Monday, May 27, 2013

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2013

With Memorial Day behind us, we Americans mark the beginning of the Summer holiday.  For some, school is already out, and for many others, school will be ending shortly.  With Easter and Pentecost now in our rear-view mirror, we approach a long spell of Ordinary Time... but before we slip into the ma-laze of the season, we focus on the most significant gift Jesus left us... his real presence in the Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Word for the Body and Blood of Christ:
       Genesis 14:18-20
       Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
       1 Corinthians 11:23-26
       Luke 9:11b-17

As one might expect, our readings all present images of bread and wine.  Our first reading from Genesis shows us a religious celebration attended by Abram, in which the priest Melchizedek offers bread and wine.  Our second reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is one of our earliest documented modes for the celebration of the Eucharist, predating even the Gospels in which we hear these very same words... words we still hear in our regular celebration of the Mass today.

Concluding the Word with our Gospel from Luke, one would expect to hear the story of the Last Supper where Jesus institutes the Eucharist in these now familiar words.  Instead, however, the Lectionary gives us the story of the Miracle of the Loaves and the Fish.  Curious?  Not really.  In this reading we continue the theme of the bread as a central part of the story.  One could even present this story as a foreshadowing of the Eucharist which Jesus would eventually celebrate with his Apostles.  Most significantly, the story shows us how this bread feeds everyone… Jesus said, “take and eat”, inviting us all to the table.

You may also want to check out these supplemental readings:
Catholic Update

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity 2013

Our Easter jubilation ended this past Sunday with the celebration of Pentecost, bringing us to Ordinary Time.  But after so many weeks of joyous Easter revelry, the Church isn't quite ready to put away the party favors.  So to ease us through this transition from Easter to Ordinary Time, the calendar gives us two significant celebrations... The solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (this Sunday), and the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (next Sunday).  For this week’s solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, each of the three members of the Trinity are represented by the readings.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity:
        Proverbs 8:22-31
        Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
        Romans 5:1-5
        John 16:12-15

First, God the Father is represented our first reading from Proverbs.  The imagery would seem to tell us that God knew us before creation itself.  While to Christian ears this reading seems to speak of the Son of Man (and is actually a favorite of early Christians), the author is actually referring to humanity.  This text predates Christ by hundreds of years, with some of it being attributed to Solomon himself.  The New American Bible’s introduction to Proverbs states that “The teaching of the entire book is placed on a firm religious foundation by the principle that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge."  This idea would seem to be supported by establishing the “omniscience” of God.

Second we see God the Son in our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Here Paul teaches us that it is our faith in Jesus that connects us to God the Father, and through that, a connection with the Holy Spirit.

Finally we see God the Holy Spirit as we read John’s Gospel.  Taken from the farewell discourse (prior to the Passion), Jesus is seen teaching the Apostles about the Holy Spirit.

This trifecta of readings not only lets us see the individual characters of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but also shows us the interdependence of each through the other.

You may also want to check out these supplemental readings:
Scripture from Scratch
Catholic Update
Celebrating Mary:  Feasts of Our Lady (for May being the month of Mary)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pentacost 2013

This week we celebrate the end of the Easter Season with the Feast of Pentecost, the remembrance of when the Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles just as Jesus foretold prior to his Ascension (which we celebrated last week).

The Word for the Pentecost:
        Acts 2:1-11
        Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
        1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 OR Romans 8:8-17
        John 20:19-23 OR John 14:15-16, 23b-26

Confirmation, tradition says, is when we receive the Holy Spirit, and gain the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel (right judgment), fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety (reverence), Fear of the Lord (awe of God).  Confirmation is our adult “Amen” to our Baptism (which is why adults going through the RCIA receive this Sacrament right after their Baptism).  But how are these gifts manifest in us?  Are we any different after our Confirmation as we were before?  What does being Confirmed mean to you?  What can we learn from the Apostles from their encounter with the Holy Spirit?  Join us as we dig deeper into these and other questions.

Catholic Update

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ascension Sunday 2013

Instead of the celebrating the 7th Sunday of Easter, the Church in the USA uses this coming Sunday to celebrate the Ascension (which under the traditional calendar is celebrated this coming Thursday).  Our readings for this Sunday recount that moment.  Our first account is from Acts of the Apostles… a much more detailed account (right down to the traditional 40 days) than any of the Gospels recount.  By now we have learned that Acts of the Apostles is the sequel to Luke’s gospel… but as with all Hollywood blockbuster sequels, Luke begins his new narrative with a recounting of the end of the previous book, but with much more detail and special effects… taking a moment from the previous work and fleshing it out to build into the continuing story. 

The Word for the Ascension of the Lord:
        Acts 1:1-11
        Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
        Ephesians 1:17-23
        Luke 24:46-53

Our Gospel, departing from out Easter study of John, takes us to the end of Luke’s Gospel, bookending the Ascension story we heard in our first reading, as a study in comparison between the earlier work and the later work.  With the abruptness of the Gospel’s ending you can almost hear those listening crying out for more.