: Missing Mass

Learn something

 

I missed Mass on May 12.

I could have made it to the 6 p.m. Spanish Mass at a Parish near mine.

But… I would have been in my Army uniform and smelly. I had spent four hours riding in the back of a HMMWV and three additional hours driving from my unit to my home.

I would have had 20 minutes to shower/change/get ready and leave for Mass… and I would have been late to Mass. At least 10 minutes late.

Or I could have not changed or showered and been on time.

To a Spanish Mass… which I’ve gone to before.

And it’s almost like going to a Latin Mass for me. I don’t know what’s going on.

The Spanish Mass is the ordinary rite, but it’s… in Spanish.

I don’t speak Spanish.

So… I didn’t go.

I figured this would be a good time to see what the Catechism said about this.

2192 “Sunday… is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.” “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”

Bound to participate in Mass. Wow. That’s pretty clear.

Bound to do so. We need to, have to, must do so.

2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful “not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another.”

Dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age.

It’s been going on for a while. This isn’t some “new rule” the Church just thought of.

We know the Church doesn’t work like that, anyway.

Our traditions have generally existed since the beginnings, we just don’t always have them written down. We don’t always have them in concrete.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t legitimate.

This is my favorite:
2179 “A parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church; the pastoral care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the authority of the diocesan bishop.” It is the place where all the faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the liturgical life: it gathers them together in this celebration; it teaches Christ’s saving doctrine; it practices the charity of the Lord in good works and brotherly love:

Let me break in here. “The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the Eucharist.”

Ordinary, in this case, means what we should see as normal, usual. It’s the usual practice that we should receive the Eucharist, that we should receive Christ.

We shouldn’t receive Christ at home (unless necessary). We shouldn’t say an act of spiritual communion if we can make it to Mass.

The usual, normal, ordinary way, is the way we should do it. That’s in the Mass.

2179 continues:
You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.

You cannot pray at home as at church.

Hm. You cannot pray at home as at church. You can not pray at home as at church.

I just have to repeat it to make it stick.

… from one great heart…

There is power when we gather together that we don’t have when we’re alone.

This doesn’t mean that our personal prayer doesn’t matter.

But prayer together matters too. It’s important.

A religion necessitates this community aspect. We must gather.

Jesus asked us to gather together.

“He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort.

The minimum. These laws are the minimum we need for sanctity. That’s what we want, after all.

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days…

This paragraph continues with the second and third precept. Those aren’t topical right now. I’ll get to them someday.

1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.

Makes sense to me.

Of course, there are reasons one can miss Mass. But it should be a rare occasion.

A dire need.

I plan to add this to my next confession.

God bless.

See my previous Learn something post:

Confirmation

Learn something: Confirmation

Learn something

I think I should get some LEARNING back into the whole idea of Learning Mass, so here goes.

My intention is to make this a twice a month event for the foreseeable future, with an increase in frequency after I am officially out of the U.S. Army.

 

I’ve already sat through a Confirmation Mass this Easter season.

It was beautiful and all that, and everyone one is supposed to say about a Mass that brings “the youth” into the Church officially.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic or anything. I’m glad when I get to see it, but for someone who didn’t know anyone getting confirmed, it’s hard to really realize the impact and importance of such an event.

 

I didn’t mean to look it up in the Catechism or anything. I just kind of stumbled on it when I was trying to catch up on my Year of Faith goal to read the whole thing this year. (Eek, I’m a little behind, I confess, but I know I’ll get there.)

 

This is what I found in the Catechism:

 

1294: Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By confirmation, Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”

 

The aroma of Christ… interesting.

 

I looked into that reference a little further.

 

2 Cor. 2:15-17: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”

 

Wait… what?

Let me break it down. I don’t even really understand yet.

 

“We are a fragrance of Christ to God”

OK. Christ was a sacrifice, like in the Jewish tradition. He was atonement for our sins.

God sacrificed Christ, for us. He is the fragrance.

 

See Gen. 8:21: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”

The fragrance of the sacrifice was pleasing to God.

 

“among those who are being saved”

We are a fragrance of Christ to those being saved… um….

We serve as an example to those being saved. We share in Christ’s saving grace with those saved. I think it really is as simple as that.

 

“among those who are perishing”

This is confusing to me… how can we be the same thing to two very different groups of people?

It makes more sense with the next clause.

 

“to the one (group) [those being saved] an aroma from death to death”

According to my Bible commentary, Roman priests often carried incense, so Paul is using a current era reference for the readers.

The Romans lit the incense when they were returning from war, which meant life for the Roman soldiers but death to the prisioners.

The same is here with the “fragrance of Christ.” We are life to those that believe and death to those that don’t… though in our case, those that don’t know my not realize that we “smell” that way.

 

So, we smell like Christ. We smell that way as a continuous reminder that we are saved, that we are an offering to God, that our lives are offerings to God.

 

With confirmation, we “share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ.”

We share in his mission. Not that we didn’t before we were confirmed, but it’s more so after the confirmation. That’s what the anointing bestows on us: a responsibility to share in Christ’s mission, to spread the Gospel and to love as Jesus did.

 

It’s nothing that should be taken lightly.

 

When I watched that group of high school students process to the altar for anointing, I wasn’t thinking about the extra burden they will now carry… well, I shouldn’t call it a burden. It’s a vocation.

I wasn’t thinking about that.

I’m glad they are entering the faith fully as adults. I was thinking about how catechizes never really ends.

Not for priests, not for moms, not for anyone. We must continue to learn, to develop our faith and to share it.

 

It’s the sharing that makes it stronger, which is another reason I need to get this blog focused back on learning again. (And writing Mass responses, but that’s another battle.)

When I do a little research for a blog post, it helps me. I hope it helps another.

It helps build and strengthen and my faith (along with writing for a different audience than a newspaper article).

 

I hope I didn’t confuse you more.

 

God bless!

Tribulations

 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

(Acts 14:22)

I may not live in one of those countries that are outright hostile to Christians… praise the Lord, but I still have hardships.

We all do. We live in a culture full of death, abuse, immorality, sin, lust, vulgarism… It’s easy to look around and say…

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to an end without hope.” (Job 7:6)

Without hope.

That’s kind of how I felt this morning when I woke up around 6:15 and realized it was a “run day.”

I started the Couch to 5K program on Friday. I was already doing interval training on the treadmill, and I like it, but I was ready to transition to running outside again. (Here in Wisconsin it is just about to be spring.)

Whenever I switch from treadmill to outside running, I get caught up. It’s almost as though my body is completely new to running. I have been doing intervals on the treadmill pretty steadily three times a week for a while. Those intervals are jogging/sprinting.
 
Now I’m starting over, and it’s killing me! I ran on a treadmill last Wednesday. Nearly 1.5 miles in 16 minutes (intervals of 4.something and 7.something).
 
On Friday, I ran outside. 1.47 in 25 minutes. Wow. That’s because I was walking. But I was still beat.
On Sunday, I tried a little harder though. I new the route, and I wanted to beat Friday’s time. And I did. I mean, distance. The Couch to 5K program keeps the time the same and the program the same for the week. So I wanted to cover more distance in the same time. Oh boy did I.
 
Anyway, back to how I was feeling “without hope.” Hopeless.
I was up. I knew  I had to run (I have a calendar printed with the info). I knew I had a distance to beat.
But still… wasn’t it more important to clean out my ears? I really just did not want to run. I wanted to go back to bed.
I didn’t think I could do it, so instead of trying, I wanted to “quit while I was ahead.” No trying, no failure, right?
Wrong. Not trying is the failure.
 
Hope doesn’t just come out of nowhere, anyway. I can’t just wake up and… hope (for lack of a better word) that (more) hope floats out of the air and falls on me.
Hope comes from faith. In my run, it’s faith in myself. Without faith, without hope.
 
In Catholicism, without faith, without hope. Meaning, if we don’t believe, we won’t have hope for our lives. We can’t see the positive, the silver lining, the end point.
 
We are just without hope.
 
I ran. And afterwards, I felt so great. I beat the distance again, and I’m starting to get used to sidewalk under my feet instead of the treadmill.
 
I’ve also been running without any music. And it’s wonderful.
When I run in the afternoons, there is the sound of kids playing.
In the mornings, it’s the birds chirping and some dogs out for a morning stroll.
 
I got to see squirrels acting crazy… it’s probably that time of the year for them. Mating and such, right?
 
I digress.
My point is that hope begins with faith. Faith that Christ won’t lead us to anything we can’t handle. Faith that we’ll get through it.
 
That’s what hope is: the faith that we’ll get through it together with Christ.
 
I talk to myself (out loud) when I run. It used to be (still is) really embarrassing. But that’s just how I work. That’s how I sort things out and plan for a day, week, life.
Talking to myself is part of who I am. I’m trying to deal with that, as embarrassing as it is.
 
Sometimes, I pray that my guardian angel could talk back to me.
I know s/he’s there, running (flying?) next to me. Praying for me, probably, unceasingly.
Thank God for that, but sometimes, I just want to talk to him/her. You know, bounce a couple questions off him/her.
 
Instead, I just know that s/he’s there. And I know that Christ is there, and that everything will work out.
 
With hope, with faith, and with tribulations.
 
God bless.