Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Strength Is God

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."

These are words from today’s Gospel from Luke.  God sent Gabriel.  I wonder: why Gabriel?  It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Gabriel is "man of God; my strength is God."  It’s derived from Hebrew gheber "man,” or gabar "strong,” combined with el "god.

Gabriel is the messenger of God and intermediary between God and man.  He is the only angel besides Michael named in the canonical scriptures. He appeared to Daniel in the Old Testament, to Zacharias in the New Testament, and to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus.  In Islamic tradition, Gabriel is the angel who dictated the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Imagine

Our imaginations open worlds of wonder we all need to explore even as adults.   Creativity flows from our imaginations. In the picture to the left do we see the lobster?  Do we see the cat’s paw?  Imagine!

I sometimes wonder how the stars spark our imaginations about God.  We look into the starlight and see patterns suggesting God is an artist using a pallet of colors and paints.  We don’t see those colors of course because white light is a spectrum of color only seen through prisms. 

I’m still fascinated by the rainbow made visible through rays filtered by moisture after a storm.  The end of the rainbow is where we look for that imaginary pot of gold.  Or somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue and the dreams that we dare to dream really do come true.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deep And Wide Hearts

One of my favorite authors is Megan McKenna.   Recently in our library I spotted one of her books I hadn’t seen before: “Lent: Reflections and Stories on the Daily Readings” (1996).  Her 3rd Sunday of Lent reflection had the following story about a well and its meaning.   Based on a modern African folktale, it reads as follows (shortened for this blog):

One day Nobiah’s mother is sick and cannot go to the well.   Her young son, Nobiah, is given the heavy responsibility.  It’s a daily task, and a very long walk is needed to bring water to drink and for their garden.

Nobiah sets off in the baking sun and finally reaches the well where he fills his jug.   He begins his return to his mother, and his thirst immediately begins.  It’s so very hot.  His feet burn on the sands. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quite The Gal

Spring began on Monday, and Palm Sunday is not too far away.  Speaking of palms, I suspect many parishioners are under palms right now on some secluded Florida or Caribbean beach (or clustered among throngs of beachgoers competing for the shade of those palm trees).   I hope the former. 

This time of year pleasant spring weather is hard to find in New England, even on Cape Cod.  Those few days of warmth we’re lucky to get help us appreciate that hot, sunny days are coming.   Early spring storms are just hindrances and far easier to tolerate than dead-of-winter gloom and icy cold.

Easter flowers soon will be here, and our thoughts will turn to the Resurrection.  We’ll hear about the empty tomb and physical appearances of Jesus.   Of course, that’s all preceded by the arrest, trial, and his execution on the cross, as well as his abandonment by his apostles, although not by Mary Magdalene – the apostle to the apostles.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Love The Stranger

There is so much Jewish about Lent and certainly Holy Week.  And, why not because Jesus was a Jew.  All were Jews except for the Romans and, of course, Pontius Pilate, who sent Jesus to his death on the cross.  Perhaps my being focused on Jesus and his fellow Jews led me to discover the book “Not In God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” by British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. 

This rabbi is one fine teacher and is an award-winning author of 30 books.  Check out his website, and you will be impressed with his writing and videos.  One series is especially useful and wonderfully presented by him with a focus on children.  Consider his series “Always have faith in your children.” The rabbi says: “In this eleventh video on being an inspiring parent, I talk about the importance of always having faith in your children, no matter what the situation might be.  By doing this, you will not only be a better parent, but you will also give your children faith in themselves.”  There are 13 short videos in his series on 'Being an Inspiring Parent.’  I strongly endorse this superb series.

Rabbi Sacks says the following that has escaped me, until now.  “We saw that morality begins with kin, those who are genetically related to me.  It extends to the group on the basis of reciprocal altruism, Tit-for-Tat, and the trust we have in others on the basis of repeated interaction.  Eventually it extends to the city and the nation, originally on the basis of religion.   

Monday, March 20, 2017

TENEBRAE

















The great liturgical drama of Holy Week extends from Palm Sunday, when the Passion from one of the synoptic gospels is read, to Easter Sunday, when the joyful Alleluias proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus. In the midst of these dramatic ceremonies, a quiet service called Tenebrae invites the faithful to pray in the serenity of increasing darkness, until the church is completely without light. The term “Tenebrae” is the Latin word for “darkness” and it anticipates the darkness that covered the earth when Jesus suffered death on the cross.

Tenebrae originated many centuries ago with the monastic prayer said after midnight on the last three days of Holy Week.  The sanctuary of the church is illuminated by a large structure like candelabra, which holds fifteen candles. As the psalms are recited and the Lamentation of Jeremiah is chanted, the candles are gradually extinguished In the most dramatic moment of the service, the chanting of the final antiphon is followed by loud noises, made by the choir and congregation banging books on pews, to represent the earth quaking at the time of Christ’s death and the sound of the stone closing shut to seal his tomb. Shortly after that the one candle that had been removed is returned to the sanctuary as a sign of the Resurrection. The service then ends in silence.

The observance of Tenebrae at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, has become the occasion for ecumenical prayer among Christians of various traditions and denominations. It often happens that a member of the clergy from another Christian denomination delivers the reflection.  This service provides an opportunity in Holy Week for Christians to put aside their differences and join in a unified observance of the central beliefs they hold in common.

The service is about an hour long and it will be held on Wednesday of Holy Week, April 12th, at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 7:30PM. Fr. Healey would like to invite parishioners from Christ the King to accompany him to the service.  We would begin with a simple meal of soup and sandwich in the Rectory at 5PM and depart by bus at 6PM for Fall River. We should return by about 9:30PM.  Please fill out the form provided to indicate your interest in attending.

Please print and return the form below:

TENEBRAE

NAME (S)__________________________________________________________

TELEPHONE____________________________ E-MAIL____________________


Please RSVP by Monday April 10th by returning this form to the Parish Office

STATIONS AND A SIMPLE SUPPER - FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2017


A communal effort to pray, fast and give alms before the conclusion of Lent

PRAY: Stations of the Cross ~ 5PM -Christ the King Church
FAST: A simple meatless meal of soup, salad, bread, and Jello in the Parish Hall
GIVE ALMS:  A free will offering is asked to cover the cost of the meal plus something more for the poor!




Please print and return the form below:

STATIONS AND A SIMPLE SUPPER FORM

NAME(S)_____________________________________________________________

NUMBER___________ TEL #__________________ E-MAIL __________________


Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 5th  by returning this form to the Parish Office


Terminators



Today the line between day and night becomes vertical.  An equinox occurs on planet Earth.   An equinox is a time of the year when day and night are almost equal.

At an equinox, the Earth’s terminator [not Schwarzenegger] – the dividing line between day and night -- becomes vertical and connects the north and south poles.  As the Earth revolves around the Sun, the terminator tilts in a way that provides less daily sunlight to the northern hemisphere, causing winter in the north.  As the year progresses, the terminator tilts the other way causing winter in the southern hemisphere and summer in the north. 

I learned this fact from the NASA website showing the “astronomy picture of the day.”  What strikes me is the connection between the north and south poles.  Opposites of a sort are connected in an astronomical way.  God’s handiwork to be sure.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

God is On Our Side ~ Deacon Paul Harney

March 19, 2017 Third Sunday of Lent

Readings for today's Homily

To watch Mass in its entirety click The Mass


Today At The Well

Our first reading from Exodus begins with: “In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, 'Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” 

In our day and here on Cape Cod we never have to worry about thirsting for water and dying from thirst, but many people do, especially in the Middle East – in areas where deserts dominate the landscapes.  Villages were built around wells – the source of life.  

Water comprises about 60% of our bodies.  It truly is life-giving. Water regulates body temperature, flushes body waste, lubricates joints, and allows our cells to grow, reproduce, and survive – just to name a few important functions.  So, in a very real sense, our bodies are “wells” of water.  And that means we should quench the thirst of others – their thirsts for love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What Are We Sacrificing For?

As we deny ourselves through fasting  and/or refraining from indulging    in entertainments, spirits, sweets or treats we are at the same time accumulating a bit extra that we are not spending on ourselves to  share with those in need.   That is why  It is a custom that as Lent ends on the evening of Holy Thursday a collection is taken up for the poor at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s  Supper.       While we are free to identify our own charities and causes to support with our alms, as a community it is also good for us to support some together.  This year let us propose the following:

St. Vincent de Paul:  This is our local charitable arm that reaches out to the poor in our name and so is always worthy of our support but especially in Lent.

Catholic Near East Welfare Agency:  An organization under the authority of the Pope which seeks to support  the church in the Middle East, one which we well know is suffering great persecution and hardship and is certainly worthy of our support.

Catholic Relief Service: This is an agency of the Catholic Church in the United States which reaches out to the poor of the world in our name, and is a traditional charity supported by our almsgiving each Lent.

Seminarians of St Aloysius in Tanzania:  This is a Seminary run by Fr. Augustino, a priest known to Fr. Healey, who tries to get support for the students of his seminary who cannot afford the $600 annual tuition to continue their studies.  This is not a big agency, it’s a particular need  in a far off and forgotten place that is not widely known nor being answered, and so is it a wonderful cause to support.

So as we make our sacrifices over the 40 days – these are the proposed beneficiaries of the increased resources we may be able to accumulate by the end of Lent. As we feel the pinch or pain of not having what we want at the moment, it can be helpful to imagine those who will be benefitting from our self-imposed deprivation in order to make it more meaningful.   On Holy Thursday we will ask that you come prepared to bring your own offerings for the poor to the altar person by person, row by row.   Your gift(s) should be in the form of cash or check made out to the parish placed in envelopes which should designate the charities these are intended to benefit.  If you are using them, please also empty your Rice Bowls and convert the change into cash or check and designate it to benefit CRS.     You may decide which of the above charities you want to support – or all of them and to what degree-either by preparing separate amounts and envelopes for those you choose, or if you place cash or check in one envelope with no particular designation the parish will divide it evenly among all four.  

Stations and a Simple Supper:   On Friday, April 7th, the Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 5PM rather than 4 and will be followed by a Simple meatless Lenten supper of soup, salad, bread, and Jello, for which a free will offering is asked.   Whatever  is collected above and beyond the expenses for the supper will be contributed to our designated Lenten Charities.  So this is an opportunity to join together communally before the end of Lent for Prayer (Stations) Fasting (simple supper) and Almsgiving (proceeds of the supper) so please mark your calendars now and plan on participating in a faith community wide Lenten observance.


Fr. Edward Healey

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Catholic vs Protestant Bible; Why the Difference?


My Bible Study group at the Falmouth Hospital has again enticed me to look deeper into what the Catholic Church says about another subject. This time it is the Bible and why there are seven books in the Catholic Canon that do not appear in the Protestant bible. It is interesting how ignorant some people are concerning the reason why, even those who think they know the bible backwards and forwards. I often get asked the question from Protestants why we added books to the Bible. In actuality, they were removed because they did not fit the philosophy at the time. If you were at the “Sunday School for Adults” that Fr. Healey had Sunday, you would have gotten an insight as to the period of time that the changes occurred. His subject for the next few weeks is the Reformation. He is a store-house of historical information.

First, a definition of a couple of terms. A “canon” is a list of books or texts which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The word "canon" comes from the Greek meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". It is the group of books that is considered “inspired”. There are seven books that the Catholic Bible has in the Old Testament that the Protestant Bible does not. They include: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom, and Baruch, along with additional passages in Daniel and Esther. The Catholic Church calls these the deuterocanonical books or Second Law. Protestants normally call these the Apocrypha meaning hidden books, ones that are considered outside of the canon. 

Before Martin Luther and the Reformation, there was no “Catholic Church” as we learned at Fr. Healey’s Sunday School. There was only one Christian faith although there was a split between East and West in who was the leader of that Christian faith. The Bible used by the early Christians (before the Reformation) was the Greek Septuagint which included all the current Catholic books of the bible. The first council that accepted the present Catholic (Christian) canon was the Synod of Hippo in North Africa in 393AD and the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. At the Council of Trent in 1546, the council fathers, in refutation of Luther, gave a formal definition of the “Canon of the Bible” and accepted the same list which had been proclaimed by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage and which had always been accepted. Thus for the entire first 1,500 years of Christianity, all forty-six books of the Old Testament were accepted by the universal Church as being inspired.

Monday, March 13, 2017

WHAT’S OUR GOAL?


















Composers and Spiritual writers often call Lent a journey, thus  we might ask what’s the destination? The answer is the Triduum, the three holiest days of our year as a community of faith. Lent ends on Holy Thursday evening at sunset, thus leaving us at the doorstep of the  Triduum  which  then  begins with  the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Triduum isn’t just three days, but rather one continuous liturgy that takes place over the course of three days taking us from the supper table to the cross to the empty tomb. It is the annual celebration of the  Passover of the Lord, a remembrance of how Christ passed from life to death to new life again. The rites we participate in during these three days are the most ancient, sacred and memorable of the entire year and they require the 40 days of Lent as a proper preparation. The  Triduum not only enables us to accompany Christ but becomes our own passover too as having died to self through the penitential disciplines of Lent, we pass from death to new life with Christ in the Sacred Triduum.

So let us keep our eyes fixed on the goal as we proceed through the days of Lent realizing that this is also our ultimate goal resurrection and life with Christ.

Fr. Edward Healey